Less Pay, More Everything. Letting Go of the Silicon Valley Dream.
I left the Silicon Valley dream life and took a 60% pay cut in the process - and I’m much happier. After spending almost two years in the Bay Area, I was starting to get a sense of what my prime years would look like; this involved long hours slaving away for famous tech companies while I wasted my life away. Socially I was, for the most part, constrained to other technical people that didn't share many of my other passions.
As a result of this, I was mentally, physically and emotionally exhausted and knew it was time for a change, my ego, however, was making the decision much harder than it should have been. To be fair, it was a difficult decision I was leaving one heck of a career opportunity, living the California dream and had a fun girlfriend at the time who wasn’t too hard on the eyes. After a few meditative hikes out into the wilderness with good friends, I finally made up my mind to leave it all behind. Making a move back to Vancouver, Canada, my life has a lot more balance to it now; more time with friends, family, a rekindled love for ice hockey (how stereotypical), and more chances to get involved with hunting.
The urge to hunt has been slowly growing in my head around the time I was attending SFU. Like a significant amount of new hunters in the past couple of years, it was without a doubt Joe Rogan who evoked the thought. His podcasts featuring Steve Rinella and Cameron Hanes in particular painted the image of hunters who were not typically portrayed in most media. These are incredibly fit, respectful, educated people who respect the outdoors, public lands, and good food.
I had an immediate appeal to bowhunting compared to rifle hunting. Once I saw a video of Cam, I was hooked — I remember thinking, “that is the most badass thing I’ve ever seen". Something gives me more satisfaction watching a hunter in tight at full draw with a bow, compared to a rifle 300 yards away. While practicing I have a mantra I use before I shoot. I stole it from the movie “Shooter”: “slow is smooth, smooth is fast."
Jarid is a twenty-something computer engineer with an interest in backcountry hunting for elk and muleys. Our friendship was ultimately solidified through an endless banter over the best gear — yeah, we're both gearheads. He's a meticulous man and a great devil's advocate. I would be foolish ever to make a big purchase or commit to an idea without a quick brainstorming session with him first. Without this fellow, there wouldn't be a Chasing Food Club, and I wouldn't be this content with my life.
I can still recall the warmth of the setting, summer sun shining through my apartment window upon my face; we were going back and forth on various subjects when Jarid asked, "Have you ever seen an elk? They’re these enormous, majestic creatures! Like something out of Harry Potter." Next thing you know we were down the YouTube rabbit hole, geeking over videos of bugling bulls. It just so happened that a week later I found myself eating elk, prepared as tartar in Kelowna, British Columbia. I was immediately infatuated with the firm, sweet flesh. That was it... I had to hunt.
There were doubts from all directions, like a shotgun spread — and I'm the damned duck. I didn't know any hunters, I live in a tiny apartment in downtown Vancouver, and I don't own a car. My only exposure to the subject was through binge-watching MeatEater; once again thanks to Jarid's insistence on watching an episode together. At one point, I texted him to ask "how is any ignorant city living gal suppose to go about this?" His non-sympathetic response was something along the lines of, "you just jump into it".
Our journeys into becoming hunter/gatherers are parallel with each other's, and it's (in his words) "overwhelming, fascinating, and eye-opening." You bet there's going to be a follow-up interview of his first season out. He's looking forward to trekking through some bush, find a sweet glassing spot, lay down the glassing pad and settling in for a few (cold) hours observing the land. He's already got a deep freezer on his apartment balcony ready to be filled. Who said big-city-living folks can't hunt?
If you're a city folk attempting to hunt or new bowhunter, I would love to hear your story here. Because man oh man it hasn't been easy - we don't even have a hunting equipment store in town!