How Living Nowhere Got Rosie Siman Yakob Exactly Where She Wants to Be

Rosie Siman Yakob in the Two Eggs Slow n' Steady Lookbook. Wearing the Balance Yin Yang Socks, the Money Bags Black Box Clutch, and the Balance tie dyed neck-scarf. Photo by Higor Bastos.

I left New York City in March of 2013, 2 months before my would-be 5-year anniversary of living there. I had put my notice in back in February, and in the month leading up to leaving, I had a lot of explaining to do. “You loved your job!,” my friends exclaimed, and I had, right up until the very end. “Where are you going? For how long? What’s next?” everyone asked, both thrilled and frustrated with my vague response of “Traveling. Who knows!” 

When we (my husband and I) left NYC, we were surrounded by many friends, but we were also surrounded by people who were constantly, well, busy. I imagine this culture exists in many places, but we found the answer so unbelievably common in NYC. Even I, at times, found myself responding to “How are you?” with the dreaded word. 

While I loved my job, I always clarified to those who commented on my love for the work that I was “working to live, as opposed to living to work.” How quickly we trade happiness for business, or busy-ness, especially when it comes to work and salaries.

And so, we put on the brakes. While we loved NYC, we wanted to explore the world. We wanted to be less busy. We wanted to see our families more. We wanted permission to put down our phones, to avoid email. We made excuses about why we couldn’t do it for one week, and then spent the next three planning our departure.

We sold our kitchen island and our desk. We gave away our couch and most of our clothes. We hosted a party where we invited our friends to help us drink the rest of our booze, and take anything that was left in our apartment. And that then we left.

We traveled to Germany, Croatia & Australia for previously-booked speaking gigs, but otherwise became decidedly less busy. We read books, we explored cities, we drank coffees over long conversations. We talked to strangers, visited friends & family all over the world, made more friends, and Skyped with those we weren’t physically close to.

Rosie Siman Yakob, Katie Corcoran, and Melissa Serje in the Two Eggs Slow n' Steady Lookbook. Wearing the Balance Yin Yang Socks, the Money Bags Black Box Clutch, and the Balance tie dyed neck-scarf. Photo by Higor Bastos.

 

Someone asked if we could help their advertising agency with a pitch they were working on for one of the big airlines. We brainstormed from the beach in Bali. Another asked if we could help a brand with their digital/social strategy. We did that remotely as well. And because we had decided to take a break (& live cheaply in Southeast Asia) we said no to plenty of projects that we weren’t interested in. But before we knew it, we had clients. And then a company. And then more clients. 

We never stopped traveling. Together, my husband (who is now also my business partner) and I have traveled to countless cities in 47 countries. Our strategy & innovation consultancy is location independent, and we make it a point to work 20 hours a week or less.

Rosie Siman Yakob, Katie Corcoran, and Melissa Serje in the Two Eggs Slow n' Steady Lookbook. Wearing the Balance Yin Yang Socks, the Money Bags Black Box Clutch, and the Balance tie dyed neck-scarf. Photo by Higor Bastos.

“Don’t you miss having a community?” someone once asked and I stumbled over an awkward “No…” struggling to articulate just how big our community is, how rich the relationships are. It’s just not in a single place. But then again, neither are we. 

We’re not busy, we’re just having fun. And home? It’s wherever we happen to be. 

Rosie Siman Yakob is the Managing Director of Genius Steals. Before founding Genius Steals with her husband Faris, Rosie was a teacher at Miami Ad School and a Senior Strategist at 360i, an award-winning digital marketing agency named by Fast Company as one of the world’s most innovative companies. She helped brands like Oreo, Bravo, Dentyne and NBC navigate the world of social & emerging media from creative ideation through to activation. Her work has been awarded by Cannes, CLIO, Facebook and the Addy’s. You can follow her adventures on twitter, instagram, and the Genius Steals newsletter.

How a 3-month Break Changed Melissa Serje's Life Forever

Melissa Serje models the Slow Down neck scarf for Two Eggs. Photo by Higor Bastos

After working at an agency for a year and a half, I decided to take a break. I was working alone the majority of the time and felt there was a big disconnect with where I wanted to go and who I wanted to be. I needed to find myself, which was exactly what I did. During this time, I moved into the city, kept a healthy lifestyle, and travelled. 

Moving into the city is something I’ve always wanted to do, so as soon as I saw the opportunity, I took it. The city's energy feels full of possibility. I was able to discover new neighborhoods and meet incredible people. Knowing that I’m in the middle of this amazing chaos of a city, filled me with so much hope and energy. I kept busy by being physically and mentally active. 

I took all types of exercises like barre, boxing, boot camp, pilates, dance, row, cycling, etc, while keeping an open mind in what types of classes to take to discover what I liked (boxing & yoga) and disliked (cycling & pilates). Yoga and meditation played a big part to help me find my inner peace. I remembered Yoga to the People were hosting a Happiness Yoga Workshop and knew this was exactly what I needed to find a sense of balance. The workshop had a few traditional yoga exercises but included some fun techniques like laughing out loud, staring into a stranger’s eyes, and writing a note to yourself. I left the workshop having a clear mind and knew that if I ever felt lost again, I could use the tools I used there.

Melissa Serje for Two Eggs Slow n' Steady. Photo by Higor Bastos.

By the end of my break, I took a month to travel abroad. Traveling gave me the chance to open my mind and provided a fresh perspective on how others live their own lives. I planned a trip for two weeks in Turkey and two weeks in Italy. The experiences were very different for many reasons. For starters, it was my fourth time visiting Turkey so I had a lot of personal history there whereas it was my first time in Italy. My previous times in Turkey I spent it with my ex-boyfriend since that’s where he’s from, but this time I saw the city, Istanbul, through a different light since I was surrounded by a solid group of girlfriends that provided a strong support system. I decided to visit Turkey again because I get a “homey” feeling each time I go, leaving with the fondest memories. I couldn't wait to create new memories on this trip. Turkey’s hospitality is superb and it's people, food, architecture, etc is A+ and can’t wait to go back. Italy, on the other hand, was spent with my family exploring a new culture, cities, and lots of food. I had a wonderful time and even experienced my first silent rave in Milan. 

Melissa Serje, Karie Corcoran, and Rosie Siman Yakob model the wave bag from the Two Eggs Slow n Steady collection. Photo by Higor Bastos.

My break made me feel like I was finally taking control of my own life; by creating my own path of self discovery and peace. My almost-three-month break from work, was the best decision I’ve ever made. I can honestly say I've become a better person for it. My advice to anyone who is looking for a sense of self or control is to look within and always listen to your intuition. Whether that mean you should travel, exercise, or experie something completely new and out of your comfort zone, you are the only one that knows what is best for yourself. Remember to enjoy and savor each moment life brings along the way.

Melissa Serje is a sales and marketing professional with a huge passion for fitness and travel. She freelances as much as she can so she can continue pursuing her dream of traveling the world full-time.

Shop the Slow n' Steady Collection right over this a-way -->