Francis T.

Francis Tapon: Harvard MBA Gives Up Typical Career To Be Happy And Fulfilled

This week’s interview is with Francis Tapon. Francis is a Harvard MBA who gave up a typical career to be happy and fulfilled. He’s a writer who is also in the process of creating a TV show. He’s from San Francisco, but has lived on 4 continents and been to 100 countries so far.


Francis has been featured in publications such as The New York Times, The Washington Post and National Geographic among others.

The Achievers Story

Tell us who you are, where you’re from and something that people would find interesting about you? 


I’m a writer who is also in the process of creating a TV show called The Unseen Africa. I’m from San Francisco, but I’ve lived on 4 continents and I’ve been to 100 countries so far. Some people might find it interesting that I’m a Harvard MBA who gave up the typical career life.


Give us a brief overview about the goal you achieved and why it was so important? 


My goal was simple: be happy and fulfilled. I achieved it by asking myself, “What would I do with time if I had one billion dollars?” Whatever it is, that must be my passion. So why not just do that now, despite being short a billion dollars?


So I worked hard for four years, lived like a student, even though I was being paid a high consulting wage at Microsoft. I invested in the stock market. After 4 years, I had my F*** You Money, and was able to leave and pursue my dreams of traveling the world.


Every story has a beginning, middle, and an end; where we’ve been, where we’re going, and everything in between. Give us an example of what your life was like before achieving this goal?


It was excellent. My only complaint was that I became more interested in hiking and traveling than Silicon Valley. I still love technology, but I love traveling more.


Help us understand what caused you to move in a different direction?


You have to listen to yourself and your preferences. If you stay true to your dreams, you must change directions when your values and interests change.


Give us an example of what your life is like today, since achieving the goal?


I spent one month, on average, in each African country. All 54. It’s a four-year project: 2013-2017. It’s a constantly changing landscape and thousand of ethnicities. It’s fulfilling and fascinating for me!

Overcoming The Obstacles

If there’s one thing I know for sure it’s that obstacles like fear, time and money among other things can prevent us from or motivate us towards achieving goals. What are the top 3 obstacles you faced, why were they obstacles to begin with, and how were they conquered?


(1) Lack of money. I conquered it by living way below my means. (2) Peer pressure—my mom and others thought I was a bit crazy. I conquered it because I know this is what I adore and I can always return home if I don’t like it. (3) Love—it would be come hard for me to get married since few women are interested in being a nomad and not having children. I haven’t conquered this yet since I’m not married, but I’ve enjoyed the journey, I don’t need marriage to be happy, and I suspect I’ll get married in a couple of years anyway!

The Triumph

The next part of the interview is the Triumph. The triumph is all about taking the success of achievement to the next level of personal greatness. The idea of greatness can be different for everyone. For me, greatness is all about the pursuit rather than the destination. What does greatness mean to you and how has achieving this goal contributed to that idea?


Greatness is being near the top of your field. Being a Top 10 Chef. Running a Top 50 hotel. Having most close friends who know you well agree that you’re one of the most fulfilled people they know.
Whatever your metric is, if you are in the Top 1-10% (depending on how strict you are), then you’ve achieved greatness in that pursuit.

Roadmap To Goal Achievement

What is the best advice you ever received that helped you clarify and/or achieve this goal?


Just do it and be persistent. You will always achieve your #1 goal. If you fail, it’s probably because it wasn’t your #1.


What are some of the resources or tools that helped you achieve this goal?


Confidence, smart investing.


What did you do to stay motivated throughout the process?


Keep the goal in mind. Think of the alternatives: do you really want to go back to your old job? That will motivate you. Think of your deathbed. When you will look back on your life, will you regret not going after that goal?


Is there a book that helped you achieve this goal? If so, how?


I wrote one, Hike Your Own Hike: 7 Life Lessons from Backpacking Across America partly to inspire and encourage others, but also myself!


What blogs and podcasts do you recommend?


Tim Ferriss show is good for goal oriented people. I also love Wait, But Why because it’s just fun.


If you were advising someone on how to achieve the same goal or something similar, what specific steps would you have them follow?


(1) Save money to have a financial buffer. (2) Start small. (3) Close your eyes and then go all out. Be remarkable.


What’s the best way for people to connect with you?


Francis Tapon Website – There are links to all my social media accounts, plus my newsletter.