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My friend Karl interned at Amazon with Mel from Expensify. 

Karl and Mel


I met Karl randomly.

It's a Tuesday afternoon at Dolores park and it's busy. I know why I'm not at work, but why is everyone else not at work? Karl is wondering the same and it turns out that we both are at Dolores Park on a Tuesday at 1pm for the exact same reason. 

We left a job to figure out what we wanted. He's a programmer tired of feeling uncreative. I'm a marketer- ahem- writer, restlessly seeking another outlet. 

We bond quickly over our similar sketches of Dolores, commenting on the different way we approached the same muse. We continue onto a discussion on architecture and joke about planning a trip to Europe.

And then we do. 

I'm surprised to see him at the Amsterdam Airport in Schiphol, but there's no point in discussing the surreal peculiarities of seeing one another outside of SF. Besides, if its surreality we wanted, we might as well head to the Stedelijk Museum of Modern Art. 

And so we do. 

We continue our art tours individually, and eventually meet up again in France and Malta. On my last day in Malta, I ask Karl where he plans to go next. He tells me he's probably going to meet up with a friend who works for Expensify, this company that travels as a team to different destinations every year. 

I return to SF, and in the next couple months I write a lot. Inspired by my travels, I paint more. I start a poetry club. Karl returns and we catch up over coffee at the park.

I tell him about some of my projects. Years ago, when I studied in Turkey, I  came home inspired, but reticent. This time was different. Traveling with someone who approached things so differently gave me a new vantage point to explore. 

He agrees. He's been working on his own projects too, and the contribution and opinion of another person really makes the process whole. In fact, he tells me, yesterday, after visiting the Expensify office, he was motivated to work on his program for the rest of the day. 

Expensify? That sounds familiar. He reminds me that it's where his friend, Mel, works and urges me to check it out. 

And so I do. 

Oh, and as for why we were at the park on a Tuesday at 1pm? It was sunny.