NOTE: The following autobiography is severely outdated, as a lot has changed in the past few years. Updates are coming, eventually.
– Brad (4/4/20)
Hey there! I’m Comrade Brad.
You might be asking, why “comrade”? Well, I chose this adjective for my site not because of its association with the military, but, as Dictionary.com defines it:
A person who shares in one’s activities, occupation, etc.; companion, associate, or friend.
I thought this was appropriate, as my goal for this site is to share my life and travels with people who I’ve made connections with and consider as friends. I’d like you all to be able to live vicariously through me, if possible! 😉
Who am I, though?
Well, I’m Brad. I grew up in Arlington, TX as an only child of an American father and a Chinese mother from Brunei. I took piano lessons for ten years, went to Martin High School and became the president of the Art Club, one of the main webmasters of the school’s site, and the Editor-in-Chief of the literary magazine that won Best in State. Even though I ended up falling asleep in a lot of my classes, I still managed to graduate with a 4.0 GPA.
When I was 18, I escaped and went to college at UTDallas in 2008. Over the next four years, I also worked as a computer assistant at university’s Jonsson Lab. In May of 2012, I graduated summa cum laude with a bachelor’s degree in Software Engineering.
What did you do after college?
After graduating, I took a month-long trip to visit my mother’s home country of Brunei, and then I started working at my first full-time software engineering job at MedAssets in July of 2012. For about a year and a half, I enjoyed my time there learning and contributing to the company’s flagship product, ContractManager, but the work soon became too comfortable and slow-paced for my ambitions.
In December of 2013, I was approached by a former colleague about joining his startup, Alkami Technology. When I discovered that I’d get to work with newer front-end technologies and also get paid a lot better, I couldn’t pass it up!
A few months into working at Alkami, I was given the large task of building the front-end of their new Business Banking project from the ground up. I’m ever thankful that I got to work on that project, as it really taught me a lot and also gave me a lot of valuable experience. For the first two years, I mostly worked on creating the front-end of Business Banking. The last year or so was spent on maintaining that project, while helping out in other areas of the application that needed more love.
But in September of 2016, I decided to quit.
Why did you quit?
That September, I underwent a personal awakening of sorts. This was the catalyst for me to change a lot of negative habits that I’d been unintentionally fostering for awhile, and it also helped me realize that I wanted to do more with what I’ve been given. By that point, I’d paid off my debts, saved up a decent amount of money, and I was ready and able to move on to a new chapter in my life, so I gave Alkami roughly a month to assist with transitioning my role before leaving in mid-October.
It certainly wasn’t an easy decision. To be honest, I was really good at my job, and I genuinely loved the people that I worked with. And free lunch was such a great perk! But I’ve always wanted to travel through the East for more than a month, and besides, I want my next job to be outside of Texas — I’ve never felt that I truly belong in this state — so I don’t regret the decision that I made.
Where are you now?
I’m currently living with my mom (temporarily!) in Arlington, Texas, so that I wouldn’t have to pay for rent while travelling the world.
After quitting Alkami, I spent my time unpacking my belongings, visiting family and friends that I didn’t feel like I had time for before, helping out with my dear mother’s various (and seemingly never-ending) requests, creating this personal web site, and planning this massive ten week trip with my best friend Cameron.
On November 6th, 2016, my epic journey began, and you can see some of the places that I visited on my blog!
Thanks for reading. Updates coming soon.
– Comrade Brad