We all have a Mad Gringo deep down inside.
Mine came out in October 2006. I'd been feeling penned in and stressed out for months - maybe years. So I hopped a plane to Mexico, hoping to find myself- literally and figuratively - on a warm, sandy beach.
Instead, I found someone else.
Here was the man I was not. Deeply tanned. Carefree. Going slow.
I had to know his secret.
We talked over a bottle of tequila. I unloaded my frustration with corporate life. The shallowness. The push for more and more. The feeling of less and less. I got angry explaining my job and life. The traffic. The ties. The stress.
He just smiled and shucked more oysters. He had no secret, he assured me.
So over a second bottle, we just talked. With a warm breeze in our faces, and the sound of crashing waves in the air, talk drifted here and there. People. Places. Love. Loves lost. From the same spot on the beach where we saw the sun drop, we watched it rise again.
That morning, I knew I would return home a changed man. "I'm quitting my job, amigo'" I said. "I'm going to really live. I'm going to go slow. Maybe I'll sell tropical shirts like yours."
"You're mad, gringo," he said, smiling, as he wadded his shirt up for a makeshift pillow.
And right then and there, I named my new company.