Jay Solomon is one of those people you’ve known your whole life, or, you feel like you have. He has an effortless kindness, warmth and genuine curiosity about all things and people.
I remember the day he arrived in London, it was a Saturday and I just came in from a run, about the same moment he opened the front door. We had been expecting Jay, so I knew to greet him by name.
Jay’s hometown is Atlanta and when he arrived, it was playoff day for his home team and so we chatted about the best place to catch the game. Atlanta might be home turf for Jay, but, he’s been traveling the globe calling a new city home every 2 months for the better part of 2016. You might know this as “slow travel” where you settle in a new city and give yourself time to relax and explore at your own pace. It was never Jay’s intention to travel this way, but a close to burn out in his company had encouraged a deep period of self reflection and a catalyst for change. Both, in the way he was running his business all the way to what was keeping him in the Atlanta office, since he also operated an office out of Europe – he realized that might be a good place to start.
Jay’s travels over the past year took him to 7 different countries and we were lucky enough to catch two of his stopovers. He’s always light hearted and knee deep in wisdom, from his business advice, friendship, honesty, community contributions (he always brings good wine) a good meditation practice or when it’s time for an adventure, he’s the kind of human you always wanted to have in your life. I hope you get to meet a Jay someday too!
Thanks for being you, Jay, we’re so glad you found us.
"Kindness and compassion above all else, for yourself and others."
Who is Jay? Describe yourself without any attributes given to you by society and dig deep. Who are you in 8 words or less?
I think that friends, family and colleagues would describe me as hard working, determined, and capable of handling an enormous amount at once in life and business.
Every day I work to change the primary descriptors of me in their minds to compassionate, kind and loving. While those are the things I want to be, I imagine I exist somewhere in the middle of those two clusters of descriptors.
Could you describe a friend that would benefit the most from living in a more flexible and curious way? Why?
Everyone I can think of would benefit from living in a more flexible and curious way, perhaps not indefinitely but certainly for a while. I know many people stuck in their rhythms and habits, their points of view and their perceptions of the world around them. This doesn’t make me love them less, but it does make me want to encourage them out of their daily lives and patterns, whether to live in another place, a co-living arrangement or on the road for a while. It seems to me that this can be healthy for each of us and the relationships in our lives.
One friend in particular who comes to mind has had her career and life trajectory shattered by some manipulative people in her field and organization. She still hasn’t figured out what to do next with herself, and I think the first thing is to abandon the life that left her behind for a world she loves to explore.
Knowing what you know now, what would you tell your 10 year old self if you had the chance?
Kindness and compassion above all else, for yourself and others.
When is the last time you lost track of time, do you remember why?
I lose track of time every day during my meditation, the most important hour of my day when everything else – work issues, social obligations, tasks and chores – all melt away. Nothing can be done about them, so this time is meant for something else: not worry, not planning, not problem-solving. It’s time to be, to sit, in quiet and follow the rhythm of my breath. Sometimes great truth arises inside of me, and sometimes nothing happens. Both are fine, as long as I experience each moment.
If you had enough money to never need to work again, what would you spend your time doing?
I would work on voter’s rights issues in America. 28.6% of America’s electorate were ineligible to vote in the 2016 election. This ineligibility came from a combination of voter suppression after the dismantling of the Voting Rights Act, the disgraceful pipeline of people (primarily people of color) churning through America’s criminal “justice” system who become disenfranchised as part of their never-ending incarceration, and heinous gerrymandering by politicians who couldn’t win elections without manipulating the system within which we vote. This is disgraceful, hugely undemocratic and in many facets should be or is illegal.
I want everyone registered to vote automatically, and I want the process of registering to vote and casting one’s vote to be unimaginably simple and fair. If money weren’t an issue, I would engage a tremendous amount of my time and resources in an organization doing good work in this area or start my own organization to work on these issues on political, legal and social levels.
If you could ask every person you met one question, and they had to answer truthfully, what would you ask?
Have you forgotten how to love yourself?