28 Escape from Corporate America – Tennis Then Travel with Tanner Combias

Alone with Peter Season 2, Episode 11 Escape from Corporate America. Tennis then travel with Tanner Combias
Alone With Peter
28 Escape from Corporate America – Tennis Then Travel with Tanner Combias

I’m pleased to welcome Entrepreneur and Owner of Hostel Mate, LLC; Tanner Combias to the show. Tanner is a financial advisor with a degree in Finance & Masters in Accountancy. He spent five years working at PwC, one of the largest professional service firms in the world before he decided to quit his job to pursue competitive tennis and travel the world.

His tennis journey began in 2018 where he spent a year playing competitive tennis in Florida tennis academies. After his stint in the competitive camps, Tanner visited 16 countries and over 70 hostels from 2019 to 2020. He was able to fund his travels around the world exclusively through savings and investments in index funds. Tanner documented his experience extensively on his blog tennisthentravel.com which I highly recommend you check out!.

A hard-working go-getter, Tanner is excellent at pivoting when the need arises. If you’re a traveler, entrepreneur, or a calculated risk-taker looking to become smarter with your finances this interview has a lot to offer you.

Alone with Peter airs Mondays at 7 AM PST. Be sure to subscribe on your favorite podcast platform so you never miss another episode!

Tanner Combias – Financial Advisor, CPA, Entrepreneur, and Traveler Blogger

Website: hostelmate.app

Travel Blog: tennisthentravel.com

Instagram tennis_then_travel

Please enjoy this transcript of my interview with Entrepreneur and Owner of Hostel Mate, LLC; Tanner Combias

*Transcripts may contain a few typos. With interviews ranging from 1-2 hours, it can be difficult to catch minor errors. Enjoy

Escape from Corporate America – Tennis Then Travel with Tanner Combias

Peter Kersting: Welcome to Alone with Peter. I’m your host. On this podcast, you’re going to hear interviews with entrepreneurs, artists, digital nomads, and people seeking personal growth. We’ll dive deep into what set them on their journey, where they are now and how their story can impact you, including any helpful insights if you aspire to take a similar leap of faith. No matter where you are on your journey, thank you for spending some quality time Alone with Peter.

Peter Kersting: On today’s episode of Alone with Peter, I am really excited to speak with Tanner Combias. He is the owner of Hostel Mate, and you can find him hostelmate.app on Instagram at tennis_then_travel, and at his blog, Tennis Then Travel. Tanner has been working in the world of finance for a long time now. He has five years of experience working at one of the big four accounting firms in New York City, PWC. We’ll talk to him about that, his degree in finance and masters in accountancy, as well as his expertise in valuing companies and consulting.

Peter Kersting: He spent over a year playing competitive tennis at tennis academies in Florida. He’s traveled around the world and visited over 70 hostels from 2019 to 2020. If you want to travel, if you want to know how to travel on a budget, if you want to know how to be smarter with your money in general, you’re not going to want to miss this interview with Tanner Combias. Tanner, I’m excited to have you on the show to talk about corporate America, travel, tennis, and a whole lot more.

Tanner Combias: Awesome. Thank you, Peter. Thanks so much for having me on.

Peter Kersting: Yeah, yeah, buddy. This has been a long time coming. I want to give the backstory really quickly of how we met. I was living in South Korea in 2019, and towards the end of my time there, I decided to take a trip to Vietnam. That’s where you and I met serendipitously. A lot of the people that I have on the show are people that I met traveling. I think there’s something that can be said for that. You meet really interesting people when traveling, and I think you’ve got a really interesting story, but do you want to give a little backstory of how we know each other from your perspective? I’ve told you mine.

Tanner Combias: Yeah. Sure. Well, I agree with you. I mean, some of the best people that I met and that I’ve ever met were on my travels. And honestly, that’s my favorite part about traveling even more than seeing a new place and even a new culture, the best part is meeting new people from all walks of life. So, yeah. I mean, I remember, I think it was in January right after Christmas and I flew into Hanoi and didn’t sleep for probably 24 hours in that long journey and trip to the hostel and there you were.

Peter Kersting: Where were you before you that? Because you’d been traveling around for a while already.

Tanner Combias: Yeah. That’s right. Well, I was traveling around a lot, but I was also insane and had made the promise to my parents to come back for Christmas, which really didn’t make any sense. So to your point, I remember it was quite silly. I had spent a lot of time traveling in Thailand, three weeks in Thailand, and then I flew home for Christmas, hung with the family, and then caught a flight back because I decided I needed to see Southeast Asia, and Thailand wasn’t going to cut it as the only country in that region.

Peter Kersting: Dude, that is so much flying in a very short amount of time.

Tanner Combias: Yeah and I know this podcast is about how to build your budget and that is a situation where it wasn’t necessarily the best move.

Peter Kersting: Yeah. Just a disclaimer, that’s not the best way to spend your money, necessarily. There’s probably a more efficient way to spend your money, but at the same time, sometimes you’ve got to do what you got to do, right? I’m sure your family appreciated it.

Tanner Combias: No, you’re spot on there and we’ll get into it more, but I mean, when you save your money, it gives you the ability to do that kind of stuff. That is important.

Peter Kersting: Yeah. Yeah. I am really excited to talk about that part of it, actually. I think there’s an unfortunate mindset that has been developed in the US and just in general in consumer culture about what money does for you, how you should use money, what you should do with money when you don’t have it. I’m definitely a firm believer in not spending what you don’t have, even if you’re broke. It’s pretty hard sometimes. It’s hard to know how to spend your money. I want to talk about your backstory.

Peter Kersting: This is going to be kind of a hero’s journey arc we’re going to be going through with you here, Tanner, and you might smirk a little bit at the idea of a hero’s journey, but I really believe everybody has this. If you’re listening to the podcast, this is not the first time you’ve heard me say this. I think we all have this hero’s journey. Our past impacts our present and it forms our future. Who you are is impacted greatly by how you grew up, the lessons you learned, and the skills you obtain from that.

Peter Kersting: I really want to be able to kind of paint this kind of macro to micro picture, so that by the end of all this, people can see, “Oh, that’s why this is the guy. This is why he is who he is.” As much as I can do that in an hour and a half with you. I thought maybe we could start with big aspirations, small pockets. Because I read on your bio, on Tennis Then Travel, that you saved every penny you possibly could since you were eight years old. Can you tell me what that is about? Because not just anybody saves money from the age of eight years old.

Tanner Combias: Yeah. I was a little ridiculous as a child, but it’s definitely true. I’m not lying. I have always saved every penny since I was super young and it definitely has a lot to do with my upbringing. I mean, I would honestly walk down the street with my head down looking for change. It was crazy. And I think my dad’s a financial advisor. So, he is always talking about saving and spending and investing your money and living within your means. And so, that definitely influenced me. And I think I learned from him, but I learned about compounding interests and just how a little investment today can turn into a very large sum of money in the long term. And so, it’s very powerful compounding and investing young. It’s super powerful and I became obsessed with it. So, yeah. I saved every single penny I could and I didn’t really know what I was going to do with that money.

Tanner Combias: I think I always wanted to have this money. What I think it was is I wanted to be able to do whatever I wanted. And that was what I was saving for. Literally, at the age of eight years old, it was, yeah.

Peter Kersting: At eight years old, you were wanting to save money, so you could have the freedom to do what you wanted to do. That’s not the typical mindset of an eight-year-old. Do you think a lot of that has to do with just watching your dad and how he dealt with his money? How did your family talk about money growing up?

Tanner Combias: Yeah. I think that it does have to do with where we come from. I mean, my dad started his own small company and definitely took a risk and we had money growing up. He did well, but in the beginning when he just started, we definitely were especially frugal. And even today after he’s been very successful, he’s still frugal. And that definitely rubbed off on me, I think positively, but also, yeah. I guess we didn’t talk about money that much, but definitely never just gave us money.

Tanner Combias: If we wanted to go buy something, he wouldn’t just hand us money. That was not happening. That was out of the question. We were given a small allowance. I remember it was based on what grade you were in school. And in order to earn that allowance, which could easily be deducted or rescinded if you didn’t complete your chores or didn’t behave properly. I remember I got the deductions for not putting your napkin on your lap. It was like, “Oh, yep, there’s a deduction,” and they knew that cut me to my core. I wanted every penny.

Peter Kersting: So that experience of the deductions, and push backs, and stuff, what did that teach you as a kid? Did you ever think about that now? What was a real lesson that was coming across to you?

Tanner Combias: I don’t know. I don’t know what the real lesson was. I guess it was smart on my dad’s part because he knew how important money was to me. And he also knew… No, but it’s true. When you’re trying to get someone to act a certain way or behave properly, figure out what makes them tick, right? But I think that it had more consequences than he even expected. The point was to teach us to earn our money, to work hard and earn money for the work you get, you’ve done, not to just get handed money, but also he was trying to get us behave in a gentlemanly… Behave properly, well mannered. But yeah. I think it was smart. It definitely taught me to value hard work and earning your money.

Peter Kersting: It just makes me laugh, because you’re not a Scrooge McDuck, but you are very frugal with your money. It’s funny for me to hear you talk about that part of it. It also makes me wonder if you know that experience of your dad saying, “Oh, well, you didn’t do that right, here is the consequence.” That’s a very real-world thing that people need to learn. I just wonder how much that impacted you, that idea that like whatever you choose to do, it’s going to change, well, how much money you can make. But also like, there will be repercussions or benefits from doing this. I just wonder, like eight-year-old, 10-year-old Tanner, clearly, you had a very strong impact from something there that you would be trying to save money and build compound interest at 10 years old with a Quicken loans account.

Tanner Combias: Yeah. It’s hard to put my finger on exactly what the trigger was, right? Because I had a brother and a sister and I think that they appreciate and understand the value of a dollar and hard work, but they’re not as freakish about it as I am. I had a Quicken account. I think I was eight years old and my dad set me up on Quicken and Quicken’s different. Today we have apps and stuff where you can just put in everything you save, everything you spend. But back then, you have this antiquated program where you would make journal entries and I would write, “I found $10 on the ground,” and there are hundreds of journal entries in my Quicken. So, that was just absurd and I don’t know if it was one thing or yeah. I’m not sure what triggered it. Definitely, I think your point about the way that my dad did the allowance and the deductions and the consequences definitely impacted me. Starting his own business, starting with nothing, definitely him not just giving us money, not being able to buy what we want, all that impacted us.

Tanner Combias: And so, I think that drove it all, but I’m glad to hear you say, I know you mentioned there that I don’t give off that impression that I’m super stingy because I tell myself that. I try. I don’t want my friends to ever think that. If I go out to dinner with my friends, I never want to be the guy… I want to be the first guy who pays for the round. I never want them to even think Tanner’s being cheap ever. And then often myself I’m being ridiculous. I’m walking 20 blocks instead of getting a cab or something or running at five in the morning from a club home for an hour through London.

Peter Kersting: I’m kind of the same way, except for the thing is I don’t have money either. You have two siblings. I have seven. So I grew up in an environment where if I wanted something, I definitely had to get a job and had to go earn it. There was a certain level of that impacting me as, “Well, if I want something I know to earn it somehow because it’s not going to be given to me.” Then, the other part, I think, was just that I wasn’t very materialistic. I didn’t mind that I was getting hand-me-downs from my siblings.

Peter Kersting: I was used to doing road trips instead of flying. I never went to Disneyland as a kid, but those were not negative things to me. That part of it has really stuck with me. To your point, it really has a lot to do, not just with your family, but also you as an individual because I’m not very materialistic, but I have a brother who’s a sommelier, and he makes a lot of money, and he likes to dress well, and drink really nice wine and stuff. I don’t not like that stuff, but I do not have access to that kind of stuff. It’s not as important to me.

Tanner Combias: Yeah. No, that’s a good point.

Peter Kersting: I think that it makes me wonder, for you, I’d love to hear a little bit more about what your childhood was like, because I’m getting this picture of an eight-year-old looking for money on the ground and trying to get compound interest, but I’m sure there was more to Tanner Combias at eight, 10, 15 years old, than just like putting a magnifying glass to the ground and looking for coins. Right? What else was it like?

Peter Kersting: Well, I kind of agree with you that I’m not materialistic either and I like money. I like money a lot, but I think the act of earning it always meant way more to me than the money itself, which I don’t know if that’s weird or not, but I mean, I remember my first paying job was I was 12 and I was working for a landscaper and he was paying me $2 an hour to dig holes and I didn’t care. I was happy. I got that first check. It was $24 and I was pumped. I mean, so I don’t know if that tells you more about me, but yeah.

Peter Kersting: 12 hours of hole digging?

Tanner Combias: Yeah. I was willing to do whatever it took to earn money and it wasn’t to buy something fancy. It was to give me that freedom to do whatever I wanted, but it was more the act of earning that got me excited.

Peter Kersting: After high school, you went off to study accounting and finance, and you ended up ultimately finding a job with PWC, which is a pretty big deal, I would say. I know you told me it doesn’t really feel like it’s that big of a deal. But after talking to other people, it sounds to me like if you get a job with one of the big four, you can get a job anywhere after that. It kind of sets you in a certain tier of people. For someone who is not from accounting, why is that a big deal? What is the Big Four? And what was it like working for PWC? That’s a lot of questions in a row.

Tanner Combias: Yeah. That was a lot. So first, yeah. I guess the first thing you said where it is a big deal. Yeah. Sometimes I downplay it because I went to a very good accounting school. So, I went to Wake Forest and we had a very good reputation and the Big Four sought us out. We had the highest passing rate on the CPA exam in the country. That’s the certified public accountant. And so to me, in college, the Big Four wasn’t that big of a deal, but it is a big deal. And it does set you up. Your right. So, the Big Four, it’s the four largest accounting firms in the world. And they are much larger than any of the smaller firms below them, any of the regional firms. They’re huge. They’re massive. They’re in every city and they operate in many different sectors, provide many different services and it does set you up in that it gives you a good background. It’s a very professional environment. You’re always working on teams.

Tanner Combias: You learn about companies from the bottom up often. So, often you’re digging into a company and you’re really trying to understand what makes it tick, how they earn their money, how they spend their money. You really get to learn about companies. And so after working, I’ll talk to a lot of people and a lot of them did start at one of the Big Four firms. You can just list them. It’s PWC or Pricewaterhouse, EY, which is Ernst & Young, KPMG, and Deloitte. So, those are the Big Four and the other ones are, the regional firms are great too. It’s just these are just significantly larger and have that reputation.

Peter Kersting: At Wake Forest, did you, to use a metaphor, did you feel like a big fish in a small pond? Did you feel like a small fish in a big pond? What was that environment like? Because you told me a little bit about, it almost felt like the Ivy League in that the big four are coming to you, and wining, and dining you. What was that like for you going to school in that environment and competing against other people in that environment for a lucrative job, as a 22-year-old?

Tanner Combias: Yeah. It was different. It was intense and competitive. Because we had such a good reputation, we were lucky and we had really good teachers and they tested us extremely hard so that when the CPA came along, it was nothing for us. So, it was super intense and competitive, and when they came to interview us all, and we’re all lined up waiting our turn, it was competitive, but because there’s a need for accountants, right? And because we had that reputation, it was nice because you knew that the guy next to you could get a very good job that doesn’t preclude you from also getting a good job.

Tanner Combias: I specifically, was trying to make things more complicated than they need to be. So not only did I do accounting, but I also did finance. And there are only, I think there were five of us in my grade who did both majors, which was just kind of ridiculous. I just remember junior fall was the hardest finance semester, then junior spring was the hardest accounting semester. And I almost couldn’t take it anymore, but yeah. No. I always make things harder than they need to be. So, yeah. Where I was going with that. So when I applied, not only did I… So, in accounting, the most job openings are for audit and so, that’s when you are reviewing financial statements for public companies primarily, but also private companies and digging through and making sure that the numbers that they report are accurate and then there’s tax, which is huge too.

Tanner Combias: Helping out with companies taxes, but there are also a lot of other groups and many of these groups at the Big Four, other firms, you start out in audit or tax and you try to prove yourself and get into those groups. And I just trying to always make things harder and try to go for the next level. I was like, “I don’t want to go straight into one of these other groups and not pay my dues in auditor tax.” So, I went into the deals team where they worked on deals, buying companies, selling companies, maybe a company wants to get listed on the public stock exchange and we’d help out or maybe they have complex accounting. I mean, I don’t want to bore you, but…

Peter Kersting: Was this when you were working at PWC already or is this when you were in university?

Tanner Combias: This was in university. When I was in university, I applied specifically for one of those more specific groups and they were only taking maybe one person to New York, maybe one person to Boston and 30 people were going to do the audit and 30, 40 people were going to tax and so, that made it a little bit more…

Peter Kersting: So you were choosing the more challenging position where it’s like, you’re literally, your chances of getting in are going to be very much lower?

Tanner Combias: Yeah. It was definitely harder to get into that right away. You could definitely prove yourself and get in there later down the road, but yeah. It was harder, but it had an allure to me, that kind of stuff because of the hybrid, the finance aspect of a lot of those deals excited me. And so, I could combine what I had learned in school. And it’s nice because you actually leave university your senior year of spring and you do an internship at the company that you got an offer at.

Tanner Combias: And hopefully you don’t mess it up, but there’s a great chance they’ll give you the job after it, but it’s a nice way to see what you’re getting yourself into and earn a little bit of money. And then we come back to school for the fifth year and do a year to get our masters and then we already have the job lined up. So, that’s nice.

Peter Kersting: Tell me, you said that you like to do things harder. I don’t imagine it’s doing things harder just to do something harder. What is it that, do you have some goal in mind, like this is going to help me do this later on or I’m just trying to test my ability. What is it that’s driving you to choose the harder path?

Tanner Combias: Yeah. That’s a good question. I think two answers there. I think that I’m always trying to prove it to myself that I can accomplish something, even if it’s very difficult. And I think the second thing would be, especially in this scenario where I did double major trying to get a job that’s a little bit more selective is that it’s hard when you don’t know what you want to do. I always want to keep my options open and sometimes I think that forces me to do the more difficult thing or maybe I don’t need to do that, but I didn’t really know whether I wanted to just do accounting or just do finance. How about I just do both?

Peter Kersting: You don’t want to limit yourself is what it sounds like, you want to keep your options open. Is that fair?

Tanner Combias: Yeah. That’s very fair. And then when I went to PWC, of course I was in a group and I was like, “You know what? I’m going to try to do this group and this thing.” So, I always try to take it too far.

Peter Kersting: Do you still find yourself doing that now?

Tanner Combias: I do. I do, but it’s a good segue maybe to get people excited about the the follow up podcast.

Peter Kersting: I think there’s a lot going on here. I want to touch on one more thing, because I want people to get an idea of what this corporate America firm experience was like for you. I want to hear, first of all, how did that work experience shaped you in some positive ways, maybe how it changed the way you look at money? Then, I’d also love to hear what are some of the negative parts about it? Because you ended up leaving. I hear that a lot. Every hostile I’ve been into, I’ve met somebody who’s like, “Yeah, I worked in a corporate and it was killing me. I’m only 30 years old, but I feel like I’m 50. That’s why I’m traveling for an entire year, because I was dying.” I’ve heard that story from three, four, at least four different people, if not more, so I don’t know how much of that you feel that way about working in corporate America. But I get this feeling that it’s a rat race, there’s always a lot of competition. You’re always trying to prove yourself. For someone like you, who is very focused and clearly trying to choose the harder path, it sounds like it probably had a very formative… I’m imagining it had a very formative nature for you, but also, I’d love to hear the positives and the negatives, I guess.

Tanner Combias: Yeah. So to start off a disclaimer, working at Pricewaterhouse in New York was a good experience. And I am glad that I had that under my belt. The connections I made there are fantastic. And I still maintain relationships with a lot of people that I worked with. I’m lucky they ask me to come back sometimes and it feels good to get that question sometimes, but yeah. I mean, living in that world, it is a rat race. But there’s something about the that I love. There’s something about going to New York and waking up in the morning and taking the subway and everyone’s just had their head down and they’re power walking with their briefcases and you look around and you’re like, “Yeah, I’m in it. I’m a part of this.” So, I don’t know. I kind of thrive, I was pumped about that. I was absurd. To your point, I didn’t know how to shut off. So, I would go to the office and I lived at the office and I didn’t mind it.

Tanner Combias: I’d be the last one there shutting the lights off. It was stupid. I brought cereal and I had it in the pantry. I would make my own cereal in the morning. Everyone’s like, “What are you doing? Is this your kitchen?” I used the little creamer, you know those little creamers?

Peter Kersting: Little creamer packets for your cereal?

Tanner Combias: I just ate a couple of those little ones for my cereals.

Peter Kersting: That’s so unhealthy.

Tanner Combias: I didn’t use the cream. They have milk ones with the same size.

Peter Kersting: Oh my gosh. Oh, okay. Well, at least it’s not the creamer-creamer.

Tanner Combias: No, it was milk, but yeah. So I mean, I loved it and I love that aspect. But to your point, it does push you and it is easy to get burned out and that’s what happened. And I think that’s what you heard from those other travelers you met. And it’s tough, especially when you’re working in client services. I don’t know if they were. When you’re working for all these other clients and whatever they need to get done is the most pressing thing in the world and if it doesn’t get done, everyone’s going to die. It’s hard.

Peter Kersting: Yeah. That’s a lot of stress, man.

Peter Kersting: Yeah. I remember there was a project where I had spent all night, sometimes I’m a little slow. I like to take my time and I spent maybe more time than was needed, but stayed all night working on something and I finished it, I sent it out. I don’t know, it was 2:30, 3:00 in the morning and when I come home, I wake up, I’m exhausted. And I remember my partner calling me and I was in the shower. And I remember having my hand outside the shower and I’m trying to talk to my partner on the phone. And I’m like, “This is great.” It was like 8:30. So, I only slept for, I don’t know, four hours. And so there’s part of that, that I loved, and I learned so much about being a professional working on a team and then growing. And it’s a very good culture to grow and they give you more and more responsibility. So, I loved having a team under me.

Tanner Combias: So, my last year when I became a manager, I loved that. I loved having a team and I thought that I brought something to the table by bringing… Everyone has weaknesses. I think one of my strengths is bringing out the best in teams. And that being said, I was tough. If they assigned someone to me and they really didn’t care enough, I would not be afraid to be like, “All right, this person’s out.” I was a little brutal, but once you’re on my team, you were in and I supported them. So, yeah. So, I think it was twofold. There were positives and negatives, to answer your question.

Tanner Combias: And I think it got to the point where I always wanted to be the best at what I did and I enjoyed doing… I specifically worked in evaluation most of my time. And so, what I did was I valued anything. You could literally say, “Tanner,” you could say, “Can you value this guitar behind me?” But you could say, “Can you value Alone With Peter, the podcast?” I could value literally anything for you.

Peter Kersting: I’m kind of scared to know, because I think it’s going to be very little. If you try to value this podcast right now, right now. Maybe in like three, four months, I’ll ask you to do that.

Tanner Combias: It’s all about the future cash flows, Peter. So, I think there’s a lot of future potential for Alone With Peter. So, I’m going to be…

Peter Kersting: Yeah. Yeah. You’re investing your time there. You’re giving me that at least. That’s not nothing.

Tanner Combias: No, it’s a great podcast.

Peter Kersting: I appreciate you, man. I appreciate that. I appreciate that.

Tanner Combias: Yeah. So, I worked in evaluation mostly. Worked in other groups, diligence, operations, strategy, complex accounting advisory. I don’t know, but yeah. So, I did evaluation and I always wanted to be the best at what I did. And obviously I wasn’t the best. I was there for five years only, but at my level I tried to perform at the highest I could. And it got to the point where I didn’t know if I wanted to become a partner and spend 30, 40 years being the best at that.

Peter Kersting: I’m seeing a theme. The more that I know you, and doing this research about you as well, that you like to be challenged. You like to have a challenge, to feel like there’s something that’s pushing you to the next level. You’re also a very singularly focused guy. We joked before this call that you don’t even know whether or not your headphones have a mic on them, because you can’t walk and talk at the same time. I love that, because in today’s world, there’s so many different distractions happening. I tease you about it a little bit, but I could use a little bit more of that singular focus.

Peter Kersting: I think this is a great segue into our next point. I want to talk a little bit more about your experience with money and stuff, but we’re going to do that later. Tell me about October 17th. Why is that date significant? What was the plan you created? October 17th was the day. That was when you told me, that’s when you said October 17th, “I’m done. I’m done with corporate America. I’m going to escape and I’m going to do this next thing.” I am trying to be a little coy here, because I want you to tell us what was happening October 17th?

Peter Kersting: Yeah. So, honestly I wasn’t sure of the exact date because it wasn’t brought on by anything specific. It was just me sitting at my desk in 300 Madison or wherever I was in Midtown, New York and thinking to myself, “Do I want to be the best? Do I want to stay and do this and try to become a partner or do I need to take a break from Corporate America?” And that was the day that I was like, “Nah, I’m out.” I’m young-ish. I was 28 and I thought to myself, “I’m in my prime here. Let’s quit.”

Tanner Combias: And I remember it was funny because I told everyone I was quitting and I gave super advanced warning. I was like, “I’m going to quit in a few months,” because I was going to get my bonus and I had to wait for it. And they were like, “Oh good one, Tanner. Good joke. We see you staying here for the longterm.” I was like, “No. I don’t know how to explain this to you, but I’m leaving,” and everyone was surprised. They thought I’d be there till the end and so, yeah. My dream, one of my dreams was to play competitive tennis and I had grown up playing tennis, but never competitively. Even in high school, I played lacrosse during the same season. So, I grew up in my family, good racket sports in the family, good intense competitions amongst family members.

Tanner Combias: Every family vacation, I was in charge of packing a tennis bag, but never competitive. So I thought, how fun would it be to train every day? And like you said, I’m very singularly focused. And if I could focus on one thing that I love to do and it’s play tennis every day, how good could I get? And I had even taught tennis every summer at a small tennis club. And so, I definitely knew how to swing a racket and so, that was the plan.

Tanner Combias: I came up with this idea and I thought I’m going to move somewhere where they have very good tennis and I’m going to play tennis and I’m going to train as hard as I possibly can. I’m going to eat well, I’m going to sleep well, things I wasn’t doing currently at work and I’m going to play tennis and see where I can go. And then I’m going to go travel around the world for a year. So, it was like a year tennis, a year travel, at least a year travel and then reassess and maybe come back to Corporate America or maybe do my own thing. So, that was the October 17th that I think you’re speaking of.

Peter Kersting: Yeah. No, I’m pretty sure that’s the right one. I love that you gave us this quick overview here, because we are going to talk about this more in episode two of our interview with Tanner Combias. I am so excited, buddy. This is some good stuff, because not just anybody goes, “Okay, I’m making…” What were you making? 60,000 a year, or something like that? More? You were making pretty good money.

Tanner Combias: Yeah. I mean, the last year definitely over 100, definitely.

Peter Kersting: You were making six figures, six figures, over $100,000, and you just said, “Hey, I’m going to leave to go play tennis, professionally, or just exclusively. I’ve never played tennis before in my life. Then, I’m going to travel the world.” Not just anybody picks up and leaves like that. I also can raise my hand in this situation, because I did the exact same thing.

Tanner Combias: There you go.

Peter Kersting: That’s why I think we like each other. But not everybody’s willing to do it, but I think a lot of people can learn from that. Stay tuned for part two of our interview with Tanner, and yeah, we’re going to dig into this a little deeper.


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