Nineteen thousand hours. That’s the amount of time the average teen spends in a classroom in this country, learning stuff like algebra and the Dewey Decimal System, how to write haikus and how to drop an egg from five floors without breaking it. You know, the important stuff.
When Zak graduated from high school, he found himself in yet another classroom. This time learning about biological, physical and chemical sciences. Pharmacy School. It was a straight, well-manicured path with a light at the end of the tunnel that reflected stability and security. The “path of American righteousness” as Zak described. He hated it.
“First of all, no one ever enjoyed coming to the pharmacy,” Zak reflected. “A lot of disgruntled people. It wasn’t a joyful experience handing them drugs.”
In a way, pharmacy school was the best thing that ever happened to him because he realized how he didn’t want to spend the rest of his life.
So he dropped out and embarked on a journey to learn the things the 19,000 hours of school never taught him.
He explained that he didn’t know where vegetables were grown and at what season. That he didn’t know how to build a house or how to make clothes, or feed a family. “I didn’t know the basic things of how to be a man,” he said. “I knew organic chemistry, but that wasn’t going to do me very good in life. So I changed course and started to just focus on the basics.”
On his travels he met characters who he hadn’t met growing up. He met people who were extremely dedicated to their craft. “Most of them happened to be farmers,” Zak said. “And they lived a life that I admire so much. A life of full commitment. Waking up early every day, doing the same routine everyday, but really loving it.”
Zak hopped from farm to farm and country to country, learning how to make bread, wine and cheese. It became clear to him he needed to start his own bakery.