Lure of volcanoes and killer whales leads frugal BigLaw associate to quit his job

Thanks to a frugal existence and some profitable investments, an associate at Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher says he has the means to leave BigLaw to pursue his travel adventures business.

Patrick Dykstra left Gibson Dunn’s Dubai office last month, touting his business in a departure memo, Above the Law reports. “If you have ever dreamed of experiences like swimming alongside the largest animal to ever inhabit the planet, the blue whale, tracking lions on foot like National Geographic, or being part of a world-first expedition to photograph killer whales underwater in Iceland, please visit my website:,” Dykstra wrote.

Dystra told Above the Law in an email interview that his business grew from his passion for travel and photography. For years, he spent his vacation seeking out unique adventures. He was often asked by fellow photographers and other adventurers if they could accompany him. After a lot of requests, he began taking taking people with him and decided to make his travel adventures into a business.

Dykstra was able to make the transition after eight frugal years as an associate living below his means so he could invest his money in real estate. Dykstra bought distressed properties in the Midwest while a friend supervised remodeling, renting and management. “After eight years, and many remodeled rental properties, the income from the rental houses has now reached a point that I can live a relatively comfortable life without the need for additional income from a job,” he told Above the Law.

“Ultimately it is the opportunity costs that made me decide to leave the law now,” Dykstra added. “I know that I won’t be able to afford certain things going forward, but each day I spend at my desk is a day that I am not climbing a volcano or swimming with killer whales—and those lost opportunities are what I truly can’t afford anymore.”

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