The project: "Work Less, live more"

The project: "Work Less, live more"

Page Type Page Type: Article
Activities Activities: Hiking, Mountaineering, Ice Climbing, Mixed, Scrambling
Me at Stepanek summit: 4.081m Stepanek summit: 4.081m

Back in 2009 I was working on a wonderful company called X3 here in Brazil, on Canada the company was called Cell-Loc. It was a great job, I was the supervisor for the financial department with three employees under me. I guess I can say I was a good boss hehehe. Anyway, for some time I was thinking about a new project, another personal project to work on, to establish some goals and go for it. I was working so hard, 9 hours (sometimes 10) every day from Monday to Friday, with sometimes just 15 or 20 minutes for lunch time. Enough, I needed some time off, and some great quality time for myself. So I called on a meeting with my controller and the company CEO in Brazil. Well, I sincerely asked to be released from my job. I don’t know how does that work outside Brazil but here, if you just say “I quit”, you loose some good benefits, a great deal of money. But, if the company let you go you have that money for ending the contract with no previous notice, and you get to check out the money you receive for your service time. Every month the company have to deposit for a special account in your name 8% of you total monthly income. So, at the end of 24 months I had a good money there (you can’t check this money out unless the company let you go – it’s a money apart from your normal month payment). Plus, when they let you go, they have to pay you 40% over the total of that money saved on the federal bank. After that, more money from the contract terminated. Well, if your income is good (and mine kinda was) you can get sometimes a substancial amount of money when the company let you go. I got some good money, around R$ 20.000,00 (by that time, something around US$ 11,000.00).
Vallecitos Peak 5.435 m.  (Aconcagua on the foreground)Vallecitos summit: 5.435m

My former CEO and my controller tried to keep me in, offered me more money to keep working, on three different meetings. But I was determined to stop for a while. They respected my decision and told me to go climbing, and after my project (which btw they asked me to see all the photos after each climbing! Very nice!), to come back there. If the company happens to have an open spot, I’d be back with no hard feelings at all. That never happened but it doesn’t matter, they were just great with me at the time. Plus, I gave them around 40 days notice before to quit for good. So I personally found a replacement for me and trained him.

Me...First Ascent on San Pedro volcano: 6.145m (solo, with no stove, no tent, 4 days
Aucanquilcha summit: 20262ft highFirst Ascent on Aucanquilcha volcano: 6.176m

So in jan 4th, 2010 I was free to fly away and get my project out of paper. With money at hand and a lot of guts. But there was another issue to resolve before I go since the project consisted in 100 days climbing on the andes, seeking at least one First Ascent for Brazil: my girlfriend Lilianne. I had to be honest with her and ask for understanding on the project. So we talked about the trip and I said to her: “I completely understand if you don’t wanna wait for me that long, but this is just something I really have to do, and I will do it.”

She cried a lot, I cried a lot, but she said she would wait for me. So I went for the project and at the third week of january after buy a great deal of powder juice (hehehe) and some new gear, I got on a bus to the andes. It was three days on two buses until I got on Bariloche, city I didn’t liked at first sight, too touristic. Just ten hours later I got on another bus to Junin de Los Andes, where I did the first summit of the trip: Lanin volcano. As a volcano lover, a dream that became true of course with perfect weather conditions. On and on, I did a total of 8 summits in 65 days, some rest at the end and after 75 days I was back home. The project ended before scheduled because I got robbed for 1900 dollars at some shitty hostel in Mendoza. But hey, money is just paper…

The project photos come with a message: For the message to be taken seriously I chose a fun approach, at each summit I got, I had to take a photo wearing a tie as a protest to long hours on cubicles working without seen the sun, the sky and some green. A protest against the people forgetting to live while going for the endless pursuit of money. Money by the way for me is the worst thing men ever invented. People kill each other for money, friendships end for money, hell, wars occur because (basically) of money!

So, a lot of people knew me here in Brazil already for backpacking and some andean summits I did before this project, but at the second week of the project I got on the news (cyber news, never on TV). Several famous brazilian climbing blogs said something about me and my project. The first one was the biggest brazilian website for mountaineering, alpinism, climbing, I got officially very known here in Brazil.

When I came back after two concret First Ascents for my country on two volcanos (Aucanquilcha 6176m/ San Pedro 6145m), I was envited by Pedro Hauck, one of the best brazilian climbers (and together with Maximo Kaush, the only ones at the whole season of 2005 that summited Tupungato volcano 6550m after a 75km approach walk without mules!), to be a columnist for the website. Of course, I was flattered by the invitation and accepted right away, I also thought I was very inexperienced by the time, because hey, I do altitude mountaineering now for just 4 years and 2 months, almost nothing! Since may 2010 I write for the website, volunteer work, but I do it with great pleasure. After all, I really don’t like money.

From back then I went for another two expeditions, one for Mont Blanc in Europe and another one recently on the Andes, Ecuador, land of my dear friend Boriss.

It is quite important to work less so you can have a pretty important quality of life, spend more time with family and friends. Don’t beat yourself up 24/7 on the damn race for money and “stability”, that’s absolutly not good for health and you can find yourself on a hospital bed in no time. My father had a similar problem when he was 29. He was the “big head” of the financial department on a big brazilian company. Coming home late every day, working too hard, a couple flights every week, so one day his body said “no more, I just can’t take it no more” and he colapsed on his desk while working. He woke up on the hospital, turns out he suffered a small heart attack and got a “wake up call” so to speak. Had to go on a severe diet, quit the job and relaxed for at least three months.

I am 33 now and thinking about that back in 2009 I feard for my health as well. So decide to resign was pretty much easy for me. I NEEDED a time off. So I got it.

This small article is to get to all Spers a little peace of that, so folks here can understand the tie pictures I have, and also so you guys can think about that too. I didn’t do it because I wanted to get famous, not at all. I did it because it was a necessity back then. Wearing a tie on the summits was my way of protest, to get attention on the subject at hand. Stability for me is set up a base camp, enjoy nature as much as I can cooking my own food, searching for drinkable water, taking pictures on the mountains and of course, writing about it. That way I fell good with myself.

Work Less, live more, enjoy LIFE!

Best Wishes to all,


The news online about it

This one i'll copy here in portuguese, that's the point! You can easily translate it on google, i'll lkeave the url down here:

"Paulo Roberto - Parofes - e a liberdade das montanhas

26/1/2010 | 11:45:00
news previewPreview of the news

O montanhista carioca, radicado em São Paulo, Paulo Roberto “Parofes” está numa nova fase de sua vida. Ele largou tudo em São Paulo e está solto no mundo à procura de aventuras e a liberdade nas montanhas, acompanhe suas histórias aqui no Altamontanha:

Parofes já é um velho contribuidor do AltaMontanha, sempre relatando suas aventuras nas montanhas do Brasil e dos Andes. Desta vez, sua história é diferente, pois ele largou tudo para viver intensamente a liberdade das montanhas andinas.

Paulo rodou mais de 60 horas de ônibus para chegar até Bariloche e, insatisfeito com a exploração turística do local, resolveu ir para o Norte, onde acabou de ascender sua primeira montanha nesta viagem sem planos para terminar, o vulcão Lanin.

A partir de hoje, o AltaMontanha estará divulgando as histórias de Parofes, que são periódicamente publicadas em seu diário de bordo. As histórias do Parofes traduzem o espírito original do montanhista, a procura pelo conhecimento, o altruísmo e a busca por uma liberdade cada vez mais rara.

Estabilidade financeira e trabalho garantido pode ser o sonho da maioria das pessoas em nosso mundo materialista que visa apenas o acúmulo de bens. Entretanto para os verdadeiros montanhistas, respirar ar puro e ver um pôr do sol de cima do monte, vale muito mais do que ter o carro do ano.

Este espírito montanhista é capaz de trazer muita felicidade, quando estamos no meio natural calibrando nossas vidas com a montanha, entretanto não é fácil conciliar esta vida “ideal” com a “real” e o montanhista sempre acaba por entrar em conflito com o pragmatismo do mundo.

Pragmatismo este que força as pessoas a viver em pequenos apartamentos, a sofrerem no trânsito das cidades, a trabalharem o dia inteiro nos melhores dias dos melhores anos de suas vidas. Aonde a necessidade por acúmulo levou as pessoas? a conviverem com a violência, a poluição e à destuição de nossa qualidade de vida... Para que pagar tão caro para viver tão mal? Por que vender nossa liberdade e receber em troca apenas o necessário para sobreviver?

Não temos respostas para estas perguntas, mas vamos acompanhar as aventuras de Parofes nos Andes e torcer por ele nesta nova vida!

Veja as histórias de Paulo Roberto 'Parofes'.
URL to translate:


Work Less, live more, enjoy LIFE!

Best Wishes to all,


External Links

A brazilian website to get mountains info, including gps files to download:

My youtube channel:
- Now with 250+ videos online!

The biggest brazilian website about climbing and mountaineering, for which I'm a columnist:


Post a Comment
Viewing: 1-13 of 13

EricChu - Mar 19, 2011 2:44 pm - Voted 10/10

Excellent article!

I always enjoy reading your articles and sharing your views upon matters, Paulo!
Very warm greetings,


PAROFES - Mar 20, 2011 10:32 am - Hasn't voted

Re: Excellent article!

Thanks Eric, glad to provide all folks here with such views :-)
Best wishes!


rgg - Mar 19, 2011 6:12 pm - Voted 10/10

Just keep on living, Paulo!

Nice to read that there are others out there that take drastic measures to get the right balance between life and work :)

Cheers, Rob


PAROFES - Mar 20, 2011 10:34 am - Hasn't voted

Re: Just keep on living, Paulo!

Rob, that was my third time doing it. :P
I did it before in 1997 and in 2006.
And i guess it won't be my last time either hehehe
Life is just more!

Gabriele Roth

Gabriele Roth - Mar 21, 2011 6:33 am - Voted 10/10

I can't say if

my choice to put the mountaneering in background was good or not ...
I only know that NOW I can't do anymore some mountains and routes that I didn't do when younger (or better, less old) because family and work were overriding ...


PAROFES - Mar 21, 2011 6:38 pm - Hasn't voted

Re: I can't say if

I think that's a normal process for the life itself. Some day i hope to have kids and i'll probably keep on a low profile myself. But never because of work hehehe
Do things we love to is good for health!


gimpilator - Mar 21, 2011 8:36 pm - Voted 10/10

Great Message!

Now I understand the tie pictures which is something I used to wonder about. I completely agree when you say work less for better quality of life. I absolutely refuse to work 40 hours a week. Most of the year I take 2 hiking days per week. I have had to adjust my lifestyle to support this change though.

Tell me, is it really true that you were the first Brazilian to climb Aucanquilcha? I remember looking at that peak a few months ago wishing I had the extra time to climb it.


PAROFES - Mar 21, 2011 8:45 pm - Hasn't voted

Re: Great Message!

Well here in Brazil 40 hours is really usual. At my current job is 44!!!
Yes it's true. I never had sure about Aucanquilcha but some weeks ago, talking to some friends i figure that out. Indeed i was the very first brazilian to do it as well. At first, i was sure only about San Pedro but now both!
Cheers Adam!


mvs - Aug 31, 2013 11:23 pm - Hasn't voted

thank goodness for mountaineering

It's a way to teach us to find solutions like this. I've thought along the same lines my whole working life, but I don't know if I would have without the mountains that I was dying to get into!

Woodie Hopper

Woodie Hopper - Sep 4, 2013 2:57 pm - Voted 10/10

Great article

Someone once gave me a piece of great advice: "Follow your bliss...". Hasn't failed me yet!

I hope you're on the road to recovery now. I'm eagerly anticipating your next article or trip report.

Best wishes Paulo,



markhallam - Sep 9, 2013 3:20 am - Voted 10/10

Nice one Paulo

I have managed to pack in some good times in the mountains and other places this year - but nonetheless, the 'work-life balance' is shifted way too far to the left - and I shall bear your words in mind.

Keep it lit!

best wishes, Mark


Nikman - Sep 11, 2013 11:24 am - Hasn't voted

Different view

I read this article some time ago and recovered it since it was actually linked on the main page again.
When I read the article the first time, I felt some disagreement, but didn't write any comment. After I read it for the second time, I decided to place my comment now.

Speaking for myself I can say that I work a lot having a weekly average of 50 hours, sometimes up to 60 hrs. I am doing this for about 13 yrs. now, but I like my job and find identification through my work. It can not be reduced to shear money. Money is a short motivation factor. There are many other colors like personal management that brings ongoing touch with interesting characters or effective technical solutions I find with my work that produce better infrastructure.
From this perspective someone might be able to understand how people like me (and many others) can work so much.
In other words: if I didn't like my work at all, I would never be able to work as much and stay alive and happy with it.
Serious analysis dealing with work and reasons why employees are getting ill show statistics, that there is no direct link between the amount of time someone spends for his works and his personal risk in percentage of getting ill. Besides genetic disposition the psychological circumstances are the major factors why people are getting sick from job.
Teachers are a good example to practically understand that. Their risk to get off work by getting ill and unable to continue the job is one of the highest at all in Germany. German teachers have a lot of holidays and they work less hours during the week compared to other working-groups. As civil servants they do not face any risk loosing the job in a passive way. Teachers have much free time to spare compared to other working groups for hobbies. Anyway they are faced to the fact that they statistically have the highest possibility, to become sick from job and quit service.

Conclusion: working too much in the wrong job can be as deadly as climbing the wrong route at the wrong place with wrong conditions taking too much time to get to the summit or falling off the face before that.
Otherwise working in the right position can be as fulfilling as a good climb in great condition that fits the personal skills.
Wisdom is a combination of personally finding the right job and the best moves in the mountains.
From my point of view it is possible to work much and also have a good life. My mountain experiences fell shorter during the last years because my wife and I raise two sons and I still work a lot. I don’t feel any regret from that. Goals in the mountains have been getting less and shorter, but nowadays sometimes give me more satisfaction than the higher goals did many years ago.

j4ever - Sep 13, 2013 11:43 pm - Hasn't voted

great write

very good view of life,i started having this same out look a few years ago,next year i am going to be working part-time,my father worked long hours for years and finally retired,just after he retired he got cancer and died 4 years after retirement. Life is meant to be lived as we go thru it not at 70.

Viewing: 1-13 of 13