Careers

He left his corporate job, built a yacht, and now gets paid to explore Southeast Asia

Erik Barreto first moved from the U.K. to Southeast Asia when the oil & gas company he was working for promoted him.

But soon, his weekend trips around the region inspired him: He came up with an idea to build a yacht, combining traditional craftsmanship with western luxury, and use it to lead explorations of Indonesia's vast islands.

The yacht, called Rascal, started from raw materials and three years later now stands as a 5-bedroom craft, priced at $8,500 per night for up to 10 guests.

While still maintaining his corporate job, Barreto worked with local boat builders in Northeast Indonesia and an Italian project manager. Soon, the work became too much to be a side gig and he quit his job to go all in, he said.

"It was quite a scary step at the time, but it was an opportunity to realize a dream," Barreto said of the moment he decided to quit his job with no guarantee of income.

"It's scary, there's ups and downs, but I wouldn't change it for the world."

Erik Barreto, co-founder of Rascal Yacht
Rascal Charters
Erik Barreto, co-founder of Rascal Yacht

Barreto — who now spends some of his time working on Indonesia investments — said his venture was not simply chartering a yacht, but offering unique experiences, which include individualized itineraries. On board, he's customized everything from the food menu to a bespoke house rum.

His advice to people whose careers are vastly different than their passion is to consider going all in.

"There's never a right time. It's never easy, but if it's something you really love, there's always a way through," he said. "I'd push anyone to give it a go."