Why Intimacy is the Key to Getting People Back to the Office

Jack Kerouac and troves of resignees have quite a bit in common

Michelle Drouin
6 min readJun 21, 2022


Woman in truck. Spencer Davis @ pexels.com

“I want to buy a van and travel cross country.”

A friend of mine has a 17-year-old son. He’s bright and affable, and he’s always been strong academically. Which is why my friend was shocked when he recently started talking about his van-traveling plans. “What about work?” she asked. He’ll hop onto jobs in random towns. “Companionship?” He’ll meet friends and lovers along the way. “A future career?” Eventually, he may pick up a trade. “And college? A traditional job?” Not on his agenda.

“Why would I ever do that?” he asked his mom, in earnest.

Anyone who’s read Jack Kerouac’s On the Road can appreciate the magnificence of a vagabond life. Kerouac reached out his hands and grabbed moments. Meaningful, exceptional moments. He wasn’t sitting at a desk staring at a computer screen. He was making love, listening to jazz music with friends, smelling the dirt in the fields, and learning the colors of dusk.

He was experiencing “the most beautiful of all moments.”

This engaging tale of American counterculture from more than 50 years ago has become the guidebook for a new generation.

Maybe it was the staggering rise of death and disease over the past two years that made the meaning of our existence more salient. Or perhaps it was the sweet breath of freedom many of us had when we started working from home and were able to construct our own workplace environments. Or maybe it’s the ever-present beat of social media, drumming in daily pulses of everyone else’s meaningful moments. Food we aren’t eating. Trips we aren’t taking. Experiences we aren’t living. It creates the ultimate FOMO. But in this case, we’re not afraid of missing out on those single moments — one party, one trip, one meal. Instead, we’re afraid that if we continue to walk in a straight line, keeping step with the rhythm of the grind, we will miss out on the experience of life.

And life is more than sitting at a computer screen.

The need for intimate connection and PRIME experiences



Michelle Drouin

Behavioral scientist// Author of “Out of Touch: How to Survive an Intimacy Famine” @MIT Press// Daughter of 2 hippies// Writer of relationships, tech, and sex