Reading: I Am Malala: The Girl Who Stood Up for Education and Was Shot by the Taliban – Malala Yousafzai with Christina Lamb; Seven Types of Ambiguity – Elliot Perlman
Playing: High School Story
Working On: GED Exam prep with GED Easy, I passes all GED language practice tests. next stage Math
Thinking: That I need to find that article I’ve been looking for.
Feeling: Motivated, Inspired
I realize that nothing really has changed above but the GED…but have you try to pass GED practice test? It’s exhausting, even the simple language questions, it’s an excellent exercise. If you don’t understand what I mean go to this website: http://gedeasy.com/ged-practice-tests/ click on the link and take a test. It’s not easy at all.
I am one of those people who thinks jobs are irrelevant to making money, despite having a full-time job. I also believe in financial diversification, multiple streams of revenue, freelancing, and self-employment. I’ve had staff jobs, long-term freelance jobs, sold ebooks, gotten paid to participate in focus groups,transcribed amateur wrestling interviews, held temp jobs, and made money through traditional publishing routes. I seem to be one of the few that jobs are sometimes fun. Or teach you things. Or give you a place to stop and rethink where you want to go. Or offer a useful way to learn how to launch your own business or harness skills to take to your freelance endeavours.
Regardless of if you want a job or a freelance life or are still just figuring your life out; you need writing skills to get there. It doesn’t matter if you’re not interested in being a writer, you still need them. If you can master a traditional job application via email; than you can master the query letter, guest post pitch, or anything else.
When I was growing up, my family went through financial lows and highs, and I never felt rich or poor. I grew up in a large house nestled on a few acres of woods in Georgia that my parents bought when property and building a house was extremely reasonable. Even in financial pinches, my Dad was always a sharp investor and paid for most things in cash. Money was often unpredictable, and I learned not to depend on it always being there. And I also learned I didn’t need money to have the kind of lifestyle I wanted.
Money was just a tool to me, and if that tool wasn’t available, I just found another one to use.
Travel was also free and plentiful, no matter our financial standing. The two were not mutually exclusive, or even related. My Dad (and one of my brothers) are pilots and we always flew stand-by in any extra seats for free. From an early age, we learned that a vacation started with a 4:00am wake-up call to hop the first flight out, and the game of “Lifeboat”, or “Who’s Going on This Flight if There Aren’t Enough Seats?”
I was recently interviewed by a personal finance site on how to how to maximize travel time even with a full time job. When the interviewer asked me how many vacation days I will have taken between 2009 to 2010, including weekends and any days the office was closed for holidays, I realized it was 50. 50 days! In one year I traveled 50 days while holding down a full-time job, freelance projects as a travel writer, and still had a social life at the same time. Had someone presented this idea to me, I would have thought it was impossible in regards to both time and money. But I did it. Here’s how the days broke out:
- 3 days in January to see my in-laws in Cleveland over Martin Luther King Day weekend. No time off work needed.
- 3 day weekend in April for our anniversary in Lake Placid, 1 vacation day taken.
- 3 day weekend in April to go to Boston, 1 personal day taken.
- 11 days at the end of May and beginning of June for Iceland and Norway. I used 6 days vacation days, and received 1 day off for Memorial Day Weekend, plus 4 weekend days.
- 2 day weekend in Maine, no time taken off of work.
- Read More
Yes. It’s true. It’s important to travel, and not because you have money and resources to do so, and not because you need an escape from your life. It’s important because it offers an explosion of creativity and a point-of-view you can’t get from surfing around Tripadvisor planning for the day you have 5k and 4 weeks off. Which is probably going to be never. The real question behind travel is to ask is “Does environment matter”, and it does. You will still have the same core problems, talents and skills regardless of environment (in other words, you are who you are no matter where you are), but that doesn’t mean environment doesn’t inspire. You don’t really understand the economics and politics of Sudan unless you’re there. Or what it’s like to dodge monkeys at burma’s Mount Zwegabin. Unless you’re actually dodging them. Or why roughly 80% of the Icelandic population is undecided on elves and trolls unless you see it’s landscape and talk to the locals.
But more than anything, travel is important because it wakes you up. Provided you’re off the resort. And also exploring life, not just the bottom of a margarita at a cabana bar.
Are you asleep?
I’m a sucker for a minimalist on a journey. Anyone who can walk away from a job that makes them unhappy, start a business with pretty much nothing, orpursue their art all with a creative strategy like minimalism is completely dazzling to me. While I wouldn’t call myself a minimalist, I embrace minimalistic sensibilities, a desire to live with less and simplify. Living with less is subjective. Some would think my carriage house in Brooklyn, NY is too small. Others way too big. For me, it’s perfect for what we want, and I don’t feel the need to fill every square inch with stuff. I’m comfortable with what I have and enjoy a lean aesthetic. However, I spent the first half of my tenure in New York with little more than a bed, dresser, love seat, and clothes and was quite happy with what I owned. Everything else I used was generally a roommate’s or came as a free hand-me down. It was enormously convenient when moving around apartments, spending less time on cleaning, and having more money at my disposal for travel and the things that actually mattered to me.
When I was 8, we moved from a modest ranch in a lower-middle-class suburb of St. Louis to an afluent suburb of Atlanta. The rambling house was custom built on a lot with a creek and about an acre or so of dense woods. It’s a breathtaking community where I loved being a kid. My existence was full of exploration, catching lightning bugs and watching new fawns wobble through the woods on new legs. It never quite occurred to me that we doubled our home’s size because we suddenly had more money. I had some feeling about it all, like something drifting around in my peripheal vision, but mostly it just seemed like that’s what you do in Georgia. People lived in big houses. My friends all lived the same way and we went to the same public schools that were rated top in the state. My childhood universe was one big upper-middle class lifestyle supported by the windfalls of the airline industry during the early 90′s. Life was innocent.
Until it suddenly wasn’t.
The airline my father flew for started financially crumbling until it finally went bankrupt just a few years after we moved. Despite the uncertainty and hanging breath caught and waiting to be free, I somehow knew knew it would all work out. Wouldn’t it?
My friend, Matt Madeiro over at Three New Leaves asked me what my favorite moments during travel are. Since I believe creativity is a point-of-view and thus everyone on the planet is creative, I was intrigued by this question. Because there are few other things in life that evoke such a profound shift in view point than meaningful travel. What I discovered while unraveling my answering is that what I love most about travel and the moments I treasure are the same ones that teach me who I am and who I want to be in everyday life.
Being Completely in the Moment
Unless I’m confined to a creepy resort where there’s nothing to do but stuff my face and sit on the beach (something I could do anywhere and have no idea if I were in Florida or South America) I am stimulated when I travel. I love new food, new people, new languages, new architecture, new insights, new beer, new culture, new music. A new way of life. But it expands past stimulation. I am happiest during travel when I discover myself completely present.
Unless you’re blissfully fortunate or completely unaware of everyone around you; most feel a compulsion to hide their creativity at one point or another. I don’t know why I intuitively felt a need to hide my Cabbage Patch doll notebook with a story about a boy I liked in the 4th grade. I just knew I should. That people might make fun of me. That like any good brothers, mine would ridicule me. I eventually moved onto diaries, which probably got their locks busted open and read at some point by one of my older brothers. As I grew older, I wrote rather poetically, and while my teachers usually complimented it, they kept giving me lower grades than expected. I wasn’t writing crisp enough. There weren’t enough solid facts. I couldn’t quite convey the regurgitated lesson the assignment required. So when I sighed and let go of the poetic voice to emulate the voice they wanted; I got A’s. But I also got an occasional apology that I had to lose the creative voice I had while doing it.
I don’t go into “the city” much on weekends. “The city” is what Brooklynites call Manhattan. We’d rather just be here. Aside from it being less crowded, I just find it more interesting and creatively inspiring. Manhattan reminds me of a giant shopping mall, whereas Brooklyn reminds me of what I use to dream New York would be like. Here’s what I might do in a typical day… If I’m not walking at least 5 miles a day over any weekend day, I feel restless. I might miss something. Like this. Swimmers in the East River last Fall.
My hubs is insatiably quirky and funny. Our inside jokes are a thing of legends. So is his record collection. Even the most quintessentially crabby, and pasty, of New Yorkers adore him. Like me. _
Carousel in Dumbo yet to open, so they just keep torturing little kids by letting it run from behind a set of bouncer ropes
. Jane Walentas’ husband took the neighborhood of Dumbo (Down Under Manhattan Bridge Overpass) from semi-abandoned warehouses to crazy expensive lofts. Many aren’t happy about it.