My First Talk About the Adventure!

Hooray!  I just received news that I was accepted to talk about my past year adventure at Ignite San Francisco later this month.  I’m so excited (and nervous)!  GULP!  I just hope the audience will enjoy 5 minutes of Stanley pictures!!  Just kidding, I think I have some things to say.  🙂ignite sf logo Here’s what I said to get in:

Long story short.  I’ve been on an adventure.

For much of my early-40-ish life, I’d always done the “right” thing. The good schools, the advanced degrees, the stressful jobs. All along the way, I dreamed of other paths I wasn’t taking. I collected lists of things I’d wished that I’d done. I regretted that I, for some reason, stayed away from activities that weren’t “aligned with my education,” and so I missed out on living with true purpose.

Somewhere way back in 2014, I decided to make a change.  And what I decided on was this: I would hit the road and live somewhere new every month.  Every month, I’d go to a new town and strike a fine balance between really living like a “local” AND taking in all of the sites that only a tourist can still recognize.  So, I prepared by saving and building up a business that allowed me to work from anywhere.  And 1 year later, I put my stuff in storage and walked out the door…

And now…12 months, 2 countries, 19 towns, 20 Airbnb lodgings later, I’d like to share my story.

I want to share my story for many reasons.

I want to talk about what can happen when life gets “off course.”

I want to talk about what can happen when you’re the one who’s consciously thrown it there.

I want to explore the concept of a creative life, of ways to reconsider the traditional structures and paths associated with education, work, skills, and knowledge.

I want to share a story of how creating a non-traditional work life can offer the freedom of doing fulfilling work, without limitations.

And I don’t want you to keep telling me that you are “living vicariously” through my experiences…

I want you to go out and live your own.

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A Year of Stanley – Part 3

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Part 3 of the series to celebrate Stanley (my travel partner) and all of his mischievous ways. We both hope that his antics will bring you some little smiles!

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Stanley’s first time seeing a snail!

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checking out books from the Stanley library!

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in one of his very favorite spots – overlooking the Georgia Strait from our place in Courtenay, British Columbia.  it was on this morning, as i was dragging and pulling him away from his beloved window on the sea to head to our next destination, that Stanley asked (for the first time) that we consider parting ways!  😦

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after some discussion (and a few gentle reminders about the functional limitations associated with being a stuffed animal), i convinced him to hop into his usual spot in the car, and we headed to our next destination… he says he doesn’t regret it, but that Courtenay was a hard place to leave!! i agree. sometimes that little guy amazes me with his brilliance!

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Stanley playing with his little fruit again!

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Stanley with all his new pals (sent by my mom!)


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Favorite Spots from the Year #6: Puget Island, WA

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So, one of the clear favorites from this adventure was a place called Puget Island. You will all say that you know where it is because, of course, it’s in the Puget Sound region. This is a natural conclusion to come to, and it is confusing… because it’s wrong (not unlike Victoria’s location on Vancouver Island, but don’t get me started on that one). Anyway, Puget Island is actually on the south end of Washington State…on the Columbia River just north of Oregon. It’s a 7.5 square km island with about 800 people living on it…and it’s connected to the tiny town of Cathlamet via a bridge.

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Puget Island is the only location to which I returned for an extended stay during my year of travel. Packed full of fields and barns and cows and canals and rivers, it is by far one of the most beautiful places I have visited. Ever. During my stays there, I got into the habit of working as much as possible during the day and driving around in the early mornings and late afternoons to gawk at the unbelievable views. The lush velvet fields, the multi-colored boats, the broken down barns, the steamy-fog-filled mornings.

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And the animals. The neighborhoods of animals. Horses, donkeys, cows, chickens, ducks, goats, sheep…way too many to list. The island vibrates with their sounds. I have missed those sounds ever since.


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But perhaps the greatest charm of the island comes from the people who live there. A group of people who are incredibly warm and welcoming. Clearly aware that they’re living in paradise and eager to share with visitors. Along with folks from around town, I picked blueberries at sunrise, made brick oven pizza at the farmer’s market, and helped tend to my hosts’ organic farm. I attended dinners that felt like Fellini feasts…surrounded by dynamic, enriching people eating good food, drinking excellent wine, and engaging in interesting conversation until the wee hours of the night. I listened to music presented by extremely talented musicians and laughed in the company of like-minded friends.

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Keep Walking

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Source: spielkkind

You’re going to go down that road whether you like it or not.

You can either go like a squealing pig to the slaughter or you can muster as much grace as is in you and WALK

…and so I have kept walking with as much consciousness as I can muster.

~ Marion Woodman (The Crown of Age)

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Playful Experimentation

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Experimentation.  Another form of rules, structure, guidelines for playing around – for trying new things…and attempting to figure out the impact of changes on your life and whether or not you want to keep them around.

It’s a way to design your life, based on truths and reality that only you can authentically assess.

Especially when you have so many ideas about what to do.  What to try.  Where to go.  I find that the structure of experimentation provides a way to conceptualize, prioritize, and focus on the millions of ideas running around in my brain.  Experimentation filters them to me one at a time, and allows me to explore each one, with some amount of discipline and patience.

I need the guidance of a game to get me going onto the path of potential change.

Without the structure, they’re just whims – quickly forgotten, immediately replaced.  If they even happen at all.

I try to come up with (and carry out) new experiments all the time.  They range from the miniscule (drink a cup of tea every night for a week) to the dramatic (live somewhere new every month for a year).  The results vary from never even tried (elimination of morning cup(s) of coffee) to instant dependency (heated yoga in the bathroom two times a week).

This year of adventure had its structure, its game that made it ripe for experimentation.  One new place every month.  How did this month compare to last?  Why did I bloom in this place more than others?  What do I want to keep, and where do I want to go back?  I asked myself a standard set of questions at the end of (most) days…they gave me time to reflect, a method for assessing, and a record to review.

Jung said “There is and can be no self-knowledge based on theoretical assumptions, for the object of self-knowledge is an individual – a relative exception and an irregular phenomena.” (The Undiscovered Self, 1957)

Be playful.  Test yourself.  Learn.  See where it takes you.

(Photo credit: ME!  7 hours after finally letting myself attempt to learn and start to play with a photo editor and confirming that, yes indeed I would become obsessed and it would take over my life…)

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Within the Madness

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If you’re going to try, go all the way. Otherwise, don’t even start. This could mean losing girlfriends, wives, relatives and maybe even your mind. It could mean not eating for three or four days. It could mean freezing on a park bench. It could mean jail. It could mean derision. It could mean mockery–isolation. Isolation is the gift. All the others are a test of your endurance, of how much you really want to do it. And, you’ll do it, despite rejection and the worst odds. And it will be better than anything else you can imagine. If you’re going to try, go all the way. There is no other feeling like that. You will be alone with the gods, and the nights will flame with fire. You will ride life straight to perfect laughter. It’s the only good fight there is.
~ Bukowski

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Favorite Spots from the Year #5: Cape Flattery

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From the northwesternmost point of the contiguous United States…

Cape Flattery, in Washington State


Come to the edge.
– We might fall.
Come to the edge.
– It’s too high.
Come to the edge.

And they came.
And he pushed.
And they flew.

~Christopher Logue

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