Seattle newspaper for the People by the People


Admin - page 3

Admin has 243 articles published.

Making the Time and Money Connection – Minimalist Lifestyle

Saving Money To Travel The World

If you think commenting on my blog precludes you from being quoted later, guess again:

“i have everything a guy could want:

  • Badass Jaguar, Viper, Corvette (68), and lastly my prized shelby cobra
  • A 7000sqft house, filled to the gills with cool shit like plasma TV’s, etc etc.
  • King Air (it’s a plane guys, a plane)
  • An awesome Wife”

OK, beyond the fact that he lists his wife on a list of possessions, and she’s the last item on the list, I can completely understand where this guy is coming from.

From an early age we are taught that acquiring wealth is a sign of success. This cultural mindset often becomes apparent during travel. A westerner traveling to a country without modern luxuries might think, “Wow how do they live like that? They don’t have anything.” They might even wrongly assume that they are simple people, and admire them for their spirit, for the way “they smile despite everything…” Typically that “everything” is the fact that they don’t have significant wealth. We describe these qualities to them as a matter of condescension. “I could never live like that”. If you travel enough, you’ll find that these stereotypes are not always true. They are hustling like the rest of us. They are not simple and child-like, they just have different priorities. Of course poverty is a world wide issue, but is everyone without wealth, poor? Could it be they have something we don’t?

The person with the most stuff wins

My own path on the consumerism tread mill involved a beautiful house with an in-ground pool. My reasons for wanting a big house revolved around an over-compensation for growing up in an apartment and a sudden fit of nesting instincts. I genuinely thought that filling the house with art, books, modern furnishings and ‘stuff’ would bring me contentment. It did and it didn’t. The idea was wonderful, it felt great to think about. The reality of it was that I was never home to enjoy it.

At the time, I was working 60 hours weeks and commuting 2 hours a day. Besides the time I was at work, I was physically and mentally wiped out after work. I could switch jobs, find something less stressful, true. I eventually did change jobs, but not before I did some math that changed the way I thought about money and what I give up to get it.

What is your time worth?

We all trade our time (and knowledge, expertise and skills) for a salary. We assume we have to give at least 40 hours a week to a job, so we don’t count this time as ours. We give it away freely, without a second thought. But that time is ours, it’s a limited resource, and once it’s gone, there is no replacing it. I can’t beg, borrow or steal more time. It is, in fact, my life.

The Math

Say it costs me $100,000 a year to maintain this lifestyle. (*not my actual salary, just to demonstrate)

That’s $32 an hour at 60 hours a week.

If I lower my cost of living to $20,000 a year, I would only have to work 12 hours a week.

I was working 48 hours a week just to live in a big house, with lots of stuff.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not against working hard or owning a house. But the idea that I was giving over 9 hours per weekday just to have an increased standard of living shocked me. Sure the house was nice, of course I loved swimming in the pool, but for that much of my time, I wanted more value.

From there I started breaking out the cost of everything by time.

Cable $100 or 3 hours a month
Car payment $375 or 11 hours a month
Name brand suit $400 or 12 hours
Fancy dinner $120 or 4 hours
And so on…

Lifestyle Redesign Phase I

This process hasn’t been overnight. For me to stop trading my time for things, I had to face the facts. We had to stop buying so much stuff! The End. (My husband had to talk me out of buying a book on “how to save money” and it took me a second to realize the irony). Inherently I already knew how to do it–reduce, reuse and refrain. Easy to say, harder to stick to…

Over the course of the last year we saved 50% our income. The next step? What to do with this financial freedom.

What’s your time worth?

Trip To O’ahu Hawaii From Seattle Washington

O’ahu is known as the “gathering island” because all the native Hawaiian tribes used to gather there… but it’s the gathering island now because it’s the center for United States Pacific Command. Not to mention, Waikiki is one of the world famous tourist meccas for overworked vacationers from the mainland. But hey, who cares? This place is beautiful. If you want to go for a drive around the island, I’ve highlighted the best places above.

You could also visit Pearl Harbor if you decided to take a vacation there. That is the place that the Japanese attacked which brought the whole world into conflict in 1941 or whatever.

Above all, I like the fact that the North West Shore of this little island has some of the best surf in the world between November and May. It’s an amazing place which has been dubbed by many surfers as the 7 Mile Miracle.

You can get a flight to O’ahu from Seattle for around $600 and often times less.

Extended history:
As always, I love studying the great explorers that meet their end in exotic places. As in the my page about Cebu, on O’ahu another famous explorer died in the waters of O’ahu. Captain Cook met his end when his group got a little too comfortable with the Hawaiian people back in 1779. It’s rumored that King Kamehameha was part of the crew that dispatched him. King Kamehameha later became the unifying force of all the native peoples of the Hawaiian islands. If you’re driving around O’ahu, you’ll spend most of your time on the Kamehameha highway so be respectful white boy.

1,500 Square kilometers (600 Square Miles.) If you wake up early you could quite easily drive all the way around the island.

Highest Point
Ka’ala- 12,000 meters (4,000 feet) Check for the big white dome if you head way out west side north of Waianae.

About 1 million people live there. But who knows if they’re counting tent city on the west side.

Special notes to know before you travel:
The west side is without question the sketchiest to travel around alone
It’s the USA – Things are inexpensive and large
Be very respectful in Hawaii and you’ll be fine. Anything else and you’ll learn quickly

Fun Stuff:
Poke is, without question the best food in the world. Get the best of it here.

Turning Someday into Right Now

Making A Change In Your Life Tips
Tips to help you make a change in your life

There’s a couple people in my life that have been saying they are going to make a major life change for years now. I know that feeling. I kept waiting for the right time, the right plan, the right amount of money to get me out the door.

Guess what? It never came. It doesn’t ever come. I still had to jump, kicking and screaming, not fully prepared and frankly more than a little scared.

And for those people in my life, waiting? It’s not going to come for them either. Unless you get hit by a truck, you’re not likely to stop what you’re doing and focus instead on what you want to be doing. We procrastinate. We weigh options. We wait. The reality is we get comfortable in our lives and many times don’t have the burning desire it take the leap and make it happen right now.

I’m a seasoned traveler who has pushed the limits and took the risk to travel the world. I hope the tips below help you. Adjust according to your situation and what you would like to make happen in your life.

It’s completely psychological, but you can get past it:

  • Start telling people what you’re going to do.
    Have conviction, believe it and make other people believe it.
  • Pick a date under 6 months.
    Anything more than that and it becomes the “far off future”.
  • Make a financial commitment.
    Put a big hunk of change down on your plan. Buy the plane ticket to Europe, put a deposit on a language school in Central America, pay the deposit on the volunteer program in Thailand.
  • Don’t worry about all the details.
    Most of them don’t matter. I had spreadsheets of stuff I wanted to get done before I left traveling the world and only half of it got finished.
  • Drop your other commitments now.
    Yes you’re not leaving the country until 6 months til now, but don’t wait until the last minute to excuse yourself from those time sappers now. (Your job is an exception).
  • Make a list of 5 major things you need to get done before you go.
    That’s your to do list. This will force you to make decisions about what’s really important and what you have to spend your time on.
  • Start living your new life now.
    If you’re traveling for a year, then you don’t need to buy new work clothes, do you? Start making decisions in your life like you’re already in the new life you want.
  • Keep your energy up and keep yourself inspired.
    Read travel blogs. Watch movies based in your future destination. Find songs that make you excited about your trip. Look for books about people who have done similar things.
  • Act as if you already know 100% that this will work out.
    Having second thoughts? Feel a little panicky? What if you knew for sure you’d be happy, that this would all be fine? Those of us on the other side know that, and this stress you’re feeling is totally normal and not a predictor of the quality of your decision. Do whatever it takes to convince yourself of this, and the rest will catch up.


By Chris
Let’s see, where I am up to:

  1. Done. This is all we talk about with friends and family (probably annoying them)
  2. Date picked, but it’s 9 months away (quit job is 6 months away)

And 4, 7 & 9 – Good to know!

By Keith
In 1966, I planned to emigrate to Australia when my parents passed on. Guess what? 43 years on, and my father is still with us!

However, looking back, I’m glad I stayed here, because I like travelling, and almost everywhere is much more accessible.

By Mitch
Life change is never easy, most of it is never planned. It is like jumping with your eyes closed and just see what happens.

I always wanted to travel around the world but it never happened till a major life event. Now that I have tried it, I never regretted nor looked back.

By Gillian
This is an excellent expansion of the list you gave me as advice a number of months ago. I think I have completed all 9 and now am just waiting for June to arrive.

As you know, I was a nervous wreck when we first decided but you were right and telling people was the tipping point for us. Now, our upcoming year of travel is a quiet reality.

Our whole life is focused on this goal and nothing is purchased or done unless it will fit in our backpack or directly influence our travels.

Thanks again for your inspiration and support!!

By Gene
Major life change is never easy, but it can be very gratifying. The idea of starting now is an important one. Do something. Anything. That will let you understand your long-term reward for the change. Happy traveling.

By Melissa
Great tips! I’m in the middle of making a major life shift myself and I’ve done all of the above (except for “Make a list of 5 major things you need to get done before you go” – haven’t done that yet). I’ve found that the biggest impetus is telling others what you plan on doing, but also telling them you are planning on doing it on a certain or by a certain day. That makes it real to you and to the people you told it too…and I hate to embarrass myself by saying I’m going to do something and then not following through. I’d rather follow through and fail than be someone too scared to take a chance. Great post!

I also live in Seattle.

By Jenn
Keep up the words of encouragement and reminders to your readers that life is simply too short – this post is great.

I am on the verge of self-employment and was forced there by a lay-off from my regular gig. A lot of what you list here reflects how I have had to react in order to prepare for such a significant change of lifestyle. And yes, I know that it will all work out 100%!

By Nomadic Matt
Tomorrow never comes and now is never a right time. You are right. You just have to jump. Life always finds its way to work out for the best.

By Bert and Patty
Such great advice….we have been planning for 2 1/2 years now and have 6 months to go before we leave on our 9 month adventure—maybe longer if the opportunity arises and then we are moving to scotland… are right, just do it now….good to read your post because it confirms that we are on the right track….maybe we will cross paths at some point.

By Daniel
I remember going through these steps before my move to Korea, and I’m sure I’ll go through it again for my next move. I think telling people you’re going to do something makes the decision feels real. It also makes you accountable: you don’t want to be a liar now, do you?
Great advice and list.

By Serena
1,2,3,4,6,8,9 all check! My friend is doing travelling in September for a year with her boyfriend and two friends and the more she talked about it the more I wanted to do it to which she replied ‘what don’t you?!’. So I am. Not for a year though, just for 3 weeks around South East Asia without the other half…I’m hoping that after 9 years of severe clinical depression it will help me at least find the path to my own happiness. I’m so excited I think my family are getting sick of hearing about it already! S xx

By Scott
Your posts are a wealth of information and they’re helping me stay motivated. I love #4 – it’s so easy to get caught up in “planning” and trying to take care of too many things before leaving. It’s great to know that you didn’t cross everything off the list either 😉
Scott´s last blog ..Why go solo? My ComLuv Profile

By Anthony
Excellent post. I’m writing that list down ASAP. Keep it up!

Traveling the World: Getting Started

Are you ready to travel the World?

Today’s how-to post has kindly been provided by Craig Martin of the Indie Travel Podcast. He’s been on the road full time since 2006, and if that wasn’t enough cred, his book Travelling Europe comes out this fall.
You’ve been sitting at your desk reading this blog for far too long. Haven’t you? It’s time to get out of the cubicle and into the world; but where to start? Let me show you the way.

Many people balk at the idea of planning long-term travel. It just seems far too expensive, far too difficult, far too much like … work. Budgets are hard, the time until you travel seems too rushed — or too far away — and that’s before you try to fit all those dream locations into your itinerary. Although all of this can feel true at times, planning is also a chance to explore your destination before you arrive, meet some great people and take the stress out of your upcoming trip.


Your first and biggest constraint is probably money. I know it’s mine! The good news is that, despite what the travel media has taught you, travel isn’t as expensive as you think it is. Taking a vacation is often expensive because we love to pamper ourselves with nice hotels and nice meals at well-known restaurants. The flights are expensive too and there’s all that time off work.

But imagine if the flight costs were spread out over six months. They wouldn’t seem too bad then. And the cost of one night in a hotel could give you ten nights’ accommodation in a hostel or some nice gifts for hosts you meet through programs like Couch surfing or Hospitality Club.

Finding the money

Our biggest financial hurdle isn’t finding enough; it’s simply organising it all. Start early by simplifying your finances and your lifestyle now. This will help you feel more in control and allow you to funnel more money into your savings account. Kill off subscriptions and memberships where you can: you won’t need them overseas! Sell things in your house that you don’t use; it’ll take the pressure off getting rid of them in your final weeks. Unless you have fine wine aging in the cellar, there’s nothing you’ll want to come back to.

Pay off debt and move down to one credit card (preferably one that allows you to build frequent flyer points without charging high fees). Try to get down to one current account with the same financial provider — one with good internet banking and international support. If you have paid off all your debt, look for an internet savings account with easy access and good interest rates. If not, forget saving and throw every cent at that debt instead. That’s three accounts, no financial baggage, and everything’s dealt with. Simple.

The cash trap

One trap often catches travelers during their planning stage: buying travel gear. There’s so much non-essential stuff out there that people buy by the truckload. It’s especially difficult not to splash out when the bank account numbers start going black and then start to rise. Don’t confuse buying things with preparing. I’m certainly not opposed to getting the right tool for the job: I’ve got a pack of specialist travel gear that I’ve picked up along the way – it’s a 45 liter pack. You can save lots of money by concentrating on what you’ll use day to day. Forget things you might need or will probably want. Keep that money in the bank and buy yourself a nice bottle of wine. In a Spanish cafe. Watching the sunset.

Planning your travel timeframe

Maybe now you’re entrenched at work, reading about my (Christine’s) travel and dreaming of a cubicle-escape plan. Maybe you’ve lost hope of ever leaving. It isn’t too late to break free. When my wife and I decided to set off on a two- to five-year trip through Europe we gave ourselves two years to get ready; and that time took the pressure off our finances and a lot of stress out of planning.

If there’s one thing that travel has taught me, it’s to respect the words of Bob Marley: “Don’t worry about a thing, ’cause every little thing is gonna be all right.” Planning your preparations — including your budgeting — within a reasonable timeframe is key.

Depending on how complicated your situation is and the scope of your travel plans it might take some time to get ready. Don’t stress – just keep the end in sight.

Social Research

One thing’s for sure, it’s never too early to start your social research on world cultures. Subscribe to a few travel blogs like Travel Blog, Nomadic Matt or Ottsworld. Begin listening to some travel podcasts; try the Amateur Traveler, Everything, Everywhere or my own Indie Travel Podcast.

Join online travel networking sites like Matador, the Thorn Tree or, for a touch of real life, Couch surfing or Hospitality Club. The last two give you the opportunity to offer your couch or spare bed to an incoming traveler for a few nights. It gives you the chance to meet people from all around the world, either in a local bar, your home or theirs.


Long-term travelers need money, so consider what kind of work can keep you going. Nothing with long contracts; something that pays reasonably; something you might enjoy. Consider doing some training as a bartender or ESL teacher, or spend a day picking fruit to see if it’s your thing. You’ll be experiencing all sorts of new things on the road, but that’s no reason not to start now.

You might want to consider learning a language — or at least making a start. Try to find a language exchange group that meets in a local cafe rather than splashing out on a school course. It gives you the chance to meet some other travel-minded people and share ideas and dreams too. Some areas offer free or heavily subsidised adult education courses, so you might have luck there.

Final thoughts

No matter where you are, you can live an traveling lifestyle. You can travel full-time, or at least for an extended period. I’m sitting in Perth, Australia right now, approaching the end of year three since I left home. I’ve visited over thirty countries, played host and been looked after, been stuck somewhere earning and been through seven countries in as many days. It’s not as hard as it looks, so get planning and get on the road.

The Truth About Skype

Provided by Wikipedia

Someone asked me recently if Earth Class Mail was living up to expectations after using them for a month. Honestly the service has been flawless and I am still as thrilled as when I posted the review. However, not everyone can live up to ECM standards.

Skype, on the other hand, has been nothing but heartache. For some, it’s a god send. It’s free to call computers, cheap to call home and is available in most internet cafes abroad. But if you’re serious about your phone communication, just know not everything about Skype works as advertised.

A quick search for “skype sucks” bring up over 4.6 million results. Apparently I’m not the only one.

Call Quality

This has been a hit or miss. Sometimes I sound like I’m in a wind tunnel, other times it’s perfectly clear. If you’ve ever spent some time in an internet cafe overseas, you’re likely to hear this conversation as someone tries to call home from their computer. “Hello! Hi Dad, I’m in Spain. Spain. I AM IN SPAAAINNN. Yes, ha ha. I miss you too. I SAID I MISS Y-O-U TOO. What?”

Doing Business

If you are using Skype to call a business contact, there are times when you need to be able to call a conference number, especially if you’re like my husband who attends company meetings via dial-in. It doesn’t work. If it’s an 800 number forget about it. If it’s a local number, then MAYBE it will work.

The Headset

We bought a $125 headset and it makes a big improvement in the sound quality, especially for those on the other end. Without it, calls are impossible. I don’t begrudge having to use one, but if you’re thinking Skype will be cheaper than a cell phone, you should factor this cost in. (By the way, my cheapo $20 headset is useless, so there are levels of quality in the headset game).

Lack of Local Numbers

If you want someone to be able to call you from a regular phone, you must buy a phone number. This is a great service and what initially attracted us to Skype. However, once we got to pick our number (after having already paid) there were limits on what countries you use. We live in Spain. Could we get a Spanish number? Nope. It was the UK for us, and while there were numbers in many other European countries, Spain just wasn’t available.

Random Errors

Sometimes my husband can’t dial a number. He presses the keys and they register each number twice. Other times it doesn’t register at all. Imagine having an important call and sweating over trying to get the number in? Why does it do this? No idea. It’s possible this would never happen to you. But when you’re staring down a 2 PM deadline and you can’t call your client, then suddenly the cheap fees just aren’t worth it.

Your best bet

If you’re living somewhere for an extended period of time or traveling around a single continent (like Europe), buying a prepaid cell phone is still cheaper, easier and more practical. Even when I’m traveling to different countries the reception is still better than Skype. If you want to call home on your computer, you can still use the free service, but if you need quality, reliable service, I’m afraid Skype has a long way to go.

What has your experience been like?

How to Travel the World Carefree and Still Get Your Mail

These days, everyone seems to know about getting online while abroad, using skype or MSN IM to chat with people back home and managing your money through online checking accounts. When it came time for us to fly overseas, there was one thing still hanging over our heads. How were we going to get our snail mail as we ran around Europe?

Well, ask and the internet shall provide.

There is a new service called Earth Class Mail. It’s brilliant and perfect for travelers. You forward your mail to them at any one of their locations in multiple US states. They scan it in. You log into your account online and look at your mail. Junk mail? Press the shred button and they take care of it. Important? They will open and scan the pages in so you can read it.

Urgent? They will send your mail to you directly (you pay shipping fees).

Yesterday we received our first piece of mail. I got an email from Earth Class Mail:

In the email they have a scanned imaged of the envelope and a link to my admin account. From there, I can decide what I want to do with the mail: Scan (they open and scan all pages), Ship (they send it to wherever I want), Recycle (they put it in the recycling bin, unopened), Shred (they will shred it), or archive/transfer.

I press a button, and I’m done. How easy is that?

As with all things, there is a cost, but I find the prices well worth not having to worry about missing important mail. There are three plans, but the basic starts at just $9.95/month. That includes 35 pieces of mail, 50 pages scanned and no cost for shredding or recycling. If you go over your mail quota, it’s just 30 cents extra per piece. Those prices will probably go up so check their website.

It’s super easy to set up too, and you can pick from PO Box or Street Address. Right now, I “live” in Seattle, WA according to the US Postal Office. So my first piece of mail went from Texas, to my old Boston address, to Seattle, over the internet to me in Madrid. I heart the internet.

How do you get your mail when you’re overseas?

*Author’s note: This is an independent review of this service. I didn’t receive any compensation for saying such nice stuff about them, although if they’re reading, I do appreciate a good bottle of wine.

Getting Drunk on Dublin

I’m nearing the end of my time in Europe – for now. So it’s not without a bit of sadness, that I find myself saying goodbye to Europe, via my trip to Ireland. Is this the last cafe? The last pint? The last time a cab driver will refuse to give me a ride, because I’m only a mile from my destination? Or has Dublin put me under a spell?

The city reminds me of a mixture of Seattle and Boston. Seattle for the weather, that alternates between sputtering rain and tentative clear skies. Boston because of it’s strong Irish ties, and coming here, I feel like I am seeing people I know at every turn. Is that someone I went to high school with? She looks just like my old coworker… and so on. Until they open their mouths. Instead of Boston accent they have that thick Irish brogue, that when done well is lilting and intoxicating, or otherwise it can be gravelly or mumbley or even worse whiny. If someone has the right accent, I could fall in love – instantly. Other European accents don’t seem to have the same effect. I can attribute all kinds of good qualities to someone based on their brogue, and when my cab driver spoke, I thought he loved me too.

Clearly, you can see reason behind the name of this post. I am punch-drunk and just plain drunk. I went to the James Joyce center and watched all three videos. I read the author’s entire timeline. I bought an annotated copy of Ulysses. Yes, I thought, now, this week, was a good time to start reading what is considered the best but most difficult novel of the 20th century. Just a bit of light reading really. 250,000 words from a vocabulary of 30,000. Cake.

I watched football. Not in an ironic, look at me I’m much better than this kind of way– no I was at the edge of my seat, silently cheering on the Irish. Then I had a little conversation with myself. Christine, why do you care if the Ireland wins? Good question. Maybe it’s the Guinness.

So I’m working out some things with Dublin. I don’t want to leave Europe. I don’t want to stay either. So I’m having a final affair. Dublin is getting all my repressed affections, and I can’t help but wonder if my new attitude is rubbing off on the locals. People are starting conversations with me on the street. I’m sharing a pint with a group celebrating a birthday.

I spend an hour talking to a medical student who has 300K in student loans and smokes like a fiend. My overall impression of Dublin? Weee! But I might not be the most reliable source.

(Note to my husband: any mentions of “love” or “affair” are purely fictional in nature and don’t mean for a second that I seriously thought of leaving you for the cab driver. That would be absurd. No one does that.)

Welcome to Paris: Kiss Me, It’s the Rule

This afternoon I took a nap on the lawn in front of the Eiffel Tower. Such a peaceful place compared to the City of Seattle. I had been walking all morning and finally sun burnt and exhausted (and unwilling to take the 40 minute train to my hotel) I collapsed beneath a tree with kissing 20-year-olds lounging on the grass around me. There is something about this city that makes the men go wild for women. When I awoke, a man carrying a guitar approached me speaking in French. “I speak English, sorry.” He didn’t relent. “French? Italian? Spanish?” At the last one I nodded, “Sí, Español”. He had his in.

He plopped down next to me, and we tried to talk in a combination of French, Spanish and English. I got out “married” in Spanish and he seemed to understand. I pointed to my wedding ring, he nodded. He said he was married too, and pointed to his ring finger, which was bare. I rolled my eyes and said, “no ring”. He shrugged. These are not the things we worry about in Paris.

He wanted to know if my blue eyes were natural. They were. He thought I was beautiful. Thanks. I wondered if I was going to have to actually get up and walk away before he would get the hint. “Béseme” he said, pointing to his lips. He wanted me to kiss him. I laughed and played dumb. “Oh you Americans, don’t you know it is okay in Paris?” I was trying to remember where in the guidebook it said it was a cultural norm to kiss strangers on the lips. I must have missed the chapter on “Why American Girls Will Fall for Whatever a French Guy Says”. No kiss, no luck. Once he realized that I wasn’t going to bite, he slung his guitar over his shoulder and took off– no doubt looking for more slightly groggy Americans to ply with his charms.

This hasn’t been an isolated event in my brief stay in the City of Love. Valentino followed me five blocks until I ditched him at the train station, promising to meet him the next morning for coffee at the same metro stop. (a big lie, oops). He had seen me in the park and had jogged up to catch me, telling me in broken English that I am “so beautiful and wow, it was amazing.”

I am not the kind of woman these things happen to. Trust me when I say, it’s Paris, not me. Although, I do have to cut Paris a little slack. I don’t often travel to foreign countries alone. My husband and I have been together since I was 23 and all of our travels have been in tandem. So perhaps, solo female travelers in any city will be approached more often. They seem more accessible yet mysterious. Plus, they think the accent is cute, when French women just see a guy with a guitar and no job.

Still I have to wonder, for the men to be so persistent, they must be having some luck. So, how many American women do you think are kissing strange men beneath the Eiffel Tower?

Overcoming Internal Objections and Finding a Career You Love

“My question, and this may be incredibly stupid, is how do I find my passion? I know most of the things I like, but I have no idea how that translates into a career I can use to support my wife and I while she’s in school, let alone be some kind of success at it.”

I received this comment in an email recently and it‘s a great question. In my last post, The New Career Shakedown, I talked about all the things I considered doing as an answer to my own question: “If I could do anything, what would I do?” At the time, I explored many different options from starting a small business to going back to school, before I finally realized I was ignoring what I really wanted to do (travel and be a writer/photographer). I didn’t think it was practical, it felt a little scary, and I wasn’t sure I could pull it off.

This process for me was over the course of about two years. Now I know there are people who naturally know exactly what they are meant to do. My husband knew since the fifth grade that he was going to be an artist. For the rest of us, figuring this question out can take a little bit more work.

Forget about money

Don’t worry, I’m not suggesting you live on the street or marry into money. But for the purposes of answering this question, put the concerns about money aside. For years I thought about writing, but the logic loop went something like this: I love writing. I love travel. What about money? Writers don’t make enough. Travel is expensive. Forget it, it’s unrealistic.

I didn’t give myself permission to truly entertain the notion, because I was jumping ahead to the money part. What I should have been thinking was: I love writing. I love travel. What kinds of things would I write? Where would I want to travel to? What can I do now to prepare myself for such career…etc. After you take the time to think through whether this is something you want to do, then you can start figuring out ways to make it work financially.

Assume you will do it

There is a big difference between thinking about it, and planning to do it. If you are just thinking about it, initial obstacles become reasons why you can’t do it. If you are planning to do it, those same obstacles become problems you have to solve. I think we avoid committing to an idea, because we don’t want to waste our time, look stupid or do something wrong.

How to trick your brain out of this self defeating loop? Here’s what you do. Go out your front door, and with all the bravado you can muster shout, “I am a [insert your dream career here].” Feel good? Great! That is all it takes to accomplish something you want to do. The decision to do it. I can’t underline this enough. If you are wavering (like I did on all five of those careers options on the last post) then you‘ll just swim in circles. Do you think Jeff Bezo, founder of said, “I think I’d like to start and online bookstore?” No. He just did it. He rented cheap warehouse space and used old doors as desks–he didn’t have reasons he couldn’t do it (like a lack of desks), he had problems to solve. The only difference between the “thinkers” and the “do-ers” is that little decision they make. The thinkers say, “should I?” and the do-ers say “I am”.

Give yourself a chance

Dear perfectionists, oh how the world owes you a debt of gratitude. You make sure our accounting ledgers balance to the penny and our trains run on time. But please do yourself a favor and give yourself permission to be really terrible at something. I found this piece hard, because I wanted to research, prepare and practice my way into eternity. Leaving the corporate world, where I knew my role, and what would happen day by day to take this leap, where I don’t know anything, has been a strange kind of culture shock.

The problem is the “success myth”. We read stories of successful people and they are full of daring decisions, intelligent innovations and amazing accomplishments. What we don’t hear about is those first day, months and years. You’ve got to start somewhere. I just prefer to roll up my sleeves and jump in. The water is fine.

Get a jump start

I’m assuming you have some ideas about what you like, but here are some quick ways to shake it up and get more ideas:

Free write for 30 minutes about things you like to do.

Look up your look community college and peruse the adult education section for things that interest you

Make a list of every career you can think of that is interesting to you. List reasons why you would like it. (Don’t list negatives, that’s your internal critic throwing obstacles at you before you get started)

Find blogs and websites dedicated to areas you are interested in. Online professional groups can give you an insight to what it is really like.

Go to a bookstore and read (don’t buy) books about your field (you can usually get a lot from skimming, and you’re just in the idea phase right now)

Think of the most outrageous careers out there. Astronaut, crocodile wrangler, pastry chef. Then consider if you could instantly learn how to do it, and had unlimited funds, would you like that as a career?

Take a sick day. Use the time to reflect. (Often we’re to busy to even think about what to change).

What else would you add to this list?

Building Our Bridge – Seattle Housing Authority Residents Crossing the Digital Divide

Housing Authority Seattle

The Seattle Housing Authority’s Rainier Vista community has been hosting dual-language Tea & Technology Talks since April of 2018 to seek resident input on a new computer skills program coming this summer. Building Our Bridge – Seattle Housing Authority Residents Crossing the Digital Divide is an SHA resident-led, City-funded initiative to bring digital literacy skills to the Oromo, Vietnamese and English-speaking tenants of this low-income family community in Seattle’s Rainier Valley.

Septuagenarian Edward Frasier III attended the 4th Tea & Technology Talk on Friday, February 15th, 2019 to discuss the project over cookies and beverages. Surveys of proposed class topics and volunteer pledge sheets were distributed, and Frasier remarked, “You know, when you get old, you forget things. It’s not that I don’t know; I just need a refresher.” 

Ben Wong, Elizabeth Kennedy, Dorene Cornwell – Building Our Bridge Project Team

The beautifully developed curriculum for the program has been generously donated by the Seattle Public Library. Topics over the next two years will be selected from Email, Mouse & Window, Keyboarding, Internet, MS Word and Resume-Writing, Social Media, The Source and Parent Engagement. The Seattle Public Library brought a Vietnamese Basic Computer Series to Rainier Vista in 2016, and a Somali series in 2018. 

There has been a buzz in the Rainier Vista Oromo community about parent engagement and use of the Seattle Public School system’s The Source. The Source opens on-line access to parents and guardians to their children’s attendance, assessment scores and secondary student assignment grades. By allowing parents to track their children’s progress, The Source helps students move more quickly into advanced learning options and get on the college track. In so doing, The Source addresses academic barriers faced by Children of Color in communities experiencing economic hardship. 

Computer skills classes at Rainier Vista in will be conducted in Oromo, Vietnamese and English cohorts, and the project hopes to open the program to Somali instruction in 2020. Representatives from each language community will have the important opportunity to shape the program by meeting to review resumes and conduct interviews for (6) bilingual computer instructors and computer instructor assistants. More than 45 applications have been received so far.

The Building Our Bridge project was created by three Seattle Housing Authority residents (Elizabeth Kennedy, Ben Wong and Dorene Cornwell) who wanted to expand the Full Life Care-Seattle Housing Authority Mobile Lab Project. For two years, the Mobile Lab Project brought a mobile computer lab with devices and instructors to residents of (9) Seattle Housing Authority Low Income Public High-rise and Senior buildings in North Seattle. 

Kennedy and Wong were instructors on the project, and they teamed up with Cornwell to bring the mobile lab to the Seattle Housing Authority’s immigrant and refugee communities in South Seattle. With the loan of (4) Windows laptops, (3) Chromebooks, a mobile hot spot, and (3) plastic tubs on wheels from community partner Full Life Care, it is poised to do just that.

The Seattle Housing Authority has supported the project with use of space for classes, and staff time from Rainier Vista Community Builder, Jen Calleja. One challenge the project is still trying to address is how to meet families’ needs for child care so parents can take classes. 

Like the Mobile Lab Project before it, Building Our Bridge is financed through the City of Seattle Technology Matching Fund grant. The Technology Matching Fund has seeded technology programs in the City for more than 20 years. 

Seattle Neighborhood Group has partnered with the project to act as fiscal agent. Located in Seattle’s Central District, Seattle Neighborhood Group has been building relationships and working to engage people to create safe neighborhoods for 25 years. “Building Our Bridge makes a vital difference in the lives of SHA residents by providing them with opportunities to develop job readiness and technical skills, and build the confidence needed to make a positive difference in their respective lives and communities.  Seattle Neighborhood Group is proud to be a collaborative member in this important project,” Linda Spain, Executive Director, Seattle Neighborhood Group.

This article was submitted by Elizabeth Kennedy, Project Manager for the Building Our Bridge Project.

Samantha Lepidi. Program Assistant; Elizabeth Kennedy, Project Manager Building our Bridge
1 2 3 4 5 25
Go to Top