In December of 2015, I’d just finished my 1-year teaching contract in Japan. Hungry for adventure, I set off on a one-month sojourn along the eastern Australian coastline with a Scotswoman, a Frenchman and a Canberra-native in a Britz campervan. (No, this isn’t the start of a joke). There were all the usual road-trip high-jinks – forgetting to latch the kitchen drawers before hitting the highway, being delayed when our window was shattered by a ride-on mower at a rest stop, dodging the occasional kangaroo crossing the road, jamming the back door when we accidentally shut a sweater in it, battling plague-like proportions of flies and never ending sand, having our drying towels pooped on by a wombat. You know – the usual things. #justaustraliathings Continue reading “Would You Believe…Hanson?”
As someone who travels frequently, I find that a change of scenery can inspire and inform your writing, but often doesn’t make for the best work habits. Whether you’re trying to take in museums on holiday or traveling on business, the following tips will help you to get your work done anywhere in the world.
A lot of my friends and acquaintances who keep up with my Instagram posts are really curious. You go to all these cool places. How do you do it? No, I’m not secretly rich. No, I don’t have a job as an International Spy of Mystery (although if I did, I wouldn’t tell you.) The short answer is: I teach.
I consider myself fairly tech-savvy, but when I was setting up my website, I had no idea how to set my blog as the main content of the site. I spent about an hour fiddling around in my settings, growing increasingly frustrated, but determined to do it on my own. Then my friend John, who had a WordPress account of his own, sat down and did what I hadn’t accomplished in an hour in about two minutes. Could I have saved myself some frustration and used my talents in a more productive way? Of course. So what was stopping me from asking for help?
Helping others is the foundation of community.
A few months ago, the idea of an “Artist and Writer’s retreat” wasn’t remotely on my radar. I was about to finish a one-year teaching contract in Korea and was looking for my next job. Would I stay in Korea, go back to Japan, return to the States or go somewhere completely new? The possibilities stretched out before me, but none of them felt right. Something in me resisted the idea of entering a classroom again. I loved teaching and my kids, but I needed a break. Not a vacation, crammed with sight-seeing. My soul was crying for a return to itself.
Five years ago, I was working in a beige cubicle with no windows in downtown Chicago. There was nothing wrong with my job on paper – the pay was good, I had fabulous coworkers, a healthy working environment and a relatively stress-free commute. Every morning, I arrived early to enjoy my Venti Starbucks coffee before my coworkers began to trickle in and I thought, well, it’s not happiness, exactly, but I’m content enough…I think? I didn’t technically have anything to complain about. I had job security and health insurance. I didn’t bring my work home. So, I gained a few pounds from being largely sedentary and snacking on the pastries that inevitably filled the break-room at lunch. So, there were lulls of boredom or stress when working up to deadlines. So, it wasn’t my life’s passion…
My cubicle in Chicago (with bonus cupcakes – thanks Dad!)