Meet Barbara Winter


Barbara J Winter is a pioneering self-employment advocate, writer and teacher who has spent the last twenty-five years pondering the question, “Why aren’t we all self-employed?” Helping others discover the Joyfully Jobless life is her favorite occupation. To readers of Read more

Benvenuto!


Buon viaggio….good journey. How nice to have you along. This blog has been a long time brewing. Hardly a day passes when I don’t come across a fascinating new business idea, inspiring story or useful resource and want to pass Read more

Time for a Creative Excursion?

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Julia Cameron calls them Artist Dates. Sarah Ban Breathnach calls them Creative Excursions. Whatever you call them, they’re worth making a regular event in your life.

“The Artist Date need not be overtly artistic,” says Cameron, “think mischief more than mastery. Artist Dates fire up the imagination. They spark whimsy. They encourage play. Since art is about the play of ideas, they feed our creative work by replenishing our inner well of images and inspiration.”

The purpose of such solo events is to take time away regularly to visit a new place, gather ideas, or just feed your soul. Although it’s easy to find new destinations, it’s equally easy to find excuses not to do so.

When people tell me they have no idea what they want to do with their life, I’m pretty certain that creative excursions have not been on their agenda.

With that in mind, here are a few idea starters to get you thinking about potential excursions of your own.

° Visit a Japanese garden or arboretum. You don’t have to be a gardner yourself in order to find pleasure in beautiful landscapes. For several years, I lived within walking distance of a Japanese garden and I visited it whenever I needed a lift.

° Spend time browsing at a flea market or community festival. Imagine yourself as a vendor. What kind of booth would you have? What catches your eye? What turns you off? How would you welcome visitors?

° Go to your public library and explore an area you don’t normally browse in. Read a couple of unfamiliar magazine while you’re there. See what resources are housed in the reference area.

° Explore the scrap booking aisles at a craft store. Consider starting a scrapbook of favorite cartoons so you’ll always know where to look when you need a laugh.

° Slip off to the movies on a midweek afternoon. It’s almost like having a private screening if you catch the first showing on Tuesday. You may also feel slightly decadent.

° Gather travel brochures and pictures of destinations still to be visited. Make a collage for your office.

° Make or buy a card of congratulations and send it to yourself. Then send another to someone in need of encouragement.

° Take a nature hike. Gather seashells if you’re near an ocean or wildflowers or weeds for a bouquet if there’s a woods nearby.

° Visit a hardware store and investigate gadgets you’ve never seen before. Imagine having a project to use one of these tools.

° If you haven’t visited a local museum or art gallery, it’s time you paid a call.

° A great junk store or antique mall is another perfect place to stroll. Talk to the folks working there and find out what kinds of treasures are popular.

° Pretend you’re an investigative reporter. Visit stores secretly making notes on their customer service—or lack thereof.

° Start a new collection and begin a treasure hunt. You could begin by finding all the treasures hidden in your own neighborhood. It’s not unusual for folks to overlook things in their own backyard that visitors come to see.

Do Talk to Strangers

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Author Bill Bryson talks about being on a train and thinking about fellow travel writer Paul Theroux who wrote about fascinating conversations he has with strangers. This perplexes Bryson because he finds it difficult to strike up conversations with traveling Brits.

That got me thinking about a conversation I had with an enthusiastic traveler who wondered how I managed to open a dialogue with someone I’d just met.

Since my Do Talk To Strangers Policy is a vital component of traveling—and being entrepreneurial—I started to consider how I actually go about it. I realized that some of it is purely intuitive.

For […] Continue Reading…

Building a Hothouse for Your Dreams

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Dreams are extremely fragile—especially in their early days. Dreams, like babies and seedlings, need to be nurtured and surrounded by support.

Here are a handful of ways to get your dreams off to a great start.

° Passion must be present. While a dream may be born in passion, it’s up to you to keep it alive. If you’re halfhearted and lukewarm about them, your dreams will never come true.

One way to keep passion high is to spend a few minutes every day visualizing the successful completion of your dream. How does it look, smell, taste, sound, feel? Allow that vision […] Continue Reading…

Musing on Motivation

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Those of us who write with the intention of motivating others, constantly deal with an enigma. What, for goodness sake, does the word “motivation” really mean?

My thesaurus lists all sorts of possibilities including “tempt, seduce and bribe.” That’s hardly what I had in mind here at Buon Viaggio.

After years of thinking about this word, I’m still not certain that I have a clear definition myself. I do, however, know what it means personally.

Motivation to me is when an inner force is moving me in the direction of an outer result. I also know that it needs to be nurtured […] Continue Reading…

Change of Plans

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So here’s how my week has started. Got up to an email that involved a change of plans for a fall seminar.

My daughter and her family left for a two-week road trip. The road they were planning to take is closed due to a bridge collapse. They rerouted themselves, but forgot to leave a housekey for the sitter.

Fortunately, I have a key to their house and live close by so delivering it was not a big deal.

However, this has me thinking, yet again, about how flexibility is a valuable stress management tool.

This is not something that comes easily for […] Continue Reading…

Things That Last

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We hear a lot about the short attention span of both kids and adults. We see the marketplace flooded with items that are here today, gone tomorrow.

Pet rocks are the poster child of that phenomenon. So are most of the books that achieve best seller status.

The media adores stories about overnight success. They pay no attention once the flash in the pan is done flashing.

It’s always seemed to me that have a few minutes in the spotlight could be the entrance to a lifetime of emotional distress. I’ve avoided going after such temporary attention.

I’m thinking about such matters today […] Continue Reading…

Looking for your Super Power? Try this.

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Due to my respiratory problems, I keep my purse as lightweight as possible. Although I have an iPhone, I usually leave it at home when I’m running errands around town.

That policy was recently changed, however.

On Saturday, my sisters and I spent a lovely morning at the Ojai Lavender Festival. Somewhere along the way, Margaret showed me a feature on my phone I was unaware of. My phone has a step counter? I had no idea.

When I got home late that afternoon, I promptly checked to see how much walking I had done. Seemed like a good idea to challenge […] Continue Reading…

Five Myths About Self-employment To Banish At Once

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Much of the conventional wisdom about self-employment actually qualifies as Urban Myths (and we know how those can circulate).

Sadly, many people who think about becoming Joyfully Jobless are stopped from doing so because of these commonly held, but unfounded, beliefs. Let’s take a look at five biggies.

Only extroverts can be entrepreneurs. A recent study found that almost all kindergartners exhibited entrepreneurial traits. By the fourth grade, however, innovative thinking was on the decline.

Being and introvert or extrovert isn’t nearly as important as wanting to solve problems. Best of all, the opportunities for creating a business that is a perfect […] Continue Reading…

Close Encounters

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Note: This was a post from last August. I’m repeating it because we all need to be reminded of this simple fact.
Like millions of people, I tuned in for the Beatles Tribute on CBS. It was a lovely evening, but it wasn’t anything like my evening attending a Paul McCartney concert several years ago. That experience was magical from beginning to end.

You probably have memories like that, too, when you found yourself in the same room with someone you’d admired from afar. That is not an experience that can be duplicated by technology.

As much as I appreciate the gifts […] Continue Reading…

Leaving Room for Serendipity

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About the time I moved from Las Vegas, Zappos founder Tony Hsieh announced the ambitious Downtown Project which he is spearheading. His bold vision is to turn the languishing area into “Disneyland for entrepreneurs.”

New start-ups are moving to Las Vegas, co-working spaces with names like Work in Progress are buzzing and renovated apartments and condos are attracting entrepreneurial owners.

There’s another aspect to this project that is unique. Hsieh is determined to create a place filled with opportunities for serendipity which he calls meaningful collisions. I share his fascination with the phenomenon.

While the common understanding of serendipity is unexpected good […] Continue Reading…

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