The first goal I ever set for myself was to never have two years that were exactly the same. I had found it frighteningly boring to spend my time going to jobs in the same place at the same time with the same people.
I wanted to welcome surprises and unexpected delights. Self-employment has made that possible in ways I never dreamed it could at the beginning of this journey.
Although much of my work is done at home, I’m always working on new projects and have found all sorts of ways to mix things up. Even so, the past week managed to surpass some of the others in terms of variety and pure enjoyment.
It began on November 14 when I joined my sisters Nancy and Becky in Santa Barbara for a splendid evening listening to author Alexander McCall Smith. Not only was he the first speaker I’ve heard talk while wearing a kilt, his extraordinary storytelling skills kept us laughing for ninety minutes.
This was even more special since I’ve spent the past several months reading his 44 Scotland Street series. Obviously, I’m not alone in loving McCall Smith who is stunningly prolific. He also has something like 25,000,000 copies of his books in print.
The next day, my friend Judy Miranda fetched me and we headed to Phoenix for the second Fund Your Life Overseas Conference. Judy has an import business called Global Hand Artisans and is devoted to selling handmade goods she uncovers in places such as Guatemala.
Despite the long drive, it was great fun to catch up with her since we hadn’t seen each other for sometime. In the interim, we had both added some new stamps to our passports so we had many travel tales to share.
On Sunday, the 16th, the conference began and it was 2 1/2 days of non-stop talking and learning. I met old friends and made new ones. I talked to attendees from all over the country.
Equally fun was seeing speakers, some of them already expats, who shared great how-to information on creating portable businesses. I did three talks aimed at helping participants build their entrepreneurial mindset—something that’s as useful as a passport if you want to see the world and get paid at the same time.
We headed back to California on Wednesday morning after stopping for breakfast at the home of Judy’s friends. Judy had lived in Phoenix for many years and loves reconnecting.
As we were sitting at the kitchen table with Sarah and Larry Soller, I was surprised to discover that Larry was also an ex-Minnesotan. Even more intriguing to me was finding out that we were English majors at the same college at the same time.
Larry also was active in theater and spent many years as a college theater professor himself. Although he no longer teaches on a regular basis, Larry is active doing voiceover work and is an enthusiastic volunteer with Habitat for Humanity.
The entire week was a glorious reminder that the world is full of people who can enrich our lives—if we take time to find them and pay attention. Or as Caroline Myss reminds us, “We evolve at the rate of the tribe we’re plugged into.”