Gypsy Wednesday – Passion Board

Welcome to Gypsy Wednesday! Every Wednesday, I strive to highlight all the juicy morsels related to travel and beyond.

I got tagged! Not for an STI or anything, Got Passport charged me with the task of creating a passion board. Aye created hers while taking an art class in 2006. After dusting it off recently, she discovered something interesting.  Aye’s spirit is infectious, spreading her love for inspiration and art to yours truly. Upon being asked, my first thoughts were – The Secret. Remember that phenomenon? A DVD, book, and glitzy marketing campaign amounted to one key point — visualization. If you picture it, it will come. Whether it’s an apple red Porsche or Halle Berry bursting out of a gigantic cake.

Ah, that’s not a passion board. The operative phrase is ‘raison d’etre’. Translated in English means: ‘something important one lives for’. The Secret hits a nerve on things we desire, but currently lack. I label that ‘grasping for pockets of nothingness’. Passion is fuel, things already in your arsenal, that which fires adrenaline and synapses.  Another way to view this is recalling your building blocks. Ditch The Secret, for the answers lie within.

Every decent board requires pretty paper:

The cat assisting (not):

Without further ado, the completed piece!

1.  Core Passion

Expression Tools

I grew up in a strange era, a mixture of old communication tools and accelerated technology. What anchors me is literature, symbolic of knowledge, dialogue and storytelling. Powerful stuff.

2.  My Obsessions

Wonder Woman

All my close friends know by now, I am a Wonder Woman freak. If I could fit a mummified sarcophagus of her in my room, it would be reality. My Wondy loot spans dolls, books, a lunch box, and a crate of comics. Why?? She was the first solo traveler I discovered. She went to Europe and defeated Nazis, traveled all over America and developing countries, not to mention her birthplace is a fantastic Greek island (Themyscira) where a sun dress and sandals are standard clothing. I was pulled to what she stands for (social justice), plus she owns an invisible plane. How cool is that? Gloria Steinem placed her on the very first cover of Ms. Magazine in 1972.


My attraction to coconut could solicit a restraining order. If I could wear it, drink it, or eat it 24 hours a day my life would be complete. Sadly, this could mean I once was one in a past life.


A good friend hooked me into letter writing. I’m constantly sending postcards or stationary adorned with stickers to far flung mates. Could be a romantic vision, but several authors of note penned correspondence to peers or lovers.  Perhaps it’s that drive to divide the personal from the professional, either way I’m wondering how to preserve this treasured hobby on the road.


Would I sacrifice virgins for the sun god? Possibly. That’s the enormity of my passion for buttery rays warming my skin. Friends will attest, lack of sun even affects my mood. Living in Vancouver is not conducive to my sun requirements. Time for a new town!

3.  Experience Junkie or Stuff Junkie

If you haven’t already, join the thoughtful discussion on experience over stuff at Uncornered Market. Piecing togther this passion board reminded me of that post. Me? I’m 110% an experience junkie.

Glorious Food

Sustenance. An absolute must, but in recent years I’ve graduated to foodie status. I’m most looking forward to street food. It’s cheap, varied, and reflective of local culture. Extra Imodium, here I come.

Happy Hour

I’ve been known to imbibe on occasion. Must remember to pack extra barf bags. Not those silly ones handed out on airplanes, they are only useful for holding mixed nuts. I allude to serious ones.  Thick and big.


Humor is my air. I could launch a manifesto on the numerous times laughter kept me alive when circumstances looked dismal. First item I seek in a mate, you better make me laugh, end of story.


Why is this image reminiscent of a Keg commercial? Part of my normal experience, not just travel, is meeting others.  I am addicted to stories. Even if someone reeks of the most boring person on earth, I guarantee they have a story.  Everyone does.


My curiosity knows no bounds when it comes to who, what, when, where. The world is large, I am small – seems to fit perfectly in my mind.


An expansive view from the wing of an airplane always evokes one word to me: freedom. A claustrophobic cubicle just doesn’t cut it.


Here’s my little terror in cat model mode. A pathetic admission, but I will miss her more than anyone. There’s a magical quality to animals that is often overlooked. Yup, call me crazy cat lady.

Whoopee, that was fun! Thanks to Aye and Jack for the opportunity to participate.

By |February 24th, 2010 |Categories: Life |12 Comments

The 7 Stages of Unplugging from the Cubicle

This is a seven part series on unplugging from the cubicle. Join the discussion, or read and absorb.

The Cube, Monday Morning

You’re sitting inert, facing artificial walls constructed of laminate. The wood veneer desk is slightly short, knocking your knees on the underside whenever you lift your legs. The only glare your computer screen receives is from blue tinged, fluorescent lighting. Your eyes bore into the monitor, counting each new email with dread. Every message is a demand. A coffee, that might shake droopy eyes and motivate some action. You rise, but pause, then sink downward like a weighted anchor. The boss is in the coffee room, rattling off scores from the latest hockey game. If you join, he’ll ask for that report again. It’s overdue, when the hell will you have it ready??

The repressed part of your brain recalled a vague interest in this career. Nowadays, you can’t sleep through the night. Stress has concentrated nicely at a spot on your lower back – a knot that manifests by throbbing incessantly. There are methods to feeling better. A spiffy, new pair of black dress pants. Deep tissue massage for your aching back. The mother of all televisions just went on sale at Best Buy, a 40″ LCD HDTV. You’ve been eyeing it for some time. Splurge, you deserve it.

You feel renewed, springing up to grab that coffee, satisfied that options exist to improve your life. Next week you repeat the same episode, eventually you notice a pattern. All those band aids to mask discomfort still leave you depressed or worse – apathetic.

I’m About to Commit Seppuku

What you long for is escape – a way out. Instead of working through lunch, spreadsheet configurations are replaced with computer research. Viola, you hit pay dirt.

  • Digital nomad.
  • Location independent.
  • Internet entrepreneur.

What do these terms signify? In my estimation, anything you wish.

You can hide behind leather pumps or tailored linen suits, but you can’t run from stark truths. Something has to change. A million times I hear this: but it’s so difficult. How?? We cling to our comfort zones, living out our days in cubicle farms instead of touching actual peat moss or breathing air that wasn’t re-filtered through an HVAC system.

I understand, because I am you.

A multitude of articles will guide you with practical steps. Those resources are extremely valid, important and needed. When I began my search, a black hole seemed to exist for those needing to detach. Sure I could log onto Teachings of the Buddha and grab for purchase, but after digesting a lesson, I was left floating in the ethereal, never quite feeling rooted to my experience. On a subconscious level, a series of stages will occur, while the conscious self continues with daily tasks.

Seven Stages of Unplugging

We are creatures with cognitive abilities, able to deduce conclusions. Somehow, we need closure with our old lives, before a new one can sprout and prosper. I scampered to categorize the varied emotions I experienced. The only parallel I could produce was the 7 stages of grief.

Leaving the cubicle is akin to saying goodbye after someone passes. Call it metaphorical death, or psychological rebirth, you really do bid farewell to who you were in the corporate world.

Certainly, I’ll give you tips. Be glad to eek out a story or two, but if you honestly ache to unplug, every single digital nomad added to your feed reader had to start at the beginning. I won’t lie, the beginning is not pretty. It’s messy, downright heartbreaking, yet uplifting all at once.

Just remember –  the key to doing is unraveling. As we say in the cube, “At the end of the day, the numbers will add up.”

Bookmark this page, because it will be updated with each stage.

Stage 1 – Duty or Desire.

Stage 2 – Fear.

Stage 3 – Denial.

Stage 4 – Anger.

Stage 5 – Acceptance.

Stage 6 – Action.

Stage 7 – Solutions.

Photos: silent (e) and slworking under Creative Commons.

By |February 22nd, 2010 |Categories: Life |16 Comments

Gypsy Bits and Bytes

Apologies, I missed last week. I had zip to say except whine about my corporate tour-of-duty.

Bits and Bytes

  • It’s always a pleasure to meet another chick, and a Canadian to boot. Shauna Watson abandoned career overdrive for a one way ticket to Thailand. Throw caution to the wind, girl. I like you already. Though she’s been hoofing it for 13 months, she just launched her blog, Gypsy Chick Travels. Check out her stories, I am!
  • Are you hankering to take your blog to the next level? I “discovered” Problogger recently. Darren Rowse guides digital nomads on generating income or crafting a winning blog. He even has a job board. Sadly, money is required for shelter and food, might as well succumb to that fact.
  • Yes, the Olympics are in Vancouver. No, I haven’t exerted any ink on the matter. I’ll leave it to the major papers. My support of the games is not favorable. I love the camaraderie and cheering on Canada, but the hidden impact doesn’t look rosy. Even David Suzuki rated Vancouver’s “sustainable games” in the bronze category.

Must Reads

  • I was blown to bits after reading this lovely story written by one of Lillie’s students. Pamela recounts her first day at Covenant Preparatory School.
    Having only experienced the government system, private school territory is scary and fraught with lurking witches. She gathers enough strength to engage in the culture without knowing a soul. Sounds a bit like stepping off a plane into an unknown country, don’t you think?
  • A seasoned journalist, Caitlin Fitzsimmons’ piece on fat discrimination by airlines is brilliant. I’ve lived on both sides of the argument. Though I was not clinically obese, what’s relatable are people hurling harsh judgments.  Weight gain is vilified in our culture. What thin people don’t realize is the underlying, segregated lives heavy people endure daily. Kevin Smith has the power to shed light on this because he’s famous. Regular folk, not so much. Caitlin did an adept job when describing other annoying passengers that fly, pointing out that such people have annoying habits, but airlines target portly people based on their body composition. I call it – not fair and horrid.

Nomadic Chick News

  • Despite no shower and lousy punctuality, I still managed to secure a new contributor. Her first piece will appear March 15. Look for it.
  • Thunderous handclaps go to GRRRL Travler for being my first podcast victim. I’m planning more in the future, so keep listening. Let’s hope I can maintain that community radio flavor for future recordings. It’s pretty humorous hearing the amount of “ums” that exit my mouth. I’ve been watching hockey player interviews virtually all my life. Thanks, Trevor Linden!
  • Site design is at the finish line! Hope to launch in the next two weeks.

Have a splendid weekend!

Photo: Pat MacDonald under Creative Commons

By |February 19th, 2010 |Categories: Life |7 Comments
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Gypsy Wednesday – GRRRL Traveler

Welcome to Gypsy Wednesday! Every Wednesday, I strive to highlight all the juicy morsels related to travel and beyond.

Every single day new terms are tossed into my travel stewing pot. One of them propelled me to seek out the answer.  What the heck is a gap year?  Christine Ka’aloa explains.

To dig deeper into a gap year, review this site I just found: Career Break Secrets.

15 Things I’m Looking Forward to When I Quit My Job & Travel

This list was sourced from a potently horrid day I experienced in the cube last week. It was so trying, my mind drifted to happy thoughts.

  1. Naps. Epically long, drawn out, mouth-hanging-open-slobbering, naps.
  2. Reading a book from cover to cover, and actually absorbing it.
  3. Giving up business casual for cargo pants and flip flops (for you Christine).
  4. Never having to open another passive-aggressive email from a coworker who spreads a hissy fit by cc’ing my bosses, yet is a yellow coward when I suggested meeting in person to discuss the issue like adults.

  5. Doing yoga every morning. At least an hour and a half worth.

  6. Witnessing a magnificent sunrise or sunset daily.
  7. Writing in the dead of the night if the fancy strikes me.
  8. Eating whatever and whenever, not to a set schedule.
  9. Noticing the day evaporating, but feeling relaxed, full of ideas and satisfied.
  10. Working with only one person –  me.
  11. Boarding a bus where not one word of English is spoken. Sweet silence in the mind and music to the ears.

  12. Laughing more than stressing or crying.
  13. Going for a walk in fresh air, instead of 10 yards to the lunch room inhaling recycled air and being physically trapped by sealed glass.
  14. Listening to my ipod for pleasure when usually it’s plugged in to drown out extraneous office noise.
  15. Being asked, “What do you want to do today?” over “Can’t you get this done now??”

    (Far more appealing than a meeting.)

All photos under Creative Commons.

By |February 15th, 2010 |Categories: Life |36 Comments

What I’m Going to Miss About Vancouver

Queen ElizabethThe parks.

Queen Elizabeth in particular, since it’s near my abode. I moved here last July, completely bereft to be away from English Bay, but found this gem. Affectionately referred to as “Little Mountain”, this park wormed its way into my heart.

Tell me fellow travelers, what do you miss about your hometown? Or maybe you haven’t left yet or thought about it, the truth is we will always miss something.

Photo: WriterGal39

By |February 12th, 2010 |Categories: British Columbia, Vancouver |9 Comments