YES YES YES screamed the Universe. And I Listened.
The moment I found out that Epic Self’s Amber Zuckswert and Daniel Jebb Finnerty were teaming up with Cody McKibbon and Thrilling Heroics to put on the Epic Hero Retreat for entrepreneurs, I knew I had to take part one way or another.
I attended Amber and Daniel’s Epic Self retreat in Costa Rica a couple of months ago, and they blew my mind via a mind-bogglingly eye-popping experience. Cody and his group Digital Nomad Academy helped me launch my location-independent career, and I adore both groups.
The retreat involves honing physical, spiritual, emotional and professional self as well as huge amounts of fun.
I. Can’t. Wait.
Since I didn’t have the money to go (it is a luxury retreat after all, and I just attended a luxury retreat less than 2 months ago) I spent a week trying to by-hook-or-by-crook my way into showing up, volunteering, helping out, just being nearby, or doing whatever I could to be part of the experience.
But it didn’t quite feel right. I needed something more concrete – I needed to GO. As a participant. But where the hell was I going to come up with over 2 grand to make this happen, having spent almost as much on a retreat less than 2 months ago?
I was meditating one day, and the universe slapped me upside my proverbial head, and said DO IT. I whined: “but I don’t have the money!” It slapped me again, and said DO. IT. NOW. I argued “I can’t make this happen, I don’t know how?!?” The universe hit me again and said DO IT NOW. OR YOU’LL REGRET IT. It added (no I’m not kidding; I can’t make this stuff up): DON’T MAKE ME TURN THIS THING AROUND.” After I finished giggling at myself, I relented and mentally answered:
“Please help me.”
Within 24 hours, magic started happening.
I received notice of an unexpected $1,000 heading my way.
For the first time, someone I didn’t already know signed up for my email list.
A friend offered to put me through her training on how to make a living from your blog.
Another friend shared practically step-by-step instructions on how I could move forward from here with making a living from the blog, and having it finance my travels.
I am clearly doing something right.
I thoroughly enjoy both my current jobs, and have no intention of leaving them. But I sure am excited to rekindle my entrepreneurial spirit and see where it takes me… I love this blog, and my readers, and would be delighted to share it with many more people and have it support my lifestyle.
Look for big things and growing in leaps and bounds over the next 6-12 months as I grapple with these new priorities, challenges and opportunities.
Kids will be Kids... and Sam will be Sam
I had to move out of my apartment for 36 hours due to a scheduling glitch. I was able to move right back in afterwards, but instead of heaving me off into the street to find another place to stay for two days, my landlord welcomed me into his family’s flat and put me up in his daughter’s playroom.
Thus commenced two of the most fun, intense and instructive days I have had here in Tainan.
Rather than try to force my needs and work schedule on them, as much as humanly possible I just went with the flow and enjoyed my time there. Sure, I got some work done, but between technical troubles and the kids running around, it wasn’t as much as I would have liked.
My landlord’s wife speaks almost no English, and their kids, 4 and 7, speak none at all. They felt bad that I had to move out and then right back in due to the scheduling issue/miscommunication, and asked me to enjoy their home-cooked meals as well. My communication patterns went from hanging out with English-speaking friends to wild gesturing, using whatever scraps of Mandarin I could pull out of my tortured brain and using the hell out of my poor Pleco Chinese-English dictionary app.
More profoundly, this experience drastically reduced my “number of words spoken per day” and forced me to be much more creative in my communication than usual. The kids didn’t care whether I could say things correctly, or anything at all. They just wanted to have fun.
Now I love talking to kids, playing with them, hanging out with them, and find it almost impossible to say “no” when given the chance to, say, romp around the family room, no matter how much work-work or homework I may have to do. But it’s tough to play many games when you can’t communicate! Sure, my dictionary helps with the 7-year-old, but the 4-year-old can’t read, and no one understands my garbled Tarzan-esque “speech” yet. I’m working on that.
So we spent hours playing nonverbal games like tug-of-war, who-can-play-the-piano-and-not-make-anyone’s-ears-bleed, stuffed animal battles, picture book pointing, and “what the heck kind of food is this and can you really eat it?”
After the lovely interlude of wearing myself out jumping up and down for hours at a time with the two kiddos, I was ready to head back down to my own apartment and get tons of work done, which is exactly what I did. My new friend even let me borrow three of her books so that I could study Taiwanese culture and Mandarin language reading, as long as I promised to return them.
Now THAT was an exercise in patience and language/cultural exchange… making myself understood to a 7-year-old that I only wanted to borrow the books, and promising that I would return them, convincing her to let me take them and sharing how much I appreciated her generosity… all with less than 100 words of Chinese to my name, and almost zero grammar.
I was exhausted by the end of my time there, and deliriously happy. My Mandarin learning was super-charged by the necessity of learning and using so much new vocabulary and being unable to rely on English to “get by” as I could previously.
Despite the fact that I shamefully never did figure out how to pronounce any of their names correctly, each member of the family is welded into my heart as beautiful human beings who opened their home to me. It was the first time they had ever had a foreigner in their home, and I am honored that they invited me.
If they received half as much from the experience as I did, then we all emerged with the world just a little bit better of a place.