If I'm honest about my dreams...

On the heels of my previous posts about studying and implementing the Structural Dynamics model of Robert Fritz, I feel compelled to take a public step toward owning my desired reality, to use Fritz's term. I've been mulling over these dreams to some degree or another for years now. In fact, people who have read this blog for any length of time will already know where I'm going with this. I've eeked out bits and pieces of these dreams along the way. However, not until this moment in time have they been so clear. 

Because of my 2013 Happiness Project, since January I've been able to crystalize previously vague-ish longings. The pubic aspect of sharing on this site, versus another offline brunch convo with my besties, serves a number of important outcomes: 1) Vulnerability isn't my strong suit (says the girl with a mostly-personal blog, I know) and I need to get over myself in that regard; 2) Accountability, perceived or legitimate, to anyone other than my own thoughts; 3) Support, because I know I'm far from alone in the pursuit of bold visions; 4) Culmination of these resources outside of my elaborate Evernote folders and tags. Consider this a meta bookmark of a small fraction of the ah-ha moments I've had recently; and finally, 5) I sincerely believe that all of these resources are "the magic" - in referencing again the work of Robert Fritz:
The resolution of the tension, and the action steps needed to move toward the desired reality, will all define themselves organically simply because you're holding the tension. You have to leave room for magic. Your job is to hold tension, and then say yes.

So here's the deal: I want to live abroad (ahem, Denmark) and enjoy a creative career and travel a lot a lot a lot. I was passionate about my current career for more than a decade. To be fair, I still am passionate about it in many ways; however, I've finally accepted that it can no longer sustain me in the way I want to be sustained and engaged in my life. Between the lines: I can no longer slug out 50-hour weeks and 6 hours of meetings every day that ultimately contribute to mere incremental, non-systemic change and a 1% cost of living raise every 3 years. I need creativity. I need flexibility. I need a career that fills me up and inspires me instead of draining my energy nearly every day. I need to wake up and take photos before checking my email on my own schedule in a coffee shop in Argentina.

Huffington Post's Third Metric project has been reporting on the trend of professionals leaning back from their current careers (as opposed to the now-infamous Lean In strategy a'la Sheryl Sandberg). The premise of the Third Metric conversation: "All the talk of "leaning in" at work ignores one reality: Many people in early stages of their career want flexibility and ownership at their jobs, not just a big job title or paycheck. Is it time to stop chasing promotions, and start enjoying life?" In the video below, Kim Dinan is particularly inspiring to me. I'm already half way through her book and I only bought it last night. I also love the conversation about money near the 15:00 mark. Here's a shorter snippet of the video, only highlighting the quit-your-job-and-travel guests.

Through the internet rabbit hole of clicking and stumbling, I also came across the gorgeous video embedded below. There are so so so many blogs, people, twitter accounts, and examples of bravery and wanderlust online. It's totally overwhelming. When I really think about it, though, even before all of that was reality I remember watching Long Way Round in 2004 and Long Way Down in 2007 and thinking: I need this. My first international trip to Russia in 1996, for that matter, set it off. Why I'm only just now getting serious about it, I don't know. Regardless, my RSS feed is now stuffed with blogs and travelogues of people who have gone before and lit the way, as it were. 

But what does it actually look like to take on this dream and make it happen? What does it really mean and how do I make it work? All the artsy vimeo videos in the world won't actually get me there, so now what? I know Robert Fritz would tell me to stop focusing on The How and instead only hold tension between where I am now and where I want to be, but damn. It's difficult to not at least try and answer The How of it all. I suspect that The Wireless Generation documentary, soon to be making the festival circuit thanks to a successful Kickstarter, is a giant nudge in the right direction.

Okay, Magic, let's go down that road then. I've been saying for quite a while now that if you mashup my key passions and skills - then try to assign them to a career - it basically comes out as some version of a traveler/writer/photographer/designer.  Throw in a BA in English, a MA in Community Leadership, and 11 years as a project/program manager turned higher-ed administrator...and...okay. So. Start there. Even with a wealth of online resources to make it happen smoothly, the idea of freelancing unfortunately scares me to the point of near paralysis (clearly something I need to get over, and quickly). Paralysis in tow, I still can't shake this desire out of my system: Vagabonding: An Uncommon Guide to the Art of Long-Term World Travel (Rolf Potts). The idea of digital nomading feels so right to me. The Life Almost Fearless blog shared a post outlining the history of this career niche. That made it feel almost doable. I've read the post like 20 times at this point. Truth be told, I really just want Andrew Evans' job. I mean, come on. National Geographic's Digital Nomad? *sigh* The inspiration is endless. 

A drop in the bucket in my sea of my RSS feeds.

Now...what can I do about all this? I suck at being idle, and I think I might have been bored once for five minutes in 1989, so this has been percolating long enough. This guy seems helpful and I'd give him my money in exchange for his nuggets of wisdom. These two make it work, and the price is right, so I'll set aside the fact that they make me feel like a grandmother and probably try their course. But even those leaps feel premature. I think I found my next step in the Matador Network, specifically Matador U. I plan to pinch my pennies and take both the travel writing and the travel photography courses. Also, similar to the crowdsourced travel guides of Matador, I've been obsessed with AFAR for a while now. I have an application in hand to become the first (and for now, only) Local Expert for Salt Lake City. There's a meta intersection with all of this and I'm just trying to say yes, yes, yes to it all. While it has felt like an organic progression to this point, I also know I need to stop thinking and researching...and just do.

Love and magic and hard work, 

Craft Lake City Artist Profile: The Workspace of Natalie Allsup-Edwards, The Hand Drawn Photobooth

Creating: Implementing the work of Robert Fritz (part two)