November 5, 2007
Many of you may have noticed a lack of traffic this past week. Well, it was kind of deliberate on our part. We have officially moved Lifejotter to www.lifejotter.org, with a brand new design and layout. Theny reason we tried to slow down things here was in effect that we did not want to lose anyone with the move to the official site.
So as of now, we want to say a special thank you to WordPress for hosting the blog for the first 2 months of existance! And as of now, this will be the last official post on this blog location. From here on out all of the quality information and insight on lifestyle design can be seen at Lifejotter’s new site.
Also, if you were on our feed then you will need to sign up for the new feed at the .org location( that is seeing you still want what we have to offer ya). There is a prize contest going on at the moment that will last up until the 2nd of December. Dont miss it and thank you guys for all the warm welcomes these past two months.
October 27, 2007
My wife and I have two beautiful children. Alivia, our little girl, is 4 and is ALL girl. She despises dirt, loves anything that is pink or purple( or frilly), adores make up and is in love with all of the Disney Princess movies. Zeke, our little boy , will turn 2 in January and is completely ALL boy. He loves the outdoors, adores animals of any kind, gets excited about any kind of sport, and even enjoys wrestling with dogs 3 times his size. They are complete opposites and have been one of my biggest blessings on this earth.
Alivia is already starting to dream and her imagination is a wild one. From professional ballerina to astronaut, even the desire to be a mermaid for Disney…….. to her the world is at her reach. For that reason , who am I to tell her any different. In a few short years, the same will be the way with Zeke. The fact that children can dream beyond our comprehension about what the future holds for them is both a challenge and a inspiration. It is the dichotomy that life has not stolen away their desires and aspirations of dare i say it……dream lining, and setting a course to be what they want to be and accomplish what they want to accomplish.
THE ESSENCE OF LIFESTYLE DESIGN: CHILDHOOD
This is only my opinion, but I believe that everyone has a small lifestyle designer in them at some point in their childhood. It is the inner voice that tells us that we can dream of doing something wonderful with our life and that we wont fall prey to the ho-hum conundrum of every day life. I mean , seriously, how many kids do you know that DREAM of living an average life behind an average desk and following an average mundane routine for their entire life. I certainly never knew any while I was growing up as a child, and I have not seen any since to be honest. As children, it is actually expected of us to dream big and to “reach for the stars”. Any proud parent would agree.
Where and why in life are we either told or expected to stop? The usual scenario is one that plays out as so…
1) Child grows up dreaming(possibly even dream lining) about goals and projects he/she wants to accomplish in life.
2) Child becomes young adult, goes to school, and eventually to college. Although his/her dreams and aspirations may change, the fact usually remains that there is INDEED still a dream or goal that they want to accomplish. They usually think college will factor into this . Sometimes it does through a placebo effect, and other times it does not.
3) Young adult graduates college. At this point the dream that they have held onto for so long is usually smacked by the “reality” of life, which is a joke all be it. The young adult is forced to let release of the dream/aspiration and is usually met with open arms by a “real world job”.
4) Real world job turns into 45 years of mundane bouncing around between jobs/professions only to find that retirement sits pretty at the end, where you meet up with it……usually two old and worn out to dream any longer.
AM I A LOON AND AM I SAYING WE SHOULD NEVER GROW UP?
By no means! I mean come on, I have watched Peter Pan with my daughter hundreds of times to know that we all must meet life at some point. However, my belief is that at the heart of the matter we alone decide (when we do meet life) whether we will design it or it will design us. That is the challenge that each lifestyle designer has truthfully embraced with open arms, and at the core of it remains the heart and faith of a child.
Children have the faith and strength to believe that life itself can be contorted to either work to their advantage or be the stepping stone of dreams. Lifestyle designers, rightfully so, do as well.
It is for this reason that I cannot wait to see what my children have rolled up their sleeves as far as future plans. In Part 2 of this post I will explain what I truly believe can and should be done to help nurture your children’s little lifestyle designer within them and help them reach their aspirations. If you have children and have a desire to see them truly live life to the fullest you do not want to miss it. These are viable tips that I am already seeing make a difference in the lives of both of my children.
Also , the NEW AND OFFICIAL LIFEJOTTER DOMAIN will be going public in the next couple of days. For those of you who have remained loyal as a reader these past months , it will only get more enhanced from here on out.
Possibly a cash prize contest to be held the first day of websistance? Check back to see. Until you see it before your eyes, just check out this simple little commercial of Lifejotter TV that officially hit youtube the other day. Simple, I know….but that’s the point.
October 22, 2007
Slap this baby on the butt! A new birth has just taken place.
I have already received several emails with questions regarding this, and hopefully I am getting this information up in appropriate timing. As you may notice, the name of the blog has been officially changed. No longer the Lifestyle Maverick, the new identity of the blog is now Lifejotter. There are several reasons that this is being done….
1) Lifejotter was originally going to be tied into The Lifestyle Maverick, and I felt as though the “maverick” vibe focused too much on myself. This was not my intention from the beginning and Lifejotter itself will focus on lifestyle design as it relates to us all, not just me.
2) The change was going to come eventually. I figured it better to do this in the initial stages of the blog’s life rather than later on.
3) It is a fresh starting point for the new vision I am wanting to take this blog. I have been inspired by several individuals who frequent this blog and have been challenged as to what my ultimate vision is for this lifestyle design blog. Sean, Christine, and Martin thank you.
BY NO MEANS, A MEANS TO AN END……
With that said, Lifejotter is not the end for contributions to the lifestyle design niche I have been aiming for . Rather, I feel that the new overall vision for this blog will only allow more freedom and accessibility to look at lifestyle design in much broader terms. The goal of the blog is still to provide information regarding ordering life so that it works for you and not against you.
For those of you who have been following this blog since its inception or for those who have become loyal readers within the past couple months, I want to assure you only the utmost quality out of Lifejotter in the future. Big plans are already in store, and you will notice subtle changes begin to take place very soon which are meant to only enhance the integrity of the Lifejotter blog.
With all this said, thank you to all of you for your patience and I do hope that any confusion has been cleared up on my part.
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October 19, 2007
One such method, which many of you may be familiar with, is that of ‘batching’. For the sake of all of those of you who may be familiar with this word, I will save the long definition and inform those of you who may not know of batching as this…
BATCHING – In short, a method used to simplify life by grouping together tasks over a remedial period of time to save both time and energy.
Methods of this that we all are probably more than aware of are batching your emails to check only once every day, perhaps once every week. Batching your bills so that you pay them once every week or once every two weeks. The list goes one……and hopefully you know how it operates……..
–WHEN MORONS DECIDE TO BATCH–
With that said, let me do the opposite of what you may be expecting and suggest certain tasks that SHOULD NOT BE BATCHED!!! Brace yourself, as you would think that one would have enough common sense to not use batching in such a moronic sense as the several items I am about to mention. But sadly enough, these instances(and I can vouch for this) have either happened or there are individuals who have pondered these.
1) Bills(Long Term) – It is great and a very practiced exercise to batch ones bills. I do this and find myself, if not first doing a simple bank draft, paying a collection of bills once every 2-3 weeks. I have found myself having to pay only one late fee due to this method, and it was for a total of $12.73……not exactly a killer. The time I have saved doing this has been invaluable.
However, batching your bills into quarterly periods is not that hot of an idea. I recently read a thread on a popular message board in which some poor bloat was bragging about how he batched his bills and payed them every 2-3 months. NOT A GOOD IDEA. He did not realize that if there are a lot of 30-60-90 day late payments that show up on your credit history it can ruin you.
So to emphasize, paying bills once every couple of months = BAD.
2 ) Diapers — Once a father made the joke about batching his child’s diapers to me . Sad thing is I imagine that there may be several parents out there who have actually thought of this. Change your child’s diapers after every poo, don’t wait for 3 or 4 to build up before changing them. It should make perfect sense as to the reasoning, not to mention that your child would kill you once they reached adulthood for the fact that you are the one to blame for that permanent brown stain on his butt .
3) Car Maintenance – Take your vehicle to the mechanic whenever a problem arises. DO NOT think it a good idea to wait for 2 or 3 more to arise before you do the same. Odds are are that the preceding problems were more than likely caused by the original and will kill your wallet in the end.
“My engine sounds horrible, and the bottom of my car is leaking stinky green stuff. But you know, its only 3 more weeks until my next oil change. Maybe I can hold off until then to get it checked.” ……………………………………..Simply not a good idea.
4) Medications – There is actually a proper way to do this and a moronic way to do this. People sometimes wait until a certain point in the day to take all their medications for that day, and there is nothing wrong with that. The problem arises when someone decides to not take their medication(s) for a certain number of days and then batches all the past days worth in one day.
Kind of like if an individual instead of taking 2 Tylenol once per day for 3 days decided to instead batch them and take 6 Tylenol all at once every 3 days. This would hold the power to kill the individual depending on the medicine and dosage amounts. Reason enough that this is not a smart move.
5) You Name It — What do you think should not be batched? Have your say and let me know of any other task that was never meant to be grouped. Going to the bathroom? Personal hygiene issues? What is #5 on the short list of “Batching Gone Wrong”? Use your imagination and let yourself be known.
October 14, 2007
Due to dealing with some finances I am taking care of with a business this week, I will be absent for the most part. However, I had Sean Nguyen from Warriorblog consider being a guest blogger on The Lifestyle Maverick to help fill in for me. I appreciate his willingness to help out on such short hand notice.
To give you some quick information on Sean, he has been blogging for not even 3 months now. However his Alexa ranking has already climbed well into the 123,000 category, with loads of visitors going to his blog every day! He is a daily blogger and usually has a some very worthwhile information daily pertaining to meta blogging. Sean has definitely struck me as someone who is a proficient blogger who knows how to get traffic.
So with that said, I invited Sean to share with us on a simple method that he uses to be proficient. This is one of Seans amazing tactics………………………
A METHOD ON BECOMING A PROFICIENT BLOGGER( OR HOW TO ATTRACT TRAFFIC LIKE A MUGG!)
We all know that in order to get more traffic and people linking to you, you need to get as many people to know you as possible. However, you alone just cannot make that much friends in order to get maximum traffic.How can we get more traffic by making less friendsYou are only going to become friend with the right people and you will find those people by using Mybloglog. You are also going to get more subscribers by this IF you have interesting content.
1. The Setup
- Create a MyBlogLog account and customize it.
- Join a couple of popular community in your niche.
- Install the Snap Links Plugin for Firefox.
2. Getting Traffic.
- Visit those community and view all their members.
- Visit each members and just close the tabs once you visit them.
This is not hard. All you need to do is use that Snap Link plugin and visit all of them at once. Please do not sit for an hour doing this – do it when you are blogging or while surfing the internet. Learn to do multitasking.
3. Building Relationship.
- Take note of those that come back and revisit your blog.
- Visit their blog and see if they get lots of traffic and have a large group of fans.
- Make friends with those that are influential bloggers.
You are basically going to make friends with those that you know will link to you (you know they will link to you because they have revisit and you need to see if they link to others or not) and are popular among bloggers. You do want to find people that have a medium or even large group of fans.This method works well because you cannot make friends with everyone. This will save you so much time and you will get traffic from those that you build a relationship with.
Please consider subscribing if you found this post interesting and helpful.
October 6, 2007
Archimedes once said “Give me a lever long enough and strong enough and I will move the earth for you”. Now while this concept may seem almost egotistical in and of itself, it holds a very viable distinction. What Mr. Medes was simply stating is that if an individual has enough leverage in his hands then what once seemed as impossible thus becomes possible. When one examines the art of leverage and the ability to do more with less, I truly believe that we find the defining factor that separates…..
– Those who have moderate flow of income from those who have a distinctly massive flow of income.
– Those who have a limited amount of available time to pursue passion from those who have what seems all the time in the world to do otherwise.
– Those who are limited in their ability to achieve goals from those who seem to reach a new plateau every time you talk to them.
– Those who are locked in one location for an indefinite amount of time to those who can pick up and travel at will with no fleeing thought to hinder them.
Leverage when defined in lifestyle terms is the ability to work smarter and not harder. It is the ability to get more done and deliver more value to more people with less time and energy. It is the ability to replace yourself as much as possible without losing the quality of the task at hand. For many people this can sometimes prove challenging, due to the fact that many individuals refuse to let go of certain life tasks or formal operational methods due to a blown up ego or because they are afraid that no one can basically perform the certain task as well as they can. This thought pattern is a crippling one and is a pattern that other lifestyle designers and myself have to learn to overcome. With my experience in the past, if a task can be leveraged to someone or something and can be performed 80% as efficiently compared to if you were to do it yourself , then that is adequate and should be delegated to him/her/it.
With all of this said, let me stress that leverage DOES NOT = laziness. It simply reflects a smarter and more efficient way of tasking and all be it , living. Here are 3 main sources of leveragability that I have discovered, along with a brief overview of each.
IF LEARNED AND PRACTICED WITHIN ACCURATE MEANS, THESE 3 LEVELS OF LEVERAGE HOLD THE ABILITY TO CHANGE ONES LIFE ACCORDINGLY.
3 KEYS THAT WE ALL HOLD
POTENTIAL RELATIONSHIP LEVERAGABILITY(PRL) – Some of the most adherent and wisest leaders you will find are those who surround their selves with individuals who are either smarter than they are or are more skilled. Thus they can then leverage other peoples strengths , wisdom, and skills to further either their self or their vision.
PRL is the aptitude of leverage concerning people or the skills of people. Simply put, it is the effectiveness of how well one can use the resources of others to perform a task or further a vision. It extends to but is not limited to employees, friends, acquaintances, online contacts, those who may be in debt(not necessarily financially) to you, or anyone else in your realm of living as well as future relationships.
When PRL is put into effect, one must use a selective feeder in making sure that the people you are leveraging will in fact perform said method adequately by at least 80% of desired outcome. If not, then I suggest looking elsewhere.
· PRL also includes the reputation that you hold as an individual. Reputation too can be leveraged in relationships if people hold a high respect for you.
POTENTIAL RESOURCES LEVERAGABILITY(PrL) – Ones aptitude in using tools or objects as resources to accomplish tasks rather than the use of ones energy. PrL speaks respectively in terms of how you can use the mechanics of tools and thereof. Many computer programs fall into the efficiency method form of PrL.
PrL pertains to basically any motorized, mechanical, computerized, or nonliving forms of operations. Certain examples of PrL are……
Setting an alarm clock in order to help my wife wake up rather than taking 5 minutes of time and energy to call her in order to do the same. I use the alarm clock as my leverage.
Using any of 37Signals web applications to either help organize a daily routine, checklist, or other operation geared towards more computer minded individuals rather than relying on other outdated methods which use more of time and energy.
Simply driving a car somewhere rather than walking(although for obvious health reasons, walking may be suggested ).
Using the weights in a gym as an method of leverage in order to “get fit”.
Also let it be known that when speaking in terms of resources, many people associate time and mobility with leverage. I , however do not. Time and mobility, to me are currency, therefor they fall into the third of our leveragabilities…..
POTENTIAL CURRENCY LEVERAGABILITY (PCL)- Ones aptitude in using the assets that we create in life in order to help accomplish goals or certain tasks. When speaking in terms of assets, I speak of mainly the 3 main currencies of lifestyle design….TIME, MOBILITY, and MONEY. When speaking in terms of money, we also include vehicles that create this such as business or investments.
The peculiar thing about this form of leverage is that the very objects that we are using to create leverage are actually the same objects that we create leverage FOR.
An example of leveraging your time would be holding a telisimenar and speaking with 10, 20, or 60 individuals all at the same time rather than speaking with them each on an individual basis.
An example of leveraging your mobility would be traveling not for travels sake, but rather traveling to help support a non-profit organization that builds houses for survivors of natural disasters in Vietnam. Thus your travel expenses can be written off tax exempt saving you on your money.
An example of leveraging your money would be as simple as the concept of investing. The magic of having money work for you rather than you working for money has been tried by the test of the ages, and still holds up.
HARDER, FASTER, STRONGER…
Daft Punk has recently come to the mainstream due to the remix of this original song by Kanye West. Contrary to popular musical beliefs, one does not have to work harder, faster, or stronger but can use some of these simple suggestions of leverage to help mold ones life to fit what he/she expects from it.
What are your thoughts? Any leverage forms or rules that you would like to add. Is leverage still a relevant topic? How does leverage help you in your daily life. Sound off and let us know…..
Also, in the upcoming weeks look for an in depth interview with Michael Davis of Familyhack fame. You have seen him mentioned on here and he frequents from time to time with comments. Find out how Michael and his wife , Hanna, apply laws of leverage in their own life. Be prepared for tales of travel, independant living, and messy diapers.
October 2, 2007
This post of The Lifestyle Maverick blog is devoted to an art that has been handed down through generation upon generation. It is a tactile and albeit testimony to what an individual can accomplish when they put there mind to a certain grindstone. What is this art that transcends all others you ask? It is the simple act of brown nosing, or rather “Getting in Good” with others. There is a simple moniker given to this art of brown nosing that most people refer to and that is one known as “schmoozing”.Schmoozing, brown nosing, or getting in good with others is infact a practiced art and one that , when applied , can open doors to individuals that once were not possible. Now dont get me wrong, I do not endorse rubbing elbows with individuals just for the sake of your betterment or so that you may get something out of it. However, I have figured out that it is easier to make a sale, create joint ventures, or build partnerships with people that you already know than those you have just met. The key component is establishing a relationship before you need it. The key to doing this is found in the design of schmoozing.
Guy Kawasaki, a lifelong entrepreneur and former Microsoft tech junkie, offers these invaluable tips to us on how to use schmoozing to set yourself up for success. Basically, a “How To” on rubbing elbows with others….
1. Understand The Goal– In his book The Frog and Prince: Secrets of Positive Networking to Change Your Life, Darcy Rezac gives the world’s best definition of shmoozing: “Discovering what you can do for someone else”. Great schmoozers want to know what they can do for you, not what you can do for them. If you understand this, the rest is just mechanics.
2. Get Out – Schmoozing is an analog, contact sport. You can’t do it alone from your office on the phone or via computer. Force yourself to go to trade shows, conventions and seminars. Get out there and press flesh.
3. Ask Good Questions, Then Shut Up – The mark of a good conversationalist is not that you can talk a lot; it is that you can get others to talk a lot. Ask questions like “What do you do?” “Where are you from?” “What brings you here?” Then listen. Ironically, you’ll be remembered as an interesting person.
4. Unveil Your Passions – Talking only about business, the matter at hand, etc. is boring. Your passions make you interesting. Good schmoozers unveil their passions after they get to know you. Great schmoozers lead with their passions.
5. Follow Up – In his career Guy has been said to have given away thousands of business cards. If all those people called or emailed him , he would never get anything done. The funny thing: Hardly anyone ever follows up. Great schmoozers follow up within 24 hours — a short email will do. Include one thing that shows the recipient isn’t getting a canned email. ” Nice to meet you. I hope we can do something together. I loved your Breitling watch. I have two tickets to the Stanley Cup Finals if you are interested.”
6. Make It Easy to Contact You – Many people who want to be great schmoozers don’t make it easy to get in touch. They do not carry business cards, or their cards do not have phone numbers and email addresses. Even if they do have the information, it is written in gray 6-point type. This is great if you re schmoozing teenagers, but if you want old, rich, famous and powerful people to call or email you, use 12-point font.
7. Give Favors – One of my great pleasures in life is helping other people; I believe there is a big Karmic schoreboard in the sky. God is keeping track of the good that you do unto others , and He is particularly pleased when you give favors without the expectation of return from the recipient. The scoreboard always pays back.
8. Ask for Favors in Return – Good schmoozers give favors and return favors. But great schmoozers ask for favors to be returned. You may find this puzzling: Isn’t it better to keep someone indebted to you? No, because keeping someone indebted puts undue pressure on your relationship. By asking for and receiving a return favor, you relieve the pressure and set up a whole new round of give and take. After a few rounds, you will be the best of friends, and you will have mastered the art of schmoozing.
Your thoughts? Does schmoozing help elevate relationships ? Rather yet, do relationships hold a certain systematic design, like all other things in life? If so, doe schmoozing hold a key in being able to unlock certain relationships as well as bend others to your advantage? God, I probably sound like a mad scientist right now….
September 26, 2007
Before I delve into the heart of the matter of this blogpost I need you to turn on your mental radars and have you take a very important note. Remember this….there are 3 key forms of currency that lifestyle designers or location independent professionals use in order to live the lifestyle they do. Neither one is more important than the other, and all 3 compliment each other accordingly. In no particular order , these currencies simply are…
I have recently received several emails enquiring about the later, more specifically pertaining to how one goes about bringing in a nice chunk of change while still being able to have free control of time and being mobile in the same aspect. Now many of you know methods pertaining to being a traveling web developer, a online business entrepreneur, or using some other form of online coaching or networking to bring about cashflow to supplement the absence of a “cubicle or desk ridden” career . Infact many of you who read this daily, from short conversations I have held with you, have used these vehicles to accomplish this. Kudos to you!!!
For anyone who has yet to reach this supplemental income and yet still yearns to, but are not necessarily intrigued by the thought of an online start up, let me suggest a method that I have found invaluable in being able to have the third of our currencies flow in while you yourself aren’t necessarily tied down to a location limited profession. This method is valuable in that when I put it into effect I can go from an individual used to earning $20 an hour to an individual who earns $300/hour or more.
Got your attention yet?
THE MADNESS BEHIND THE MAYHEM The way that I do this, and it isn’t necessarily practiced by many lifestyle designers(at least not that I hear commented about) is through online stock trading. Now before you go running in the other direction while rolling your eyes at the last sentence let me explain something pure and simple that caught ahold of me several years ago…….Stock investing is not as risky as the PROFESSIONALS make it out to be. Remember these two things..
1. THERE IS A SYSTEMATIC DESIGN TO EVERY ASPECT OF LIFE. (Even the stock market)
Each aspect of life has a system by which we are taught to operate by.
2. EACH SYSTEMATIC DESIGN CAN BE ALTERED USING THE PROPER, KNOWLEDGE, AND TOOLS .
Reality is bendable despite what you are taught.
So don’t let what these so called professionals tell you as far as risk is involved. Its nonsense. The stock market, like everything else in life can be tweaked to your advantage. I never was a fan of investing or the stock market until I learned how to manipulate it, and at that point it became my best friend. It took less than one year of gathering some very simple and readily available information and learn how to put it into proper use before it changed my financial outlook forever.
I am a technical analysis trader meaning I buy and trade based on charts and what they tell me about a company at that point. One of the most popular technical traders at the moment is popular guru and online mentor Phil Town. Phil has a widely popular book that explains the simpleness of a method similar to the one I use which I suggest purchasing if at all possible. With that said, the simple structured plan that I go about when trading is this…..
Be willing to find a company you know is going to grow @ a good rate based on your standards given you in the book.(About 1-1.5 hours work)
Buy the company at a heck of a price when 3 easy charts(which can be accessed on MSN for no fee) match up . Reading these charts is like a cakewalk, so don’t let the thought of technical analysis scare the day out of you.Take a look at these charts about 30 minutes before the market closes .
Based on information you know, if the charts say to sell then sell and reap your rewards, if not then hold the stock and ride it out for more money. A quick glance at the charts takes all of about 5 minutes per day, the large part which is spent logging online. So this isn’t exactly hard rock pounding labor on your part.
EVEN GOOFS CAN DO THIS
An example of how this works is this. On August 22 I purchase 68 shares of Foster Wheeler(FWLT) @ $100.76 per share . Looking into the company and deciding if I was buying it at a good deal took about an hour and a half of work. I go online to a broker such as Ameritrade and place my order. A couple of clicks and my work is done for the day.
Each day after this I go online @ 2:30 PM CST to check where the stock is for the day. The reason I check at this same time each day is because the market swings up and down during the day, meaning so do the stock charts. By checking at the end of market close I know where the chart is more than likely going to sit for the remainder of the day. If the charts match up and all is well I keep the stock , if not I sell.
It takes a duration of 7 days doing this, each day taking about 5 minutes out of my schedule to check the charts , before I sell FWLT. So on August 29 I go online and sell my shares of FWLT(now which are going at $109.83) for a nice little gain of $596.66 .
It took me a total of 2 hours total time make this amount (the initial 90 minutes it took to do research and buy it along with the 30-35 minutes combined total time that I checked it daily). So relatively speaking I make close to $300 an hour for my work.
The funny thing is that I goofed and misread the charts that day. I should not have sold and in fact if I would have kept and held the stock I would be banking alot more an hour than that. So yeah, I’m really kicking myself in the arse on that one. Should my wife read this she more than likely will be kicking my arse too!
If a goof like me can do it, anyone can!
Now when it all comes down to simply restructuring your thought process and manner in which you go about this, just like anything in life, it becomes minimal and simple. The fact that if your portfolio is made up of just several companies such as this that provide an adequate amount of gain you can be set and up your average income per hour very easily. It again covers supplementing our third currency I mentioned in the beginning. It also leaves room for our other two currencies so that one can dream of traveling and cultured events such as this one rather than having to face craziness like this. Just another reason you may want to get out of the office a little more.
As you read this you may notice the nice and official little “beta” located beside the blog title towards the top. Handy huh? Within the next month there will be some handy little tweaks to the blog, as we will be “pimping it out”. Meaning you get a made over Lifestyle Maverick blog plus you will get a chance to see pics of my ugly mug finally. For those of you who know me, Im sure you are running away at this moment…..
Golden money head pic provided by rux-shots
September 22, 2007
One of the currencies that one can operate with once he/she begins to set standards within their life and mold it to fit their liking is the all valuable aspect of time. With the majority of individuals “locked into” a certain time lynching box by the majority of jobs or careers, once is not given the freedom to dream of travel outside of a “vacation” to Panama Beach for one week. Please spare me, ill just sit in the office the extra week and save myself the extra weight I would put on by eating too many crab legs dipped in oooooooh so yummy tartar sauce. I digress.
To individuals who have learned to alter life and its perceptions, travel once again becomes a possibility to aspire. Take one of my good online associates, Michael, of Familyhack notoriety. Michael is a married man with children who , from what one concludes after reading his blog, is able to provide for all 3 of the members of his troupe, pay the bills, and still travel the earth(with family in hand). I suggest checking out his site and reading up on some of his adventures(specifically if you think that you cannot travel while raising a family).
With that said, and with Michael now owing me for the shout out, I take on the subject of traveling one of my favorite continents in the world….South America. Its saucy flavor combined with equally saucy culture is something to be admired. And the food, as you will see, is worthy of a blog site all of its own. Through times I have allotted myself freedom to travel I have spent an equality of one years time traversing through South American countries, with a 3 month stint exploring Bolivia with no sign of traveling elsewhere. So with that said, here are a few tips of survival to anyone who wants to dream or is now living the dream of a travel-bound professional. Get pencil and paper appropriately ready.
1. PACK LIGHT – Remember you are going there to visit and enjoy a culture, not move in for the rest of your life. The more luggage you carry, the less you will want to travel. The majority of clothes that you think you need, you really do not and the formal ones that you truly are in need of can be packed in a very simplistic design such as this. It saves you space, avoids the need for a carry on iron, and leaves your clothes wrinkle free.
For t-shirts and jeans I suggest the army folding method. You will be shocked how many t-shirts you can fit into one suitcase using this method. I suggest no more than one piece of smaller luggage per trip and if you are feeling adventurous try only one backpack full of clothes. It is doable despite many naysayers.
2. YOU DON’T HAVE TO BE FLUENT – Contrary to popular belief, I don’t believe that one has to be able to speak a language fluently if you are planning on stinting in a foreign country. I took a year of Spanish classes in high school and the only thing that I learned in there was how to pronounce my name…Bernardo; and how pronounce dog and cat. It wasn’t until I touched down in Santa Cruz, Bolivia that I began to become fluent in Espanol. By associating and communicating with culture and individuals I was able to pick up on what my 11th grade teacher could not embed in my noggin.
For those who want to learn or brush up on a language that is great! A carry on English to Spanish dictionary always has been a fav. And with new tools such as Mango becoming readily down loadable to individuals, the need for paper dictionaries is lessening. For diehards who must feel adequate in their language skills before setting foot on a plain, check out this newest post by uber-guru Tim Ferris on brushing up your memory.
Remember, knowing a language is very important; and one should have a grasp of the basics of communication to make your way about. However, don’t let a lack of not knowing how to ask “Where is the pee pee hole?” restrict you from adventure.
3. YOU ARE A GUEST – Act like one. Alot of countries have had a bad perception of Americans for awhile now. Don’t give them more reason to think so. Don’t spit, don’t talk loud, don’t point at people, and guys don’t scratch your privates in public. Use essential rules regarding decency and manners.
Be willing to adapt to cultures. You are accustomed to eating dinner @ 6 PM, South Americans tend to eat it @ around 10 PM. Grab a light snack and wait until later to dine. Just use a napkin, don’t devour and don’t pick your teeth at the end of the meal.
4. BE AWARE OF CURRENT EVENTS – As much as I love almost every aspect of Bolivia, at this moment I would be quick not to travel to Sucre or La Paz simply because there is a large amount of social upheaval occurring at the moment. The majority of South American countries are deeply affected by politics and the corruption of. Be quick to study any social climates of any country you are thinking about visiting. Even if there is a sign of tensions heavily rising you may want to hold off for a bit….chances are that there may be an outburst while you are there. Just use common sense.
5. DON’T ACT LIKE PAPARAZZI – You are allowed to take pictures. That is what makes traveling so memorable. You are not allowed to take pictures of anything and everything. Avoid the “tourist” mindset and be polite. Ask before you take someones pictures. Did you know that the natives up on Alte Plano believe that by taking their picture you steal their soul? Or that the witches at the witch market lining the side of the La Paz market place will supposedly hex you if you take pics of them or certain items on their shelves?
I chose not to take a pic of the leper on the side of the Cochebamba sidewalk for obvious humanitarian reasons. Most should learn to do the same.
6. TRY THE FOOD – I had no idea how much I loved Spanish food until I ate real Spanish food! You will be surprised by what you actually like……who knew that fried pig intestine actually tasted decent, although chewy. Likewise you will be surprised by what you do not like….as romantic as cheese and wine sounds, the Spanish version I tried did not hit the spot. As long as it is cooked the majority of vendor stands sell wonderful authentic items. However I never could pull myself to buy some of the meat hanging from some of the market places. If there are flies swarming around it in the open or it is raw, walk away.
7. HAVE FUN – Be willing , as you adapt to a culture, to become part of it. You will not only be appreciated by others for it but will have more fun by doing so. Ride the taxis and the micros (thanks to freevicente). You will be able to see more of the country, get a better feel for the people, and become one of the people. Just be sure to find out where the micro is going before you board it.
Its just a short laundry list, but they are 7 (to what I believe to be) vital tips pertaining to actually enjoying a country while abroad. Keep in mind that these are just a fraction of a much larger list; and as you see regulations do apply. I learned all first hand or by trial and error, which usually didn’t help the fact.
Feel free to comment or add any other tips of your own, possibly even tweak these if you see fit. Is there any other vital information one should know regarding traveling in South America when it comes to enjoyment or safety? Speak your voice and have your say.