How do you survive as a creative in a world seemingly stacked against it? I had the chance to talk to Cary Tennis, author and columnist, about finding your way in life as a creative. I first met Cary via Salon.com. As an advice columnist, he spent 12 years advising millions of readers on love and life - thoughtfully, and through the lens of a creative. As writers, performers, musicians and creatives - or those who want to forge their own path through life and not follow the crowd, we often seek reassurance that we're on the right path. In Cary's advice column, he always responded in a wise, considered and writerly way about the problems we all face.
Marc and Julie Bennett decided their life needed a change - a big one. So they sold their home, bought an RV and now live life full time on the road. They like to say they moved into an RV to travel, work and live a more meaningful life – rich with experiences instead of things. After a little over a year, they have no regrets. They've weathered the ups and downs and settled in as location independent professionals. Their mission is to travel, love and be happy. They believe there is always a way to create the life you truly want. Their motto - sometimes it just takes an open mind, creative thinking, some hard work (or not), a spot of planning, patience, a good dose of courage, and of course – the willingness to face your fears, take a risk and just GO FOR IT! I talk to Julie about how they got to this place - individually, and as a couple - to do something most people only dream about.
Find work you love - everyone wants it. But how do you figure out who you are, what you love and how to make your dreams reality?
Roadtrip Nation started in 2001 when three friends fresh out of college weren’t sure what to do with their lives. Their solution? To road-trip around the country and ask people who do what they love how they got to where they are today.
Breckenridge, Colorado - at 9,603 feet above sea level, this town's majestic skyline includes several fourteeners. Miner's came to seek their fortunes about 150 years ago and evidence of those days still line Main Street. You won't find cookie cutter faux anything here - where even the Starbucks serves up drinks in an old yellow cottage. This small town aims to keep its own special friendly vibe by preserving its historic architecture and keeping the locals nearby with a hopping downtown full of restaurants, bars and shopping - and even an art's district - the kind where real people go and the rest try to blend in as locals.
Worthy McCormick and Bond Camp decided to make this place home after spending college and a few years beyond on the Front Range of Colorado - where the biggest cities straddle the edge of the Rockies and the Great Plains. Breckenridge was an easy choice for them to start a business called The Bivvi, a hostel designed to create community and spread friendship far and wide, if only for a night or a few weeks stay. I got a chance to talk to them about what makes both Breckenridge and their hostel so special and how they're making a go of it up in the mountains.
Why not design your own career? The sky's the limit! Dream big and aim high. Tori Hogan did just that - talking her way into numerous adventures around the world - leaving herself open to opportunity as well as seeking it out with fierce determination. Tori has spent the past decade circumnavigating the globe in search of insights and what she likes to call, travel with purpose. Over the years, Tori has immersed herself in the developing world as an aid worker, volunteer, researcher, filmmaker, and specialist on the topic of aid effectiveness. As an avid traveler, Tori’s endless curiosity about the world has taken her to every continent and more than seventy-five countries. In addition to her work and travels in the developing world, Tori has also spent time as a polar photographer on numerous expeditions in the Arctic and Antarctica. But what most intrigued me about Tori is that she combined a restless spirit with some brash confidence and a dash of serendipity to craft her destiny. I talk to Tori about what it takes to create opportunity and how the a motto of, fake it till you make it, led to her adventurous life.
Who starts a foundation in the middle of the Ecuadorean Amazon? Proving that life can always provide serendipity; Douglas McMeekin found himself bankrupt in his forties but with an opportunity to move to Ecuador. Originally from the US, Douglas worked for six years in the Amazon as an environmental and cultural consultant for eight different oil companies. This experience provided the catalyst he needed to begin Yachana Foundation and a way to give sustainable help to the Amazonian people.
In 1992 he began by building six schools and training teachers in 27 communities. Within a couple years he started buying rainforest to preserve. Then, he started Yachana Lodge, a world-class eco-tourism lodge on the banks of the Napo River, in order to generate funds to support the foundation. Since then, in true entrepreneur spirit, he has built upon the foundation, starting a fair trade organization, medical clinics, more schools, community pharmacies, and a first of its kind Amazonian boarding school - and he’s not finished yet. The impact of one man’s vision has reverberated throughout the Ecuadorian Amazon, providing opportunities and education for those at the bottom of the economic pyramid.
YACHANA is a Kichwa indigenous word that means “a place for learning." Its mission is to provide community-based solutions to poverty and environmental conservation in the rainforest. Training programs create opportunities of employment, health and entrepreneurism with a focus on social, economic and environmental sustainability. Yachana has been internationally recognized for sustainable ecotourism by National Geographic – Ashoka Changemakers, Conde Nást Traveller, Skål International, Rainforest Concern, Smart Voyager and Rainforest Alliance.
I visited Yachana lodge and foundation and left with the inspiration to share his story. Douglas and I talk about the how and why of his foundation.
Yachana Lodge Information
Can you bottle confidence? Michelle Roark thinks so. While training for the 2006 Olympics, she sought a fragrance that would help invoke the "zone." Michelle spent sixteen years on the US Freestyle Ski Team, competed in two Olympics, and won many World Cup ski events. During her incredible time as an athlete, she persevered through seven knee surgeries and faced many hardships raising funds to keep her athletic dreams alive. Most importantly, Michelle’s attitude in life is to live, love, be phenomenal, and to surround herself with people who believe in the same. I talk with Michelle about her inspirational journey from Olympian, to chemical engineer to perfume entrepreneur. Here's what it took and how she did it.
Ever wanted to live in Spain but didn’t know how to realize your dream?Spanish culture is widely known for Flamenco music and dance, bullfights, fantastic beaches and lots of sunshine, not to mention an incredible artistic heritage; El Greco, Dali, Picasso, just to name a few. They also happen to have a great desire to learn English and right now, the government is recruiting native English speakers from 18-35 to live and teach in this amazing country. Picture yourself living there, enjoying siestas and tapas with new international friends and making enough to live on...Lester Herrera did just that and now he lives and works in Madrid teaching English, doing what he likes to call, "his first retirement."
Looking to move to a small mountain resort off the beaten path that attracts a pinch of celebrity, yet still maintains its rugged charm? Telluride just might be for you. Backed up against a box canyon, the historic mining town of Telluride was established by gold miners seeking their fortune. The jagged peaks of the rugged San Juan Mountains still bear the scars of old mine sites and ghost towns haunt the area with echoes of the past. And while you may see celebrities here, they aren’t the main attraction. Locals pride themselves on keeping it real, and the hometown artists are just as famous in town as any name brand film star. Why come here? Epic chutes. No lift lines. No freeways - the nearest stoplight is 45 miles away. Dictated by nature, Telluride will never become a big city with large bedroom communities of workers commuting along a busy highway. It can’t. It’s at the end of the road. And I mean that in a great way.
World-class ski mountaineer, Hilaree O’Neill, has chased adventure on the world’s biggest mountains. Originally from Washington, she carved her first turns at 3. Seeking bigger challenges after Colorado College, she moved to Chamonix, France and discovered the world of big mountain skiing and climbing. A passion for big descents led her to ski volcanoes in Russia and mountains in Mongolia, Pakistan, Lebanon, Cho Oyu in Tibet and Baffin Island in the Canadian Arctic. Outside Magazine named Hilaree one of the most adventurous women in the world of sports: A well-earned title. By becoming the first woman, and only the fourth human ever to climb Everest and Lhotse in a continuous push, Hilaree entered the record books for high-altitude innovation and prowess.
Hilaree continues to travel the globe as an adventurer for The North Face, always ready for new challenges. But her true compass always points home to Telluride where she lives with her husband and two boys. Hilaree tells me what it’s like to live and ski this mountain town.
If you're looking for a resort lifestyle that includes the rich and famous along with a mountain big enough to satisfy even when the lift lines are long, Vail might be the place for you. Though small, Vail Village resort offers bars, boutiques and restaurants high end enough to compete with the biggest wallets. While the glamor factor is high, it’s still laid back enough and less pretentious than Colorado’s other glitzy resort, Aspen. Vail Mountain also might just have the best terrain in the state. Wide open and immense, the back bowls are legend, especially on a powder day. Vail Valley stretches along the I-70 corridor offering an easy escape to parts beyond to explore. A popular spot to see and be seen – Vail can sometimes be awash in tourists. However, the long valley gives you options to get away from it all. Working for Vail resorts also gives you entre to a variety of resorts; Vail, Beaver Creek, Breckenridge and Keystone in Colorado, Heavenly, Northstar and Kirkwood in the Lake Tahoe area of California and Nevada, Canyons in Park City, Afton Alps in Minnesota and Mt. Brighton in Michigan.
Tracey Flower happened upon Vail via serendipity in 2005 and has made it her home since. Through hard work and determination, she has created all the elements required to craft a lifestyle affording a rewarding work life balance in the mountains. Tracey and I talk about what makes Vail her ideal home.