Seamless in Seattle: Travel for the Digital Nomad

Seamless in Seattle Travel for the Digital Nomad Live Work Anywhere

Talk about seamless travel. Let me tell you a story.

I missed my flight due to a 3 hour commute with my taped-up duffle bag. Trying to save $100 may end up causing me more later in back problems, but I was determined to give up some cash.

I missed the baggage check-in by 10 minutes. So I had to sleep at the airport yetagain. Normally, I’m prepared for this, and I love getting wifi and quiet time. Not the case this time.

It was the coldest night in 3 years in NYC, and with revolving doors, pre-security gate, the draft was continuous. I ended up giving my metro card and travel hand lotion to William, a schizophrenic homeless man who I ended up chatting with for half of the night. We met in a 24 hour Subway, where we’d both meandered into to find a warm spot in the airport. It helped out a fellow person and it lightened my load.

Boingo came to the rescue. I had never purchased it before, but now that I’m without a phone and can’t tether, I decided to try it out. Plus, they had a pretty sweet promotion going on: Full service for $4.98 USD per month. (Note: Can’t wait to update more later about my experience with Boingo while on the go and just how seamless it is. Definitely keeping an eye on them.)

When I’m prepared with WiFi, extra clothes, packed lunch, and toiletries, and feel safe, then not much else matters. I’m covered. However, I didn’t think I would be forced to lug around 100 lbs of duct-taped gigantic body bag all night, taking it with me to the bathroom and everywhere else I went per Port Authority (on the bright side, I do feel pretty buff! Move over, p90x).

But, even with that, I knew to prepare. I wasn’t the only one who JUST missed the baggage window. Another girl on the flight had the same luck, and was crying and hysterically berating the attendant. All I could think about was that I was glad that wasn’t me. Don’t get me wrong, I was miserable and disappointed. But thanks to being able to just pop up my laptop anywhere, I knew I wasn’t stuck.

The only thing I was worried about was my 11:30 am PST meeting along with the time change. I’d get in with 2 hours to spare.

The morning flight rolls around and I get to board, finally ditching my bags – woohoo! But due to strong winds, the flight was delayed. And rerouted, tacking on an extra nearly 2 hours.

I’ll just email them in-flight, I thought. But, no Boingo, so I couldn’t. The plane landed and, with minutes to spare, I was able to grab a coffee and plug in at Starbucks (#thingsiloveaboutseattle). I actually had a spot to sit down with Wifi and power.

Connecting with Google Voice from the same number as my phone, with noise canceling headphones, and in the meeting on time. I could be doing this anywhere! And that’s just the point!

When’s the last time you worked seamlessly while?

The World, in One City – NYC – New York City

NYC the world in one city

Things I love about New York City.

It’s multicultural

New York City is truly a melting pot where so many cultures come together from so many different places, with different histories and backgrounds.

They – all of these cultures – are all forced to be together, to take the subways, to interact and pass each other on the streets. There’s a language of ‘respect’ in New York that I’ve rarely witnessed in any other city in the US and in many cities in the world.  NYC is its own unique culture.

If you want a taste of traveling to foreign countries but not having to worry about the exchange rate, come to New York!

You can:

  1. Go eat a cannoli in little Italy
  2. Have a sizzling bowl of bi bim bap in KoreaTown (K-Town)
  3. Sushi in JapanTown (J-Town)
  4. Dumplings in one of the Chinatowns (that’s right – Queens and Brooklyn have them too!)
  5. Head to Brooklyn with your Cyrillic dictionary and have a perogi washed down with pure Russian vodka in Brighton beach.
  6. On your way, visit the heart of South Brooklyn in Sunset Park where you can get the most amazing tacos and Mexican pastries, and then wash them down with a beer and conversation with an old Irish police officer.  Slainte!
  7. Head to Bay Ridge and I hope you like halal and Lebanese sandwiches.
  8. Want more culture? A free ferry runs to Governors Island where you’ll find a large population of Hasidic Jews and cheap eats. Le Chaim!?
  9. Did we neglect the upper west side?  Mofongo!  Fried mashed plantains speak to my heart, and the Dominicans do a mean (and very affordable) breakfast.
  10. And of course, a good ole fashioned slice of pizza pie in the heart of manhattan or just across the Brooklyn bridge – if you don’t need a pile of napkins it’s not greasy enough.

And all of these cultures blend.  Take the East Village.  If you aren’t a postwar era Ukrainian, or even if you are, you’ve had Rays pizza, a shwarma, momofuku, pho, a pork bun, belgian fries, falafel, and boba tea – all on your street.

Every day people with unique stories of passion, of persistence, dreams, different backgrounds, languages, and cultures – all take the same subways, pass by each other on the streets, and interact in the office, in coffee shops, or in commerce.

New York City  is truly a city of the world – with its history and diversity. From Ellis island and the Statue of Liberty standing by, arms open, creating and paving this greatness of the world in one city.

Its own unique culture

You may have heard some say that people in NYC are rude.  Instead of saying they are rude, ask yourself “why are New Yorkers this way?”

Always seek the differences wherever you travel.  Cultural differences are never ‘wrong’ or ‘right’ they are just different.

Rude is just a perception.  We all have a view of the world we live in, based on our experiences from our environment.

This is an important lesson, for us all, wherever we travel.

Why do people in NYC rush past you?  Why do they not stop to hold the door for you?  Or why, in the grocery store line, do you have to fend for your position?

People are people everywhere.  There are good people, there are bad people.  Instead of labeling a culture as one or the other, recognize that it’s simply that – culture – and not a good or bad characteristic.  Learn why people act that way and you can gain a better understanding.  Expand your world, and I challenge you to make a list of differences every place you travel.

People are genuine

Even though people will rush past you or fight for their position on the train, people are incredibly helpful and they want to help you out.  When faced with a problem, New Yorkers have a real ‘stick together’ attitude.

The other day I was on the LIRR (Long Island Railroad).  I wasn’t sure I was on the right train.  I asked 1 person if I was going the right way.  Then the magic started to happen.  Everyone in my car on the train got involved in helping me out.  One guy even shouted “where you goin’?” after he put his friend on hold while speaking on the phone.

People are real, generally speaking, and they are always willing to lend a helping hand.

NYC forces you to be yourself

Not only is it the world in one city, but NYC brings out the ‘you’ in yourself.

In most cities, you still stand out.  You will probably run into someone you know.  There are more unspoken ‘laws’ with respect to how to act, how to dress, and so on.  You don’t want to disrupt the underlying societal mores.

But in NYC, all rules have changed.  There is a mix of everything.  Walking up the stairs on the subway I am surrounded by a sporty guy Brooklyn-raised to my left, a hispanic non-native New Yorker to my right, an old Jewish man in front of me, an Italian tourist just behind me.  There are so many different blends of cultures that there just simply are no rules.  There is a basic human condition we default to, which is an underlying form of communication that embodies respect and non-judgmental equality.

You could wear the same outfit every day for a year and nobody in the city would even notice.  You can dye your hair a different color every day.  You can hold hands with your best friend without any second looks.

What would your world look like if you could unveil the pressures of conformity and allow yourself to be your real you?

Disclaimer – one time I did see a man dressed up in a Tinky Winky outfit and there were some giggles.  But that’s what this city is all about.  You can be a giant purple teletubby and that is the only way you’ll stand out.

Tell me about a time when you noticed that a culture had very big differences from what you were used to and how you handled it.

6 Tricks to Sell Out Your First Skillshare Class

Skillshare Infographic 6 Tricks to Sell Out Skillshare

6 Tricks to Sell Out your first skillshare class

1. Promoting

If Skillshare already exists in your city….  great!  You can leverage their lists for distribution.

If Skillshare is new to your city or doesn’t really exist yet, ask:

What other business networks exist locally?

What other networking platforms exist where you can post your content?

For example:

  • EventBrite
  • Meetup groups
  • LinkedIn
  • Facebook
  • Biznik

Be careful of terms of service, but what I did is I pointed the other services to my Skillshare class link.  It’s all extra promotion (and SEO) for Skillshare and they encourage you to promote via social networks.  Leverage what you can, as long as it drives people to Skillshare, it’s a win/win for everyone.

Also, for the first class, keeping the costs low ($15-$25) and the class size low (5-7) will guarantee higher success.  Saying your first class “sold out” with people on the waiting list helps create demand.

The first class is hardest.

2. Build Interest

Tip: “seed” a few people in the class.  Nobody likes to be the first person to book the class.  People who are passing by and think the class looks interesting are more inclined to come if they see that others are also interested.  This validates your class concept and gives social proof, which is a must for the first class particularly.

Create a few promotion codes and give them out to friends and influencers.  Having 2-3 influencers in the community you’re targeting on the list will guarantee that your class will fill up.

Be sure to post the class a few times before it begins, for example:

  • 2-3 weeks prior make the first announcement
  • 1 week before the class, post on a day where your target audience will be most active (have your seeders planted by this stage)
  • 2 days prior make a post about how excited you are about the class to continue to build excitement
  • the day of (for those last-minute attendees)

3. Create Networking Opportunties

Potential students are likely looking at the profiles of those who signed up.  Having people who have interesting profiles helps because the potential students are going not just to learn but also to network and to create a network around a similar subject.  Encourage the students to meet other like minded people in class.

4. Focus on Great Copy:

In your class description:

  • what is it you’re teaching and why?
  • what will the student walk away with?
  • how is it applicable to them?

Don’t use tech terms that nobody will understand.  But don’t be a used car salesman either and play buzzword scrabble.

> You’ll learn: 

In this section, instead of saying

“how to use social media to grow your audience” (very generic and non-unique weak promise)

try

“how to increase your Twitter following to 1,000 quality followers in the next 30 days”  (realistic target, high quality, great ROI on class)

> You’ll walk away with:

Make sure these are practical skills.  The student should see themselves having actionable items immediately from this course.

  1. a twitter account (if you don’t have one already)
  2. the knowledge and tools to go from 0-1,000 twitter followers in 30 days

> About the Teacher:

Next, they want to know why you are qualified?  Have you done this?  Why you?

Self-promotion is SO hard but it’s necessary.  Students want to know and believe that they will walk away with the tools and knowledge to do what you did – this creates a WOW factor and will help also drive attendance.

5. Select a Great Location

Having a great location, one that resonates with your audience, is also key.  If you’re talking about tech issues to a tech crowd and you plan to meet at planned parenthood, it’s probably going to affect the turnout.

Remember, you are still selling your skills and a new class.  If you hold it at a reputable location, your credibility increases.

6. Connect with Students

This is less about filling seats, now, and more about quality.  You want to build value.  Send the students an email, a survey, take an interest and interact prior to class.  Tailor your content to the needs and interests of the eager learners.  They want to learn and they are taking time to come see you.  Give them so much value that you feel like you’re getting ripped off.  They will walk away feeling like they got their money’s worth and then some.

The result?

Powerful endorsements and “street cred” on Skillshare.  Your next class, while still following similar principles, will be easier to sell and you can increase the size of your class, and price.

At least that’s what I did.

Why Do We Follow Systems Even When It Doesn’t Make Sense?

Why Do We Follow Systems Even When it Doesn't Make Sense LiveWorkAnywhere.com

Why Do We Follow Systems Even When it Doesn't Make Sense  LiveWorkAnywhere.com

Why do we always follow systems even when it doesn’t make sense? I’m not just talking about business—I’m talking about life.

We don’t even realize we are trained, like dogs. To respond, to act. To exist.

As I write this, I just went through airport security. I had spent the night at the airport, and my nerves were fried. But after having gone through security earlier in the day, I was asked to go through again.

Now, I was in no mood to go through security again. I wanted coffee. But I’d have to wait to get it until after security, because since 9-11 no more gels, aerosols, liquids etc. And any coffee I would have wanted won’t go into a plastic bag without spilling.

The system says: I can’t track Libby individually (until we are ‘voluntarily’ chipped, ugh), so it’s the same policy as though I just arrived here and in case I’m a terrorist.

Fair enough. I went through the scan and the security guard shouted “WOMAN RANDOM.” She then asked me to step aside to be searched. I thought maybe she thought I looked at her funny until the guy said “Might as well buy a lotto ticket today, the computer picked you.”

Random. Riiiiight….

It reminded me of the movie Idiocracy where the individual person has been dumbed down, losing the ability to think for himself/herself, and letting the work of machines take over. Why is that even a possibility? Why do we ever trust machines over intellect?  Why do we not question the processes put in place?

Should I really have been pegged for a terrorist when I slept at that same airport all night?  Of course, I could have been waiting all morning just to get combustible coffee that I could sneak through and blow up the plane. Darn it! The random computer scan busted that airtight plan.

Flying through Wisconsin. I bought butter and cheese. I had to, because it’s Wisconsin. But my cheese was confiscated because it might have been very dangerous cheese!  That could have been true. Or it was just all part of the system someone put in place for situations NOT like mine.

Once a system is put in place, we blindly follow. Then we place rules on top with a punishment attached. An example: Don’t cross the road (even if there’s no traffic for miles!) until the little red guy turns to white on the traffic light. If you do, you’ll get fined. We are purposely giving up our ability to think rationally.

I am not arguing systems aren’t good. They can be eerily effective.  I just think it’s good to be aware that as we use more and more technology (as I write this from my smartphone-turned-dumbphone) we should be using our brains more, not less. Don’t give in to systems. Make the systems work for you.

What systems do you see in place in your daily life?

Dengue!

Mosquitos are very common here, so common that people walk in the streets with cans of OFF in their purses or bags.  Signs all over warn of Dengue – a disease spread through mosquitos.  Fever, body aches, muscle pain – 40 million cases and 100’s of thousands each year.  Deaths are in the teens and children and elderly are most affected.

My legs are covered in bites.  Yikes!  Think I’ll be investing in that can of OFF.  The mosquitos are unavoidable and at the concert on Saturday I’d sworn they marked that human feast on their calendar for months!  I love BA but one thing I could do without are the mosquitos!

The Perfect Time Will Never Come

One of the biggest lessons I’ve learned is that things morph.  Just getting out there and doing it is the most important thing.

Sitting and waiting for the perfect time… it will never come.

I love this Chinese proverb:

When is the best time to plant a tree?  20 years ago.  What’s the second best time?  Now.

Losing fear, making a commitment, putting a plan together.  Set the dates, stay committed.

Everything else falls into place.

The moment one definitely commits oneself, then providence moves too. All sorts of things occur to help one that would never otherwise have occurred. A whole stream of events issues from the decision, raising in one’s favor all manner of unforseen incidents and meetings and material assistance which no man could have dreamed would have come his way.”

– Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

The best time to start something was probably in the past. We can learn from our missed opportunities and instead of worrying over what might have been, we can take the reigns and start again. When the next opportunity arises … and it will .. then we can take a step forward.

 

 

Don’t Drink the Water! Pepto Dismal

How could I forget to write about my 8+ days of bowel agony!

The cause? The fish in El Salvador, I thought. It began the day after. But it wouldn’t go away. Dehydration? I drank lots of water. Then I switched to the bread, banana, and dairy diet (Yes! Ice cream!). Still a growling painful stomach ache with frequent trips to the toilet. Being that the walls were paper thin, I’m sure everyone else was also counting the days until I got better.

Now onto country 3, back in Costa Rica, and still on a banana / bread diet. I did get some pills from the pharmacy but those didn’t seem to do the trick either. So, I picked up some pepto bismo. I tripled my dose and STILL! ;You’ve got to be kidding me,’ I thought. What was I doing wrong? I didn’t have the Swine flu, did I?

A Spanish friend reminded me to be careful with the water. ‘But I stopped drinking the water a while ago,’ I said, ‘before I switched to my daily banana batidos (shakes)’ …. then it hit me. I had been drinking bananas with water and/or ice on a daily basis. Immediately I stopped, tripled my pepto bismo dosage, ate nothing but bread and bottled water and within hours I started feeling better.

Whew! No more frequent trips to the bathroom for me. I was filling up too many waste baskets (read below)! 😉

Reflection on Nicaragua Culture

I’m sitting here in Seattle, just after 8:30 pm and the sun is finally setting. I’m used to the sun setting at 5:30 pm like clockwork, and taking about 10-15 minutes to fall beneath the horizon, the weather finally cooling down from the strong heat of the day.

The sun appears again around 5:30 am. The big dipper seems to appear to the left and upside down, the stars are clear and seem so close. The sun sets in different places depending on the time of the year. It’s hot during the day and at night I rarely slept with a sheet. I wanted to, of course, as I knew that lots of funny creature – especially cucarachas – were crawling about. But, the heat made it impossible.

From Finca las Nubes, Chris, the owner, generously gave me some ‘souvenirs’ and I came back with two bags of organic coffee, along with a jar of honey from their bees, and a bag full of moringa leaves, or ‘the miracle tree’.

I realize that we are very fortunate in the States. I also realized that there’s a particular snobbiness about the US, where I didn’t feel as welcome in my own country as I did in other countries. We are so spoiled in so many ways. We don’t realize the effect we have on our environment. We don’t give back in ways that we could/should. People starve in the world not because resources are scarce, but because greed has led to poor access to information and because of the lack of ability to purchase.

Every little bit helps.

The unemployment rate in Nicaragua is around 50%. There are so many ways we can volunteer our time or skills to help.

A friend of mine, Gaspar, was managing a Subway (before the owner stole money and fled and the store was closed down). An honest guy, hard worker, he made $75 dollars PER MONTH to run the store. I took Gaspar out for Mediterranean food the night before I left. He played baseball outside of the restaurant for years, only entering the restaurant to get his ball back when it went over the barbed wire fence, but never to eat. He couldn’t afford it. Our bill was only $22 dollars – very inexpensive for me, and nearly 1/3 of a month’s wage for him.

Animals are not treated well and it makes me incredibly sad. There’s no such thing as a doggy daycare or spa. If an animal is sick, they suffer through it, or they’ll just be shot. Part of it is cultural but I feel like there’s a lot we can do to influence, first starting by example.

I also noticed that children are loving, respectful to their parents, and well behaved in countries like Costa Rica and Nicaragua. In El Salvador and in the States I noticed just the opposite. Not sure why, but my guess was that it might be related to the overflow of information, flashy things, junk food, sugary foods. Just an observation.  There’s a lot to be said for the simple things in life and the less we have the more we appreciate.

El Tunco, El Salvador

I’ve been busy posting on libbystravels.tumblr.com, anywhereprofessional.tumblr.com, and liveworkanywhere.com.

I thought it might be a good idea to do a quick post to summarize and point to the latest happenings on those sites. I took a spontaneous 30 hour road trip to El Salvador from Nicaragua. So here I am surfing and working in El Tunco in El Salvador, about an hour outside of San Salvador.

The waves are great but dangerous, the sun is so hot I’ve been swollen and burnt for 2 days. I have Internet access at the place where I’m staying, but, like I’ve found in many places, it can sometimes be slow. The people here are great, better in my opinion than Nicaragua. You can actually have a sense of trust, not short-term friendliness turned horribly wrong like Nicaragua, or the ‘don’t turn your back’ feeling in Costa Rica, or the ‘I feel like not letting you through the border without paying because I said so’ in Honduras. It’s cleaner and friendlier and other than the bad sunburn, I’m having a great time, enjoying the waves during the day, the fiestas and ambiance at night, and the 3/$1 bean and cheese pupusas in the street.

‘La Regia es mas barata y te pone …!’

Factors determining where to Live/Work Anywhere

I just joined the Live/Work Anywhere network on www.liveworkanywhere.com. One question was regarding the factors that help you decide where to live and work virtually. Here were my responses:

Climate –
Weather that is too hot or too cold makes it hard to concentrate on work.

Access to Internet –
Internet access must be reliable and fast enough to keep working.

Mail –
Sending packages and random things can be difficult in many countries, having reliable mail service is helpful.

Cost of Living –
Lower cost of living along with the other factors means higher potential return on my projects.

Some things I’ve learned from living in Central America are:

Internet access is nearly 1/8th that of the United States. If you are blogging, emailing, and uploading small files, you don’t notice too much. Anything bigger than that, watching youtube videos or uploading them, opening too many windows and uploading/downloading larger files will slow you down. Also, the power will sometimes go out and you have no option but to wait until everything is restored, or to find a place with a generator to keep going.

The cost of living is low, paying on average $150 for a 1 bedroom apartment, but finding reliable service for Internet makes the $150 for a shared room in a larger city like Buenos Aires in South America a more attractive option.

Routine is important to me and because of the climate, I’ve found the best times to work are either early in the morning or after the sun goes down. After 10 or 11 am, your brain slows down and it’s a must to head to the beach…. not so bad…. as long as you get your work done!