Posts Tagged “perspective”

The Question of Why: How I Got a Step Closer to My Life’s Purpose

The Question of Why: How I Got a Step Closer to My Life’s Purpose

Pairs Well With…Slight Changes in Course + Mind Benders + Deep thinking + Self Reflection

You know that feeling you get when you read something that doesn’t sit well with you, for whatever reason?  Maybe an article or an idiotic tweet, and it makes your blood boil? You’re fired up and your first instinct is to fire back, but instead, you eye roll to yourself, move on and perhaps think about it here and there throughout the course of the day.

But then there are times when what you read strikes a cord and forces you to think a lot – because somewhere deep down it hits home.  And you can’t stop thinking about it.  And you wish you’d never read it in the first place because somehow, it got you rethinking your actions.

Here, I’ll tell you what I mean. It all started in March back in Hanoi, Vietnam….

la long bay Vietnam

Ha Long Bay Views


I had just landed from Ho Chi Minh City and was about to embark on my first big paid content assignment for a global client. This job was big time, as far as I was concerned, and though I feel like a storyteller extraordinaire most days, I was still a bit nervous.  The company was even paying for my round trip flight on their seaplane, and that isn’t cheap either.  I was starting to get this freelance thing down nicely if I do say so myself.


seaplane ha long bay vietnam travel

A rainy day return flight


Just when I thought I had my life all figured out…

I was in my cab catching up on my morning social medias. My scrolling came to a halt as I began reading this lengthy Instagram post. This excerpt, pulled from the larger message, is the part that got to me:

“The more ‘why’ questions you ask yourself, the more you move towards your real life project, which is what do I conceptually want to leave behind.”

First of all, this was a very mind bending question for 9 am and not being caffeinated. Secondly, what was this post even saying?  Why are people trying to make my life on the road harder than it already is?  I mean, isn’t it enough that I quit my job to figure out my life’s purpose, let alone this extra pressure? I reread the post a few times, and I started questioning myself, something maybe I don’t do often enough. I’m a “just do it” kinda gal.

And so, mainly because my cab ride was obscenely long, and I didn’t want to anticipate my death watching these crazy Hanoi drivers, I started the why exercise. (If you do try this, prepare for where it takes you. Just sayin’.)

I asked myself a multitude of questions:

  • Why am I here?
  • Why did I decide to travel for an entire year?
  • Why did this company fly me out to write for them?
  • Why didn’t I have coffee on the plane?
  • Why do I always gravitate to the non-traditional path of life?
  • Why is it raining today? I didn’t bring warm clothes. (Get back on track Carin…focus!)
  • Why isn’t wine more readily available in Asia? (Now, you’re becoming that Askhole kid from Home Alone! Pull it together.  You want these answers.)
  • Why do I feel I that my biggest success stories will come from running my own business?


(You’ll see from the questions in my head, there’s a theme song that pairs well with these type of thoughts. It’s called Circus Theme, and it’s the worst when one thought triggers a thinking spiral. Ya feel me?)

The list goes on and on. The most frustrating part was when I realized what was firing me up. Many of my answers were “I don’t knows,” and that’s not a good sign because you should always live with purpose. For me, it was an indicator that I had a lot to think about and many hours of goal setting and reflection ahead of me.  Another thing for the endless to-do list.

Pause. Fast forward.  A few months later, I finally had answers to those questions:

  • Why am I here? To build a business outside the confines of a cubicle.
  • Why did I decide to travel for an entire year? To fulfill my dream of living abroad, meet some amazing collaborators along the way, and maybe even test my own capabilities, both personally and professionally.
  • Why did this company fly me out to write for them? They see my talent – and if they do, others do, too.
  • Why do I always gravitate to the non-traditional path?  I refuse to settle for less than I want, even if it means busting ass day in and day out for the perfect work set up.  To me, traditional is boring.  Anyone can do it.  You can choose to reach high or you can choose to coast.
  • Why do I feel I that my biggest success stories will come from running my own business? Because when you invest in yourself, you tell the world that you believe in yourself. You believe in your talents, capabilities, creativity…all while leaving fear behind to continue making forward progress and writing the next chapter in your story.


Storytelling is a talent of mine, and it’s something you’ll continue to see me do more of, both for myself and for others.  In regards to content…well, the good stuff leaves a lasting impression and causes you to think more deeply.  So, the person who created this post got his job done (and his point across) well.  So much so that I devoted a considerable amount of time thinking about it.

So, what’s on YOUR mind?  As always, feel free to drop me a line.  You know I love hearing from you while I’m on the road.

seaplane ha long bay vietnam carin

Ready for takeoff: My first seaplane experience

5 Key Traits That Lead You To Million Dollar Ideas

5 Key Traits That Lead You To Million Dollar Ideas

Pairs Well With…”Giving up on your goal because of one setback is like slashing your other three tires because you got a flat.” – Unknown

“You know, you might be one of the happiest people I know.  You’re like…rainbows and sunshine…pretty much all the time.  Either that or you really keep up a good front, but I doubt it,” a friend said to me last week.  A handful of things, if I may:

  1. Let’s be honest. I don’t have the energy to carry on any sort of facade, especially for the entire three months we’ve been on our trip. Forcing yourself to be something other than what you are, or guarding yourself, is a waste of time. Plus, like the rest of the group I’m traveling with, I’m too busy managing my social medias. C’mon now.
  2. Rest assured, I have my coffee and middle fingers kind of days, too.
  3. I’ve discovered that my happiness lies in my work freedom, which has allowed me to enjoy live differently, but in a more fulfilling way. I get to be creative and design big ideas and collaborations day in and day out.  That’s my sweet spot.
  4. For the record, my friend, you forgot unicorn.  I’m like rainbows and sunshine, but you forgot unicorn.  (Next time.)

I (finally) devoted myself to self-reflection this week, something I promised I would do more of in Cambodia…when I’m not tied up playing tug-o-war over my purse, that is.  I thought about what it is I love so much about my path today, and ultimately, where I want to be at the end of Remote Year. Due to the fact that this question has already been posed by people both in and outside the program, I’ve been forced to think about it, and maybe that’s an okay thing.  I guess it’s good to have clear intentions and know what I’m working towards, right?  I don’t want to find myself in the middle of month twelve thinking, “What happened?” the same way Kanye’s been wondering what’s happened to his career.


At 35, I Still Eat Cake For Breakfast

At 35, I Still Eat Cake For Breakfast

Pairs Well With…”Act as young as you feel.  You’re not getting older, you’re getting more entitled to be your fabulous self.” – Gwen Stefani

I love birthdays. If I have to get specific, my birthday. Growing up, we had a tradition in my house that you got to eat cake for breakfast on your birthday.  At 35, I still eat cake for breakfast.

Cake for Carin's Birthday

Today is my birthday, a birthday that I’ve not so positively anticipated over the last few years. I have fallen short of society’s expectations of me to have a husband and pop out a few kids. At times, I’ve felt anxious, stressed, judged and sometimes even flawed because I haven’t met what American culture deems as successful for a mid-thirties woman. And by successful, I specifically mean the marriage and kids bit.

Despite a booming career, deep social circles and a worldly background, much of what people seem to fixate on is why, “at my age” with “all I’ve got going on for me,” I am unmarried and without children. It’s hard for me to believe that people may be so narrow-minded that they think there’s only one path to happiness. But you know what they say, you can’t fix stupid.


Will The Real Wayan Please Stand Up? (Adventures in Bali)

Will The Real Wayan Please Stand Up? (Adventures in Bali)

Pairs Well With…”The Real Slim Shady” by Eminem

Last month, I made a visit to Bali, one of the places on my travel bucket list.  I spent many years dreaming of teal pools and sandy beaches in quiet, serene surroundings, the kind that offers solitude and inspires my writing.  For a while, I romanticized my Remote Year trip to be a bit like Eat, Pray, Love.  Going to Bali for a few days gave me a chance to dig deeper and do some soul searching.  I was a few weeks into my trip when I went to Bali and was feeling overwhelmed from the rhythm of my new lifestyle.  I wanted to check in with myself and get crystal clear on my intentions and personal goals for the year, especially my business goals.  

Days before we arrived in Bali, the owner of the Airbnb I rented messaged to let me know he’d be in Milan (rough life) and his house manager, Wayan, would be on point for any questions or needs throughout the duration of our trip. The place I rented was beautiful, but in a very remote, very secluded area which would cause us to need a driver.  

A solid five hours after we were supposed to land, we finally made it to Bali.  I was given the instruction to look for a man holding a sign that had my name on it.  It was the first time I had a driver, and it made me feel fancy.  Quickly locating the sign with my last name on it, mainly because it goes on forever, I walked over to my driver and introduced myself as Carin.  “Hi, Carin.  My name is Wayan.”  Huh.  I thought that was the house manager’s name.  Did the house manager come pick us up after all?  No, as it turned out, both the house manager and driver’s name are Wayan, a name I hadn’t heard before, except for maybe in Eat, Pray, Love.

The next day, after a morning filled with pool time and sunshine, we headed to the beach for lunch and a beer.  It had been so long since I’d been to the ocean that I forgot how much I loved that distinct smell of warm air, breeze and salt water.  A while later, the sun had worn us down, and it was time to recharge at the house.  After many failed attempts at getting an Uber, and the Bali Beach Patrol (BBP) trying to price gouge the hell out of us, out of principle, we began walking to a spot where we would more easily be able to get a ride since we refused to pay the tourist markup.

Well, that didn’t exactly work out the way we had imagined.  Not by a long shot.  The BBP had the transportation game on lock, and Ubers weren’t allowed in the park systems for pickups, a way to keep local cab drivers in business.  We were pretty much at the mercy of negotiating a reasonable rate to get us back to the house or living on the beach indefinitely.  (Hey, I voted for beachin’ it indefinitely, but someone else in my group had a flight to catch, soooo….)

You could tell frustrations were running high, especially since only one cab driver was passing by every twenty minutes, and the first two said no deal to our offers.  It was now or never, and time for us to get in, shut up and just get out of there.  A few minutes into the conversation with our driver, one of the gals I was traveling with asked his name. Wayan.  

What in the hell was happening here and why is everyone’s name Wayan?  For crying out loud.  We now had House Manager Wayan, Driver Wayan and now Cabbie Wayan. I got to the point where someone would go to introduce themselves, and I would think to myself, “Wait.  Let me guess.  Your name is probably Wayan.”  After all, I had about a 40% chance of being right.

In Bali, an island populated with 4.2 million people, about one in five are named Wayan. We learned this because we had asked Driver Wayan the next time he was taking us around town.  He explained that in Indonesian culture, the firstborn male is always named Wayan.  Okay, but why?  I mean, can you imagine being in a classroom on the first day of school during roll call when the teacher calls the name Wayan and about fifteen hands go up?  It’s bad enough when you have a second Sarah or Katie in a classroom, let alone a room full of Wayans.

The Balinese name their children based on the order of which they were born, the first being Wayan. The second through fourth children is named in the same fashion with a name given to those second through fourth birth rankings. What happens if the family has more than four kids?  Then the cycle repeats itself, and the fifth child becomes another Wayan.  Interesting cultural learning, that’s for sure, but the first thing that popped into my mind was this:

“YOU’RE a Wayan….and YOU’RE a Wayan…and YOU…are a Wayan!!!!


Don’t get me wrong. I’m not mocking other cultures.  There are just certain cultural concepts that make my head spin, this being one of them.  These learnings fascinate me all the same and are one of the main reasons I love to travel as much as I do.

And Wayan?  Well, he was one of the kindest and most interesting men I’ve met on this trip.  He took great care of us and showed us the best parts of Bali.  If you’re ever in town, give him a shout.

This episode of Keeping Up with the Wayan’s has been brought to you from Bali.  

Want more? Check out Project Made’s video to see footage of the beautiful beaches and temples, as well as our other Bali adventures. 

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