Over the past year, I’ve clung to my little gold boat through rogue waves and stormy seas. My youngest daughter graduated from high school and started college. Our beloved 6-year-old family dog died of bone cancer. My eldest daughter left the U.S. to study in Europe. My dad got sick, spent a month in the hospital, recovered, and moved into a retirement community with my mom. I was laid off after seven years as the communications director for an environmental nonprofit.
One year later, I officially entered the ranks of the so-called long-term unemployed. Through crises of confidence and bouts of depression, I managed to steer myself through the choppy patches into a few sweet spots:
- I wrote articles for Westways, Patch Media and Pelican Hill Magazine about Big Sur’s Henry Miller Library, Bantry’s West Cork Literary Festival and Laguna’s Pageant of the Masters;
- interviewed chefs, artists, designers, curators and foodies about topics from pasta to paper, art glass, 20th-century art, Guatemalan textiles and how to deter masked apple bandits (of the raccoon variety);
- volunteered as a mentor for WriteGirl, ushered numerous plays at South Coast Repertory and Laguna Playhouse, helped install vegetable gardens with Transition Laguna; cooked and served several dinners for 50 homeless clients of the Laguna Beach Relief and Resource Center; and explored trails in Laguna Coast Wilderness Park;
- took on writing, editing and marketing projects for UC Irvine, Long Beach Aquarium of the Pacific, Palos Verdes Peninsula Land Conservancy and Earprint Productions;
- developed a daily creative writing habit, won first prize in the Friends of Laguna Beach Library’s 2011 poetry contest and had a poem published in the UK; learned to give and appreciate constructive criticism in twice-monthly meetings with the Laguna Poets; took my first solo trip abroad for a writer’s workshop in Ireland; and planned a low-budget, arts- and culture-oriented trip to Spain.
One morning in March 2012, after another round of interviews, job applications and delays, I decided to stop waiting for my ship to come in and put myself to work.
No matter your age or stage of life, nationality, line of work, budget or background, Gold Boat Journeys is dedicated to inspiring you to chart your own creative course, navigate around the obstacles and gather the provisions you need to set sail.
Welcome aboard!Ellen Girardeau Kempler Chief Navigator Ellen Girardeau Kempler, All rights Reserved. Written For: Gold Boat Journeys