Karma Chameleon

We hospitality workers subtly shift roles to seek the same beauty guests do.

Most people—you and me and that woman making your latte and that man turning down your bed—we want the same thing. We want to taste beauty so potent it transforms us. “She wants to hear wine pouring,” writes the poet Rita Dove,“… taste change.” We pursue that beauty relentlessly, if in different ways.

Those of us working in hospitality, however, lead double lives.

I am one of you; I am not one of you. Here I am behind the bar; there I am slipping from my post to mingle with the crowd. First I pour your wine; later I sip from my own glass. We are alike, you and me—although when I pull on my work boots, tie back my hair, and roll up my sleeves, the resemblance might be hard to see.

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It wasn’t purely aesthetics that first drew me to wine—I can’t make such a romantic claim. Necessity factored heavily. At the height of the Recession, I arrived in Sonoma County with a lagging freelance business and no safety net. I felt wildly lucky, then, to find a gig working with a boutique winery. I’d soon become their first full-time employee. Seven years later, I still help run the place.

No, I didn’t come to wine just for the beauty—but I stayed for it. Continue reading

Storm-Chasing & Peace-Seeking

My migration across the country fifteen years ago was a pivotal point in my life. It constituted a great leap toward dreams I’d held since I was a little girl–and the beginning of my Cavalier Career.

For all the gifts of that move (and they have been countless) it also brought chaos. This week, my essay “Dock of the Bay” reflects on the ongoing quest for peace amid unrest, and the lessons of a life in motion. Thanks to Misadventures magazine for the publication.

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Feast it Forward

katieairstreamMentors, teachers, inspirations: they make my world go ’round.

It’s not everyday you find a person chasing their dreams fully and unabashedly.  Katie Hamilton Shaffer is a social entrepreneur operating a philanthropic lifestyle brand in Napa called Feast it Forward. I was lucky enough to sit down over breakfast with her recently for an interview. Afterward, I shared her story in this piece for Grape Collective.

Cavalier Career has been my work-life manifesto that’s evolved over many years (and several different blogs). Yet its basic principle has remained the same: that I have the power to create my dream job. Katie’s uncommon determination and heart makes her a guiding light for me–and surely many other professionals. Thanks, Katie!

 

Juicy Stuff

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Since summertime, I’ve been sharing tales of trailer life in Sonoma wine country via Grape Collective, an online wine magazine with quality, sometimes quirky content. I’m thrilled that my story is finding a wider audience. You’ll find those posts here. Meanwhile, I’ll keep adding updates here at Cavalier Career.

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Just Don’t Call it “Glamping”

“I can, with one eye squinted, take it all as a blessing.”

~Flannery O’Connor

“But the world, in its present state, is no place for princesses.”

~Muriel Barbery, The Elegance of the Hedgehog

I’m here to explore what kind of work and lifestyle choices can help me to wrestle this beast of an economy to the ground. It ain’t always pretty.

For the past six months, I have been living in a borrowed  RV trailer on a two-acre plot of Old Vine Zinfandel vines in Sonoma. It’s not the first trailer that I’ve lived in, and who knows? It might not be the last. This is a means to an end–a strategy intended to buck the heinous Recession Era rental system, and help me squirrel away cash in hopes of someday owning my own place.

Until that happens, I am living in a gypsy wagon–and if you call it “glamping”, I might sock you.

    

Glen Ellen, California. Site of my fabled gypsy wagon.

I am familiar with the term, however: Five years ago, I moved into in a sleek little silver bullet of a trailer on several scenic, manicured acres  in West Sonoma County. With a marriage on the rocks and struggling freelance business Continue reading