Self-Employees of the Month: Andrea Enright & Michael Boudreaux

Andrea Enright and Michael Boudreaux

A man may have lived all of his life in the gray, and the land and trees of him dark and somber. The events, even the important ones, may have trooped by faceless and pale. And then … the glory … a man pours outward, a torrent of him, and yet he is not diminished. And I guess a man’s importance in the world can be measured by the quality and number of his glories.”

–John Steinbeck

In 2005, Andrea Enright was living a golden, idyllic freelancer’s lifestyle, her communications portfolio fattening ever with contracts from well-known clients that ranged from Boston Market to Planned Parenthood. She had already successfully escaped the proverbial grind … but something was still missing. Her husband, Michael Boudreaux, a tech maestro for DIRECTV, thought so too. After a bit of soul-searching, they blew out of Denver and joined the Peace Corps.

When their two years of service in Bulgaria came to a close, Andrea and Michael kept going. On a mission they call “Wanderlust or Bust” they continued across the globe, including Syria, Lebanon, and Kurdistan (yeah, that’s Northern Iraq), couchsurfing, blogging, videoing and volunteering as they went. Continue reading

Changing Forecast

Brilliant bloom in Joshua Tree National Park

Look how the sun has emerged, despite

expectations and the wringing of hands.

A new warmth arises on the April wind.


I am here again at an old crossroads:action

at odds with intention. Accomplishment sacrificed

to the short-term pleasure of just being here.

–Barbara Swift Brauer, from “Changing Forecast”

West Marin Review, Spring 2008

Do pardon my ridiculously long hiatus. What kind of devoted blogger just up and vanishes like that?

I vanished, alright. One day I was in East Point, Georgia, and the next day–poof! I was gone. For some reason, I thought I would manage to keep blogging throughout this latest relocation (yes, my second cross-country move in eight months). Over the last few weeks, I packed up everything I own and drove it over 3,000 miles to Petaluma, California.

After a brief affair with my native South–not to mention extra poundage primarily attributable to The Flying Biscuit–I feel lucky as hell to be back land of milk and honey (and all around healthier cuisine) known as California. It was touch and go there for a few months, as my partner and I hemmed and hawed over the prospect of an international relocation to Denmark. Ultimately–and no doubt to the disappointment of travel hungry friends and family–I decided that the San Francisco Bay Area feeds my work and life in a way that no place else can.

En route, I thought that I’d be able to pound out enthusiastic blog entries from, say, the scuzzy motel where we stayed in Henryetta, Oklahoma. War correspondents can write from Basra, after all. But I guess I’m just not hardcore like that. After a 10-hour shift at the wheel, anything I had to say was bound to be an incomprehensible stream of mush. Just ask my partner.

Continue reading

Home | Charles Dickens

Charles Dickens

“When I speak of home, I speak of a place where–in default of a better–those I love are gathered together; and if that place were a gypsy’s tent, or a barn, I should call it by the same name notwithstanding.”

–Charles Dickens

I loved coming across this quote on Thanksgiving Day. I’ll certainly keep it with me as I spend the holiday season traveling, and continuing trying to cultivate that sense of home wherever I go.

Lingerers and Quitters

psychtoday.jpg

This month’s issue of Psychology Today has a great article, “Move On!” , encouraging us all to do just that. If you’re thinking of escaping but second guessing yourself like crazy, this is the article for you. An excerpt:

“Some people plod away in dreary jobs and dead relationships, while others are forever cutting people off and finding new careers. If you fall into one of these two extreme categories, your tendency could be a default.

Continue reading

Overanalysis!

misceuro_atl-132.jpg

Birdbrain: small, streamlined, intuitive. Not such a bad thing.

I have really come to despise all commentary on the state of blogging—what it is, what it should be, who’s the hottest blogger, etc. etc. It’s all just a little too self-conscious for a medium that should still be fresh and spontaneous. When technology supersite Techmeme recently cranked out the Leaderboard, a list of the web’s 100 most referenced blogs, one observer noted that what differentiates bloggers from other journalists is simply that blogs are not edited.

Upon reading this, I realized just why I have been such a hot-and-cold blogger. First of all, I’m an editor by trade—deeply valuing brevity and concision. Personally speaking, I edit myself constantly (for better or worse) conjuring a level of self-analysis that is perhaps at odds with the blogosphere itself.

As a result, in this time of tumult and transition these last few months, there have been days when I’ve consciously refrained from blogging. Frankly, I’ve not fully trusted myself to write something relevant to my overarching theme of professional and creative fulfillment. When I’ve managed to squeeze out time for writing, often all I felt like doing was ranting about the giant cockroaches in our rental house, bemoaning the impenetrable traffic on the Atlanta freeways, or cursing all the money that we’ve accidentally spent setting up house in a place where we don’t even know we’ll stay.

But who wants to hear that crap?!

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Trouble | Joel Chandler Harris

American Alligator

“You’ll be lookin’ for him in the broom grass and he’ll be sneakin’ up on you in the water.”

–Woody of The Wren’s Nest

Today I sat in the steamy heat of a West End Victorian garden and listened to the folktale of Brer Alligator, who didn’t know what trouble was but decided it couldn’t be as bad as his comrade Brer Rabbit had warned.

We sometimes become convinced we’re untouchable. But we’re touched by everything we experience, and the scars we collect are usually worth the lessons that go along with them. I mean, if Brer Alligator hadn’t caught on fire and earned those bumps, we could hardly call him an alligator at all.

Did I mention how much I have come to enjoy Gator Bites?

Limbo | Laurie Sheck

Boxes

“Teohare: to be suspended between two different places.

And yet it seems the remembered home home is not one home but clusters

Of otherwise and absence, reeling, and ever-changing. Nor is one single here.

How I the constantly crumbling yet still stands.

We pass south of the river. I count oak trees, birch trees, beech.”

–Laurie Sheck, “The Eleventh Remove”

To create a newer and better situation is–yes–liberating, but also potentially upsetting in the unfamiliarity it brings. C’est la vie. Laurie Sheck’s new book of poetry Captivity is some kind of godsend in that it captures this perfectly. If you’re feeling trapped in any way, this book deserves your attention.

As for me, I’m starting to feel that all the commotion of breaking out of my current life (i.e., packing and moving) is robbing me of what’s recently become dearest to me–writing time. I promise to get back on the full-blown, essay-style blogging wagon soon, but as you can see from the picture above, I’ve got my hands full at the moment.

Soon….

Lessons from the Laundromat

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For the first time in two weeks, everything in my suitcase is fluffy and clean. This includes my jeans, which didn’t take well to my half-hearted handwashing in Tallinn. A clean stack of laundry may not sound like much of a triumph, but considering that a week ago I was in a city with no public laundromats, it is a triumph indeed. Honestly, I had a better day today because I had truly clean clothes.

Logistics matter. They matter a lot. Continue reading