Sometimes I come across a project that inspires me simply by reminding me of the power of social media and it’s ability to bring people together to achieve amazing things. Grammy Award-winning composer and conductor Eric Whitacre’s Virtual Choir projects does just that. He takes 8,000 singers of all ages from around the world and puts them together on one stage. The results are remarkable.

How can you engage your fans, friends, followers, customers, etc. to create amazing things with you?

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Hello there gorgeous. I’m back after a year-long hiatus and I am more excited than ever to start sharing my thoughts with you again. A lot has happened since my last post back in June 2011. In the Fall of 2011, I left my job and NYC to travel. What began as a two month break from my hyper-social, fast-pace life in the city to “find myself,” evolved into a year-long life-changing journey in which I lived in Cape Town, Madrid and several cities in the United States. I spent Christmas in a Safari in Kruger Nation Park (see here and here), where this famous video took place. I celebrated with the rest of Madrid when they won the Eurocup and protested with my fellow Spaniard friends when austerity measures threaten their quality of life; I ate weird things. I met wonderful and passionate people; I fell in love once or twice (kinda).

If I could narrow down what I’ve learned during my travels to one sentence it would be this: Leave your comfort zone and travel the world and you will reclaim your ability to:

• listen to your heart
• nurture the courage to follow its advice
• identify the steps towards fulfilling your dreams

I am often asked how I was able to travel for a year. Most of my friends say they wish they could do something like this when they hear my stories. When I reassure them that they can their inner pragmatic critic kicks into high gear to remind them of all the reasons they cannot embark on the journey of their lives (job, career, apartment, car payments, student loans, boyfriend/girlfriend, the list goes on). This inner critic keeps you from contemplating the small steps you can take to make the bigger goal a reality. So I’m going to tell you how I did it and hope this sparks your interest enough to start silencing that inner critic and planning for a life-changing journey.

How I was able to travel for a year

First thing I did was to silence that pesky voice in my head telling me I couldn’t do it and that I needed to get a job ASAP. I then defined the goal (e.g. spend 3 months in Madrid) and made a list of actionable steps towards that goal. I started small but kept it very detailed oriented. I needed to save $3,000 in two months so I broke it down into weekly savings goals ($250 x 12 weeks = $3,000 = student loan payments, Madrid rent and tapas/cheap wine for 3 months). You can also get creative and figure out how to leverage what you already have or what you’re good at to add value to others and make money doing it. In my case, renting my NYC apartment on Airbnb.com for the time I was traveling helped me fund a big chunk of my travels. I picked up small consulting gigs from friends who owned small businesses and needed digital strategy advice to promote their services. In Cape Town I had a short stint as a pizza marker at Col’Cacchio Pizzaria and as a bartender in a Peruvian bar called Keenwa. Keep in mind that you can live surprisingly well in many foreign countries with just a fraction of what you’re used to earning.

How can you help a friend or family member with your expertise? How can you monetize what you already have using collaborative marketplaces like airbnb, taskrabbit, and others (read more about collaborative marketplaces here)

So where am I now?


I recently moved to Miami and joined the brilliant folks at BGT Partners as a Senior Strategist. Driving to work every day instead of taking the subway, living on the beach and this over all sense of newness is absolutely tantalizing. Towards the end of my travels I began having this urge to elevate my professional practice and produce work that exceeds my previous standards of excellence. What is different this time around? I feel much more confident about my ability to make a difference in my industry and in the world. I have a keener sense for what people and organizations need. Perhaps by re-learning to listen to myself I was able to fine tune my ability to listen to the world around me.

Have you ever taken a break from your career? How has it affected you? Do you want to take the leap but are not sure how to start? Email me and let’s talk. I might be able to help.

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Rachel Botsman: Collaborative Consumption and Reputation Capital

October 1, 2012

Stack Overflow, Airbnb, TaskRabbit – how are these and other collaborative marketplaces giving people control of their economic activities? How is the reputation currency you develop on these sites unlocking a sense of power and trust that adds value beyond those environments? “There are only a few windows in history where the opportunity exists to […]

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Best Use of QR Codes I’ve Seen To Date

June 22, 2011

Tesco/HomePlus had a goal of becoming the #1 grocery chain in South Korea without opening more stores. Solution: Let the store come to the people and turn waiting time into shopping time Execution: Subway virtual stores that allow people to shop from their smartphones. The product picture displays where exactly the same as the displays […]

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