Saturday, January 30, 2016

My Dirty 30 Birthday Update

Last year, I made 30 goals to complete before I turn 30. At first, I was a little depressed at the thought of doing an update. Had I actually done anything?

Turns I did! Here I come, 2016. 

  1. Grow a garden of fruits or vegetables and eat them
  2. Own a dog
  3. Go to a music festival
  4. Learn to drive stick
  5. Own a sari and know how to wear it
  6. Go on a spontaneous trip  - Some would say I did this, but I more meant like show up at an airport or train station and pick a place.
  7. Skydive
  8. Visit Zion National Park
  9. Take a road trip across the United States
  10. Ride a train overnight
  11. Take a cooking class
  12. Get professional, classy nudes done
  13. Visit Thailand
  14. Win a chance contest
  15. Stay in a 5-star hotel
  16. See the Grand Canyon
  17. Ride an elephant
  18. Go to Patagonia
  19. Visit Yellowstone
  20. Eat at a 5-star restaurant
  21. Get paid to work full-time for a magazine, literary journal, publishing house, or etc.
  22. Publish another book
  23. Take a "Girls Only" trip with female friends
  24. Visit Japan
  25. Take a nude drawing class
  26. Go on a cruise
  27. Live in another country temporarily
  28. Adopt or have a child
  29. See (in real life) all seven continents
  30. Pay off a loan and own something big

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

How to Move to with Nothing: Getting a Job

As you've probably gathered from other posts, Mister and I recently moved across the country. What a lot of people don't know is that we did it with very little money, no real place to stay once we got there, and without jobs in place. 

However, within two weeks of our arrival, we were working, earned our first paychecks, and signed a lease on an apartment. This short post series will go over how we did it, starting with with securing a job.

Choosing your destination
Research the area you want to live in and it's surrounding towns and cities. We were moving to Colorado and so we narrowed our job searches down to Denver and Boulder (including the small cities in between). You don't want to limit yourself to just one area, but you also don't want to be driving for hours between interviews.

If you're choosing a location you've never been to before and you cannot visit the area before the move, then research several backup cities with good or similar prospects. If it turns out that your new town isn't what you were expecting (too city or too rural, too much traffic or too little nightlife), then you'll at least have somewhere else to try. 

*Remember: No place is going to be perfect immediately and the longer you stay on the road, the less money you'll have to settle down once you pick a place.

Compare the unemployment rate to the job availability
This can be done by researching news articles online for stats on unemployment, checking the Craigslist jobs sections in your field to see how frequently they are updates, touring the websites local and statewide employment agencies for the number and types of openings listed and more. 

Denver is booming in early 2016 with an unemployment rate around 3.5%, down from 4.8% in 2014. So, yeah, it was at the top of our list.

Check out temp agencies
If you look at a lot of other blogs, they will say "Make contacts before you get there" as their tip to finding work before moving to a new area, but what does that mean? Just because you reach out to people in your new area doesn't mean there is a position open and waiting for you.

Since you're moving with nothing, earning money (no matter how little) is the biggest necessity once you arrive. Search for temp agencies in the area like Express Employment Professionals, Office Team (with the larger RobertHalf group), Aerotek, Labor Ready, and/or other agencies that you have the skills to work for. 

Make a list of the phone numbers and addresses of these agencies, including agencies with multiple locations in your area. If they applications online, fill them out and submit them to all the locations you would be available to work in. 

Make a schedule for your arrival
Once you arrive, no time should be wasted. For me and Mister, I made a schedule using a Word template, which listed times, dates, and locations of potential job opportunities as well as factoring in travel time. I kept it updated and edited it whenever anything changed. This tool is also useful when it comes to planning where to live.

If you have employment prospects already, interviews should already be set scheduled. Also, certain states and/or areas also have employment resources like postings of job fairs. Include those in your schedule. 

If you applied or need to still apply to temp agencies, go into the offices so that they can get a face to the name. You're more likely to pop into their minds when a job is available if they have already spent time with you in person. Set up your initial interview with the temp agencies and make sure to arrive looking job ready. In my experience, you can even get work scheduled for the next day. 

Secure a mailing address in the area
Since you most likely won't proof of residency yet, sign up at the local post office for General Delivery. This will allow you to at least put a mailing address on applications so that employers know you're in the area and not still out-of-state. You can also forward mail from your old address to General Delivery until you get a more permanent address.

*If you do not have a place to live yet and they question you about where you are living or why you're using General Delivery, do not tell them you are essentially homeless until the job is secured. Say something like,"We have a month to month lease, but I'm not sure we're going to stay there much longer" or "I worry about receiving mail at our place so it was easier to do this until I can get a P.O. Box" or something else.

Safeguard resumes and important documents
Make sure your resumes are crisp. If you don't want to worry about them during the move, a public library usually allows some kind of access to the printers. If not, OfficeDepot, FedEx, Staples, and many other will print your resumes for you for cents on the dollar.

As for other important documents like Passports and birth certificates, make sure those are kept nearby and in an easy place to access. If you are able to find a job before  you find a place to live and/or unpack, employers usually ask for government forms of ID. The last thing you want is to decline the position or ask the employer to wait while you frantically search for your documents.

Want to know more about moving with nothing? See our post Getting There.

Friday, January 22, 2016

The Last Six Months: Photo Journal

I've been on the move lately. 

Zion National Park in Utah
From Hawaii to Los Angeles and then across the country to Maryland in June

George Peabody Library in Baltimore, MD

Up and down the east coast

Whale sharks in Atlanta, GA
Smallest US Post Office in VA

Across the country again in September

Somewhere in Texas

New Orleans, LA
 And now Denver/Boulder, Colorado

Lookout Mountain, CO

I believe Mister and I will settle down here for a while, leaving me more time to write.

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Why I Will Not Marry My Boyfriend

*This is a long post, but you can skim the bold parts for most of the info.

I love my Mister, but I don't want to get married. 

A few weeks ago, we told Mister's mother we planned on having children before we were married and she was noticeably disappointed/confused. Others have had the same reaction so I've decided to explain why I don't want to get married to Mister. (At least, not anytime soon.)

Neither of us are particularly religious.
Marriage is a social construct made by man to...blah, blah...a piece of paper from the government to say we love each credit...etc.

I'm not the "marriage type" whatever that means.
Weddings don't excite me. They never have, not really. I was proposed to once before and when he got down on his knee, a voice in my head shouted for me to stop him. I stalled, asking him to propose again (and again) so that I could think of what to do. I didn't want to hurt him so I said yes, but asked him to "keep it between us" for the first few hours. In the months that followed, he pressured me to pick a date and I kept saying in five, six, seven years. Thankfully, that relationship didn't pan out.

But, it goes further than that. It was more than not wanting him. I wasn't the girl that grew up planning her wedding. I was the girl that daydreamed about having children and I only wanted a husband back then because I thought I couldn't have kids without one.

So, yeah, not the marriage type.

If you want to leave, then go.
If Mister and I are unhappy to the point of leaving, I don't want us to stay together because a divorce will be expensive, inconvenient, and/or time-consuming. It's not like marriage is really keeping people together anyway. The American Psychological Association and the CDC report the divorce rate between 40-50% now. I mean, I'm sure marriage has saved some couples long enough for them to work it out, but really...

I want him to stay because he wants to stay.
This is most important. I want to know that every morning we both have an equal opportunity to walk out that door, nothing stopping us, but that we don't. We choose to be together. We choose to work it out. Not because we signed a legal document or vowed we would stay in front of family and friends. Not because we are obligated, but because we want to. 

Babies change the relationship. A lot.
Having a child is something I want to do in my life, but I also know it puts new (and extreme) stress on a relationship. The Daily Mail says having the first child creates an unhappiness comparable to divorce or the death of a partner. 

Although few people would like to admit it, many of the reasons couples get divorced stems from having children. In a Wall Street Journal article formerly called Here Comes Baby, There Goes Marriage, author Andrea Petersen explains why the quality of marriages drop in the first three years after a baby is born. Thankfully, she also has some insight on how to prevent (or at least decrease) unhappy post-natal marriages.

Try googling "reasons people get divorced" and many articles will give a list similar to mine (minus these child-incorporated explanations).

  • Finances - A lot more money is leaving the relationship. Instead of going on vacations and dates, what used to be disposable income is now spent on disposable diapers.
  • Less intimacy - Sex falls off. It already might have fizzled over the years, but now the parents are exhausted, unsexy, and irritated. Worst of all, they have to sneak around their own house to "do it" which quickly goes from exciting to frustrating.
  • Lack of individual identity - A child is born. Suddenly, the relationship takes a back seat to the baby and the primary caregiver can get so wrapped up in that world that they lose their sense of self. If/when they try to regain their individuality, perhaps by going to dance classes or getting back into their career, they feel guilty for leaving the child, spending money on themselves, and/or spending time without their partner.
  • Different priorities/expectations - He thought she would stay at home. She thought he would take time off when the baby was born. He works hard at his job and wants to sit down when he gets home like he used to. She works hard at her job and wants him to help her clean up/put the kid to bed/fix a meal when she gets home. Miscommunication turns to resentment.
  • Differences in religion and parenting - She wants to get the baby circumcised. He doesn't. He wants them to go to church while she says no to all religion. She believes in an allowance. He never had an allowance growing up. He says private school, she says public. Fundamental beliefs are challenged and someone has to give up their ideals.

So no, I don't want to get married before I have children and then realize we disagree on key issues or just cannot handle the stress of raising a child together. While talking about these potential problems beforehand will probably help, no preparation is like the real thing. Those first few years of a child's life are the hardest and I want to get through those before I tangle up my finances and freedom.

For the sake of the kids.
Speaking of kids, I don't want my children to be around an unhappy, unhealthy marriage. This is unrelated, but I figure since we are on the topic of marriage I'll explain why (if I do get married eventually) I'm not opposed to divorce. 

I've heard "we're staying together for the kids" from my own (and other) parents too many times to count. As a participant in this plan, I can confidently say the no amount of finances or "stability" is worth raising children in an unhappy marriage. Unhappy marriages quickly turn unhealthy. 

Besides all the psychological damage not getting a divorce can do, kids don't want their parents to be unhappy. Huffington Post lists five reasons why divorce is better in a kid's point of view and, as someone who believed their parents should have been divorced when I was ten, I can say it is spot on.

One day, I will be a parent and I will be setting an example in leading a happy, healthy, productive life. If you're not happy, how will your children learn to be? If you don't love your partner, how will the kids grow up to love someone properly?

Sunday, January 3, 2016


(Here we are in Zion National Park, Utah)

It looks like the server that my website ( was on crashed so back to Blogger we go!

In the past six months, I have fallen off when it comes to posting. I've been on a search for a home to settle in with my Mister and we have driven across the country three times and moved from Hawaii to California to Maryland (with several visits to Ohio) and now to Colorado.

I will update more as soon as I get settled again, but I will try to post from the road as well.