I just sent a note to the guy who wrote this article and asked him if was living inside my mind. Minus the getting chicks and super-boozing parts (because I happen to like dudes and I enjoy a cocktail but don’t regularly tie one on) it’s as if his words were taken out of my mouth. I have written almost this exact article before.
Boris, you are the male version of me. Scary and fantastic.
Readers, see article below from The Single Dude’s Guide to Life & Travel:
Escape the Corporate Prison
If you’re anything like me once you got a taste of what life really has to offer (or at least what life outside the Western world really has to offer) you can’t get enough of it. You have one little problem though: two weeks of vacation (or four to six if you live in Western Europe) just isn’t enough. If you’re like most young professionals out there as I was, you probably spend 40% or more of your waking hours working as a corporate slave chained to a desk in a cube. To add insult to injury you probably spend another 10% or more of your waking hours driving to and from that corporate prison.
Sure you travel and experience the possibility of something else a few weeks a year and every long weekend you can get your hands on, but it just isn’t close to enough and makes your regular life seem that much worse. The experience of going from hell to paradise and back again gets harder and harder and begins to effect your mood at home.
As your mental health suffers so does your physical health. You spend 8-10 hours at your desk and 2 hours stuck in traffic and it’s 8pm at night by the time you walk in the door to your Ikea apartment and now you have to worry about dinner. Do you pay too much to order in or eat out or do you throw together some mediocre concoction comprised of whatever food you can find in your refrigerator that doesn’t resemble some kind of science experiment? All you want to do is sit down on the couch with a glass of Johnny Red (you can’t afford black on the pittance they pay you) and drink yourself into a stupor. You go out sometimes at home but now that you know what you’re missing the the sight or more often the sounds these American girls makes you sick. Their incessant, vapid, vacuous ramblings are like nails on a chalk board. You would give your left nut for another night with your favorite Latin American beauty queen or Eastern European princess but she’s oh so far away. Going to the gym on a regular basis is virtually impossible with a schedule like yours, so now you’re probably getting fat which further affects your mental health and self-esteem. It’s a vicious cycle.
But there is another way! The first step is to escape from the rat race. Now I’m not going to tell you can just invent a website today and zip off to the Caribbean tomorrow and only work 4 hours per week as advocated in The Four Hour Work Week, however you should read that book. As I see it you have four basic options for freeing yourself geographically:
1.) Live off savings, trust fund or proceeds of the sale of a business you already own, etc.
2.) Convince your boss to let you “work from home”
3.) Become an entrepreneur
4.) Derive your income from “the arts”
Let’s examine your options in depth:
Live off savings, trust fund, proceeds of the sale of a business you already own, etc.: Fuck you if you’re lucky enough to have this option. You don’t need help or advice, you just need balls. Go do it. Stop living the safe life, stop pursuing more material possessions and a bigger payday that you don’t need when you can already go live the life of your dreams now. It’s cheaper than you think.
Convince your boss to let you “work from home”: Some people have managed to pull this off and Tim Ferris gives a formula for doing it in The Four Hour Work Week but for every one person that can pull it off I bet there’s a thousand or more that can’t. More power to you if you can do it but most people can’t. Besides I’d rather make $20,000 per year working for myself than $40,000 working for somebody else. Fuck that, once you’ve been your own boss you’ll never go back.
Become an entrepreneur: Easier said than done. Requires a lot of up front effort, dedication and discipline. Also will require a lot of trial and error and a willingness to fail outright and try again. My father once imparted upon me a great piece of wisdom: there is a high correlation between 8th grade dropouts and successful entrepreneurs. It’s not that there’s no value in education, it’s just that these individuals didn’t have the luxury of giving up. They had to make their businesses work. The most important thing in entrepreneurship is not to give up. Being an entrepreneur is a huge topic and I will write a follow-up article in the future. For the moment I will again recommend you read The Four Hour Work Week along with Viral Loop: From Facebook to Twitter, How Today’s Smartest Businesses Grow Themselves and Blue Ocean Strategy: How to Create Uncontested Market Space and Make Competition Irrelevant. Make sure you’ve read those books and start doing a little brain storming with yourself and any like-minded friends you may have and you’ll be well on your way.
Derive your income from “the arts”: If you’re lucky enough to have the talent and dedicated enough to develop that talent, become an artist of some type, performing or otherwise. If you make your living as an artist chances are that you can either: a) do your work from anywhere or b) get paid to travel. Some people can even do both. Charlie and ¡Raul! are a couple of class A examples. If you are already an artist but you feel you’re tied to your location, chances are you aren’t really, at least not as much as you think. Unless you make 15 ton sculptures out of metal in a airplane hanger you probably don’t really need to be anywhere in particular. Even if you do there is probably a cheaper airplane hanger somewhere else more desirable to live with cheaper metal to boot. Rethink your life and strategize accordingly.
Freeing yourself geographically is a long term project, not an over night decision, however it could be the most rewarding thing you ever do for yourself. It also can be a lot less expensive than you might imagine. If you travel anything like we do you may find that sometimes you actually save money by going on vacation. Why not make your entire life like that? The first year I spent as a geographically free man was in a place that I would call “middle of the road” in terms of price among our favorite destinations. I spent less than my annual salary at my first job after college and it paid for:
1) Rent for a fully furnished 1 bedroom apartment in a relatively new building with all the modern conveniences including air conditioning, internet, and security.
2) The ability to eat out and go out drinking whenever I wanted and wherever I wanted. And I did, I partied my ass of in the best clubs with reservations, VIP tables and bottle service. I also ate every meal in at least a moderate scale restaurant or had food delivered. I never needed to cook.
3) The ability to travel about the region relatively freely and do things like visit the beach and go skiing, staying in hotels or guest houses when I did.
4) No need for a car, I took a taxi wherever I went. On less than double my budget you could own a car and have a private driver in many places.
5) Paid way less taxes.
6) Generally wanted for nothing.
The best part is that I was still figuring shit out, it could easily be done for less knowing what I know now. If you’re not a heavy drinker you can knock thousands off your budget right there. I never did a breakdown but I would have to say if I made a pie chart of my total budget, “drinks in clubs” would definitely be the big piece.
Freeing yourself geographically is the best way to live the best possible lifestyle. If you want to move past the rat race and the tyranny of low quality western women this is key.
Even if you aren’t in a position to fully or permanently unplug now, why not embrace The Four Hour Work Week concept of “mini-retirements”? Whatever your case 99% of people certainly could live a better, happier more fulfilling lifestyle – they just don’t want to put in the up front effort to make it happen. Don’t be one of those guys. The world is your oyster. Fuck your boss. Fuck your desk. Fuck rush hour traffic. And most importantly, Fuck Mondays! I love Mondays! I don’t mind spending 8 hours a day in my office. My office is our favorite coffee shop full of hot chicks wherever we happen to be that week. It’s where we write our blog and I run my businesses remotely using nothing more than a laptop. I love my life. How many people do you know that can say that and mean it? Do you want to be able to say that? Then make your life into a life that will allow you to.
Free yourself from the rat race. Start living or keep dying.
I can’t lie. Even though I love sports and have always been an athlete, all I really care about tomorrow for the Superbowl party is:
4.) A few good beers
5.) Halftime show with the Black Eyed Peas
What football? (I know, all you legitimate cheese-head and Steeler fans are cringing right now, sorry.)
My friend who’s hosting the party sent out a “BYO burger or dogs, we are firing up the grill!” As to be expected for a chill, sporty get-together. I am not a burger or dog kind of girl (unless I’m at Wrigley Field) so what to bring? I don’t want to be fancy, this is not a formal dinner party- that’s next weekend. I can’t exactly break out a cucumber salad. The word “salad” is almost illegal on Superbowl Sunday, we all know that.
Maybe I’ll make those extra crispy garlic parmesan fries that are always a fan favorite. Mmmm…
Anyone have a great idea for a yummy veggie side-dish, dip, or other you want to share?
A gift idea:
I was just telling a friend about the Ben & Jerry’s pint cozy so I had to share with you all here. This thing is a must have if you’re a fan of those yummy pints. I’ve had one for years. I love to give it as a gift along with some other goodies in a bag to expectant mothers or other people like me who just can’t keep their hands off ice cream. No more paper towel wrapped around your pint while you dig away with your hands frozen!
Another brilliant creation from Ben and Jerry.
Ever wonder why people don’t just give you cash for gifts? Me too.
Check out Gift Card Rescue and you can sell those gift cards you’ve never used. I have had one from Brookstone for a while now. How many airplane next pillows can one girl buy? Time to sell that puppy and put the moolah towards some bills.
First, some backstory so this might all make sense a little more to anyone who might be new here:
These specific blue lollipops were an entity during the ages of about 12-18 for me. Not just me though, all the girls who played soccer at MAU. Soccer at MAU and that fall time of year was always this unexplainable force of goodness and incredible mojo. Like Texas loves high school football, Vermont loved soccer and not just for the sport but for the love of the whole package: The tryouts, practices, games, sleepovers, pasta dinners, chants, songs and laughter. I suppose every kid has some kind of “thing” that happens in high school when they learn the world is their oyster. Soccer, and the team was our “thing.” The time we spent together meant the world to each and every one of us. It was as if the outside world almost disappeared. We were simply loving life and living in our little euphoria that nothing else could touch. The blue lollipops were our common food group, nearly every photo of all those above stated games, sleepovers, etc. involved us all making blue-tongued smiley faces at the camera. They were the mascot of the team, that extra best friend and fun constant that never failed us.
Then August 18, 1994 happened. That’s when 2 of our best friends./teammates were killed in a car accident just as the season had started. Things would never be the same for any of us after that.
Fast forward to 2008, I want to start writing more and someplace bigger than my journals. I felt an overwhelming desire to share my life and stories about how lucky I have been to be healthy and experience all these amazing adventures and time with people I love. Of course the biggest reason why I had been able to do all these great things is because I had lived through this monstrous tragic loss and learned this horribly hard lesson that time and people are the only things that truly matter. Saying that, the only name/thing that entered my mind to brand my site was “Blue Lollipop” something. (The “Road” came after as an add on because I love travel.) I wanted this thing, this blog whatever it was to become to honor my lost friends, and my time with all the girls who made me laugh and feel alive during those soccer seasons at MAU.
So I write and babble and write and babble for hundreds of posts and nearly 2 years, thinking everyday about blue lollipops and my frends.
The 16/16 death anniversary (years lived/years gone) is approaching last spring and I can’t get out of my head that I need to drive to Alaska. I wanted to be there for the anniversary, to honor a promise made to my lost friends and myself to hit state #50. I drive alone to Alaska with blue lollipops in tow, am there for the anniversary, and leave blue lollipops behind for my lost friends.
Best thing I have ever done.
Driving through Canada en route to Alaska, out of nowhere I think yep, I am getting a tattoo. I’ll get a blue lollipop. Our blue lollipop to be more specific. I keep it a secret which is nearly impossible for me to do when I am excited about something, ask old soccer coach, mentor and one of the coolest women on the planet Traci to draw the tattoo that I will get, she draws it, and I brand myself for life 1 month ago with a blue lollipop.
Clearly these blue lollipops mean a lot to me.
I typically contact companies/people I write about thanking them for whatever yummy meal I may have had at their establishment, or their product or business I think is cool. Each and every person or business has been thankful, excited, and even done things like pass the link to my site around their office, welcome me back for complimentary meals, or asked me to stop by when I am in their town again. These responses have all been unexpected pleasant surprises. I’ve never asked for anything, I just think it’s nice to say thank you when you enjoy something/someone.
Of course throughout my writing and molding the future for Blue Lollipop Road, readers and friends have suggested I solicit sponsorships, or try to collaborate/work with these companies and things I write about consistently to help support myself so I’m able to continue to take time to write. Great idea right? Sure. I’ve been working on those potentials for a long while. Some have already happened, some are in the works, and more will be to come in the future. I have been most excited to talk with Tootsie Roll Industries where these special blue lollipops come from and Honda for my countless miles my Hondas have taken me. These are the two items/companies that I have written most about. I’ve acted like a free walking billboard for them.
Honda is great. I am in touch with them, we have some good things in the works, and the people who work for Honda North America have been very gracious, responsive and thankful about my enthusiasm. I’m very much looking forward to working with them.
Tootsie Roll Industries? Please see previous post to prep for what I am about to write.
I wrote to Tootsie several weeks ago now, with no response. I wrote them again. Just a note saying “Hi! I love your products and I write this blog. I’d love to talk with you!” (Reminder: I am not asking for anything and don’t plan to. I simply want to talk to them.) No response so I decide to call them today. Early bird gets the worm I figure, and who knows where my emails have gone to in the abyss of the internet anyway. I dial and here’s exactly how my call went:
Operator: “Tootsie Roll Industries?”
Me: “Hi, may I please speak to someone in marketing or public relations?” (In my most genuinely excited, hopeful, cheery tone that continues throughout the entire conversation.)
(She transfers me.)
Woman on other end: “This is Janet” (A painfully short, rude tone from here that continues throughout the entire conversation.)
Me: “Hi Janet! My name is Diane and I’m a big fan or your product, am a constant customer, and have written a blog for a few years that’s actually named after one of the Tootsie Roll products. I’d love to get to know more about your company as I continue to write.”
Her: “We do all advertising and marketing work in house.”
Me: “Oh, no problem, I am not asking to do marketing for you, I was just hoping to learn a bit more about the product and company.”
Her: “There’s product information on the website.”
Me: “Yes, I know that, I have read it through thoroughly, I’d just love to know a bit more about the company overall, possibly about any fun marketing campaigns you might do, or maybe your community involvement, programs, things of that nature. I’d love to be able to write more on my blog about any interesting things Tootsie Roll Industries does. I like sharing this information with my readers.”
Her: “We work with the military, that’s all we say.”
Me: “Ok, so is there any information you can share at all with me about any of the good things you do? Maybe you are involved with events, do sponsorships, or… (cuts me off.)
Her: “We don’t do sponsorships.”
Me: “I apologize, maybe I sound confusing. I’m hoping to get some sort of information about the product I love and promote, your company. I’d like to be able to continue to write about your candy and share news about any interesting, fun, or community type programs you all might be involved in.”
Her: “We don’t do that.”
Me: (At this point I wanted to tell her that she was a miserable moron and to throw me a freaking bone or something…but I didn’t. I continued my cheery and hopeful tone…) “Um, I am a bit disappointed. I am simply trying to learn a bit more about this product I love so much and that I write about. Are you telling me that you can share no information whatsoever about anything at all so I can bring back a great story to my readers? I just don’t understand.”
Me: “I’m confused and again have to say I am disappointed. You are telling me as a longstanding customer calling you in hopes to continue loving your product, there is not the slightest little tidbit of anything you are willing to share about Tootsie Roll Industries? Is there a place I can go to research, just anything you can tell me at all?….Nothing?”
Me: “Uh, er-Ok then. Well, if you ever become curious about where I have been writing about you for years in a positive way, you can see my blog at www.bluelollipoproad.com.
Me again: “Well, I guess then good luck with everything and thanks for your time!”
I hang up and all I can do is shake my head.
I have encountered jerks in my life, people aren’t always butterflies and rainbows- I get it. Bad days, yadda yadda. This woman wasn’t having a bad day, she was just awful. I mean rude, short, and could’ve given a flip if I was the Pope calling her. She didn’t ask a single question of me. No gee thanks for writing about us but you are taking up my time. Not a you know what- I am not sure where you could find X,Y,Z but maybe you could read this article about us, or hey sorry- I’m not the right person to talk to, maybe Bob can help. NOTHING.
So there I sat, feeling deflated, disappointed and like someone just socked me in the gut. After 16-plus years of this thing, this company, this blue lollipop that means so much to me, the thing that is tattooed in ink on my body forever…that is going to be what I have in my head for where those precious blue lollipops come from?!
It gets worse.
I call back to the main #, the same operator transfers me back to the icy woman I spoke with. I remind her I just spoke with her, she remembers me and I ask her title and name. Her name is Janet Vasilenko and she is the Consumer Relations Manager. Thank you, I say repeating all this information back to her including the spelling of her name to confirm, then I hang up.
Mouth hits the floor.
ARE YOU EFFING KIDDING ME???!!! CONSUMER RELATIONS MANAGER?!
Wow. Shame on you Tootsie Roll Industries. You need some serious consulting on what community relations means.
I know some of you might be thinking, well Di- she could have been busy, maybe she thought you were asking for $, etc. Believe me, I wished it were that, but no. It wasn’t that at all. She just flat out didn’t care, she tossed me aside, and was completely rude from the get go. She was about as helpful as a screen door on a submarine. Words aren’t going to be able to convey her heartless tone, and utter I don’t give a shit attitude. Just terrible.
I am a big girl at 32 and sticks and stones. Come on- I can take it, but my god I didn’t realize until today how unbelievably protective I have felt over this little blue lollipop all these years. I couldn’t help but feel in that moment that this Janet Consumer Relations Manager woman stomped all over this thing that means so much to me.
I don’t ever want to be like Janet.
The whole point of Blue Lollipop Road is to promote learning, enjoying and appreciating the people and little things all around us. It’s purpose is to encourage all of us to go for what we want and live the life we love whatever that means to each of us. This post isn’t to hate on someone specific or a company. It’s to tell the truth and share how I will always keep pushing and keep a smile even when I’m disappointed. Anyone else out there, if you are knee deep in the middle of something you believe in and someone tries to bury you, keep digging. People can try to take things, break things and they might severely disappoint you at times, but only you have the power to focus and thrive and not let the misery of some others bring you down.
My idea of this place that makes my special blue lollipops is broken and bruised. I’m sure I will always feel disappointed about that, but it’s Ok. Just a hurdle in the road going exactly where it needs to. I know what the power of the blue lollipop means regardless of what life brings my way.
I really hope you find your strong mojo somehow. You are really missing out on this whole enjoying life thing.
Maybe you should try a blue lollipop.
Ok, I know I have said that before, but trust me- the post that will be up before I go to bed tonight will leave you dumbfounded. I just spoke to Janet Vasilenko, the Consumer Relations Manager for Tootsie Roll Industries. (Yes, the Charms Blue Razz Blow Pops that we so love and all the rest of those candy goodies.)
To say that within one 3 minute conversation, someone single handedly (figuratively) pummeled me in the face with a baseball bat, told me there was no such thing as Santa, the Easter Bunny, or true love, and took the hugest shit in my Wheaties, is a severe understatement.
The positive out of this? Out of this 3 minute conversation, I was gifted another enormous mountain of reasons as to why I believe in the work I do, feel happy about how I spend my time, and what my overall devotion/drive/ambition to Blue Lollipop Road means. Lets just say the fire I did not need any more fuel for, just got a whopping delivery.
Thanks Janet and Tootsie Roll Industries. You are really something else.
Readers: Check back for a full post later tonight. A doozy it shall be.