Departure signs are taunting me… those bastards!

13 10 2011

Departure Sign

I picked a friend up from the airport today. Good to see him after all these years. His plane was delayed, though, and I had to wait for him. I usually am annoyingly patient, but something about being so close to escape yet so far away from actually leaving whilst sitting around taunted by departure signs blinking and winking at me, as they do. Well, it all started a bitter, nauseous taste brewing in my mouth.

When my friend finally showed up, I was less than warm, though not icy. He sensed my state of mind, a little on edge. Or maybe it was because I squeezed his hand so hard his eyes popped out of his head as I dragged him swiftly to grab his baggage and leapt to the garage–all within three minutes at TIA, and we sped out into the morning. He could have sensed the bruises I left on his hand when I grabbed him, too. That’s all possible. Either way, he lead me into his hotel where we both gulped up a few extra spicy bloody marys. If I were paying any attention to my actions over the last month since I’ve been fully self-employed, I might notice that my alcohol consumption has increased dramatically. I might notice it. If I were paying attention, you know.

Anyway, as usual, my head cleared as it spun around the room. We did talk about his travels, and with a little fermented concoction running through my veins, now the conversation was inspiring versus feeling the sharp pains of jealousy’s blood streaming from my eyes. If I were less intoxicated, I would have asked my friend for work, as he described several projects that I’d be a strong partner on. Alas! I was not less drunk. Maybe that conversation will come around again when I see him Sunday. Or maybe I’ll again be too distracted by some other level of consciousness that reality seems trite and uninspired.

My bill collectors don’t agree with my take on the artificial nature of time or that on a quantum level we don’t even exist but through our perception, so in fact, nothing is real, it is all imagined. Bill collectors. Strange people. What does shut them up is timely payment, which I’ve been increasingly able to meet since I got rid of that soul-sucking day job I had. Now, I actually have the opportunity to make money for a living, and so far so good. Now, about that conversation with my friend… I would really make an EXCELLENT partner on that project–my presentation design skills are second to none. It might help if I mention that to him some time soon.


AHHHHHHHHH!! I’m back!!

31 07 2011

Hello world! I’ve been missing in action for some time, I know. You see, I forgot my username and password for this blog, and the email address I had attached to it, well, I accidentally deactivated it. I had a blinding flash of clarity tonight, though, and the username and password popped in my head. Well, here we are. Just a quick explanation. Next post… a real blog entry! Warm regards  –Daphne

Hello dreamers, adventurers, travelers and planners…

25 10 2010

Just wanted to apologize for not posting much here lately. I’ve been working on my other blog, continuing to build my freelance writing and communications consulting business:

Thank you for checking in here and following along. I have some cool posts planned for this week covering things I’ve found out about moving to Latin America, pros and cons to different countries, along with personal thoughts and progress on living a dream.

All the best to you… more very soon –Daphne

America is a slave to its laws at grave expense to decency, ethics and common sense. What will it take to restore balance?

10 10 2010

Forgive me. I’m a bit off-topic on this post, but I think it’s imporatnt, so here it is:

America is a slave to its laws at grave expense to decency, ethics and common sense. Weighing heavy at the top of this list are patent laws, particularly involving living organisms. Let it be known that neither the people of the United States nor any member of Congress have ever voted on such laws, rather they have been established at the sole discretion of the US Supreme Court (similar story in Canada). These justices deliberated on the First Amendment and arguments brought forward, and laws were ruled “Constitutional” by majority rule of opinions of justices sitting at the time. As it stands, any individual or more likely corporation can own a patent on a seed, gene, or many other parts of living organisms and claim ownership of anything that contains that part of the organism. As far as humans go–there is a majority percentage of the organism that must be non-human for the patent to be held. Terrifying to think of in theory. In reality, the injustice served to many farmers who have been sued and forced to destroy their own seeds due to these laws is simply horrific.

For those of you who know me well, I am very far from a conspiracy theorist. However, what I am witnessing in America is that corporations are ruling our government and ferociously infringing on the rights of all Americans to earn a successful living in many industries. Agriculture is being exploited by big business in insurmountable ways. Other industries are not immune. Additionally, big business has been infringing upon government with exponentially increasing influence. At the very top of this list is the insurance industry. Take a hard look at American healthcare reform. Special interest groups, lobbyists and namely those representing the insurance industry are running the show. Who gave them all this power and permission to control our government and destroy lives?

There are myriad documentaries, movies, articles and books produced on this subject–all with conclusive evidence of this. Please search out information on this topic on your own, and that way you will have personal buy-in regarding your own position on this topic. The more informed you are, and the more original sources you can cite to back-up your claim, the stronger your argument will be and the more convinced you will be regarding your own beliefs.

Personally, I am at the very core a capitalist. I believe in free-markets and that competition works for business and consumers, ensuring that supply and demand set pricing along with competition ensuring that quality remains high and prices reasonable for the marketplace.

I also believe in a balance of some socialized systems to help ensure human rights in a compassionate culture: access to housing, healthcare, social services, food, clothing, education (including higher education and public libraries) and just laws are human rights that a developed society has a responsibility to make available to its citizens so that they may have the opportunity to live healthfully and have resources to create an improved live for themselves and their children.

Who cares and what do I know –what authority do I have to speak on such issues? I care, and you should too, because it affects all of is in many ways–all citizens of the United States and those who would like to live here. And, I know that having the majority of wealth and power, in obscene proportions, accumulated by a minute fraction of the population by individuals and corporations who wish to do little with this wealth other than to accumulate more wealth and power and ferociously abuse this power for the sole purpose of accumulating even more wealth–this is a perfect storm of disease–an aggressive, unstoppable cancer eating away at America, preventing individuals’ inalienable rights to “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.”

I do love the United States and all of its rich history and successes and stories–everything that makes it what it is–good, bad and inbetween. But, I fear it is broken. In a big way. And instead of holding its position as “the land of opportunity,” it is becoming a wasteland of insatiable greed juxtaposed by hardship and suffering. I know that America will find balance once again, and I have great faith that we will have a stronger, more resilient country as a result. But at what cost in the interim? Can we afford the cost? How many will not be able to survive the transition?

[My apologies for run-on sentences, spilt inifinatives, etc. My purpose here is content and communication. Style and rules have suffered in this post, possibly more than others.]

The power of thought: it can fester and rot like a caustic poison and it can radiate like a sun, bright beams of opportunity and joy

3 10 2010

Never, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever underestimate the power of thought. I am living in a dangerous environment. Not something that would ever threaten me with life and limb. This environment threatens hope. It threatens ideas, opportunity and dreams. And this is the very environment that most people experience. Oh, it’s not easy to identify. Most people have good intentions. But as we all know the time-honored cliché, “the pathway to hell is paved with good intentions.”

I have found myself, or rather placed myself, in a sort of limbo–neither here nor there. I am in between permanent residences and have wound up living on my mother’s sofa. Yep, I am employed full-time. In the same job for nearly six years, collectively (I spent a few years in between doing other things before returning). The result of revolving roommates in the townhouse I used to have along with a recent and very substantial hike in student loan payments, poor credit due to being laid off from a job a few years ago and settling a costly probate issue following my father’s suicide. In short, life is difficult. Yet, it’s far from unmanageable.

I am slowly building a freelance writing business, with more opportunities on the horizon and a surplus in cashflow that is either trickling in at a snail’s pace or manifesting as a flash in the distance, just out of reach for now. And here I am, barraged with background noise–a steady stream of negativity, blame, shame, sadness, depression, fear and scarcity. The very same messages that infested my head years ago when I decided to give up on my dreams before I even gave them a fighting chance to become real. And I feel that cold, dark blanket of depression and fear falling hard, trying to snuff out the spark that I recently worked so incredibly hard to ignite.

Inspiration! Inspiration is the kryptonite here. And, I will take inspiration from anything right now. A survivor’s only chance at rescue is a steadfast belief, faith that it will come. With enough hard work, determination, talent and grace, it will come, and hope is all that will truly bring about change. So, I am newly committed to combatting the negativity surrounding me with an overdose in inspiration: books, art, music, conversation, socializing–anything that will help me remember who I am, what I believe and that faith and hope are at the core of my being. I will not accept anything else. This is survival. And everything is a stake, particularly my mental health.

I must commit to rejecting the poison of negative thoughts and fight them ferociously with hope–hope that will radiate like the sun, illuminating my world with bright beams of opportunity and joy. A bit bold and fantastical? I certainly hope so. That’s my goal, and it’s the only way I think I will survive.

Happy trails  –Daphne

Dangers of living in Latin America: what is express kidnapping?

3 10 2010

Let’s be truthful, Latin America is not Disney World. Those of us looking to expatriate should be very aware that it does not boast the same safety and security as you would find in typical suburban USA–which isn’t always all that safe, either. That’s okay–a certain amount of risks are understood and can be managed quite successfully. You just need to first acknowledge that you are in foreign territory and that you need to handle yourself perhaps a little differently to accommodate for this.

Just because you don’t traffic drugs, run guns or have a seven-figure salary from a large multi-national corporation that keeps kidnapping insurance on its across-the-boarder visitors, this doesn’t immunize you from the dangers and criminal activities of your new locale. Among the most common dangers is known as “express kidnapping.” Express kidnapping primarily involves being captured and taken to an ATM to withdrawal as much money as possible. This will probably include losing any valuables on you at the time as well: wallet, watch, cell phone, etc. There are variations on this, which can include kidnappers holding the kidnapping victim for a short period of time while negotiating a ransom with a family member, which often includes having the family member visit an ATM for a withdrawal. This tends to be a speedy kidnapping for a low-end ransom where the victim is often returned with minimal injuries.

Here are precautions you can take to prevent becoming a victim of Express Kidnapping:

  1. Dress like a local–the more you blend in the better. The flashier you look, the more money it appears you might have, the more risks you take.
  2. Avoid using or even being around an ATM at night–never use an open ATM at night. Be aware of your surroundings when using an ATM during the day. If you see something suspicious or you feel very uncomfortable, wait or go find another ATM. Be aware of your surroundings at all times, whether you are near an ATM or not, and look for signs of a potential attack.
  3. Limit walking around with valuable items–these can be a flag that you would make a good target: expensive watches, showing lots of cash in your wallet in markets and stores, carrying multiple credit cards, multiple electronic items: cell phone, video recorder and camera, etc.
  4. Do withdraw your money from well-established facilities, in daylight and nearby of crowds
  5. Avoid traveling alone–having company with you makes you a more difficult target
  6. In most cases, fighting back is not advisable and could cost you your life
  7. Consider taking a personal security training course or seminar–as many as possible–to help increase your ability to identify potentially dangerous situations: awareness, avoidance and attack recognition
  8. Take this potential threat seriously–because it has not happened to people you know or to you yet, does not mean that you won’t ever be targeted.

The above list was paraphrased from: Expat Exchange blog:

Let’s be clear on this too: real kidnapping, the kind where people go missing for long periods of time with grave imminent danger involved and large ransom demands also occurs in Latin America.

Here is more information form a blog article entitled: “Kidnapping in Latin America, the basics”

Avoid taking unregistered taxis, and taxis off the street at night in cities like Mexico City, Bogota, Caracas, Sao Paul, Rio and Buenos Aires. Use safe “sitio” taxis or take taxis from restaurants and hotels, whenever possible. Avoid the green beetle taxis in Mexico City at night. Avoid wandering the streets of Caracas, Sao Paulo, Rio de Janeiro and Mexico City at night. Dress down, and understand the risks of flaunting wealth in the form of cars, clothing and jewelry in Latin America. By doing so, you increase your chances of becoming a victim. If you receive a call that a loved one has been abducted, and the caller requests a ransom, first, cooperate and inform the caller you are going to get the money and make the deposit. Second, hang up the phone and contact that loved one to confirm that he or she has indeed been kidnapped. Lastly, if someone other than a police officer approaches you on the street and attempts to force you into a vehicle, or force you to walk in any direction, fight like hell to escape and yell for assistance.

If on business or soon to be traveling in Latin America and wish to obtain additional information, contact Cinnamond Global, an international consulting firm specializing in Latin America, or Wymoo International for confidential background checks, and Kroll, also for advisory and background checks in any of these countries. For more reading, visit ERRI’s page on the subject.

The future of the kidnapping trade depends largely on Latin America’s ability to fight widespread corruption among police ranks, and to overhaul its corrupt and inefficient legal systems. Fixing those problems from Mexico to Argentina, however, is no easy solution. While these economies remain in the developing stage, crime and poverty – and kidnapping – will remain a real threat. Until the future arrives, exercise extra caution.

I’m beginning to fall in love (I think). Buenos Aires–is there a better reason to move?

25 09 2010

So, yes. I’m still investigating many Latin American countries to help determine the best spots for me to live abroad. As a result, I may have accidentally fallen in love. And no, it has nothing to do with the cost of living, which surprises even me!

I’m in love with Argentinian culture, history, beauty–the magic of a people who invented the Tango! What pushed me over the edge was an article from National Geographic: Buenos Aires: A City of Style–and Sizzle

This article, while not intending to be wholly persuasive, read like a love letter to me. Ups and downs, impacted by invaders, tyrants and friends, with a resiliency that can only be found through the richness of continual self-re-discovery juxtaposed with a steadfast identity.

It’s appearance is flatly beautiful–for all that it is, what it has been through and what it is yet to become. For those of you who know, do you agree?

I have seen, and I have, many reasons to move abroad. But the best reason to move somewhere–to do anything–is out of love.