2013 Annual Preview

My theme for the 2013 year is “Love Thyself”. I would like to educate myself and work consciously to forgive myself, recognize my greatness, and attract the worlds gifts to me without self sabotage, guilt, and doubt.  Many of my goals echo this mission. Being in the East will help bring a fresh perspective to how I interact with the people around me and how I reflect on myself.

Overview

I’m starting the year in Asia. I will continue to work full-time while traveling through the continent with a focus on Southeast Asia.

Calendar

Here is a tentative geographic plan for the year.

  • Singapore  - December 1
    • Enjoy Amazing food from Malaysia, China, India, and more…
  • Philippines- January 3
    • Dive with sharks
    • Explore islands
  • Bali, Indonesia- March 1
    • Surf
    • Yoga
    • Volunteer?
  • Singapore- April 27
    • Get visas for more travel. Where? No idea, but Singapore is a good travel hub to find out more.

Other possible locations; Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, & Myanmar.


Goals

Business

Sucess 290 100 v1 Summary

I am the Principal of Rivello Multimedia Consulting. Offer four core services in software development; Architecture, Development, Consulting, and Training.

Highlights

  1. ONGOING: Continue to offer my four core services: architecture, consulting, development, and training for Adobe-centric software.
  2. ONGOING: To rebrand my four core services from Adobe-centric software to the competitive Unity3D platform. This includes new marketing and restructuring for my business and new education for me. Unity3D has a bright future and I will reinvent myself to establish expertise.
  3. ONE-TIME: To rebrand web-presence to be technology agnostic, with new, prominent presence of Unity3D.
  4. BONUS: To investigate learning and working in technologies outside my core competency I researched, coded, and wrote blogs for several platforms.

Writing / Presenting

Presenting 290 100 v1 Summary

Writing online is a good promotional tool for RMC and a good creative outlet.

Highlights

  1. ONE-TIME: Make a PPT-type (Powerpoint) presentation about LIP.
  2. ONE-TIME: Publish (N&T) articles from 3 guest-authors.
  3. RESEARCH: How can I establish expertise in Location-Independence and leverage that to writing and presenting?

Promotions & Marketing

Different 290 100 v1

Summary

Many of my RMC professional goals are predicated by getting more offers for work. Marketing myself more (RMC) is one way to attract more offers. Marketing N&T will help me build more reputation for Location-Independence expertise.

Highlights

RMC

  1. ONE-TIME: Triple the amount of viable contract-work opportunities I’m offered.
  2. ONE-TIME: Increase RMC (@srivello) twitter followers from (378 Followers as of 12/23/2012) to (500 Followers). We’ll assume this also helps the RMC (SITE) traffic. 
  3. ONE-TIME: Increase RMC (Site) unique visitors from 34,822 January Through October 2012 by 30% for 2013.
  4. MONTHLY:Write 12+ new posts (6 editorial, 6 technical). Think fast and simple. 
  5. QUARTERLY: Create a free RMC newsletter. Simply point to recent posts and send to all members (RMC includes free sign-up already). Include website link (obviously) and Facebook link.
  6. ONE-TIME: Increase my Facebook page (RMC) from (53 likes March 2013) to 100 likes. You can Like RMC on Facebook now!

N&T

  1. ONE-TIME: Fix ad-banners. They work on some browsers but not others.
  2. ONE-TIME: Increase N&T (@nowandtherefeed) twitter followers from (62 Followers, March 2012 ) to (300 Followers). 
  3. QUARTERLY: Create a free N&T newsletter. Simply point to recent posts and send to all members (RMC includes free sign-up already). Include website link (obviously) and Facebook link.
  4. ONE-TIME: Incease Facebook page (N&T) from (12 likes March 2012) to 50 likes. You can Like N&T on Facebook now!
  5. ONE-TIME: Increase N&T (Blog) annual visits from 747 visits January Through October 2012 by 50% for 2013.
  6. MONTHLY: Write 12+ new posts (6 original, 6 reviews or editorial commentary). Think fast and simple.

GFD

  1. No Goals

Family & Friends

Family 290 100 v1 Summary

For a few years I’ve had goals to meet new people and make friends. Its easy and hard while traveling full-time – its different. I certainly say hi to more people than ever, but to build relationships on-the-go is a challenge.

Highlights

  1. ONE-TIME: Memorize 10 great jokes - At least one per language (English, Spanish, Portuguese, Italian, French).
  2. ONE-TIME: Write Blog Post (N&T) – “Find The Ideal Travel Partner” (friend/ business partner/ mentor-mentee/romantic partner) and outline their qualities. Then search for that person (existing/new friends) and travel together.
  3. ONE-TIME: Write Blog Post (N&T) – “Find The Ideal Mate”.
  4. ONE-TIME: Host 1 friend.
  5. ONE-TIME: Host 1 CouchSurfer.  
  6. ONE-TIME: Host 1 family member.  

Financial (Earning)

Earning 290 100 v1 Summary

Last year in 2012, my projects were really great. I was excited by the projects, enjoyed working with the people, and provided a great value for great compensation. In 2013, I would like to book more of my time for client-work and spend less time between projects and less marketing time.

The services I offer are good and my pay-rate range is both competitive and profitable.

Highlights

  1. ANNUAL: Book 25 weeks of client-work. Jan 1 through Feb 1 completed already.
  2. ONE-TIME: Launch a free app/game for mobile. Use as promotion / portfolio
  3. ONE-TIME: Launch a monetized app/game for mobile.

Financial (Saving)

Savings 290 100 v1 Summary

Here are goals…

Highlights

  • MONTHLY: Fill existing emergency and residential funds. Build savings towards the purchase of a home.
  • ONE-TIME: Ship my new, travel-friendly Citibank card to me and use it as primary credit.

Financial (Giving)

Saving 290 100 v1 Summary

I am a monthly sponsor at Children.org and sponsor at Kiva.org. Here are more goals…

“We only have what we give” - Isabel Allende

Highlights

  1. QUARTERLY: Donate 5% monthly income to one charity in each country I visit for 1+ months. I prefer this to donating ‘on the street’.
  2. ONE-TIME: Financially help a local in need.
  3. ONE-TIME: Volunteer my time.

Learning

Learning 290 100 v1

Summary

I have always enjoyed the learning process. In recent years, I have increased my learning.

Peculiar Travel Suggestions are Dancing Lessons From God – Kurt Vonnegut

Highlights

  • ONE-TIME: Complete a paid, client-project in a project that is not based on the Adobe Flash Platform (which is my normal type of project).
  • ONE-TIME: Record a video of me speaking 5 languages (English, Spanish, Portuguese, Italian, French).
  • ONE-TIME: Study massage for non-professional use.
  • ONE-TIME: Study piano.
  • ONE-TIME: Study cooking (multi day course).
  • ONE-TIME: Take an online photography course.
  • ONE-TIME: Draw a world map without practice. Practice, draw it again with 100 countries and accurate boarders.

Health & Sport

Sports 290 100 v1

Summary

During travel, I am intermittently active. When I hike and bike as part of a tour I am generally pleased with my abilities and level of fitness. However, from a general health perspective, I think I should include a more regular fitness plan.

I have no goals to change my diet or be ‘on a diet’. However I would like to alter my relationship with food. I feel that I often over eat and eat without being hungry. I think my current behavior is excessive.

I really miss snow-skiing. However I also dislike cold weather and avoid it. I’m not sure I will do any skiing in 2013, but I do miss it.

Highlights

  1. RESEARCH: Read about ‘overeating’ and ‘eating when you are not hungry’ and learn how I can avoid these habits.
  2. ONE-TIME: Attend martial arts class.
  3. ONE-TIME: Run one (more) 5k or 10k.
  4. ONE-TIME: Do a multi-day hike/camp tour.
  5. ONE-TIME: Do a multi-day yoga/meditation retreat.
  6. ONGOING: Surf more

Spirituality

Spiritual power 290 100 v1 Summary

I enjoy learning about meditation, mindfulness,  and life-balance.

“Make your own Bible. Select and collect all the words and sentences that in all your readings have been to you like the blast of a trumpet.”  - Ralph Waldo Emerson

Highlights

  1. MONTHLY: Attend 6 yoga classes. Not Completed. I’m still interested in this goal for the future.
  2. ONE-TIME: Get Thai Massage in Thailand
  3. ONE-TIME: Unplug from all technology for 7 days.
  4. ONE-TIME: Visit multi-day retreat of yoga/spa/something.

Daily Goals

Spiritual power 290 100 v1

Summary

Here are some objectives I’d like to accomplish each (moment of each) day. Some of these goals overlap other sections. That is ok!

“We become what we repeatedly do.” – Sean Covery

Highlights Physical

  1. DAILY: Diet – Enjoy fruit and only fruit for breakfast. Fruit is optional the rest of the day.
  2. DAILY: Diet – Eat only a ‘palm-sized’ amount of protein each day. This means much less protein (and meat) than before.
  3. DAILY: Diet – Most of my daily volume of food will be vegetables, preferably raw.
  4. DAILY: Diet – Focus on local, in-season foods.
  5. DAILY: Be conscious of my breath
  6. DAILY: Be conscious of posture

Highlights Emotional / Communication

  1. Express “I love you” every time I feel it.
  2. Find & complete an excellent emotional ”workbook” (example or something by Carolyn Nyss).
  3. Work on loving myself. 1) Research how, 2) Read more, 3) Establish a practice.
  4. DAILY: Speak assertively w/ natural voice. I often speak at more passive, slightly higher voice.
Highlights Spiritual

  1. Visit a meditation-specific retreat or class-series.
  2. Volunteer 60 days
  3. Show gratitude every time I feel it.
  4. DAILY: Be conscious of my breath

 

Travel

Passports 290 100 v1 Summary

For 2013, I have planned yet another year of full-time travel.

Highlights

  1. ONE-TIME: Get a Visa in one foreign country for another foreign country. – Completed. While in Singapore I got a 60 day visa to Philippines and 60 day Visa to Indonesia. Funny, that’s the first time I ever did that.
  2. ONE-TIME:

    Write blog post (N&T) “The Importance of Travel – An AutoBio” and include  a timeline of my life (big picture) and list of travels. I’d like a dated recount of my travels too. Think about –  How am I different before/after long-term-travel.

Life Assessment

Assessment 290 100 v1 Summary

This
post illustrates that I am a goal oriented person. Success, for some, is a process of a) where am I, b) where do I want to be, and c) how do I get to where I want to be. For me both a) and b) are really about self-awareness. I feel that I am afforded the time, energy, and interest for much introspection, but I’m still learning what makes me tick (think). I enjoy this search.

Highlights

  1. ONE-TIME: Complete a Meyers-Briggs personality profile test.
  2. ONE-TIME: Visit a therapist.
  3. RESEARCH: Read about ‘contrarian personalities’ and what it means to be inspired by opposing others
  4. ONE-TIME: Write blog post (N&T) – “My Greatest Fears” and include common fears (public speaking, death, etc…), my fears, and outline some activities to conquer those fears.
  5. ONE-TIME: Write blog post (N&T) – “Creating Your 5 Year Plan” and include my plan, and discuss the pros/cons of such a plan.

Coaching & Support

Coaching 290 100 v1 Summary

I met regularly with a career coach for 1-2 years. This year I had 1-2 sessions at the start of the year, but not after. I enjoyed the pioneering spirit of finding my own way with the tools that my coach provided. I am interested to seek coaching in support, but perhaps in new ways.

Highlights

  1. ONE-TIME: Build a list of characteristics in an ideal mentor and mentoring relationship. Seek a mentor (online?).
  2. ONE-TIME: Find (or be found) by a mentee who wants to make the transition to professional living and travel as a location independent. Assist him/her. Explore that.

Volunteering

Volunteering 2 290 100 v1 Summary

I would like to do more to give back. Donating in ‘Financial (Giving)’ is a nice start, but I like the social aspects of giving my time to a cause too. I have not done much of this in the past and would like to find more opportunities to help. I’m interested to help in many areas, but especially related to art/teaching/computers.

Highlights

  1. ONE-TIME: Complete a long-term (2-4 weeks) volunteering.
  2. ONE-TIME: Volunteer to teach English
  3. ONE-TIME: Volunteer at an child-aid / orphanage location.

Fun!

Fun 290 100 v1 Summary

Ironically, I’m planning for more whimsey.

I am very open to new experiences, and have nothing but time and flexibility. I want to have some more fun, again, in 2013!

Highlights

  1. ONE-TIME: Write blog post (N&T) “Goose-Chase Goals” and then do them. These are activities that encourage me; a) to explore an area, b) to get out of comfort zone, c) to be social, and d) to have a good story.
  2. ONE-TIME: Laugh aloud (More…)
  3. RESEARCH: Google ‘taking yourself less seriously’ and read about it. Learn the benefits and make a loose plan.
  4. BONUS: Hire a (unofficial) guide for a day.

Creativity

Creativity 290 100 v1 Summary

I consider myself a creative person. I can put my stamp onto projects both small and large and feel I’m expressing myself through crafts and work. I’d like to learn more about creativity this year – simply reading a bit and practicing creativity exercises more. I’d like to be able to articulate creative processes better and help others to be creative.

“We have to continually be jumping off cliffs and developing our wings on the way down.” - Kurt Vonnegut

Highlights

  1. MONTHLY: Update art.RivelloMultimediaConsulting.com with annual photos and 6 non-photo artworks.
  2. ONE-TIME: Do a photo essay on location.
  3. ONE-TIME: Buy an interesting yet totally out-of-character magazine and read it cover to cover.
  4. ONE-TIME: Take a drawing / painting class.
  5. ONE-TIME: Write original, non-ironic, poetry.

Attitude / World View

Worldview 290 100 v1

Summary

I’ve been thinking a lot about individuality and its role in a person’s life. Reading the book “Conversations With God 1, 2, & 3″ (Read My Review) recently was very interesting as well. Its pampering to non-traditionally-religious or a-religious people, but also hits on a really nice blend of individual responsibility, spirituality, and the role of religion in our lives.

My Current View: Is that I am overjoyed when religion’s effect helps someone be a kinder, more fair, happier person and disappointed when religion’s effect causes a person to be less than what he is or to treat others poorly. I’m curious of the ratio of help vs hurt there.

So, we are born perfect (not wrong, not sinned, not ignorant, not bad) and during our life or lives we rediscover that perfection. Each individual works at a different pace at rediscovering that perfection, and that pace may change over time. Our spirit is perfect and our mind and body try (or not depending on the situation) to follow that perfection. Being authentic (to our spirit) is the most direct path to realize that perfection. The more we can be true to our spirit, the closer to our own perfection we are. Following our heart (i.e. spirit) is most perfect. I created this diagram to underline the simplicity of decision making in this world view.

 

Highlights

  1. ONE-TIME: Write blog post (N&T) “Futurecasting & Dreamscaping” which outlines the law of attraction and visualization and how to benefit from it. Include an ideal ‘day in the life’ for me and reflect on it.
  2. RESEARCH: Google ‘film documentaries that change your world view’ and watch the top 5. Write blog post (N&T) “Finding Inspiration Online” about such videos/links.   Partial. I watched ‘Thrive’. Very broad scope. Entertaining.

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Comments

Please leave any comments and questions below and I’d love to answer them here too. Pardon my grammar and spelling. Rapid, free, stream o’ consciousness is my goal, nothing more formal.

 



The Paralysis of Freedom

Freedom is the ideal state of humanity. Or is it. Freedom is the state of being unconstrained. We all have a degree of freedom in our daily lives. We have commitments and responsibilities which funnel our conscious activities, but there is leisure time.

I travel full-time by choice while I work from my laptop. It requires a great deal of discipline to put in a full work-week when surrounded by a new environment with sites to explore. After literally years of living like this I have learned to manage my time very well, to compartmentalize work time and fun time, and to strike a balance that is not only productive, but sustainable.

New friends often ask me how I chose where to go next. Like many of my strategies it depends on where I find myself. When traveling through Latin America, I typically chose the very next country by-land, and stayed the duration of my visa (typically 3 months). I’d learn from guide books and other travelers what places are best to see. Typically I’d stay in one city for 6-8 weeks in a furnished apartment. This affords a more homey living arrangement, gives me privacy, and allows for focus on work. I can also cook, which I love. Then I live more transiently the rest of the time. When I want to travel beyond just the next boarder the decision process becomes more complex.

While I Los Angeles I planned an extended vacation. I new I wanted to studied Spanish in a Spanish-speaking country. But where? There are more than 20 countries that speak the language. Mexico was the closest choice and Spain was the obvious choice. I had visited Central America a few times and enjoyed it. Blogs showcase Guatamala as a low-cost cultural choice, and Panama as a low-cost choice with great natural wonders. I had a good friend in South America in Ecuador. The freedom choose was great. I loved it, but was frustrated at the same time. So I wanted to visit a new contentment so that started the list. Eventually with 6 cities in mind I literally stabbed my finger on a map and chose Buenos Aires, Argentina because it was most close to the coast. I spent 4 months in country and loved it.

Years later I came to the end of my Spanish studies and Spanish-world travel. I had visited 18 Spanish-speaking countries – many for 3 months each. I studied the language sporadically, probably for 6 or 7 months in total. While I had never worked in the language, I was very strong in my skills. I knew I wanted another language to help frame my travels. I loved building on my Spanish skill and learning new accents. In some ways each country was totally new for me; I needed 5-10 days just to be able to hear anything the locals said. I thought of resuming my French studies from high-school and college. I had a good base and could get a 90 day French visa. Paris was expensive, actually the whole country was expensive in comparison to Latin America. Italian? I looked at Venice, Rome, and Florence. I loved these cities upon short visits, but would I like them for an extended period where I was really living there; working, taking classes, and meeting locals? Sometimes I get my mind behind a location for weeks at a time. I plan extensively, do research on what to see and do, and google for hotels and hostels, or spend days looking through apartments.  But I didn’t choose Italy (not yet), ultimately, I decided to study Portuguese in Brazil. I chose Rio De Janeiro. While Rio is the 2nd most expensive city (to Sao Paolo), still it appeared to have a lot to offer, great beaches, and I found a great school. Studying Portuguese is FAR more expensive than studying Spanish. Brazil is one of the most expensive Latin countries and perhaps because the language is less-studied, the schools are more scarce and charge more. Group language classes are 15-25 USD per hour (In Rio) instead of 5-7 USD per hour (In Buenos Aires for example). Years later, after multiple visits, I have spent 12 months in Brazil and really love it.

So you can see that choosing the next travel location is paralyzing.

Don’t get me wrong, its a great problem to have. I’m lucky to have a life full of such freedom.

Note

I originally entitled the article “The Paralysis of Liberty”. However I’ve learned that liberty connotes being unrestrained under a political system and freedom is being unrestrained in a general sense. My thoughts are most relevant to the latter. I’m curious about how we each deal with the freedom we have in our lives.

Independence & Freedom

Another semantic discussion; much as been written about the differences between independence and freedom. Independence is the separation an individual has from control, influence, help, and support from others.

Independence is freedom from the control, influence, support, aid, or the like, of others.

Freedom is the state of being free or at liberty rather than in confinement or under physical restraint.

The thesaurus lists freedom and independence as synonyms for each other as well as this explanation:

Both freedom and independence refer to an absence of undue restrictions and an opportunity to exercise one’s rights and powers. Freedom emphasizes the opportunity given for the exercise of one’s rights, powers, desires, or the like: freedom of speech or conscience; freedom of movement. Independence implies not only lack of restrictions but also the ability to stand alone, unsustained by anything else: Independence of thought promotes invention and discovery.

With independence, one of the obstacles and one of the hindrances is that independence is a moving away-from. You do not become independent-to, you are independent-from. Independence is the action of moving away from some aspect of your reality. Generally, what you think of that you are moving away from is some type of obstacle or some type of restriction ― but independence is a restriction. For one of the largest restrictions that is expressed in independence is that it discourages interconnection and it discourages receiving. For, why shall you receive? You can do yourself. Why shall you be interconnected? You can be yourself. You can accomplish yourself. There is no binding or holding upon you if you are independent ― but is there?



Hello, My Name Is Sam

Hello,

My name is Sam. I am an American and I travel full-time by choice. I have an art degree and a software company; RivelloMultimediaConsulting (RMC). I create mobile applications and games. I love my work. Finding new clients with ideal projects is a great challenge — but its a welcome challenge.

I was born near Philadelphia, USA. I have 3 brothers and 3 sisters; one is younger and the rest are older. After university I moved to Los Angeles for 7 years. I was a found-team-member of a great startup and we grew the company for 7 years. Two years after selling the company, I began to travel. After more travel during my vacations from work, I decided to start RMC in Los Angeles, build experience, and then travel full-time.

When I was young I started learning languages. I learned a small amount of French and studied more in Highschool and university. Through my travels, and more language classes, I have learned Spanish, Portuguese, & Italian too. My current language skills include these 5 languages, and I’m interested to expand what I know.

Travel is my passion including; learning about local history and culture. I’ve been to 5 continents. I have quickly visited dozens of countries, but my preference is to spend extended time – so I have spent 2-3 months each in another few dozen countries; almost all of Central & South America for example. Travel frames my life and everything I do. Doing so full-time is certainly an amazing experience but I do miss friends and family. Living this way is a compromise, but one I love.

Interests include reading (typically I have a novel and a self-help open at the same time), playing video games (research for work, ha), and watching movies of all types.

For a creative outlet I like to cook. About half of my time I have an apartment or other access to a kitchen. I take a cooking class in most countries and some favorites include Indian, Italian, Brazilian, and Thai. As an artist-by-education I love to draw too, especially architecture.

For exercise I like to run 2-3 times per week (when I have an apartment). If near trails I love to hike steep trails for great views. Near the coasts I love swimming; I am a PADI certified rescue scuba diver and SSI certified free diving (hold breath, no tank). I enjoy snorkeling in clear waters. My newest hobbies include kite-surfing.

If you have any questions or comments please post below.



Learning A Foreign Language (Part 2)

In “Learning A Foreign Language (Part 1)” I recounted my life-time history with languages.

Here is an update of my proficiency in each language I studied and a self-assesment test so you can measure your own language skills.

My Languages

ENGLISH

  • January 2013 Proficiency – Native
  • January 2013 Levels – Listening C2, Reading C2, Spoken Int. c2, Spoken Production c2, Writing c2
  • 2013 Goals – None

SPANISH

  • October 2011, I was in my prime after 3 months in Colombia.
  • January 2013 Proficiency – Advanced
  • January 2013 Levels – Listening B2, Reading C1, Spoken Int. C1, Spoken Production C1, Writing B2
  • 2013 Goals – Read a book.

PORTUGUESE

  • June 2012, I was in my prime after 6 months in Brasil, studying.
  • January 2013 Proficiency – Advanced
  • January 2013 Levels – Listening B1, Reading B2, Spoken Int. B1, Spoken Production B2, Writing B1
  • 2013 Goals – Maybe Read a book.

ITALIAN

  • September 2011, I was in my prime after 3 months in Italy, studying.
  • January 2013 Proficiency – Beginner
  • January 2013 Levels – Listening A2, Reading A2, Spoken Int. A2, Spoken Production A2, Writing A2
  • 2013 Goals – None.

FRENCH

  • 2001-2002, I was in my prime after 5 years of study in school and 2 years at University as well as travel in French-speaking Morocco, Canada, & France. Since that time I have forgotten a lot.
  • January 2013 Proficiency – Beginner
  • January 2013 Levels – Listening A1, Reading A1, Spoken Int. 0, Spoken Production 0, Writing 0
  • 2013 Goals – If I find a French school in an Asian city I may study for 2-4 weeks. After some hasty research it seems possible.

NEXT LANGUAGE

  • I more interested to improve my existing languages than learn something new.
  • But, all my foreign languages are Latin languages. It would be a welcome challenge to learn a very different language.
  • No plan yet for my next language.

Measuring Language Proficiency

There are several scales used to demonstrate foreign language proficiency. The one I see used at language schools I’ve visited is the Common European Framework of Reference (CEFR). The following self-assesment is designed based on the CEFR scale.

UNDERSTANDING

Listening

  • A1 – I can understand familiar words and very basic phrases concerning myself, my family and immediate concrete surroundings when people speak slowly and clearly.
  • A2 - I can understand phrases and the highest frequency vocabulary related to areas of most immediate personal relevance (e.g. very basic personal and family information, shopping, local area, employment). I can catch the main point in short, clear, simple messages and announcements.
  • B1 - I can understand the main points of clear standard speech on familiar matters regularly encountered in work, school, leisure, etc. I can understand the main point of many radio or TV programmes on current affairs or topics of personal or professional interest when the delivery is relatively slow and clear.
  • B2 - I can understand extended speech and lectures and follow even complex lines of argument provided the topic is reasonably familiar. I can understand most TV news and current affairs programmes. I can understand the majority of films in standard dialect.
  • C1 - I can understand extended speech even when it is not clearly structured and when relationships are only implied and not signalled explicitly. I can understand television programmes and films without too much effort.
  • C2 - I have no difficulty in understanding any kind of spoken language, whether live or broadcast, even when delivered at fast native speed, provided I have some time to get familiar with the accent.

Reading

  • A1 - I can understand familiar names, words and very simple sentences, for example on notices and posters or in catalogues.
  • A2 - I can read very short, simple texts. I can find specific, predictable information in simple everyday material such as advertisements, prospectuses, menus and timetables and I can understand short simple personal letters.
  • B1 - I can understand texts that consist mainly of high frequency everyday or job-related language. I can understand the description of events, feelings and wishes in personal letters.
  • B2 - I can read articles and reports concerned with contemporary problems in which the writers adopt particular attitudes or viewpoints. I can understand contemporary literary prose.
  • C1 - I can understand long and complex factual and literary texts, appreciating distinctions of style. I can understand specialised articles and longer technical instructions, even when they do not relate to my field.
  • C2 - I can read with ease virtually all forms of the written language, including abstract, structurally or linguistically complex texts such as manuals, specialised articles and literary works.

SPEAKING

Spoken Interaction

  • A1 - I can interact in a simple way provided the other person is prepared to repeat or rephrase things at a slower rate of speech and help me formulate what I’m trying to say. I can ask and answer simple questions in areas of immediate need or on very familiar topics.
  • A2 - I can communicate in simple and routine tasks requiring a simple and direct exchange of information on familiar topics and activities. I can handle very short social exchanges, even though I can’t usually understand enough to keep the conversation going myself.
  • B1 - I can deal with most situations likely to arise whilst travelling in an area where the language is spoken. I can enter unprepared into conversation on topics that are familiar, of personal interest or pertinent to everyday life (e.g. family, hobbies, work, travel and current events).
  • B2 - I can interact with a degree of fluency and spontaneity that makes regular interaction with native speakers quite possible. I can take an active part in discussion in familiar contexts, accounting for and sustaining my views.
  • C1 - I can express myself fluently and spontaneously without much obvious searching for expressions. I can use language flexibly and effectively for social and professional purposes. I can formulate ideas and opinions with precision and relate my contribution skilfully to those of other speakers.
  • C2 - I can take part effortlessly in any conversation or discussion and have a good familiarity with idiomatic expressions and colloquialisms. I can express myself fluently and convey finer shades of meaning precisely. If I do have a problem I can backtrack and restructure around the difficulty so smoothly that other people are hardly aware of it.

Spoken Production

  • A1 - I can use simple phrases and sentences to describe where I live and people I know.
  • A2 - I can use a series of phrases and sentences to describe in simple terms my family and other people, living conditions, my educational background and my present or most recent job.
  • B1 - I can connect phrases in a simple way in order to describe experiences and events, my dreams, hopes and ambitions. I can briefly give reasons and explanations for opinions and plans. I can narrate a story or relate the plot of a book or film and describe my reactions.
  • B2 - I can present clear, detailed descriptions on a wide range of subjects related to my field of interest. I can explain a viewpoint on a topical issue giving the advantages and disadvantages of various options.
  • C1 - I can present clear, detailed descriptions of complex subjects integrating sub-themes, developing particular points and rounding off with an appropriate conclusion.
  • C2 - I can present a clear, smoothly-flowing description or argument in a style appropriate to the context and with an effective logical structure which helps the recipient to notice and remember significant points.

WRITING

  • A1 - I can write a short, simple postcard, for example sending holiday greetings. I can fill in forms with personal details, for example entering my name, nationality and address on a hotel registration form.
  • A2 - I can write short, simple notes and messages. I can write a very simple personal letter, for example thanking someone for something.
  • B1 - I can write simple connected text on topics which are familiar or of personal interest. I can write personal letters describing experiences and impressions.
  • B2 - I can write clear, detailed text on a wide range of subjects related to my interests. I can write an essay or report, passing on information or giving reasons in support of or against a particular point of view. I can write letters highlighting the personal significance of events and experiences.
  • C1 - I can express myself in clear, well-structured text, expressing points of view at some length. I can write about complex subjects in a letter, an essay or a report, underlining what I consider to be the salient issues. I can select a style appropriate to the reader in mind.
  • C2 - I can write clear, smoothly-flowing text in an appropriate style. I can write complex letters, reports or articles which present a case with an effective logical structure which helps the recipient to notice and remember significant points. I can write summaries and reviews of professional or literary works.

 



2012 Annual Review

My theme for the 2012 year was “Thailand Or Bust”. I’ve been to North America, South America, Europe, and Africa. I meet travelers who tell me tales of great food, great beaches, exotic culture, and budget adventures in Asia. I didn’t make it to Thailand, yet. That’s now scheduled for May 2013. However, in December I arrived in Singapore (See picture above of the amazing Buddha Tooth Relic Temple). Asia was my goal for 2012 and I made it!

Each year (2009, 2010, 2011, 2012) I write a preview of goals at the start of the year and a review at the end of the year. Here is the review for the year of 2012. Summary

I had a fantastic year. I traveled extensively while working and learning. I made growth in many areas of interest. I learned massive amounts too about how to do it all better; including setting more rigid goals.

Highlights

  • Visited 2 new countries. 46 lifetime (I think).
  • 6 Months in Brazil
  • 2 Months in the Caribbean; snorkeling & diving.
  • Worked for the majority of the year; mobile development (iOS/Android), museum kiosk touchscreen work (Adobe AIR), and live audio streaming application coding (Wowza)
  • Launched a complete redesign & rebuild, including membership integration, for 2 of my key sites; http://www.RivelloMultimediaConsulting.com/ and http://www.NowAndThere.com. They look great.
  • Greatly expanded my Portuguese (PT), and brushed up with Spanish in Colombia. Both are very strong (and a bit confused, ha). My Italian (IT) took a back seat. I practiced with a couple Italian travelers here and there, but not much.

2012 Year in Photos

Calendar

Before 2012, I created my 2012 Preview and included plans to start the year in Brazil and end in Thailand with possible stays; Mexico, Italy, & Croatia. The plan was tentative allowing for freedom.

Here are all locations I actually visited in 2012 by date;

  • Brazil - December 29, 2011
    • Work on-site
    • Study Portuguese for 4 weeks
    • Extended 3 month visa to 6 months to enjoy. First time doing an extension, ever.
  • USA – June 5
    • Given free attendance to a computing course on Sencha.com. I requested it after publishing an “Intro To Sencha” article on my blog.
    • Great interview with a top NYC gaming company.
  • Dominican Republic  - July 4
  • Bonaire  - August 2
  • Colombia  - August 31
  • USA  - November 27
  • Singapore  - December 1

Books I Read

  • ONE-TIME: Write blog post (N&T) book review for ‘Conversations With God’ and include a diagram about it. – Completed. The post is here “Book Review: Conversations With God
  • ENGLISH
    • Non-Fiction
      • The Next 100 Years, by George Friedman – Completed.
      • E-Myth, by Michael E. Gerber
      • Non-fiction about the theory of relativity or the sciences of time-travel (See ‘Danca Do Universo’ below) - Completed.
      • Non-fiction about meditation, mindfulness, or life-balance. Completed. I read many books on this subject.
      • ADDED: The Founders Dilemmas by Noam Wasserman. - Completed. Fantastic overview of the challenges of when to found a startup, who to partner, who to hire, who to invest from.
      • ADDED: Rework, by Jason Fried, David Heinemeier Hansson. - Completed. No-nonsense consise advice on working lean in your business. Has chapters like ”Learning from mistakes is overrated”.
    • Fiction
      • Something by Henry Miller (Classic American Author)   - Partial. I tried ‘Tropic of Capricorn‘ but quit in disinterest after 25%.
      • The Great Gatsby, by F. Scott Fitzgerald - Completed. Not ‘great’.
      • The Name of The Rose, by Umberto EcoCompleted. Super super super wordy about medieval religious history. Otherwise good.
      • Walden, by Henry David Thorea - Partial. I started it and enjoyed it, but stopped. Maybe I’ll return to it. It talks about quality of life, priorities, simplicity, essence of humanity, and so many great themes.
      • ADDED: Novel (Comedy) – Vonnegut? Not Completed. I read some classics, but not comedies.
  • PORTUGUESE
    • Danca Do Universo, by Marcelo Gleiser. Theories on the creation of the universe and real macro/micro physics discoveries since. Completed. Absolutely FASCINATING. Starts with what ancient cultures thought of the universe and carries that through history to the most modern thinkers in Physics. Clearly explains the theories of Einstein and others too.
    • Filtro Solar, by Mary Schmich - Completed. Thanks for this sweet gift, Raquel!
    • Computer Arts Projects Brazil - Completed. I partially read 10 or 20 issues. Very nice.
  • SPANISH
    • A Novel (Isabella Allende?)  - Partial. I tried ‘Casa De Los Espiritus‘ but it was too advanced for my Spanish skills after 11 months not using Spanish. I should try again now, fresh from 3 months of speaking Spanish daily in Colombia.
  • ITALIAN
    • Poetry – Find a classic. Not Completed. I did not return to Italy in 2012 nor follow up with Italian studies.
    • Read a parallel text book (left page English, right page Italian). Good for non-advanced readers. Not Completed.

Music / Audio Books to Hear

I had been thinking recently to dig deeper into the catalog of a few bands and explore the music of some other cultures more actively. I also wanted to memorize the lyrics to a song in each of several languages – just for fun. I’ve done so further below.

  • ONE-TIME: Collect All Albums By These bands and load them into iTunes & devices to enjoy.
    • Muse – Completed
    • The Gorillaz – Completed
    • Foo Fighters - Completed
  • ONE-TIME: Memorize Songs By Language
    • Con Te Partiro (IT), Pensamentos (PT), and Muelle De San Blas (ES)  - Partial. I listen to them and read the lyrics regularly. Haven’t memorized them yet.
  • ONE-TIME: Collect a variety of representative music from these cultures (asking friends who know)
    • Samba (Brazilian)
    • World (African Influence)

Games / Apps

For pleasure and work I’m involved in video games and mobile apps. For research, inspiration,  fun I seek, find, and play new board games, card games, and of course video games & apps regularly. I have a laptop as well as Playstation Vita (mobile), and several other mobile devices. I had no specific goals for games in 2012. I probably downloaded about 100-150 games and apps (mostly free, mostly iOS). Here are some highlights of what I remember most.

  • Mac Laptop
    • Deus Ex : Human Evolution by Eidos. First-person sci-fi shooter. So-so story, fantastic production values, and engaging gameplay – kept me playing until the end.
    • The Walking Dead, by TellTale Games. This game honors the great TV show by the same name. The narrative mood and conversation-driven gameplay are both refreshing and refreshingly simple.
  • Playstation Vita
    • LittleBigPlanet PS Vita, by Tarsier Studios. IGN Review. The PS Vita is a new system in 2012. This is clearly the best game and best game specific to the vita (uses touch-screen, camera, etc…). Beautiful, varied, fun - kept me playing until the end. Allows for robust user generated games too which should give this game a long shelf-life.
    • Uncharted: Golden Abyss, by Sony Bend. IGN Review. This game redefines the production values and graphics that is possible on mobile. A solid game with great gameplay. A console-quality experience on Mobile.
    • Sounds Shapes, by Queasy Games. IGN Review. Fun, simple game with level-editor built in. What I find refreshing is to see an independent game developer making big waves on this new Sony device. Great to see the game on top of many top-of-2012 lists. It’s encouraging for indie developers.
  • iOS iTouch 
    • Evernote, by Evernote. I’ve used Evernote for computer off/on for years. It is a note-taking application. Now with its connectivity with mobile devices, its better than ever. I used to email myself todo’s and other notes. Now I use Evernote.
  • iOS iPad Tablet
    • Field Runners, by Subatomic Studios. The tower defense genre is crowded. Somehow this games balance and difficulty kept me playing.
    • Hero Academy, by Robot Entertainment. Pretty, turn-based multiplayer game. Something like checkers.
    • Paper, by FiftyThree. Elegant drawing program. Inspired me to purchase a stylus pen. I drew a lot with it, so did my mom and friends.
  • Android Tablet
    • The tablet is ‘ok’, Android seems ‘ok’, but I don’t use it much except to test my professional projects.
    • There are certainly top Android games of all time to recommend, but I have not played too many yet.

Goals

Business

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Summary

I am the Principal of Rivello Multimedia Consulting. Offer four core services in software development; Architecture, Development, Consulting, and Training. I will continue with those. I will also offer products – namely mobile apps & games. I started planning and producing my first mobile game in 2011, but did not yet launch anything.

I focus my services around the Adobe Flash Platform. Much is changing in the software development industry for browser, desktop, and mobile. I will investigate learning and working with alternative technologies; perhaps native iOS, perhaps HTML5.

Highlights

  1. ONE-TIME: Write blog post (N&T) of ”The Ideal Full-time Job”. Write as a job description that would; a) be perfect AFTER I decide to settle down or b) be so good it would halt my travels early. Then keep an eye out for this position.  Completed. The topic changed while writing it to Full-Time vs Freelance Careers.
  2. ONE-TIME: Create one, simple, complete, WordPress-based website as a portfolio piece. It must also serve a function (info, fun, or monetized). Include translation to 5 languages (English, Spanish, Portuguese, Italian, French). Not Completed yet. I’m very interested and will move this to 2013 goals.
  3. ONE-TIME: Generate more passive income. Launch one monetized app or game into a mobile marketplace (Android / iOS). Not Completed yet. I learned a lot about the technical aspect to get this done, but launched nothing yet. I’m very interested and will move this to 2013 goals.
  4. ONE-TIME: Complete training (online?) in HTML5 and write a blog post (RMC) with a ‘HelloWorld’. Completed. I really recommend the free course http://www.codecademy.com/tracks/web.
  5. ONE-TIME: Create a new category on blog (RMC) of ‘Tutorials’. Create 5 videos of 5 mins or less as a P.O.C. to training companies, prospective trainees, and to explore the experience. Possible topics: Introduction to RMC, Welcome to Flash Professional, Welcome to Flash Builder, Using Flash and Flex together, Intro to Game design (use flyer game), and some advanced topic (something to get attention from advanced users and use as an advanced example. Completed. New entire site with a great training section - http://www.rivellomultimediaconsulting.com/training/
  6. BONUS: To investigate learning and working in technologies outside my core competency I researched, coded, and wrote blogs for several platforms. Completed. I wrote MANY MANY great articles; “Intro To Corona (Mobile)“, “Intro To Sencha“, “Intro To Node.js“, “Event Dispatching in Java“, “Intro To Stencyl (Games)“, “What is Gamification?“, and more…

Writing / Presenting

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Summary

I spoke at many, many conferences in the past. Since I left the USA, I have done much, much less. As my language skills mature, it would be great to set speaking goals in local languages, but traveling to the USA just to speak is likely out of my interests for 2012.

I’m a bit shy (slow) to do it, but I really want to establish authority as a Location-Independent expert and share the knowledge (online, in person, to travelers). I have many related goals to contribute to my blog (N&T) in 2012, but should think bigger.

Highlights

  1. ONE-TIME: Pitch to write more on both; a) technical topics [Flash/Flex/Gaming] to online & print magazines, b) non-technical topics [Lifestyle/Location-Independence] to online & print magazines. Build a list of a) and b) and send a cover letter and links to existing possible talk topics on my blog (RMC).   - Partial. I now have an open invite from two online magazines ( http://ffdmag.com & http://sdjournal.org/codersky-sample/ ) to write an article. Maybe in the near future I’ll write an article. So far I have not been motivated for it. 
  2. ONE-TIME: Speak online (Adobe User Group or similar) on a technical topic (Flash / Flex / Gaming). Completed. I scheduled an April 26th training session on Game Development for the Hawaii Flash User Group.
  3. ONE-TIME: Speak in person in local language on a technical topic.   - Partial. I met local businessmen and software developers several times using each Portuguese and Spanish. I’m confident I can interview and work in those languages. I didn’t actively seek presenting engagements in local languages. In 2013, perhaps I’ll speak local, but it’ll be in English (Asia).
  4. ONE-TIME: Write or present on a non-technical topic (Travel / Work-life-balance). Not Completed. I’m not sure where I’d present that. Perhaps at a hostel or a CouchSurfing in-person meeting.
  5. ONE-TIME: Make a PPT-type (Powerpoint) presentation about LIP. Not Completed. I’m interested to do this. I was particularly inspired by a prezo I found (). Perhaps I can do a PPT or maybe I can fold this into a programming experiment such as a slide-show of pictures that I program. or something.
  6. ONE-TIME: Publish (N&T) articles from 3 guest-authors. Not Completed. I asked a few friends for interest. No commitment. I did not search any wider though. N&T overall got less attention than I wanted this year.
  7. ONE-TIME: Write blog post (N&T) “The Paralysis of Liberty” about how difficult it is when I can literally travel ANYWHERE in the world, and somehow choose my next country. More abstractly how does ‘too much’ options paralyze us. Many of us avoid those scenarios by design (not recommended).
  8. RESEARCH: How can I establish expertise in Location-Independence and leverage that to writing and presenting?

Promotions & Marketing

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Summary

Many of my RMC professional goals are predicated by getting more offers for work. Marketing myself more (RMC) is one way to attract more offers. Marketing N&T will help me build more reputation for Location-Independence expertise.

Highlights

RMC

  1. ONE-TIME: Triple the amount of viable contract-work opportunities I’m offered.
  2. ONE-TIME: Increase RMC (@srivello) twitter followers from (286 Followers) to (500 Followers). We’ll assume this also helps the RMC (SITE) traffic.  
    Partial. I now have 378 followers as of 12/23/2012.
  3. ONE-TIME: Increase RMC (Site) unique visitors from 1,065 January Through October 2011 by 50% for 2012. Completed I had 34,822 annual unique visitors (Jan through Oct, 2012) 
  4. MONTHLY: Write 12+ new posts (6 editorial, 6 technical). Think fast and simple. –  Completed. The RMC site was completely redesigned in Feb 2012. Looks great and I added a whopping 46 posts to the site. 
  5. ONE-TIME: Create a free membership for RMC to encourage revisiting.- Completed. I even created a Wishlist Member Review post and received a free copy of the plugin from the creators. Nice! I have 324 members (570 including unconfirmed) as of 12/23/2012.
  6. QUARTERLY: Create a free RMC newsletter. Simply point to recent posts?
  7. ONE-TIME: Update my Facebook page (RMC) and attract 50 members. You can Like RMC on Facebook now!

N&T

  1. RESEARCH: Learn from online resources how to monetize a blog and implement some strategies to maximize return with minimal time investment.
  2. ONE-TIME: Increase N&T (@nowandtherefeed) twitter followers from (104 Followers) to (300 Followers). Not Completed. Totally FAILED. I now have 61 followers as of 12/23/2012. Oops.
  3. ONE-TIME: Create a free membership for N&T to encourage revisiting. - Completed. I even created a Wishlist Member Review post and received a free copy of the plugin from the creators. Nice!
  4. QUARTERLY: Create a free N&T newsletter. Simply point to recent posts?
  5. ONE-TIME: Update my Facebook page (N&T) and attract 50 members. You can Like N&T on Facebook now!
  6. ONE-TIME: Increase N&T (Blog) annual visits from 1,149 January Through October 2011 by 50% for 2012.
  7. MONTHLY: Write 12+ new posts (6 original, 6 reviews or editorial commentary). Think fast and simple.
  8. ON-TIME: Update existing speaking engagement pitches I created to improve quality and generate interest;Planning A Round The World Trip” and ”Living Location Independent“.

GFD

  1. ONE-TIME: Fix ‘security error’ that appears as users arrive. - Completed. I think a theme was hacked or led to a hack. Now fixed.
  2. ONE-TIME: Increase GreatFlexDevelopers.com (a ‘find a developer’ website I created) annual visits from 1,229 January Through October 2011 by 50% for 2012. Contact all current members and ask for the email of others who should be listed. LIst them. Then contact all those listed and ask for ideas to promote the list. Share the traffic goal.
  3. ONE-TIME: Create a Facebook page (GFD) and attract 50 members. Encourage all current developers to ‘friend it’.

Family & Friends

 

Family 290 100 v1

Summary

For a few years I’ve had goals to meet new people and make friends. Its easy and hard while traveling full-time – its different. I certainly say hi to more people than ever, but to build relationships on-the-go is a challenge.

Over tea, in Egypt, my friend and I discussed how millions of dollars would change our lives. I’m lucky enough to say, within reason, I would continue to work in the same field, in some capacity, and certainly would continue to travel. One way, we both agreed to spend the money would be to treat friends to travel along with us – flights, trips, parties, etc… It reminds me of general goals to socialize with new and existing friends.

Highlights

  1. ONE-TIME: Memorize 10 great jokes - At least one per language (English, Spanish, Portuguese, Italian, French). Not Completed. I got a great iOS app that has this, but its more funny to hear than truly helpful.
  2. ONE-TIME: Write Blog Post (N&T) – “Find The Ideal Travel Partner” (friend/ business partner/ mentor-mentee/romantic partner) and outline their qualities. Then search for that person (existing/new friends) and travel together.
  3. ONE-TIME: Write Blog Post (N&T) – “Find The Ideal Mate”.
  4. ONE-TIME: Host 1 friend. - Completed. Three times, friends came to RIO (stayed on their own) and I showed them around the city. We toured together, went out at night, and enjoyed Carnaval. I’ll keep an eye out to host more. While in Colombia I hosted for 3 weeks a new friend Phoenix (See his blog) as he quit his sedentary life and started his 5 years traveling the world and working from his laptop. 
  5. ONE-TIME: Host 1 CouchSurfer. Not Completed. 
  6. ONE-TIME: Host 1 family member. Not Completed. 

Financial (Earning)

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Summary

In 2011, my projects were really great. I was excited by the projects, enjoyed working with the people, and provided a great value for great compensation. In 2012, I would like to book more of my time for client-work and spend less time between projects and less marketing time.

The services I offer are good and my pay-rate range is both competitive and profitable.

Highlights

  1. ANNUAL: Book 40 weeks of client-work.  Partial. I booked nearly that amount. However, the first few months of the year were a bit slow.
  2. ONE-TIME: Create a polished proof of concept (POC) mobile app with Ad-monetiziation. Doesn’t need to launch. - Completed. The Happy Birthday App is in my portfolio.
  3. ONE-TIME: Launch a free app/game for mobile. Use as promotion / portfolio. Not Completed. I’m still interested in this goal for the future.
  4. ONE-TIME: Launch a monetized app/game for mobile. Not Completed. I’m still interested in this goal for the future.

Financial (Saving)

Savings 290 100 v1

Summary

In 2011, I set goals for my revenue – dividing it properly between savings, investment in RMC, charity, and salary/taxes. I did well with this.

In 2012, I would like to be more aggressive to set invest particularly for the purchase of a home (TBD on when). I met with investment professionals, but was not excited by the returns vs risks they promised, so keeping funds conservative for now seems best.

Highlights

  • MONTHLY: Fill existing emergency and residential funds. Build savings towards the purchase of a home. Partial.
  • ONE-TIME: Vet current banking & bills setup and implement changes to save money.  Completed. I have a core business checking and personal checking for cash-flow in/out. I have credit cards which I use in rare situations. Any debt is paid of within the first statement. I have a bank of retirement funds. I pay in the max annually. I see I continue to pay international & ATM fees which can be as high as 10%.
  • ONE-TIME: * Contact credit card companies and ask for lower rate.  Completed. A call every 6 months seems to work to at least lower a few percent. Another option is to get a new card per year (each have 0% or other lower percent for 6 months) and transfer over. Moreover, I don’t hold any debt for more than a month (if possible).
  • ONE-TIME: * Contact debit card companies and ask for best international setup (foreign banks, purchases vs cash-withdrawels, etc…) Completed. I found the ‘best’ card for travelers with zero international fees, applied, and received it.
  • ONE-TIME: * Transfer from Vonage (expensive) phone # to Google-Voice or Skype. Completed. I now have only Skype with zero monthly phone-call fees.
  • ONE-TIME: Write blog post (N&T) “Buying International Real-Estate” with an overview of other bloggers’ thoughts and include 3 vignettes of interest for me. 1) Condo in Buenos Aires (Urban, Spanish, on-site work opportunities), 2) Tropical Latin (Rural, Spanish, Beach), 3) Tropical Asian (Rural/Urban, Beach)  Not Completed.
  • ONGOING: Create a per-country daily-budget upon arrival in each country. Based on the length of stay, average accommodation cost, estimated food / entertainment costs, set a per-country budget. The objective is to predict expenses only to bring awareness when I am under / at / above the budget on a daily basis.  Not Completed.

Financial (Giving)

Saving 290 100 v1

Summary

I am a monthly sponsor at Children.org and sponsor at Kiva.org. I’m looking for ways to give more where the money is well-used for a cause of interest. In 2012, I’d like to financially give in other ways too. I’m sensitive to what is called ‘selfish giving’ and generally avoid it.

Real generosity toward the future lies in giving all to the present. – Albert Camus

Highlights

  1. QUARTERLY: Donate 5% monthly income to one charity in each country I visit for 1+ months. I prefer this to donating ‘on the street’.
  2. ONE-TIME: Financially help a local in need.
  3. ONE-TIME: Financially help a backpacker in need. Partial. I helped a traveler (non-financially) to setup a new website with wordpress and taught how to maintain it. After I made an HD Screencast Training Video To Learn WordPress.
  4. BONUS: More giving. - Completed.I am a monthly donor (for this year) to the Kony2012 project. Since donating I see much controversy reported online about the validity of the movement’s claims and practices. Oh well! I’ll check in with that at year’s end.

Learning

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Summary

I have always enjoyed the learning process. In recent years, I have increased my learning.

Peculiar Travel Suggestions are Dancing Lessons From God – Kurt Vonnegut

Highlights

  • ONE-TIME: Complete a paid, client-project in mobile software development (So this would be something new). Completed. I had a great project for 3 months to create a cross-platform (iOS/Android) mobile application. The project itself is not on my portfolio, but a similar side-project is posted “Cross Platform Mobile Starter Kit (MSK)“.
  • ONE-TIME: Complete a paid, client-project in a project that is not based on the Adobe Flash Platform (which is my normal type of project). Partial. I had several pre-sales conversations with potential clients about HTML5 (mostly mobile) projects. I wrote an article about “Intro To Sencha” (HTML5) technology and created some demos. As a thanks the Sencha team invited me to 5 days of training in NYC. Nice. Sencha is a good product.
  • ONE-TIME: Write blog post (N&T) “My Current Languages” about languages. Test my current proficiency (a1,a2,b1,b2,c1,c2) and record a video of me speaking 5 languages (English, Spanish, Portuguese, Italian, French).  Completed. Here is the “Learning Languages (Part 2)” article.
  • ONE-TIME: Study massage for non-professional use. Not Completed. I’m still interested in this goal for the future.
  • ONE-TIME: Learn a musical instrument. Harmonica is mobile, but not that exciting to me… Not Completed. I’m still interested in this goal for the future.
  • ONE-TIME: Take an online photography course. Not Completed. I’m still interested in this goal for the future.
  • ONE-TIME: Write blog post (N&T) “Meaning of Joy” where I define 20 words like joy, pleasure, happiness, to learn the subtleties I don’t yet understand. Completed. Here is the “Meaning Of Joy“ article.
  • ONE-TIME: Draw a world map without practice. Practice, draw it again with 100 countries and accurate boarders. Not Completed. I’m still interested in this goal for the future.

Health & Sport

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Summary

During travel, I am intermittently active. When I hike and bike as part of a tour I am generally pleased with my abilities and level of fitness. However, from a general health perspective, I think I should include a more regular fitness plan.

I have no goals to change my diet or be ‘on a diet’. However I would like to alter my relationship with food. I feel that I often over eat and eat without being hungry. I think my current behavior is excessive.

I really miss snow-skiing. However I also dislike cold weather and avoid it. I’m not sure I will do any skiing in 2012, but I do miss it.

Highlights

  1. RESEARCH: Read about ‘overeating’ and ‘eating when you are not hungry’ and learn how I can avoid these habits. Not Completed. I’m still interested in this goal for the future.
  2. ONE-TIME: Attend Pilates class – Completed. What a great experience! Its like Yoga + Weights + Massage
  3. ONE-TIME: Get IKO certified as a kite-surfer.(Thailand?)  Completed. I learned that IKO certification is not a requisite to the sport. I completed an equivalent level to that of training and can kite solo down-wind (and fall down up-wind). I can rent equipment anywhere in the world and continue learning. I love kiting.
  4. ONE-TIME: Run one (more) 5k or 10k.
  5. ONE-TIME: Do a multi-day hike/camp/resort tour. Completed. I spent 2 days in the mountains outside of Medellín, Colombia in Santa Elena at the Mosaic Hotel & Spa.  I disconnected from technology and enjoyed spa treatments and relaxation.
  6. ONGOING: Surf more (Thailand?) Not Completed. In 2013 I’m booked to visit Bali, Indonesia which is a surfing mecca.

 

Spirituality

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Summary

I enjoy learning about meditation, mindfulness,  and life-balance.

“Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma – which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of other’s opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.” – Steve Jobs

Highlights

  1. MONTHLY: Attend 6 yoga classes. Not Completed. I’m still interested in this goal for the future.
  2. ONE-TIME: First visit to acupuncturist. Completed. What a great experience! Its like Yoga + Weights + Massage
  3. ONE-TIME: Unplug from all technology for 7 days. Probably 48 hours was the maximum time in 2012 without internet. I’m still interested in this goal for the future.
  4. ONE-TIME: Visit multi-day retreat of yoga/spa/something. Not Completed. In 2013 I’m booked to visit Bali, Indonesia which is a yoga mecca. I’m researching spiritual retreats.
  5. DAILY: Using existing techniques, meditate for 15 minutes, 7 times per week starting January 1.   Partial. I practiced daily for a full month in March/April and again August. Establishing a regimen is a challenge while traveling, but it is certainly possible.

Travel

Passports 290 100 v1

Summary

For 2012, I have planned yet another year of full-time travel.

Interestingly, after years of ‘new places’, I plan in great part (see ‘Calendar’ above) to return to several countries. I think in part I’ve found some favorite places, but also, I’m looking to build my knowledge of local language and local history and culture on those favorite countries.

Highlights

  1. ONE-TIME: Work on-site in the local language (Spanish). Not Completed. This is no longer an immediate goal.
  2. ONE-TIME: Work on-site in the local language (Portuguese). Not Completed. This is no longer an immediate goal.
  3. ONE-TIME: Extend a Visa-stay when I’m loving a country. – Completed. Extended my 90 day visa to 180 days in March.
  4. ONE-TIME:

    Write blog post (N&T) “The Importance of Travel – An AutoBio” and include  a timeline of my life (big picture) and list of travels. I’d like a dated recount of my travels too. Think about –  How am I different before/after long-term-travel. Not Completed. I’m still interested in this goal for the future.

  5. ONE-TIME:

    Write blog post (N&T) “When to Use Frequent Flyer Miles” and include a general strategy on when. I need to know this info, so writing a quick article on it would help me research it.

     Not Completed. This is no longer an immediate goal.

Life Assessment

Assessment 290 100 v1

Summary

This post illustrates that I am a goal oriented person. Success, for some, is a process of a) where am I, b) where do I want to be, and c) how do I get to where I want to be. For me both a) and b) are really about self-awareness. I feel that I am of forded the time, energy, and interest for much introspection, but I’m still learning what makes me tick (think). I enjoy this search.

Highlights

Goals in this section are not completed. I did not make it a priority.

  1. ONE-TIME: Complete a Meyers-Briggs personality profile test.
  2. ONE-TIME: Visit a therapist.
  3. RESEARCH: Read about ‘contrarian personalities’ and what it means to be inspired by opposing others
  4. ONE-TIME: Write blog post (N&T) – “My Greatest Fears” and include common fears (public speaking, death, etc…), my fears, and outline some activities to conquer those fears.
  5. ONE-TIME: Write blog post (N&T) – “Creating Your 5 Year Plan” and include my plan, and discuss the pros/cons of such a plan.

Coaching & Support

Coaching 290 100 v1

Summary

I met regularly with a career coach for 1-2 years. This year I had 1-2 sessions at the start of the year, but not after. I enjoyed the pioneering spirit of finding my own with the tools that my coach provided. I am interested to seek coaching in support, but perhaps in new ways.

Highlights

  1. ONE-TIME: Build a list of characteristics in an ideal mentor and mentoring relationship. Seek a mentor (online?). Not Completed. I’m still interested in this goal for the future.
  2. ONE-TIME: Find (or be found) by a mentee who wants to make the transition to professional living and travel as a location independent. Assist him/her. Explore that.  Completed. While in Colombia I hosted for 3 weeks a new friend Phoenix (See his blog) as he quit his sedentary life and started his 5 years traveling the world and working from his laptop. 

Volunteering

Volunteering 2 290 100 v1

Summary

I would like to do more to give back. Donating in ‘Financial (Giving)’ is a nice start, but I like the social aspects of giving my time to a cause too. I have not done much of this in the past and would like to find more opportunities to help. I’m interested to help in many areas, but especially related to art/teaching/computers.

Highlights

  1. ONE-TIME: Complete a long-term (2+ weeks) volunteering.  Partial. I found, interviewed, and landed a great job. I booked a January 17th, 2012 start for 6 weeks of teaching “Intro To Adobe Flash” in Mexico. Nice! However this opportunity fell through on the organizer’s side. I’m looking for more opportunities in 2013 and there appears to be plenty in Asia.
  2. ONE-TIME: Volunteer at an animal conservation/rescue location. Not Completed. I’m still interested in this goal for the future.
  3. ONE-TIME: Volunteer at an child-aid / orphanage location. Not Completed. I’m still interested in this goal for the future.

Fun!

Fun 290 100 v1

Summary

Ironically, I’m planning for more whimsey.

I am very open to new experiences, and have nothing but time and flexibility. I want to have some more fun, again, in 2012!

Highlights

  1. ONE-TIME: Write blog post (N&T) “Goose-Chase Goals” and then do them. These are activities that encourage me; a) to explore an area, b) to get out of comfort zone, c) to be social, and d) to have a good story. Not Completed. I’m still interested in this goal for the future.
  2. ONE-TIME: Skinny Dip (More…)  Completed.
  3. BONUS: Shaved one arm completely to see if anyone would notice. Not one person noticed before it grew back.  Completed.
  4. ONE-TIME: Dance a samba, dance a salsa, dance a waltz.  Completed all 3. Especially Samba at Carnival in Rio. 
  5. RESEARCH: Google ‘taking yourself less seriously’ and read about it. Learn the benefits and make a loose plan. Not Completed. I’m still interested in this goal for the future.
  6. BONUS: Rent a motorcycle.Completed many times in Philippines.

Creativity

Creativity 290 100 v1

Summary

I consider myself a creative person. I can put my stamp onto projects both small and large and feel I’m expressing myself through crafts and work. I’d like to learn more about creativity this year – simply reading a bit and practicing creativity exercises more. I’d like to be able to articulate creative processes better and help others to be creative.

“To avoid criticism say nothing, do nothing, be nothing.” Aristotle

“A hunch is creativity trying to tell you something.” — Frank Capra

“The world is but a canvas to the imagination.”  — Henry David Thoreau

Highlights

  1. MONTHLY: Update art.RivelloMultimediaConsulting.com with annual photos and 6 non-photo artworks. Completed.
  2. ONE-TIME: Do a photo essay on a person that I meet. Completed. MuitasSaudades.com
  3. ONE-TIME: Buy an interesting yet totally out-of-character magazine and read it cover to cover. Not Completed. I’m still interested in this goal for the future.
  4. ONE-TIME: Take a drawing / painting class. Not Completed. I’m still interested in this goal for the future.
  5. ONE-TIME: Write original, non-ironic, poetry. . Completed. MuitasSaudades.com

Attitude / World View

Worldview 290 100 v1

Summary

I’ve been thinking a lot about individuality and its role in a person’s life. Reading the book “Conversations With God 1, 2, & 3″ (Read My Review) recently was very interesting as well. Its pampering to non-traditionally-religious or a-religious people, but also hits on a really nice blend of individual responsibility, spirituality, and the role of religion in our lives.

My Current View: Is that I am overjoyed when religion’s effect helps someone be a kinder, more fair, happier person and disappointed when religion’s effect causes a person to be less than what he is or to treat others poorly. I’m curious of the ratio of help vs hurt there.

So, we are born perfect (not wrong, not sinned, not ignorant, not bad) and during our life or lives we rediscover that perfection. Each individual works at a different pace at rediscovering that perfection, and that pace may change over time. Our spirit is perfect and our mind and body try (or not depending on the situation) to follow that perfection. Being authentic (to our spirit) is the most direct path to realize that perfection. The more we can be true to our spirit, the closer to our own perfection we are. Following our heart (i.e. spirit) is most perfect. I created this diagram to underline the simplicity of decision making in this world view.

 

Highlights

  1. ONE-TIME: Write blog post (N&T) “Futurecasting & Dreamscaping” which outlines the law of attraction and visualization and how to benefit from it. Include an ideal ‘day in the life’ for me and reflect on it.
  2. RESEARCH: Google ‘film documentaries that change your world view’ and watch the top 5.   Partial. I watched ‘Thrive’. Very broad scope. Entertaining.

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Comments

Please leave any comments and questions below and I’d love to answer them here too. Pardon my grammar and spelling. Rapid, free, stream o’ consciousness is my goal, nothing more formal.

 



Full Time vs Freelance Career

In my career as a software developer I worked as an employee, a founding-team member of a startup, and a business owner. I currently own and operate Rivello Multimedia Consulting (RMC) – an app & game software development company.

Owning a business is empowering and challenging. I love it. It affords me the flexibility to work with the people and technology that excite me and allows me to travel extensively. After years in Los Angeles I decided to take RMC mobile. Working within dozens of countries. I now travel full-time while I work on project-based client-assignments.

In the pursuit of new contracts I’m often approached by recruiters, head-hunters, and software companies to accept full-time positions. While I’m not actively looking for full-time employment, I want to brainstorm ‘The Ideal Full-time Job’ for two reasons. Perhaps I will accept a full-time position AFTER I decide to settle down geographically. So knowing what I want is important. Or secondly, perhaps if I have the ideal situation firmly in mind, I will find something so good it will encourage me to settle down geographically. I’d like to define what is ideal for me and keep an eye out for it.

Its also increasingly possible to be a full-time employee and work some or all of the position as a remote worker.

Let’s take a moment to talk about the full-time lifestyle compared to some alternatives.

FULL-TIME VS FREELANCE VS CONTRACTOR

Here are a few of my own definitions on the types of working relationships we find within the software industry.

An ‘employee’ works 40 (in USA) or more hours per week for the same employee and receives compensation regularly in the form of salary and benefits. He belongs to the company. Generally speaking, the worker is on-site and the employer is his only source of income. The responsibilities are set by one or more bosses. The risks for the employee are low. He is told what to do, he does the work (with varying degrees of flexibility in how he completes it), and then submits it for review. The learning and growth opportunities are controlled by the employer. In short, for the worker, being a full-time employee is a very secure position with some personal and some professional growth potential, but little control.

A ‘freelancer’ works independently for 1 to 40 hours or more for an employer. The worker may be on-site, off-site, or a hybrid combination of both. Most of her power comes before the project is signed. She can seek the project and technologies of interest and offer the calendars and budget (subject to client approval). Once the project begins however, the relationship is mostly employee-employer where the freelancer does what she is told to do. She receives compensation hourly or flat in the form of salary during or after a project. Between projects there is no pay. There is some risk too. Generally she is responsible for her own benefits (health insurance, retirement, etc…). The volume of work to be done between due-dates may be very high, regardless she is responsible to get it done. She receives no training or growth, except what is learned on the specific job at hand. She must train herself on her own time to stay competitive and to offer value. In short, for the worker being a freelance worker is an insecure position with little (on the job) growth yet greater control of the projects and technologies used.

For many, freelancer and contractor are the same. However, I note a difference.

A ‘contractor’ is independent like  the freelancer, but accepts more responsibility and risk. He is free to choose his next project. But can take on projects that are not yet well formed or well documented. This allows him to create the specifications document (subject for client approval) for potentially larger projects. He may hire sub-contractors to help with the project too. At milestones and certainly at the project completion he submits his work to the client for review. Estimating hours and budget is also required. For this additional risk the contractor is paid more. The contractor may also manage her own team and do subcontracting too, where a freelancer is a solo worker. So for the worker, being a contract worker is an insecure position with little (on the job growth) yet a high level of control over what projects are taken and how the projects will be completed. He is responsible for creating specifications, hiring and managing subordinates, and delivering the completed work.

Full-time employees pay taxes annual (in USA, using a w2), freelancers are paid with a 1099, and contractors may use 1099 but there are other options too.

Generally, defining an ‘employee’ is easy, but there is grey area between freelancer and contractor. To me, the more risk and responsibility the worker has, the more the role sounds like a contractor.

PAY COMPARISON FULL-TIME VS OTHERS.

When comparing the financial side of a full-time position vs a freelance/contract lifestyle, one must consider more than just the salary. All other things being equal, the freelancer must be paid significantly more than the employee for the freelancer to be a financially competitive option. Think of all the costs you must pay as a freelancer that you don’t pay as an employee:

  1. Utility bills. The heat, water, light and phone bills may all be higher when you’re home all day. As a worker, your boss essentially paid for some of this by hosting you at their place of business .
  2. Employment tax. Your employer footed the bill on half of this. As a freelancer, you pay both halves yourself. You can look up your tax deduction on a pay stub to see how much more you’ll owe the IRS. You’ll also likely pay state business taxes as a freelancer.
  3. Equipment. Your boss provided a computer, Internet access, printer, paper, and everything else you needed to work. Now, you’re on the hook for all those costs. When the computer dies, guess who gets to call a tech — or buy a new one?
  4. Marketing costs. You didn’t need to get out and market your business when you had a full-time gig. Now, you might need to purchase publications, join associations, take trainings, pay a web host, send direct-mail postcards — all those marketing costs are yours to bear.
  5. Non-billable hours. A full-time job gave you a guaranteed 40 hours of work each and every week. Freelancing isn’t like that. You’ll have hours you need to spend marketing, doing bookkeeping, chasing after slow payers. So to end up with equivalent pay, you’ll have to figure how many billable hours you’ve really got in a month and divide the monthly total you need by that figure, not the 180+ hours of a typical employee.
  6. Unpaid vacation and sick time. Your boss might have floated you a couple weeks free a year or more, and may have covered a week or more of sick days, too. As your own boss, when you don’t work, you don’t get paid.
 
ASSIGNING A VALUE TO YOUR WORK
The full-time position includes compensation in payment and benefits. So when offering services as a freelancer or contractor, you have a competitive edge in finances. You can ask for more payment, since typically no benefits are included.
 
Variables to Consider for a Consultant:
  • Length of contract, Temp to Perm, Work from home, # of hours per week, Overtime, Technology, Client
  • When was the contract signed, different Market Conditions?
  • W-2 vs 1099 (Taxes need to be paid by company or individual 6.2% SS or 1.45% Medicare of Gross Pay)

Think like a consultant:

  • 160 hours per month (2 weeks vacation, 9 holidays, 3 sick days, 10 days to find a new job), so to figure out what the candidate would earn in 1 year of consulting, probably multiple (Rate * Hours per month * 10.5/12 months)
  • Cost of Benefits, $500 to $1,000 individual or $1,000 to $3,000 family
  • Talk to accountant about write-offs, filing taxes, etc

Rules of Thumb:

  • Once a consultant, always a consultant
  • Consultants make more $ than a fulltime employee
  • Fulltime employees converting to contract roles worry about Benefits, Stability and Taxes
  • Big Companies hire Consultants
The following chart (2011) shows a comparison of hourly pay (freelance/contract) to full-time pay.

Consultant Hourly Pay                                                                   Full-time Employee Pay

$25 per hour                                                                                                      $40,000

$35 per hour                                                                                                      $50,000

$40 per hour                                                                                                      $60,000

$50 per hour                                                                                                      $70,000

$60 per hour                                                                                                      $80,000

$65 per hour                                                                                                      $90,000

$70 per hour                                                                                                      $100,000

$75 per hour                                                                                                      $115,000

$80 per hour                                                                                                      $120,000

 

THE QUESTION OF PERSONALITY

Because full-time positions offer less control and full-time/freelance positions offer less risk, we see that workers’ personalities generally fit one better than the other. Here is a partial list of thought-provoking points;

  • If you like to be told what to do (and that is not necessarily a bad thing), to do it, and to be paid then full-time is for you.
  • If you like to be a leader within an existing structure – the corporate ladder of being an employee is for you.
  • If you can take a bit more risk in your lifestyle and want to say ‘no’ to projects that are not of interest
  • If you are willing to take risks for greater control – contracting may be the best fit.
SO WHICH IS BEST?

Historically, workers are employees. There was a time when finding one great company and investing 40 years there, was the ideal. However, with changing business models companies and heightened competition companies are less likely to want or be able to hire life-time employees. The trends point to more of the world-wide (professional) workforce being contract-based independent workers. This lowers risk for the companies and requires more responsibility from the workers. Workers must more actively manage their own professional education and steer their careers. Still many of us start our careers as employees.

For many, particularly younger workers, the decision is ‘I am an employee, should I become a freelancer’. As outlined above that decision is usually “do I want to accept more responsibility and risk for the benefit of more control and income.” For me that decision was met with a resounding “yes” years ago. But it is not for everyone.



Unbelievable, Untranslatable Words

Here is a short list of non-English words which carry such specific meanings that they cannot be translated into English. It’s a very interesting read.

Bakku-shan

Language: Japanese

Here is another great Japanese word with no English equivalent (though I am sure someone can come up with one in the comments). Bakku-shan is the word for a girl who looks pretty from behind but ugly in front. I can’t find out whether they have a word for the reverse situation, or for that other frighteningly common problem these days, where you think a girl looks good from behind only to discover that she is a he! Modern fashion has a lot to answer for!

 

Biritululo

Language: Kiriwani (Papa New Guinea)

It is the act of comparing yams (potato-like vegetable) to settle a dispute.

 

Cafuné

Language: Portuguese

The act of tenderly running one’s fingers through someone’s hair. (Altalang.com)

 

Dépaysement

Language: French

The feeling that comes from not being in one’s home country.

 

Duende

Language: Spanish

While originally used to describe a mythical, sprite-like entity that possesses humans and creates the feeling of awe of one’s surroundings in nature, its meaning has transitioned into referring to the mysterious power that a work of art has to deeply move a person. (Altalang.com)

 

Esprit d’Escalier

Language: French

That witty comeback that you think of moments after leaving the situation in which you might have been able to use it. The staircase is a reference to your departure from the scene. This is a dreadful thing to experience, and most of the time we don’t get a chance to say the clever thing we come up with. Now, someone just needs to coin a term for the person who is so clever that he always says the right thing, without fail.

 

Forelsket

Language: Norwegian

The euphoria you experience when you’re first falling in love.

This is a wonderful term for that blissful state, when all your senses are acute for the beloved, the pins and needles thrill of the novelty. There’s a phrase in English for this, but it’s clunky. It’s New Relationship Energy, or NRE.

 

Hyggelig

Language: Danish

The complete absence of anything annoying, irritating or emotionally overwhelming, and the presence of and pleasure from comforting, gentle and soothing things. It is especially associated with Christmas time, grilling Danish sausage on long summer evenings and sitting around lit candles on a rainy night.

 

Ilunga

Language: Tshiluba / Bantu (Southwest Congo)

A word famous for its untranslatability, most professional translators pinpoint it as the stature of a person who is ready to forgive and forget any first abuse, tolerate it the second time, but never forgive nor tolerate on the third offense. (Altalang.com) It’s the “three strikes and you’re out” policy. In 2004, it had the sole distinction of being chosen as the world’s most difficult word to translate.

 

Iktsuarpok

Language: Inuit

To go outside to check if anyone is coming. (Altalang.com)

 

Jayus

Language: Indonesian

A joke so poorly told and so unfunny that one cannot help but laugh. (Altalang.com)

 

Lagom

Language: Swedish

Somewhere between “just the right amount” and “enough.” It expresses a sense of balance and satisfaction with having your needs met without needing excess.

 

Koi No Yokan

Language: Japanese

The sense upon first meeting a person that the two of you are going to fall into love. This is different than love at first sight, since it implies that you might have a sense of imminent love, somewhere down the road, without yet feeling it. The term captures the intimation of inevitable love in the future, rather than the instant attraction implied by love at first sight.

 

Kyoikumama

Language: Japanese

A mother who relentlessly pushes her children toward academic achievement. (Altalang.com) No doubt we are all familiar with the stereotype of Japanese mothers who push their children far too hard when it comes to schoolwork. Literally translated this means “education mother”.

 

La Douleur Exquise

Language: French

The heart-wrenching pain of wanting someone you can’t have.

When I came across this word I thought of unrequited love. It’s not quite the same, though. Unrequited love describes a relationship state, but not a state of mind. Unrequited love encompasses the lover who isn’t reciprocating, as well as the lover who desires. This phrase gets at the emotional heartache, specifically, of being the one whose love is unreciprocated.

 

L’Appel Du Vide

Language: French

‘The call of the void’ is this French expression’s literal translation, but more significantly it’s used to describe the instinctive urge to jump from high places.

 

Litost

Language: Czech

Milan Kundera, author of ‘The Unbearable Lightness of Being’, said about this word ‘I have looked in vain in other languages for an equivalent, though I find it difficult to imagine how anyone can understand the human soul without it’. The closest definition is a state of agony and torment created by the sudden sight of one’s own misery.

 

Mamihlapinatapai

Language: Yagan (Tierra del Fuego)

The wordless, yet meaningful look shared by two people who both desire to initiate something but are both reluctant to start. (Altalang.com) Oh yes, this is an exquisite word, compressing a thrilling and scary relationship moment. It’s that delicious, “on the edge” moment of imminent seduction. Neither of you has mustered the courage to make a move, yet. Hands haven’t been placed on knees; you’ve not kissed. But you’ve both conveyed enough to know that it will happen soon very soon.

 

Prozvonit

Language: Czech

This word means to call a mobile phone and let it ring once so that the other person will call back, saving the first caller money. (Altalang.com)

 

Qualunquismo

Language: Italian

Are you one of those people who really don’t care all that much about politics and issues in society? Then this word applies to you. The term came from a political party in Italy, in 1944, which promoted anti-political feelings and a mistrust of public organizations. The party was called the “Fronte dell’Uomo Qualunque” or the front of the ordinary man. Rather appropriate considering how many people obviously feel this way about politics as is evidenced by the low voter turnouts that we often see in elections.

 

Retrouvailles

Language: French

The happiness of meeting someone again after a long time. This is such a basic concept, and so familiar to the growing ranks of commuter relationships, or to a relationship of lovers, who see each other only periodically for intense bursts of pleasure. I’m surprised we don’t have any equivalent word for this subset of relationship bliss. It’s a handy one for modern life.

 

Saudade

Language: Portuguese

One of the most beautiful of all words, translatable or not, this word refers to the feeling of painful longing for something or someone that you love and which is lost. Fado music, a type of mournful singing, relates to this word. (Altalang.com) Another linguist describes it as a “vague and constant desire for something that does not and probably cannot exist.”

 

Schadenfreude

Language: German

Quite famous for its meaning that somehow other languages neglected to recognize, this refers to the feeling of pleasure derived by seeing another’s misfortune.

 

Tartle

Language: Scottish

The act of hesitating while introducing someone because you’ve forgotten his or her name. (Altalang.com)

 

Tingo

Language: Pascuense (Easter Island)

The act of slowly taking all of the objects you desire from the house of a friend by gradually borrowing all of them. (Altalang.com)

 

Torschlusspanik

Language: German

Translated literally, this word means gate-closing panic, but its contextual meaning refers to the fear of diminishing opportunities as one ages. (Altalang.com)

 

Toska

Language: Russian

Vladmir Nabokov describes it best: No single word in English renders all the shades of toska. At its deepest and most painful, it is a sensation of great spiritual anguish, often without any specific cause. At less morbid levels it is a dull ache of the soul, a longing with nothing to long for, a sick pining, a vague restlessness, mental throes, yearning. In particular cases, it may be the desire for somebody of something specific, nostalgia, love-sickness. At the lowest level it grades into ennui, boredom.

 

Uitwaaien

Language: Dutch

It means to walk in the wind, but in the more figurative (and commonly used) sense, it means to take a brief break in the countryside to clear one’s head. It is amazing that one word needs so many in English to make the same sense.

 

Wabi-Sabi

Language: Japanese

Much has been written on this Japanese concept, but in a sentence, one might be able to understand it as a way of living that focuses on finding beauty within the imperfections of life and accepting peacefully the natural cycle of growth and decay.(Altalang.com)

 

Ya ‘Aburnee

Language: Arabic

Both morbid and beautiful at once, this incantatory word means ‘You bury me’. It is a declaration of one’s hope that they’ll die before another person because of how difficult it would be to live without them. It’s the sickly sincere “How Could I Live Without You?” in Arabic.

 

Yoko Meshi

Language: Japanese

Taken literally, yoko means ‘horizontal,’ and meshi means ‘boiled rice.’ Combined, the sense is one of ‘a meal eaten sideways.’ This is how the Japanese define the peculiar stress induced by speaking a foreign language: yoko is a humorous reference to the fact that Japanese is normally written vertically, whereas most foreign languages are written horizontally.

 

Yuanfen

Language: Chinese

A relationship by fate or destiny. This is a complex concept. It draws on principles of predetermination in Chinese culture, which dictate relationships, encounters and affinities, mostly among lovers and friends. From what I glean, in common usage this word means the “binding force” that links two people together in any relationship. But interestingly, fate isn’t the same thing as destiny. Even if lovers are fated to find each other they may not end up together. The proverb, have fate without destiny, describes couples who meet, but who don’t stay together, for whatever reason. It’s interesting, to distinguish in love between the fated and the destined. Romantic comedies, of course, confound the two.

 

Zalatwic

Language: Polish

It is the use of friends, bribes, personal charm or connections to get something done. This was particularly useful in the days of communism, as it was easier to get something you wanted through guile as opposed to official means.

Sources:

The source for all of this post comes from these great sources.

 

 

 



Studying Italian In Italy

In Spring 2011, I was inspired to travel through Italy. I read a lot about work and life balance and how each culture views conscious life-style design. Italians are celebrated (especially in the South) for their hedonistic ‘zest for life’. As a native English speaker with a history learning Spanish, Portuguese, and French I was excited to learn Italian.

WHERE TO STUDY ITALIAN?

For me, the location depends on weather. In summer, I wanted beach. I remember the oppressive heat on past visits to Florence and Rome. While those cities offer tremendous culture, I was looking for something more relaxed.

WHAT IS IMPORTANT IN A SCHOOL?

In the years previous, I had studied Spanish and Portuguese at various schools. When I had time between work and play, I would pickup another few weeks of classes. In total I probably studied at 6-8 schools. I had learned about the qualities I liked in a school.

 

I googled ‘study Italian in Italy’ and found tons of results. I narrowed down to a few dozens schools that met my broad location qualifications and gathered contact email addresses. I created a a form-email (see below) and contacted all the companies. Most replied, and most within 72 hours. In general, if a respondent answered nothing but sent me links to their website, I removed them from my search. Most respondents where very helpful.

Form Email Sent to Schools

Hello,

 

I am interested to study Italian. I will travel to Italy for 3 months this summer. I would like to study for 8 weeks in one location or 4 weeks in one location and then travel to another location for four more weeks. My goal will be to be comfortable and conversational in Italian; listening, speaking, reading, and writing.

Please help me decide on where to study with the questions below. Thank you very much!!!

EXPERIENCE

I am 34 years old and a native English speaker. I travel full-time by myself as a software developer. I studied French in school and remember much, but am out of practice. I studied Spanish for the last 2 years and lived in South American. My Spanish skills are strong. I studied Portuguese for 3 months this year in Brazil and my Portuguese is almost as strong as my Spanish. I know no Italian.

DESIRED TIME/CALENDAR

I am in Peru now. I may arrive in Italy on June 1, July 1, or August 1. I will probably stay 12 weeks in Italy and study Italian for 8 weeks.

DESIRED LOCATION

I have visited Italy 2 times for a total of 6 weeks. I visited Milan, Venice, Trieste, Florence, and Rome. I enjoyed all the locations.

I would like to study Italian in a location that is warm-weather, has a beach within walking distance, and has a relaxed pace of life. A large city which is far from the beach, such as ROME, is not interesting to me. I would prefer to visit there after I complete my studies. I have never visited Italy further south than Rome, but I imagine that Sardinia, Sicily, or the coasts near Naples may be the perfect location.

DESIRED CLASSES

I would like group classes for 20 hours to 30 hours every week.

DESIRED ACCOMMODATION

I am flexible to rent a house/apartment, to live with a local family, or to find a hostel or inexpensive hotel.

My only requirement is to have a strong, reliable internet connection. I need this for work.

ACTIVITIES

I read often about life-style design, living in the present moment, and quality of life. Italy is a well deserved example of a culture with good balance and quality of life. I would love to learn more from the local people and culture about this.

Outside of my classes I may be working 10 hours to 40 hours per week. I require internet to work.

I would also like to spend time at the beach, enjoy walking/hiking, take cooking classes (single classes or a longer study for weeks perhaps), and study piano.

I am a programmer by trade, but I am an artist by education. Opportunities to draw and paint on my own personal time or in a classroom is also very interesting to me.

THE PERFECT SCENARIO

It may not be likely that I can find my perfect scenario. If I had to describe what is perfect it would be to have an apartment of my own within walking distance or a bus-ride to the beach. I would like to study Italian for 5 hours a day 5 days per week. I would also enjoy cooking classes and on the weekends I would take the bus to visit other areas of the country. I would spend time cooking at home, eating at the homes of new friends, and enjoying local restaurants.

I have some questions here…

LOCATION

  • What location or locations can you recommend for me to study Italian?
  • What is the total cost? Per week? Per month?

SCHOOL

  • Can I pay via credit card? How/when is payment made?
  • What is the total number of students in your school learning each week?
  • Do you offer help to meet locals who want to exchange languages over coffee? In previous schools this was free and called ‘intercambio’. I am interested to meet locals and learn/teach a bit like this
  • What volunteer opportunities are there. Outside of studying my free time is very limited, but I’m interested to help out.

CLASS

  • Please confirm the hours per week and the total price (including any registration fees and any credit card charges) for group lessons for two full weeks.
  • Is class totally in the classroom? Or are there walking-tours or other activities?
  • How many hours outside of class is expected for homework per day?
  • What is your class size (# of students)?

ACCOMMODATIONS

  • Do you offer accommodations? Can you recommend any?
  • Do you offer solo apartments with internet and kitchen?
  • Do you offer a shared apartment setup with internet and kitchen?

Thanks in advance,

 

-Sam

I received replies from 20 to 30 schools. From the information I learned, I compared prices, locations, class-size, activities available, and more. There were many exciting opportunities.

COMPARISON OF SCHOOLS

SELECTING THE ‘WINNING’ LOCATION/SCHOOL

After 3-4 rounds of emailing I went from about 20 companies down to 4-5. The remaining companies were located on Sardinia island or on Sicily island. I wrote to anonymous citizens on CouchSurfing.com to ask about their locations in comparison to the others I was considering. Most people were very helpful (and a bit biased toward their city, of course).

 

In the end I chose a non-city, beach location at a school with 20 hours per week for 6 weeks. The administrator was one of the first to email me during my process, and provided the thoughtful / helpful information. When I finally decided on the small city of Alghero, deciding for their school was a simple decision.

ALGHERO, SARDINIA

I read a few websites geared to summer tourism in Alghero.

Alghero is situated on the north-western coast of Sardinia within the homonymous gulf. A large part of its territory stretches on the Nurra plain; at the western point of it, rises the karst-formation of “Capo Caccia, Punta Giglio” and “Monte Doglia”. On its southern point, lays the vast tableland of Villanova Monteleone made up of volcanic hills.

 

Alghero has a sub-tropical warm climate with long dry summers and mild damp winters. Prevalent winds come from western quarters: trade winds mitigate summer heat. From fall to spring libeccio and western winds bring rain, while mistral wind may blow strongly any time of the year. Between december and february, for few weeks, eastern winds bring clear climate, nights are cold and days are sunny.

Algero Beach #1 Algero Beach #2

THE PINTADERA ITALIAN LANGUAGE SCHOOL

I enjoyed 4 great weeks of Italian study at the Pintadera school in Alghero. The city is historic and charming, the (Italian mainland) tourists fill the streets, the markets, and the beaches. It is a BUSY time to visit Italy, especially a beach city like Alghero, but I enjoyed the energy. I walked 20 minutes to school each day and studied 9am to 1pm with a coffee break at an outdoor shaded cafe. Each Monday some students came and went, which was disruptive. We relearned things a few times to accommodate new students, but it was indeed cool to meet a variety of people. I met students from Switzerland, Norway, Sweden, England, Spain (a lot), and others. The teachers were knowledgeable and fun. Overall I had 4 teachers – all of whom were far too critical when students made errors. With my experience studying language I see a good balance between free conversation and being corrected works best for me. Its important to know when we make mistakes as students, to create good habits, but correcting too much stunts conversation. At least a few of my classmates suffered, fearing to speak, from this. However I respect diligent correction as a strategy.

Cooking Class Sailing Boat

The activities offered by the school included a tour of the city, a sail-boat cruise, and a cooking class. I participated in all. I found the activities to be priced too expensive (many at 20 to 60 Euro). Its an expensive town, an expensive country, and a language more commonly studied by older, wealthier students. This is compared to the backpacker trail in Latin American where students have little or no money. I really loved the cooking class. The teacher speaks only Italian and is incredibly fun and funny.

 

The apartment was not centrally located, but was otherwise amazing. It was a huge 3 bed-room apartment with full kitchen. I bought a 3G modem for internet since none was available freely from the apartment. There is a fantastic supermarket near the apartment and the closest (rocky) beach is 5 minutes walk from the apartment.

Overall, I really loved the choice of Alghero, and the choice of Pintadera. Italian is a very fun language to learn and the culture – laid-back & hedonistic and political & intellectual – was captivating.



India’s Highs and Hip Massages

While on an 8 week consulting project in Copenhagen, Denmark, I had the opportunity to extend the contract and deliver my software architecture to the offices of my client’s outsource vendor in India. This team would be doing the bulk of the work on the project. I jumped at the opportunity.

I flew to India for the final week of my contract. I was there to train-up a small team and get them started. After the gig, then take a little time to see India before returning to Denmark to explore Scandinavia for a week or two then return to the States.

When signing onto projects I try to keep enough personal time in the plan to enjoy new countries and new cities.  Here was no exception.  When offered to work in Denmark I planned for 8 weeks work and 3 weeks play.  That flexibility paid off as I could now play a little in India too.

After a successful week of work in Ahmadabad, my clients delighted “I wish we could invite you back in a month to check in, but we can’t afford to fly you from the States”.

“If you are serious”, I instinctively replied, “I’ll check my schedule and just stay in the country longer”.  I did just that.  Returning 5 weeks later, I worked another intense 6 day week.  Adjusting my flights for the 3rd time, I stayed a second full month. My stay in India went from 1 week to about 8 or 9 weeks.

During the first furlough I traveled from Ahmadabad by plane to Mumbai.  There I got on a train for 14 hours to Goa.  I beached along with packs of wild cows, and took a slow boat down lazy mangrove-lined rivers.  I saw the whole coast in small chunks – all the way down to Kanyakumari, the bottom of the v-shape of India outline.

During my second furlough, I explored to the north.  The state of Rajastan contained most of the marvels of the typical westerners’ trip to India.  The famous ‘Golden Triangle’ of tourism covers three captivating cities of the country; ­Delhi (the capital of India), Agra (the city of Taj Mahal) and Jaipur (the land of Rajput kings).  I sped through overcrowded and extra shady Delhi, skipped the one-trick-pony Agra (home of the Taj Mahal and not much else), and went west to Jaipur.  In Jaipur and the surrounding cities, I explored desert temples, golden fortresses, and camel safaris.

While in Jaipur settling into my hostel, I chanced upon some new adventure.  Hostels are social hubs for travel, essential to adventure.  I’d done quite a bit of travel in my life before ever staying in hostels.  In my experience ‘hostel’ were ‘bad hotels’ in Europe – meant for struggling young travelers.  A substitute when budget can’t include a hotel room.  However with more time, I saw that hostel-stays offer a decidedly different way to travel.

The First Encounter

Hostels in India ranged around $USD 8 to $USD 20 per-person per-bed per-nite.  Beds are in shared rooms, with a locking locker for your bed.  If you are lucky, there is an old slow computer with internet and a long line of travelers waiting to use it.  I paid the front desk at [I FORGET THE HOSTEL NAME], locked my bag in my room and went to the internet room.  Sitting down on a antique-looking daybed, I smiled a hello to the girl using one of the 3 computers.  In hostels, luckily, English is the language of choice. Not just in India but worldwide. (This would later prove frustrating when trying to study new, local languages.)  However there is an awkwardness where you don’t know for sure what language a given hosteler knows, so you just nod and say the universal ‘hey’ rather than start a longer conversation.  At least that’s often my M.O.  A guy walked in with a more gregarious disposition and proceeded to evangelize his previous evening’s dining experience to all who would hear it.

“Choki Dhani is a cultural center and a restaurant.  Its quite cheap and worth a look”.  Me and internet girl exchanged glances and nods.  The departing travelers advice helped spark a conversation.  Three hours later she and I were off via ‘Tuktuk’ taxi on a ride to dinner.  Sascha was British and returning home after a year or so working in Australia.  She worked in music and much later gave me a copy of her huge collection of 16000 MP3′s, which still entertain me today.  We traded stories about travel, after an hour we were well beyond the compulsory “What country are you from?”,  “Where have you been on this trip?”, and  “How long are you traveling?”.  We explored this cultural center.

Chokri Dani is a walled dinner theater with 10 stages of various levels of pomp from magicians with 3 viewers, to musicians, jugglers, and snake charmers.  We put our name in for dinner and walked around.  There are times when I am filled with excitement and expectation after meeting a new friend.  Here I was happy to meet Sascha, but wasn’t “trying anything” and neither was she.  We were both rather standoffish I guess.  Weeks later she told me a comment or two in particular really intrigued her like my “Life is really amazing and I’m lucky to live it”.  She was cute and smart and funny (in the classically dry sense).

Meeting Again

Sascha and I traded a few emails. We would be in Udaipur at the same time so we arranged to meet again. I arrived at [I FORGET THE HOSTEL NAME] first and booked us a room. We met on the rooftop for drinks later.

The view from the rooftop of the hostel was gorgeous. A restaurant served food and drinks, music played to a few dozen travelers seated in sofas, large lounge-beds, and traditional dining tables. The second night we’d met a group of Swiss who played music and told great stories. We made a habit of meeting each night that week on the rooftop to discuss our days adventures – whether spent together or apart. That week I was writing an article for a client’s magazine, so I saw a bit more of the rooftop (and my computer that week). I sent my new friends out on adventures during the day while I was ‘at the office’. On the 3rd night, we met a new friend as well.

Gabor, a 20-something from Hungary, approached our lounge area. He introduced himself bending left and right, stretching to show his new-found flexibility. “I have not been able to move like this for 15 years”. He continued, “My doctors told me my back condition was fragile, and any masseuse would likely hurt the situation.” I forget the particulars of his condition, but at that moment he seems perfectly normal and especially happy about it. He explained that Udaipur had a master masseuse who he’d learned of and sought out. Finishing just two sessions, this man had cured him.

Sascha and I immediately became interested, and the next day we went for a session.

The ‘Miracle’ Worker

After some meandering we found the masseuses office on [I FORGET THE STREET NAME]. The master, was in his 50′s and dressed in western clothes. He had dirty denim on denim fashion sense and a long grey pony tail. “Yes, I was able to help your fiend Gabor, and today I can help you. There is only one of me, so who will be first.” We agreed I’d hit the internet cafe and return within the hour.

I walked back in with a few fresh print-outs of my return flight to Europe and looked up as Sascha and the master descending the stairs. She was flushed. White and reddish patches on her face and neck, and she had a seeming calmness (or exhaustion) in her expression.

He continued to sell “So if you want to return tomorrow for that second session…”, she interrupted politely “No I think I will be leaving the city, thanks again.” She signed his guest book, paid, and took-off with little explanation. The master and I walked up the stairs to begin my session.

On the second flight of the stairs, we looked out a bay window in his simple, yet large office building. Regulars on the street looked up as we passed the window. “Every time I go up these stairs, they know I make $40. These people give me bad stairs. Indians don’t want to see Indians make success.” Sad. Another one of the endless examples in India of this ‘spiritual people’ disappointing me and my maligned expectations.

We walked into the massage room. I was struck by how stark it was. Four walls. White. Windowless. No decorations, no furniture, not a single thing, except a mattress in the center of the small room. A bare mattress. No sheets, towels, pillows, nothing.

Should I be “naked’ or “naked-naked” (the latter meaning no underwear). “Naked-naked”, the master replied. This was not uncommon. In my previous massages in the country this was quasi-normal. However the normality ended there.

As I disrobed, peeling my pants out from under my heels, I saw from the corner of my eye – something new. Never before had I seen – while I was taking off my clothes, the masseur was taking of his. I had a brief moment of concern that was mentally-masked by the possibility of a good story to tell (if I would live to tell it).

“Back or stomach,” I asked.

“On stomach”. Face-down on an un-sheeted mattress, he climbed on top. I could ‘tell’ he was naked. He began to whisper to himself (a very common part of Indian massages. He touched my spine three times with two-fingers pressed to together.

“Vertebrae 5, 7, and 11 are out of alignment..” he diagnosed. I thought great, let’s get started, with hasty disbelief. The following hour was “Indian Massage”. An application of oils in fast movements up and down each limb. The oils smelled good and felt warm on the skin. At times he performed acupressure, pinches of muscle, joints, and bone. The motions were ho-hum worthlessly not enjoyable at times and painful at others. Three times I was at the threshold of asking for lighter pressure, but didn’t say anything. After quite some time, I felt like I was there humoring him as compared to all my previous massages this was less than rewarding.

During the massage he talked only a small bit. He mentioned continued diagnoses and a few things here and there. From back to stomach I was completely oiled up. Upon the completion he instructed, “Stand Up, we are finished”. Or something to that affect.

The moment I stood up, I felt like never before. Spine in perfect alignment. I felt ‘taller’ by an inch or 2. This feeling would last all day. I could not help but have awkwardly perfect posture, like I was putting it on for show. Nothing strange or inappropriate happened (to me). The pleasure-during vs. after-effect was flipped on its head compared to the normal massage.

That Night on the Rooftop

That night I reconvened with my friends atop the hostel. We were quested about the massage the first moment Sascha and I had sat down by the curious group. We hadn’t discussed it together yet. We both politely nodded “It was good.” I leaned to Sascha to ask “Wasn’t it weird when he took his clothes off?”

“He didn’t take his clothes off for me”, she giggled. My embarrassment was curtailed by her continuing… “But when he first laid me down, he began to whisper and touched by back just 3 times.”

“Yes, me too.”

“He immediately knew that I had pelvic problems, I hadn’t explained a thing and he told me all about it. Its because one of my legs is just a touch longer than the other. Been an issue in sports all my life.”

“Oh…”

“During the massage he said he could fix it, but only with a second session.” Seeing the masseuses attempt at bilking a bit more money, she negated. “Couldn’t we do it today, I may not be in town after tonight”, she lied. He refused.

When descending the stairs – the exact moment I had entered to see her flushed and red in the face, he’d asked. “Look, I can fix the problems with your hips. I didn’t want to mention it during the massage as it makes some people uncomfortable.”

“What?” She’d asked.

“Well I can fix that problem, but I want you to know I’ll have to put my fingers in your ass.” She refused, and fled before saying a word to me.

For another week of traveling together we had an inside joke. Crossing the room, one of us would ask the other, “Are your hips alright? Do you need a little help?”



9.5 Simple Habits to Make Your Life Better

I will be exploring these in depth in future articles.  This serves as a placeholder.  This is my personal list of ‘Simple Habits to Make Your Life Better’.  Leave a comment with your favorites.

  1. Live within your means
  2. Get regular rest.  Fyi, If you are tired, you aren’t rested.
  3. Pay bills online, pay none in person
  4. Get regular haircuts
  5. Plan your life in increments of endless dreams, 3 goals, 3 tasks per goal, 7 days per task.  Live your life in 7 day increments, allowing goal-time, personal time, leisure time, & learning time, etc…
  6. Exercise your body 3 times per week for 20 minutes, or more.
  7. Watch no regular television.
  8. Watch no televised news (if you must get news, get it from the least sensationalized sources, i.e. NYTImes (But even that’s not great.)
  9. Avoid talking about taxes and politics

and…9.5. Reflect on the negative, dwell on the positive.