This morning I had a consultation with an American living in Mexico who is itching to add self-employment to his portfolio. Not surprisingly, his next step was hiding in plain sight and incorporated several of his passions and skills while giving him the opportunity to exercise his curiosity.

It was perfect.

By the time we finished talking on Skype (a favorite tool of expats), I was contemplating  a trip to Mexico. His enthusiasm was quite contagious.

It seems to me that—more often than not—entrepreneurs are explorers. Those explorations take many different forms, of course, but keeping their wanderlust well fed is a high priority for many.

As an intrepid traveler myself, I’m always gathering ideas and travel tips. Over the weekend, I came across a few old favorites that I’ve shared in Winning Ways newsletter and decided to pass them along here.

If you’re traveling to a country where a different language is spoken, it makes sense to learn a few key phrases in your host’s language.

Travel writer Catherine Watson says, “Learn how to say ‘please’ and ‘thank you’ in a dozen languages. And then use them at every opportunity.

“For a real payoff memorize how to say, ‘I am sorry but I don’t speak your beautiful language,’ in the tongue of every country you’re going to visit.”

I wondered how you’d say Joyfully Jobless in another tongue so I paid a visit to a couple of online translators. (If you actually speak any of these languages, you might translate differently.)

Should someone ask you, “What do you do?” here’s how you might reply.

Afrikaans—blydskap werklose

Czech—radosti bez pracae

Danish—glaede arbejdslose

French—joyeusement le chomeur

German—Freudig arbeitslos

Italian—gioia senza lavoro

Norwegian—gledelig jobblos

Spanish—alegria por desempleo

Swedish—gladje arbetslosa

Your travel also can be enriched by having a project to explore. When I was visiting London several times every year, I always gave each trip a theme. One time I would visit gardens; another time bookshops were my focus.

Catherine Watson puts it this way: “For added pleasure, have a quest. It’s a lot more interesting to search for the Holy Grail than just sightsee.

“Start with something that means something to you at home. Say you collect antiques, pursue genealogy, love horses of just plain have a smart dog. Use that as a way to get inside the culture you’re visiting.

“Abroad, you could go to local auctions; end up in Alpine villages connected to your family; seek out country horse trials in England; talk to sheepdog trainers in Scotland.”

Of course, entrepreneurial gypsies are on the lookout for business ideas. That’s what Howard Schultz did when he decided during a European visit that what the US needed was a neighborhood coffeehouse.

As a result, thousands of neighborhoods now have their very own Starbucks.

When you travel, read local newspapers and magazines, visit small businesses, keep your eyes and ears open. You never know when an idea that charms you in a faraway place might be ready to come to life in your part of the world.

That’s precisely what the late Anita Roddick, founder of The Body Shop, discovered. She said, “I’ve always said that travel is the best university; getting from one place to another means more than physical movement.

“It also entails change, challenge, new ideas and inspirations….I had this idea of making little products like shampoo and so forth using ingredients I had found when I traveled.”


Shortly before the end of the year, I was talking to Karyn Ruth White and the subject of resolutions came up. “I don’t really make them,” she said. “But I do sit down at the end of the year and write about ten lessons I’ve learned in the previous year.”

Then she added, “I’ve even had a couple of them published.” What began as a personal project, got shared with others.

Great idea, isn’t it?

While it could be argued that every business is informed and influenced by our personal experiences, a great deal of opportunity goes unused by people who fail to see the potential of putting that experience to work for them.

In order to create a profit center that grows out of your own life, there are four essential ingredients that need to be present. They are:

* Value Your Own Experience. Often the things that are easy and effortless for us are overlooked because we assume that what we can do, everyone can do. That’s almost never true.

Our special set of talents, skills and life experiences are a one-of-a-kind package, but we have to recognize why and how that can be valuable to others.

* High Self-awareness. Writer Carolyn See says, “I hope I’m wrong, but I imagine about 90 percent of the human race is snoozing along, just going through the motions.”

Staying awake for the journey is important if we are to find the gold in our lives.

* Generous Spirit. We must be convinced that what we have discovered will make other people’s lives richer, happier, healthier or smoother in some way. Keeping it to ourselves seems, well, selfish.

* Eager to Learn. Starting a business based on personal experience is just the entry point. It’s really an invitation to mastery if we use it to learn, grow and improve.

Personal experience lends itself to all sorts of enterprises. Here are some possibilities:

* Find a Better Way. Doris Drucker, the wife of management guru Peter Drucker, found a new opportunity for herself this way.

She writes, “For years my role as the wife of a professional speaker was to sit in the last row of an auditorium and shout ‘Louder!’ whenever my husband’s voice dropped. I decided that there had to be a better feedback device and if there wasn’t, I was going to invent one. Then I decided, at the age of 80-plus, that I would start a business to sell it.”

Solving a problem or simply finding a more effective way of doing something has been the start of many a successful business.

* Tell Your Story. Benjamin Franklin said we should all write something worth reading or live something worth writing.

Personal experience can be the basis for autobiography and how-to books, of course, but that’s not all. Workshops, seminars and consulting are other ways of making your experience pay.

You need to live it first, however. That may sound like common sense, but at least once a week I’ll get a call or letter like the one I got from a man in Idaho who went on at great length about how confused he was about what business to start, then added a p.s.saying he plans to organize a seminar on Discovering Your Purpose.

* Pay It Forward. A few years ago, Kevin Spacey was in a movie with that title and apparently the message of passing along our good to others took root.

Spacey took a year off from film making to put his energy into a website called Triggerstreet that is creating opportunities for the next generation of screenwriters.

Spacey says he realized that his considerable success was the result of others believing in him before he believed in himself and now he wants to pass that gift along to others.

Your experience could be utilized through teaching or mentoring those coming along behind you too.

If it’s time to plan a new profit center, take a fresh look at your own life. You may be sitting on a gold mine, you know.

The prolific Martha Stewart once told an interviewer that she had just returned from a trip to Munich and came home with dozens of new ideas. “Everywhere I go,” she said, “I scout for ideas.”

She’s not  the only entrepreneur who finds inspiration when she travels. Would there have been a Starbucks if Howard Schultz hadn’t been smitten with Italian coffee shops?

Shortly after my daughter and her family moved to Austin, TX  I flew in for a visit. Before we went to their house, I got the mini-tour.

When I commented on all the people we saw who were running, walking or bicycling, Jennie said, “This town isn’t about buying stuff; it’s about doing stuff.” I liked it already.

I got even more interested when Hector said, “What I love about this place is all the little independent businesses.”

Those words were barely out of his mouth when we passed a parking lot where there was a shiny Airstream trailer with a giant cupcake on the roof—and a long line of customers. As I was about to discover every time we passed that way during my visit, the long line of people never diminished.

I couldn’t wait to learn more about Hey Cupcake! As soon as it was politely possible to excuse myself, I began investigating this business on the Internet. I found out that Hey Cupcake! is the brainchild of Wes Hurt, a 20-something Texan who says he was born entrepreneurial.

His story reminded me of an article I wrote in Winning Ways newsletter called “Take a Trip, Come Back With a Business”. That’s exactly what Hurt did.

The inspiration came during a trip to New York when he visited the Magnolia Bakery. He says, “I waited in line for 20 minutes or so and was amazed by the enthusiasm and anticipation emanating from everyone in line. That day I started planning what would eventually be Hey Cupcake!”

Hurt’s idea wasn’t exactly an instant success, however. He opened his first cupcake stand on the campus at the University of Texas where about 10,000 students passed by daily. Unfortunately, not enough of them stopped to buy a cupcake.

Hurt was disappointed, but in true entrepreneurial fashion decided to revamp. He changed locations and moved into the Airstream. That did the trick. At their busiest, they now sell about 1,000 cupcakes a day.

I met several more members of the Austin entrepreneurial community when I stopped at a beautifully restored post-Victorian house where David Walker runs a co-working space called Conjunctured. He and his partners have created a place where solo entrepreneurs can come and work in a less isolated environment.

It didn’t take long to learn that Walker is wildly enthusiastic about the Joyfully Jobless life, but this isn’t his only business. He and a group of folks run 302 Designs which produce t-shirts with beautiful designs and inspirational words. He’d just signed a contract with Whole Foods who will be distributing their shirts.

With all that entrepreneurial energy flying around, it was easy to select Austin as a natural locale for the Joyfully Jobless Jamboree.

Almost any place you visit becomes an opportunity to explore local businesses. I often begin my own sightseeing by checking out independent bookstores. On a visit back to Minneapolis, Alice Barry took me to one of my favorites, Wild Rumpus, a splendid children’s bookshop.

When I was writing in my diary tonight, I noticed on this day a couple of years ago, I’d been in Portland, OR where I spent time at Rejuvenation Hardware, a store I could happily live in.

It’s a wonderful way to nurture your own entrepreneurial spirit, even if you have no intention of running a shop yourself. Seeing someone else’s dream brought to life might inspire a new dream of your own.

Scan the bookshelves for titles on relationships and you’ll quickly discover a trend: numerous titles tackle the issues around lack of commitment.

It’s not just personal relationships that are feeling the fallout from this wishy-washy approach, however. Hordes of people refuse to commit to anything much at all.

Does the idea of commitment make you tremble? A commitment is, after all, a pledge to do what we said we were going to do. It’s actually a way of volunteering to be accountable.

Those who avoid making such a pledge to themselves have no idea that they’re cheating themselves of some of the biggest rewards in life.

If getting a dream is step one, committing to that dream is the next thing that needs to happen. Commitment doesn’t mean trying something for a while to see how it turns out; it means being actively involved in how things turn out.

Obviously, not everything we attempt turns out according to our plans—but that’s not the function of commitment. Being committed is about going in for the long haul, not simply for one little project.

When I was cleaning out some back issues of Winning Ways, I came across this story from travel writer Pico Iyer that is a testimonial to the power of commitment:

Part of me really wanted to write and I suppose wanted to travel too, but I couldn’t find a way to do it. Finally, I decided I’ve just got to commit myself to this.

If I’m going to be a writer, I’ve got to haul myself into the unknown, be unemployed and try to make it work.

When I finally decided to commit myself to it, instead of just wavering, then suddenly opportunity came out of nowhere.

I think that if I hadn’t had the resolve to take the plunge at last into the unknown, I might never have been rescued in midair.

I think the whole process of traveling is about pitching yourself into a circumstance in which you don’t know how things are going to work out, but that initial act of faith can bring about good results.

Commitment, it seems to me, is a lot like love. It grows and strengthens over time when we’re truly committed to something that we care deeply about.

We don’t always know at the outset what will become commitment-worthy. What may begin as a simple flirtation, becomes more compelling as we learn more, increase our exposure and devote our energy to it.

For many of us, we’ve tried to make commitments to things and people and ideas that we really weren’t that crazy about. It’s hard to get past lukewarm if our heart isn’t engaged.

No wonder the word commitment elicits feelings of dread and drudgery. And if we’re only willing to commit where the outcome fits our preconceived notions, we’re doomed to a life of commitment avoidance.

Seems to me that commitment needs a new press agent and here’s what they might advise:

Give up ambivalent commitment.

That’s probably an oxymoron, but there are plenty who think they’re committed when they’re not even close.  Genuine commitment says, “This is what I’m going to do and keep doing until I succeed.”

Sound like it’s too much trouble?

“Those who would reap the blessings of freedom,” warned Thomas Paine,”must be willing to undergo the fatigue of supporting it.”

It’s still true.

One day I got a message from my friend Peter with a subject line that read, “I just turned down $10,000…” He finished the sentence in the body of the message with, “and it feels great.”

Peter went on to describe a project he was working on that felt less and less like a good fit for him the longer he worked on it. He gathered his courage and ended the relationship.

He also knew that many people would think he was crazy for walking away from the money. He ended the message by saying, “I just had to tell somebody that I knew would understand.”

This incident always reminds me that sometimes quitting is both a moral choice and an act of courage. It’s also a reminder that when running a business we need to be clear about what we are willing to do—and what we won’t do.

This may sound obvious, but I suspect that every entrepreneur has taken on projects because their cash flow was squeaky or they convinced themselves that a potential client wasn’t really as big a jerk as they appeared to be.

Smart entrepreneurs use such experiences as lessons that help them clarify their own vision—and avoid repeating their bad choices.

Of course, there are also many things that fall under the umbrella of Against My Ethics and we don’t spend much time pondering whether or not we should do something illegal or immoral. We’re not even tempted.

On the other hand, it makes sense to think about those services or products that we won’t be including. You may not advertise that you don’t do windows, but having determined that’s not part of your portfolio you’ll know how to handle requests for such a service if it comes your way.

When I was starting out, I decided that there were three things I wouldn’t be doing in my business. Even though I had seen others do such things with some measure of success, they felt inappropriate to me.

These three condiitons were more guidelines for me than policies and included:

1. I won’t duplicate what is already being done. While I love passiing along resources that I think are useful to my audience, I am not about to pretend I’m the oracle for all wisdom. If someone else has covered the territory well, I’ll send people their way—and be thankful I can work on other subjects and projects that are my true passions.

2. I won’t develop dependency relationships. I’ve watched people get wealthy in the personal growth industry by developing devoted followers who never are quite ready to break the ties to their guru and create something of their own. While this can be highly profitable for gurus, I’ve always wanted to inspire folks to create, invent and deliver their own special gifts to the world. I’m happy to be a midwife, but not a parent.

3. I won’t teach what I haven’t learned. You won’t see any pictures of me standing next to a Ferrari with palm trees in the background telling you how to make a bazillion dollars in the next six months. You also won’t see any seminars or writing from me about subjects I’ve researched but haven’t tested in the laboratory of my own life and business.

Over time, I’ve added other guidelines about what I will and won’t do. A few years ago, for instance, I adopted the mantra Work With the Willing to remind me that I am not in the business of evangelizing and making converts. My ideal customers and clients are already sold on the notion of living a joyfully jobless life and simply want to keep evolving forward on that path. That’s where i come in.

I’ve never changed my mind about any of those things even though compromising on any one of them could have added to my bottom line. More importantly to me was realizing that what I will and won’t do was the only way to build the business of my dreams.

What about you? What won’t you do?

Last week, Vibrant Nation reprinted my article on Outsmarting the Money Dragon.   Not surprisingly, it generated a number of comments.

The article begins this way:

Every so often I am asked some variation of the question, “Do you ever worry about money?” The truthful answer to that is, “Not anymore,” but getting free of the Money Dragon had little to do with earning more money and everything to do with challenging my belief system about money.

Allowing the Money Dragon to rule your world is a surefire invitation to sleepless nights and perpetual poverty. Banishing that monster starts by answering some important questions.

Do you live in a world of scarcity or abundance?

Many people create scarcity by focusing on everything they don’t have. Author Sondra Ray points out that if you have any money anywhere — even a few coins — you actually have a surplus. How many people give themselves credit for that?

Thinking abundantly comes from a healthy self-image, knowing you have options, and an understanding of the role that attitude plays in creating wealth.

Most of us arrive at that state through conscious work, eliminating thoughts and words of poverty. Books such as Rich Dad, Poor Dad and Creating Money can help us get rid of our own blocks and limiting thoughts.

You may have to work more diligently than ever these days. In case the Money Dragon hasn’t been scaring you lately, the media is quick to remind us that it lurks behind every corner, in the alley and may turn its fiery breath on us all at any moment.

It matters not that Warren Buffet, who long ago tamed his own Money Dragons, offers a cautiously optimistic forecast. Plenty of people have a vested interest in keeping the Money Dragon hovering in the shadows. After all, money has been one of the most effective ways of controlling others for centuries.

As long as we participate and allow ourselves to be controlled by money fears (whether imposed by others or generated by our own thinking) the Money Dragon will continue to breathe over our shoulders.

As I have frequently said, “Self-employment is where we go to examine our relationship to money.” If we aren’t willing to honestly examine our limited scarcity thinking, we can’t expect to prosper in our businesses.

For many of us, this has been an uncomfortable part of the curriculum. When I first realized that my own belief system about money was hindering, not helping, me, I got busy doing something about it.

I read books, attended seminars, created projects that stretched my thinking and, ultimately, my bank account. I stopped avoiding people who had a reality of abundance and began to seek them out.

In one seminar I attended, the leader challenged us by asking, “Who has a problem that they had five years ago?” It  was a genuine wake-up call as I realized that any problem that becomes a regular part of our lives turns into an excuse for not living boldly.

So why, I’ve been wondering, do so many people insist on keeping the Money Dragon around as a pet? They feed it, nurture it, haul it out to show others why they can’t do wonderful things.

“Can’t you see I have this Dragon to feed? How could I possibly go to the Joyfully Jobless Jamboree…even though I see More Money is one of the themes?”

If you’ve got one of those Money Dragons hanging around, here’s a way to start releasing it back into the wild. Define the problem and avoid blaming yourself, your parents, your previous choices.

Take personal responsibility for changing your attitudes and, ultimately, your situation. Explore the connection between setting goals and generating cash flow—and take responsibility for that as well.

A great way to build your goal-setting muscle is to invent a small project — one that really excites you — and create the funding for it in a totally new way. Then work up to a slightly larger project. Not only will you realize more of your dreams, you’ll build a larger Option Bank for yourself in the process.

You might even decide to acquire a new pet—one that’s worthy of sharing your joyfully jobless life.

When I opened my Gmailbox the other evening, there were a dozen or so messages waiting for me. One of them had a subject line that read, “Your Brilliant Book.”

Which one do you think I opened first?

What this writer employed was something I learned about in the public speaking class that I took my first year of college. One of the first lessons Dr. Meisel taught us was to open a talk with an attention-getting device.

For a speaker, that could mean starting off with a story, a joke or a startling statistic. None of this, “Thank you for inviting me here today,” stuff would do in Dr. Meisel’s class.

For a writer, the title is the first attention-getting device.

There was a fine example of that in a post from Copyblogger the other day. It said, “Do you think that Freakonomics would have been a New York Times Bestseller with the title Aberrational Behavior and the Causal Effect of Incentives?”

Children, of course, are masters at using negative means to get attention. It sometimes appears that they don’t outgrow it when they become adults. They may not throw public temper tantrums anymore, but have no qualms about shouting from our tv screens about the wonders of Oxiclean.

Fortunately, you don’t have to scream or wear clothing adorned with meat in order to get attention for your business. Here are some simple ways to add attention-getting devices to your marketing efforts.

Color. Different hues subtly or dramatically suggest the nature of your business. Some companies even make a big deal out of their signature color. (What can Brown do for you?)

Your Website, packaging and even your business vehicle are all canvases for your signature color.

Name. Business names absolutely fascinate me. A good one gets noticed, suggests a bit about the function of the business, but isn’t obviously cute or clever.

Sometimes your own name is the best title for your business, but if that’s not appropriate, coming up with a perfect name is worth the effort.

If you’re stumped, throw an Idea Party and gather a few creative friends for a brainstorming session.

I’m still pondering the name I saw on a business in Britain—Jolly’s Funeral Services. I can only assume that Jolly is a family name.

Tagline. Slogans and taglines are also unique ways to grab attention. One of my favorites came from the Saigon Cafe in Minneapolis. The owner proudly declared, “I did not come 5,000 miles to cook mediocre food for you.”

In the early days of the Geek Squad, I delighted in watching this spunky little startup employ attention-getting devices in every corner of their business. They used taglines brilliantly, including the tongue-in-cheek proclamation, “Making the world safe for technology.”

When I would see one of the Geekmobiles driving down the freeway in Minneapolis, I automatically would think, “There goes the Geek Squad making the world safe for technology.”

In fact, before they were absorbed by Best Buy, the Geek Squad was masterful in their use of  attention-getting devices. Tiny details that all delivered a consistent message added up to outstanding success for them.

Those same unique touches will work for your business, too. Notice what you notice, what grabs your attention.

Best of all, you can continue to create new attention-getters as your business grows.

Any attention-getters you’re already using? I’d love to hear about them. Post a comment and share.

Philip Adams said, “When people say to me: ‘How do you do so many things?’ I often answer them, without meaning to be cruel: ‘How do you do so little?’ It seems to me that people have vast potential. Most people can do extraordinary things if they have the confidence or take the risks. Yet most people don’t. They sit in front of the telly and treat life as if it goes on forever.”

Chances are good that you were not brought up to think that you could explore countless possibilities. Most of us who arrived after World War II, have been counseled to trod a narrow path in life. Pick one thing and stick with it, no matter what, has been the popular message.

That was not always the case. Consider Leon Battista Alberti who lived in Florence in the 15th century. He was an architect, author, classical scholar, musician, stage designer and town planner.

He was also known for his elegance, personal style and athletic ability and was reputed to be able to jump over a man from a standing start.

According to author Charles Nicholl, “He created a career for himself which hadn’t really existed before: a kind of freelance consultant in matters architectural, scientific, artistic and philosophical. In this role he served the papal Curia and the courts at Urbino and Mantua, as well as the Medici and Rucellai in Florence.”

While others didn’t know they could, Alberti didn’t know he couldn’t and so he created a remarkable life that made glorious contributions to the world around him. Many scholars consider Alberti the first Renaissance man.

We have no idea how many lives he inspired, but we do know that he was a powerful role model for a young teenager named Leonardo da Vinci who aspired to live an equally rich and creative life.

Finding a passion, any passion, opens our hearts to falling in love with life itself.  It’s difficult to explore possibilities if we have surpressed our passions. Ignoring the promptings of our heart, means turning a deaf ear to the call of those passions.

Many people think passion is a singular thing, but people who live passion filled lives are usually passionate about many things. Studies have shown that the more sources of passion we have, the happier we are.

Passions can change during different stages of our lives, too. As a growing  person, you will outgrow some passions as you grow into new ones.

To many people, success means having more; to the possibility thinker, success means being more. We may not aspire to master as many things as Alberti did—but could we?

The authors of The Creative Spirit think so. They write, “The French playwright Moliere tells the story of a countryman who asked what prose was, and was astonished to find that he had been speaking it all his life. It’s the same with creativity, which half the world thinks of as a mysterious quality that the other half possesses.

“A good deal of research suggests, however, that everyone is capable of tapping into his or her creative spirit. Your creativity increases as you become more aware of your own creative acts.”

Those who have studied human potential seem to arrive at the same conclusion: when we begin to make available to ourselves our own possibilities, it’s like drilling a well to an untapped energy reserve, like finding a bank account we haven’t used.

The only way to really know what’s possible is to put yourself into the game. Sitting on the sidelines and watching may be amusing, but it’s not the road to discovery. You’ve got to put yourself into the game and play fullout.

Explore. Create. Discover. Not only will you create a fascinating life, you’ll never run out of new possibilities and ways to astound yourself.

Although it’s been years since I bought a copy of Woman’s Day magazine, when I was whizzing through the market express line with my muffin, the bold headline on the cover caught my eye. The attention-grabber read 12 Ways to Make Money at Home.

It wasn’t just the information that had me snapping up  the issue. Even though I live, breathe and dream about self-employment, the conventional career advice has often treated working for yourself as a last resort, a stop gap, perhaps, between real jobs.

When I see mainstream media giving the joyfully jobless path some attention, I am both curious and supportive.

On the same day I bought the magazine, I received a message from Kristina Rupert who was busily exploring Making a Living Without a Job. She didn’t just write a nice fan message, however. She had a personal experience to share.

Kristina wrote, “I graduated from college 3 years ago with a B.S. in Entrepreneurship and when I chose the major my advisor said, ‘I don’t know if that is a good idea, what kind of business are you going to start?  This major is more for people that are getting into a family business.’

“ I proceeded to ask him, ‘Do you ask theater majors what Broadway hit they are going to star in?’  He didn’t answer the question, but then, he didn’t have to.  I knew the truth.

“So I went against that terrible advice and stuck with it because I knew it was right for me.  Your book has validated that decision for me.

“This is the wake up call I needed to get out there and start making a life for myself, on my terms.  I just had to stop reading to write and tell you how utterly wonderful this book is!”

So hooray to Kristina for listening to her heart and hooray to Woman’s Day for flaunting alternatives to getting a job.

(My favorite idea in the magazine article is the woman from Newport Beach, California who writes people’s messages in the sand at the beach and takes a picture that she then e-mails to them. Who knew there was a market for this?)

Of course, the same issue also has plenty of traditional career advice, and their work at home advice is limited to online opportunities. Still, I’m optimistic that they may be getting the attention of more readers who have been diverted from the joyfully jobless path by uninformed sources.

After all, making a living without a job is about much more than just paying the bills. Sadly, Kristina’s advisor, many career counselors and amateur advisors haven’t discovered our secret.

They do remind us, however, that if we’re going to blaze new trails, turn our passions into profits, create things that have never been seen before, we need to stick together— and encourage entrepreneurial spirit wherever we can find it.

At the end of July, my high school class had a milestone reunion. I had considered attending, but changed my mind when my move popped up.

Afterwards I received a mailing which listed the names and addresses of my former classmates. What struck me immediately was how many of the people were living in the same place they’d been residing at the last reunion—and the ones before that.

While staying put in one place is something I never wanted to do, I admit that I felt a bit envious, but I blame that on being in the midst of the epic task of organizing a physical move.

Even as a kid, I couldn’t imagine settling for a world no bigger than the county where I grew up. I knew there was a big wide world where people talked, lived and looked differently and I wanted to explore.

For many years, I only knew about faraway places through reading about them. It wasn’t until I discovered self-employment that I figured out a way to see things up close and personal for myself.

When I began traveling regularly and meeting other would-be entrepreneurs, I realized  that the same curiosity that urges us to see the world is very much like the curiosity that urges us to start a business.

In fact the very unpredictability of self-employment holds special charms for the joyfully jobless. Where will I go today? What next project fascinates me? Where will I meet kindred spirits?

Unanswered questions, not routine, colors our days.

None of these things are likely to show up for us, however, unless we engage. Instigate. Explore. Get out and about.

Years ago, I read an article in Writers Digest which warned writers about the danger of hiding away in our offices. In order to be a good writer, the author suggested, we must get out and observe. Listen to other people’s stories, be inspired by a change of scenery.

Yesterday, I put the padlock on the POD sitting in my driveway holding all my household goods, got in the car and drove to my new hometown in southern California. As I set out, I decided to spend the five hour drive focusing on gratitude.

As I headed west, something else happened that I hadn’t anticipated. Suddenly, I knew beyond a shadow of a doubt, what I wanted my next year to include. Museums and mobility are emerging themes.

Even bigger is a crusade I intend to launch. When the idea hit, it was so obvious that I couldn’t believe I hadn’t taken it up sooner. You’ll be hearing more about that soon. In fact, there will be an official announcement at the Joyfully Jobless Jamboree.

“The world is like a book,” said St. Augustine all those years ago, “and he who stays home reads only one page.”

Still true.