When my Aunt Marge was alive, I visited her as often as possible. She was eager to hear about my travels and recent adventures. Somewhere in the conversation, she would exclaim, “Oh, you meet the most interesting people.”

I totally agreed, of course.

While I have a long list of things I love about being self-employed, Meeting Interesting People is one of my favorite perks. People who are passionately engaged in what they’re creating are pilgrims on the road to Being More.

That may not have entered their mind when they began following their ideas, but it is a powerful bonus of creating and sharing their unique offerings.

One of the things I love most is watching a new business evolve. Although I hadn’t met her at the time, I still recall the email I got from Connie Solera telling me about her plans to leave teaching and create more art.

Her Dirty Footprints Studio has been responsible for helping women from all over the world get in touch with their creative spirit. Recently, Connie did two painting retreats in Oaxaca, Mexico and shared each day’s activities on Facebook.

I’m pretty sure I wasn’t the only one who waited patiently for those lively posts that arrived every evening. Fearless Painting, indeed! Go see for yourself what these women produced.

It’s also fascinating to me how people find each other. I recently did a Skype call with Tiffoni Lewis and her husband Neil. They are building a fun mobile pottery painting business from their home near San Antonio, Texas.

A while back, Tiffoni’s father came to my seminar in Las Vegas. He later sent me a note saying he wanted to give her a gift subscription to Winning Ways newsletter. That led to an email from Tiffoni asking if we could chat.

When I was growing up, the people I knew were mostly those who lived in the same small town. Creating a business that involves travel expanded my horizons and my circle of friends.

Just this morning I had a message from Carlo Pescatori. I met this entrepreneurial Venetian when my sisters, brother and I rented an apartment from him several years ago. Last week, I had a message from Kathie Kelling in Phoenix who is planning a trip to Venice and was seeking advice. I promptly thought of Carlo’s place and sent along information to her.

Connecting people with each other is another fun perk of the Joyfully Jobless Journey.

This morning’s email also had a message from Patrice Wynne, a delightful woman I met on my trip to San Miguel de Allende in December. Patrice has a lovely textile shop that uses local talent to produce its’ products.

The shop, named Abrazos, Spanish for embrace, benefits the community in numerous ways including employing local seamstresses to produce the bathrobes, shirts, aprons and other colorful items sold in the shop.

Visit their site and read about their collaborations with museums including the Boston Museum of Fine Arts who are selling items from Abrazos in conjunction with exhibits of Frida Kahlo’s work and other Mexican artists.

When I was starting out in my seminar business, I offered a program on creating a mail order business. While I am enthusiastic about this sort of profit center, I wasn’t nearly so thrilled with teaching the class since it seemed to attract misanthropes. I removed it from my repertoire after only two sessions.

Of course, the internet has made it possible for people who don’t like people to run a business with no direct human contact.

That would never work for me.

As Caroline Myss so wisely advised us, “We evolve at the rate of the tribe we’re plugged into.”  Wishing you a tribe as wonderful as mine.

The first goal I ever set for myself was to never have two years that were exactly the same. I had found it frighteningly boring to spend my time going to jobs in the same place at the same time with the same people.

I wanted to welcome surprises and unexpected delights. Self-employment has made that possible in ways I never dreamed it could at the beginning of this journey.

Although much of my work is done at home, I’m always working on new projects and have found all sorts of ways to mix things up. Even so, the past week managed to surpass some of the others in terms of variety and pure enjoyment.

It began on November 14 when I joined my sisters Nancy and Becky in Santa Barbara for a splendid evening listening to author Alexander McCall Smith.  Not only was he the first speaker I’ve heard talk while wearing a kilt, his extraordinary storytelling skills kept us laughing for ninety minutes.

This was even more special since I’ve spent the past several months reading his 44 Scotland Street series. Obviously, I’m not alone in loving McCall Smith who is stunningly prolific. He also has something like 25,000,000 copies of his books in print.

The next day, my friend Judy Miranda fetched me and we headed to Phoenix for the second Fund Your Life Overseas Conference. Judy has an import business called Global Hand Artisans and is devoted to selling handmade goods she uncovers in places such as Guatemala.

Despite the long drive, it was great fun to catch up with her since we hadn’t seen each other for sometime. In the interim, we had both added some new stamps to our passports so we had many travel tales to share.

On Sunday, the 16th, the conference began and it was 2 1/2 days of non-stop talking and learning. I met old friends and made new ones. I talked to attendees from all over the country.

Equally fun was seeing speakers, some of them already expats, who shared great how-to information on creating portable businesses. I did three talks aimed at helping participants build their entrepreneurial mindset—something that’s as useful as a passport if you want to see the world and get paid at the same time.

We headed back to California on Wednesday morning after stopping for breakfast at the home of Judy’s friends. Judy had lived in Phoenix for many years and loves reconnecting.

As we were sitting at the kitchen table with Sarah and Larry Soller, I was surprised to discover that Larry was also an ex-Minnesotan. Even more intriguing to me was finding out that we were English majors at the same college at the same time.

Larry also was active in theater and spent many years as a college theater professor himself. Although he no longer teaches on a regular basis, Larry is active doing voiceover work and is an enthusiastic volunteer with Habitat for Humanity.

The entire week was a glorious reminder that the world is full of people who can enrich our lives—if we take time to find them and pay attention. Or as Caroline Myss reminds us, “We evolve at the rate of the tribe we’re plugged into.”

You’ve probably had the experience of coming across a new word, looking it up in the dictionary, then noticing that the word appears all over the place.

Or you start thinking about taking a trip to Paris and the next thing you know Woody Allen has a movie coming out called Midnight in Paris. A few days later, you strike up a conversation with a stranger in a coffee shop and they mention they’ve just come back from Paris.

While we often think of such happenings as synchronicity, I believe there’s another factor at work here. I call it selective awareness. Something grabs our attention and we continue to tune in on further encounters with that thing.

It doesn’t have to be a totally random experience, however. We can consciously decide to pay attention to things that will add to our adventure or further our goals.

It comes as a surprise to me, then, that so many would-be entrepreneurs don’t seem to be gathering stories and support for their own successful self-employment. As Caroline Myss reminds us, “We evolve at the rate of the tribe we’re plugged into.”

Here are just two  examples of things that have appeared on my personal radar screen

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 A couple of years ago, I boarded a  Southwest flight and promptly took the in-flight magazine out of the seat pocket. I was thrilled to see the theme of that issue was entrepreneurship and settled in to explore.

The first thing I read was Jay Heinrichs’ editorial. I loved it so much that I now share it in some of my seminars. Here’s how it begins:

“There are two kinds of people in the world: entrepreneurs and naysayers. I belong to the second group. In my own experience, one characteristic distinguishes entrepreneurs from naysayers. Entrepreneurs never follow the advice of people like me. Not to brag, but I’ve naysayed some of the finest business ideas of the past three decades.”

This amusing piece was a fine reminder to beware of dreambashers. The rest of the issue was filled with stories of people who had done just that and built terrific businesses.

Of course, I took the issue with me when I deplaned.

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My artistic granddaughter and I share a fondness for the work of Mary Engelbreit, one of the most commercially successful artists around.

One of my all-time favorite Engelbreit drawings is of a barefoot woman sitting at her desk wearing a straw hat and bib overalls. Through the window behind her, we see sunflowers and a red barn. There’s a cigar box on her desk overflowing with money.

The caption reads, “We don’t care how they do it in New York.”

In her book Artful Words, Engelbreit tells the story behind some of her best known drawings. Here’s what she says inspired the creative farm woman:

“I did this because in the early days, people (especially on the East and West Coasts) were always saying, ‘Oh, you can’t start a card company. You can’t do it this way. You can’t do it that way.’ Of course we did do it that way. The funny thing is this greeting card was a best-seller in New York.

“So many people in New York and California just don’t have any idea about the rest of the country. I’ve met people from the coasts who assume that because I’m from the Midwest, I live on a farm. So this was for all of them.”

Long before I began my life as a gypsy teacher, I was a gypsy student. I attended seminars on personal growth, on marketing, on building a business as often as I could. Since the teachers I wanted to study with weren’t showing up in my small town, I spent a great deal of time and money traveling to learn.

What I learned (among many other priceless things) is that seminar rooms are my natural habitat. I love to learn and I really love being in places where new ideas and insights also show up.

I began meeting people with the same determination to grow and prosper. Horizons expanded. I acquired a passport and began going places I had only dreamed about.

Putting myself in a roomful of others who had similar dreams and aspirations was powerful. Not only did I began to gather useful tools that I could put to work building the life of my dreams, simply being surrounded by others convinced me that I wasn’t crazy for wanting to live an adventurous life.

I’m beginning to realize what an uncommon experience that is.

Most of us have grown up in a culture that seems to say that education is something we finish in our late teens or early twenties. We drift away from the places and learning experiences that were part of our youth.

Too many of us have been taught—in all sorts of subtle ways—that adulthood is about making our choices and repeating an agenda day after day, year after year.

Fortunately, more and more perfectly respectable adults are sneaking back into classrooms, trying new things, exploring new interests. Best of all, they’re discovering that regular participation in seminars and classes is an extraordinarily good investment of their time and money.

It also has an impact on success. A big impact.

According to the National Business Incubation Association, 80-90% of businesses are still operating after five years where the founder has received entrepreneurial training and continues with a network group, as compared to a 10% success rate for those who do not.

And our explorations don’t always have to be about new subjects. Repetition is the way we learn a new language and it also is the way we grow our entrepreneurial selves.

Every so often, I have a participant in my Making a Living Without a Job seminar who tells me they’re back for another go around. After attending a few years earlier, they’ve got their business up and running, but they’re ready to go farther.

Coming back to a seminar they took as a want-to-be-entrepreneur is not the same experience as it was the first time around. Different parts of the seminar are useful to them now that they barely noticed on an earlier visit.

It reminds me of Clifton Fadiman’s observation that when we reread a book and find more in it it’s not because there’s more in the book; it’s because there’s more in us.

Even after all these years, I find that anytime I wake up in the morning and realize it’s a seminar day my next thought is, “Somebody’s life is going to change today!”

That somebody may have a new vision that wasn’t there before. Or they might be getting a missing piece of their puzzle. Or it may just be the pleasure that comes from connecting with others who are open and eager to exploration.

As Caroline Myss reminds us, “We evolve at the rate of the tribe we’re plugged into.” Putting yourself in a room with the tribe you want to be part of can be the start of a wonderful new adventure.

Of course, you’ve got to show up if you’re going to plug in.