From the time I was a young child, I dreamed of seeing the world.
Born in California, I was adopted at birth and raised in the Portland area after my parents divorced when I was five. I learned early that life demanded flexibility: my grandfather died suddenly, leaving my unemployed mother and grandmother to care for my two brothers and me. From fifth grade to high school, I lived in a garage in the agricultural town of Gaston (population: 325), where I spent my summers working in the fields. I loved writing stories, doing crafts, and imagining myself in faraway places.
Thanks to scholarships, I went to the University of Puget Sound in Tacoma, Washington, where I majored in psychology and Asian Studies and spent my senior year in nine countries. My first job out of college took me to the northern countryside of Japan to teach English. I was teamed up with a cute teacher from Oregon. We fell in love, got married, and had four daughters. I taught ESL classes at Pacific University, owned/managed a vintage clothing store, organised the building of our city's first skateboard park, and served as the national outreach coordinator for the Northwest Earth Institute.
Meanwhile, I continued to write, publishing a mindfulness ezine (remember those?) that had thousands of subscribers in over 100 countries. My playful, eyes-wide-open approach to everyday awareness was featured in a crazy range of web and print publications around the world, including The New York Times, Ladies Home Journal, Parents, Playboy, Popular Science, Wired, the Italian version of Elle, a Swiss magazine for abstract artists, and a book for teachers in India.
It was a fun and busy time, but after a decade or so, we got restless: my husband and I longed to live abroad with our family. So, in 2005, we sold everything and moved to Mexico. We had to figure out how to shepherd our four teenagers into and through college in alternative ways. Thanks to the various options they chose, all four earned their degrees in the United States or Canada by the age of 20--with no debt. Inspired to share what we learned with others, I wrote THE NEW GLOBAL STUDENT It was published by Crown (Random House) in 2009.
Readers often write to ask for updates on our daughters. I am happy to report that they are all happy, healthy and thriving in their chosen professions in Dubai, Buenos Aires, San Francisco, and Oakland. The two oldest earned graduate degrees (master’s degrees and doctorate) while the younger two avidly expand their knowledge about their interests.
As empty nesters, my husband and I decided to do our twenties in our fifties. So, we bought (and later sold) a farmhouse in Uruguay and fixed it up. We went to China, where I ended up serving as the governess for the daughter of China's most-admired billionaire. We taught at a beautiful new Reggio-inspired preschool in Mexico. And we traveled around the world--Europe, Asia, Africa.
But now, things are shifting again for us. Our oldest daughter just got married, and our second daughter is getting married next summer in Jordan.
We recognize that we will always have to travel in order to spend time with our girls, but we are ready to have a home base again.
And, after living and working abroad for the last 14+ years, I want to build something that will help people here in the States.
So, I just launched a new social enterprise. Compassionate Survivalist turns that whole every-man-for-himself mindset upside down. We humans have a strong survival instinct, but we also have a remarkable capacity for compassion. We're putting compassion first. We focus on providing emergency kits to empower women to stay safe and reach out to help others. A big percentage of the profits goes to local disaster relief efforts in communities across the United States.
It's my valentine to my country. Read my little story about how it all came together HERE
Thanks so much for stopping by! Please feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org