Monday, June 9, 2008

An Update On Another Free Spirit . . .

I've introduced my friend, Andrea, in some earlier blog postings. Andrea is another creative, alternative lifestyle, free spirited individual. She's an American who has lived in Ontario, Canada for the last few years due to some circumstances that I’ll not go into in this narrative. She found herself “trapped” in a condo she bought in a community not too far from Niagara Falls. Now, when I say, “trapped” I don’t exactly mean physically or literally, but on the other hand, she actually was sort of physically and literally trapped.

Andrea found herself, a lifetime entrepreneur with a degree from Kent State University, in a challenging situation. Let me put a little emphasis here; she is an entrepreneur, and obviously a woman. Now, the fact is that women owned businesses have been the fastest growing segment of small and medium sized businesses for at least the last decade. There have also been some very notable women running major Fortune 1000 corporations. As the old Virginia Slims ad touted a couple decades ago, “You’ve come a long way, Baby!” Yes, women have had to fight hard to break the old stereotype of being “just” housewives, mothers and staying at home barefoot and pregnant. And, as a typical post-World War II generation male chauvinist, I can only say that it has been to the benefit of our society. Sure, there have been some major changes and upheaval in the areas of marriage, family, childcare and child rearing. And, there have also been a lot of adjustments necessary by our “hunter/gatherer” male chauvinist mentality. There are many women who out earn their spouses or significant others and often end up in supervisory, management and executive roles with a lot of intelligent, highly qualified men working for them. Is all well? Probably not all, but in general we have benefited as a society. But, there are still a significant number of men who are intimidated by all this; some even feel emasculated.

Andrea faced some discrimination while “trapped” in her condo in Canada. But, I’d have to say that her gender might have been at the root of much of it, if not all of it. I don’t understand the basic rights provided under the Canadian Constitution, but I didn’t think the rights of Canadians were very different from our rights on the south side of that border. And, while I know that there is still gender bias and discrimination here in the U.S., the way Andrea was treated in her condo building by her Canadian neighbors was shabby at best. So, with great effort and at some personal loss, Andrea was finally able to get out of the condo and has launched her new life.

So, what is her new life? Well, Andrea and her pet, a cat that she is very connected to, have cleared out the condo (as of June 1st) and taken to the open road, a dream I wrote about earlier. My last posting told you about my friend Dick Strader and his full-time RV odyssey. Well, Andrea plans to be on the road for the next year, however, instead of a beautiful luxury motorhome with all the amenities of a compact, but very efficient apartment or small "condo on wheels," Andrea is living and traveling in the Ford E250 Econoline commercial van she acquired last year just for this purpose. She is equipping it (or has already) with a bunk to sleep in, a cooler or small 12-volt refrigerator, some kind of, “necessity” facility – basically, the things she’ll need to camp out wherever her travels take her. She also has her laptop computer with her. I’m making an assumption that, initially, at least, she’ll locate WiFi hotspots and check her e-mail, do any research she needs to do, write and upload blog postings to her blogs and update her Web sites.

Andrea is a public relations professional, a small business consultant, a writer and a speaker. Her plan is to acquire assignments in these areas as she traverses the U.S. and Canada. So, that little red Ford van will be her home, her office and her transportation. On the one hand, that doesn’t sound very appealing (and I’m sure there will be aspects to her travels that may not be all that enjoyable or comfortable), but on the other hand – She is FREE! She has an adventurous and pioneering spirit. I would have to make the assumption that gas for the van will be one of, if not, her most daunting immediate expense. We’re all feeling that.

I’ve not, yet, met Andrea in person. I’m hoping that we’ll cross paths in the not too distant future, share ideas and explore possibilities. Meanwhile, as she’s traveling, she is seeking writing and consulting projects and opportunities to speak to various kinds of groups. She’ll also build her Internet business where she offers e-books and audio programs, which she was forbidden to do by the Condo Homeowner Association in the condo building she just left. Talk about nerve, those male chauvinists were infringing, BIG TIME, on her privacy. Andrea has a very broad base of knowledge and experience and should be able to find many opportunities to share this knowledge and experience with people, coast to coast. I know that she also welcomes opportunities to meet lots of new people. Perhaps, you or someone you know might be interested in meeting her when she's in your area. And, perhaps, you'll invite her to use your guest room for a night or two and get a really nice bath or shower. I'm sure she will really appreciate it. Using truck stops (often called travel centers, today) and campgrounds will get old pretty quick, I imagine.

The book that Andrea will write at the end of this exciting year on the road should be fantastic. Just as my friend, Dick, has set out on his particular adventure, Andrea has now embarked on a similar, but significantly different adventure. Now, I’ve not heard from Andrea since she hit the road, but I expect to hear from her fairly soon. When I do, I’ll give you another update on her adventures. You can find her Web site and blogs and lots of information about her and her e-books, speaking and consulting service at Her contact info is there, also.

You, GO Girl! Safe, pleasant and exciting travels.



No comments: