Do You Have a Brand -OR- Are You the Brand?

A few nights ago, a friend issued me a challenge:

“Meditate on what you take for granted; question your assumptions.”

Turns out, this mindset is pretty much a bottomless well for self-assessment.

Because — I don’t know about you — but I’ve developed a lot of assumptions over the years … many of which are long past their expiration date for needing revisiting.

For example, at the beginning of my career, I accepted the argument that:

It is an author’s job to write to a branded experience;
if an author wants to switch audiences or ratings, a pen name is appropriate.

Since that day, I have never challenged the assumption that this was a requirement of me.

But what if I was wrong? 😲

What if I can write anything I want under my own name? 🤯

It seems like such a silly question to type on the screen in front of me because, of course, I can write whatever I want under my own name.

Duh.

In fact, I should!

So I’m going to do something different this year: I’m going to challenge my assumption that I’m supposed to create branded experiences and simply create.

Stop trying to be a brand, and simply be.

This may sound simple to some of you from the younger generations, but I’m Gen X — we were raised to find purpose in performing well in a role and got in trouble if we made things uncomfortable for anyone with seniority.

So it’s no wonder that the idea of splitting myself up into branded experiences made sense across the years. I was simply being considerate to the comfort of an audience’s experience … while coming across as completely schizophrenic in the process.

Seriously.

If you’ve been watching me these past two weeks, you’ve seen how I’ve struggled to turn myself into a predictable, branded experience.

I’ve given you 5 headers in 2 weeks as I tested different visions on people around me.

On January 1, 2022, I was the Coach of Champions:

But then I decided I needed to CREATE a character for my coaching and billed myself as the $5 Storyteller.

Then there was the $5 Bard — similar concept, but with an even-more targeted experience.

Then there was Z Bard for a few beats.

Sheralyn Pratt is Z Bard in 2022

No lies, ALL of these tested horribly.

Response the concepts were universally flat. And that was because I was not understanding my own assignment.

All because I had an assumption.

This was the assumption:

I am not a model, but I have the skillsets to build models.

I have believed this for actual decades.

But what if I was wrong this whole time?

So that’s what I will be exploring in 2022 as part of the Main Character Energy journey I am sharing with you.

I’m just going to be me … even if I end up doing things that surprise you.

Because surprising you just might be my brand. And who would ever want to trade that in for a predictable experience?

So … the new header is this:

I am the model and this is my storytime.

And I’m going to follow my heart from here.

The Trick You Need to Succeed in 2022

A good coach knows what moves you need to perform to put yourself on the podium each year.

A coach with online business sense will trade your email address for an industry secret, then engage with you to dive deeper and pay for specific strategies.

Good coaching
+ a solid sales funnel

=
the path to success for many

I’m more one to take the guerilla approach to coaching — starting out wherever I am and practicing what I preach so you can track my success real-time.

My goal in 2022 is to get you to tip me $5 to light up my Yellow Brick Wall.

But we’ll come back to that in a minute.

Right now, I want to talk about how you have an unprecedented opportunity to upgrade your life in 2022.

With just a few adjustments to how you approach social media, you’ll be at your next New Year’s party thinking:

Young backlit local boy standing by the ocean in Tahiti with a golden sunset and a sailboat in the background
You on the last day of 2022

And I’ll be your coach in getting there.

As your online mindset coach, I’m going to do what ANY good coach would do and share a winning move that will get you on the podium in 2022—no matter your field.

Ready?

Finding success in 2022 is all about showing up with strong main character energy (MCE).

You’re going to start seeing this term everywhere — hashtags, comment sections, and demonstrated in nearly every person you follow.

Authentically sharing your life experience from a position of power is your winning formula for shining bright this year.

If you want to upgrade your life in 2022, you need to embrace your authentic story.

The BIG Question: What does your MCE look like?

A key reason main character energy is going to be so big in 2022 is: When properly expressed, MCE looks different on everyone.

PRO TIP:
If 2 people’s MCE is identical,
then 1 of them is mimicking.

And after two years of intermittent quarantines filled with unpredictable highs and lows,

fitting in is OUT
&
standing out is IN

Knowing this, different coaches are going to guide you to stand out in different ways.

As your coach, I’m going to invite you to explore ideas via art, comics, and stories, then ask you to show up in unambiguous ways like lighting up my Yellow Brick Wall.

Why?

Because, in life, we either show up or we don’t.

When we don’t show up, it’s often because something along the line has taught us to be afraid and we’ve convinced ourselves that our fear is greater than we are.

Releasing our side-character/NPC qualities can be a journey — especially if we believe lifting others to be part of our core value.

Yet main characters don’t walk around lifting other people up; they raise others up by modeling how things can be better. Then they meet you as equals when you develop the flex to meet them on the main stage.

So …

PLOT TWIST

… as your coach in 2022, this year is no different for me than for you. I also need to embrace my main character energy, otherwise, what credibility do I have with you?

So …

… this is how it’s is going to work …

… in the year 2022, I’m embracing my energy by rebranding myself as:

The $5 Storyteller

I’m choosing this in response to a dare I got on my birthday to stop being such a digital recluse and start genuinely participating online.

My Friend’s Challenge: “Just start showing up and I bet you could get 100,000 people to tip you $5 bucks before your next birthday IF you just do what you do in-person online.”

Is my friend right?

There’s only one way to find out and I’ve never turned down a birthday dare (although I may have to now that the secret is out), so

CHALLENGE ACCEPTED!

So that’s what I’ll be doing on the front end of things.

I will be the $5 Storyteller ALL of 2022

But there will be a BTS side of things.

Join the Adventure

Ask anyone who’s ever been coached by me and they’ll tell you I’m not one to gatekeep information.

My approach is to:

  • give you a full picture of what you need to succeed
  • make sure you understand the assignment, and
  • provide information and opportunities that put you in a position to perform, learn, and grow

If this kind of coaching is for you, supporting me on Patreon also might be right for you.

I will process large amounts of information down into bite-sized “high-level” action items anyone can do — often simmering things down to a one-page worksheet, where possible.

I’ll share with you what I’m doing and how I’m doing it while providing you with shortcuts and worksheets to help you expedite the process yourself.

If this sounds like BTS info you can put to use, support me on Patreon.

Otherwise, find me on Twitter and Instagram for Main Character Energy for the rest of the year.

Watch my journey to see how I get 100,000 people to tip me $5 before my next birthday.

You can tip me anytime you like using Venmo:

Tip me anytime to light up bricks on my Yellow Brick Wall

The Yellow Brick Wall will document my engagement and become a visual record of my 2022 Main Character Energy.

So much dark atm BUT a HUGE THANKS to Christine, Elizabeth, and Kelly for getting the glow-up ball rolling! 💜

So let the fun begin and I look forward to meeting you all on the Main Stage!

Ringing In 2022: Year of the IndiGOAT

Do you feel it?

… that feeling in the air that 2022 holds the potential for being your most expansive and memorable year ever?

I feel it.

This is the year for showing up like you never have before. It’s about:

  • unpacking all your unused skills & talents from mental storage
  • revisiting your potential
  • overcoming doubt to unlock new possibilities

2022 is a year for tuning into yourself, releasing that which weighs you down, rediscovering what you’re really made of, and shining on levels you’ve only dreamed of before.

I am committed to having the best year of my life so far, and I’m officially hanging my shingle to help you do the same:

Sheralyn Pratt
LIFE COACH

That’s right. I’m Coach Sheralyn again and I’ll be offering coaching in online posts and digital offerings along with in-person, one-on-one sessions.

How can you connect with me in 2022?

  1. Schedule in-person, 1-on-1 coaching sessions with me (location: Sandy, Utah)
  2. Follow me on Twitter and Instagram to inspire yourself to new heights & challenge “stuck” thinking
  3. Support me on Patreon for unique perks & digital content
  4. Light up the Yellow Brick Wall to document our 2022 journey

Now let’s take a closer look at each of these.

In-person, 1-on-1 Coaching

Treat yourself when you schedule a session with me to strategize your success.

If you have a vision for the future, I am here to assist your transition from dreams to a new reality.

Our theme for 2022:

Rise. Leap. Shine.

And the spirit animal of the year is the indiGOAT

IndiGOAT: The Official Mascot of 2022

If you’ve never heard of an indiGOAT before, that’s understandable. IndiGOATs are creatures of legend in my Z world — a fictional land you will become more familiar with in 2022.

You can read Z LEGEND OF THE indiGOAT here (3-minute read) but, for now, know that indiGOATs are the totem for fearlessly rising into your potential while taking brilliant leaps of faith.

If that sounds like a superpower you want to unlock this year, schedule a session with me.

All of us rise, leap, and shine differently so sit down with me and let’s find your groove.

BONUS: The FIRST 10 people to book will get their session for $10!

Why $10? Because I currently share space at a local business and you pay $10 to them when you book your appointment. This covers their overhead and reserves our room at the date/time you choose & is non-refundable.

The 10 people who claim $10 sessions must:

  • book by December 31, 2021
  • set an appointment in the month of January 2022

In lieu of payment, I will ask these 10 people to write a quick testimonial of their coaching experience and the benefits they think I provide.

I’ve been terrible at collecting testimonials from people across the years, so this is the perfect chance to benefit from my oversight.

The regular price for sessions is $75/hr and you can check the pinned tweet on my Twitter to see if FREE spots are still available before you book.

Follow Me on Twitter & Instagram (& #ComingSoon: TikTok)

Social media is the perfect place to follow me if you want free micro-coaching throughout 2022.

Follow my Twitter account if you want links to resources and ongoing updates for what’s new the moment it happens.

Follow me!

Follow my Instagram account if you want daily thoughts designed to help you imagine things in new ways.

Follow me!

I haven’t gone all-in on TikTok yet, but the plan is to use it as more dynamic, interactive space where I will answer questions, go LIVE, and get over my aversion to cameras:

It’s gonna be fun!

Support Me On Patreon

I know, I know. I’m like a decade late to this party but that doesn’t mean I’m not a great host.

My Patreon donors light up bricks on the Yellow Brick Wall each month (read more on that in the next section) and vote to make projects happen.

Image of Pimpernel series covers
For example: You could vote for Book 4

This is a great option for anyone who wants to influence what projects and do/don’t work on in 2022.

  • Want podcasts from me?
  • Want me to finish a story like Trick Six?
  • Want the 4th Pimpernel book?
  • Want me to create tutorials on certain topics?
  • Want to pitch a pet project all your own?

This is where you start the dominoes falling and fund projects that are already in the works.

Patreon supporters can suggest & vote for what I work on. Different tiers also give you FREE access to content that everyone else will pay retail for.

Check out my Patreon page to see which tier is right for you!

Light Up the Yellow Brick Wall

Last but not least: It’s time to light up the Yellow Brick Wall.

What is the Yellow Brick Wall?

The Yellow Brick Wall is a fictional art installation in a story I made up that I’ve decided to bring into the real world.

In fiction, everyone who visits Z Labyrinth (a novella I’ll release later this year) passes along the Yellow Brick Wall.

The stones of the Yellow Brick Wall are actually gold, but visitors can paint over the gold with any images or words they want. Nothing is forbidden, but there is one catch:

The only colors accepted are black and white. No greys, no colors.

“The Black-and-White on the Yellow Brick Wall” then becomes an immortal record of the mindset of visitors who find their way to Z Labyrinth in different times and locations.

In fiction, you need to make a pretty epic journey to find the wall and paint on it, but I will be lighting up bricks to create a digital reflection of the journey we take together across the year.

HERE’S HOW IT WORKS:

This is a close-up of how the bricks look before you light them up:

Each $5 lights up a brick with your name on it:

Your first $5 gets your name (first name, last initial) on a brick in the far-right column of the wall.

sample panel of the yellow brick wall

Additional bricks are best sponsored in groups of three (because their pattern is woven in groups of three) and unlock your ability to add custom text or images over the bricks in black-and-white.

Unlock the ability to post custom black-and-white text/images when you sponsor 60 or more bricks. (Minimize size requirements exist in an effort to make sure your image/text is visible on different sizes of screens. See image above.)

Post any image you like on 60 (or more) bricks, including:

  • Your logo
  • Signed personal art
  • An advertisement
  • A promo offer good for the year of 2022
  • Any thought or idea you want on record in a time capsule
  • & MORE

The Yellow Brick Wall is going to be featured on the landing page of my website ALL YEAR, so keep that in mind as you choose what to feature and how to use the bricks you paint on.

IMPORTANT NOTE: All posts are final.

  • No edits
  • No re-touching
  • No altering images in any way after they are posted

Your imagination is the limit!

NOTE: Technically speaking, explicit and objectionable content is allowed, but I will exercise judgment of what shows on the landing page of my website, considering all ages are welcome.

If you’re confused as to how the wall works, the concept will make more sense as you watch it light up.

For now, simply know that it’s fulfilling its purpose when it evolves into a graffiti wall that you enjoy visiting across the year.

Join the Fun

2022 is the year of unlimited potential and new self-expression. And I’m here for you whether you need a sherpa on the path or a Yellow Brick Wall to advertise on.

Make this year amazing by choosing to:

Rise. Leap. Shine.

… while knowing I’m right there with you, coaching and showing up real-time.

Z Legend of the IndiGOAT

IndiGOAT definition:

a one-horned goat; a mythical creature similar to a unicorn, except it’s a mighty mountain goat with an ever-revolving Mobius strip serving as its single horn.

Z Legend of the IndiGOAT

THE LEGEND

Once upon this one time, there was an indiGOAT. 

​And this indiGOAT did what all indiGOATs do: It traveled the world seeking sheer cliffs and towering peaks as it climbed and it leaped on its star-shaped hoofed feet.

For just as squirrels gather nuts and bees build a hive, indiGOATs jump and climb every day they’re alive. 

It’s what they live for and how they are built. They jump and they climb, and they leap and they rise, until they reach a chasm that makes them pause and think twice.

For some peaks have puzzles where there should be a plane, and it’s an indiGOAT’s purpose is to make the leap all the same.

One day, as the indiGOAT lept along, it felt the earth shake, followed by an avalanche of earth that left no doubt the landscape had changed.

Following instinct, the indiGOAT changed course to investigate.

What the indiGOAT found was a glorious sight: a new peak—sheer as death—that had formed overnight! 

In all its days, the indiGOAT had never seen a puzzle so daunting, and stopped in its tracks to keep its sure feet from faulting. 

At first glance, reaching this new summit seemed an impossible feat, yet indiGOATs are born knowing what “i’m possible” means. 

So the indiGOAT found a clear spot with some grass and a view before taking a quick nap to dream up what it could do. Yet the dreams didn’t help and it awoke with no clue.

Once again, the indiGOAT gazed at the peak up ahead. Then a squirrel came along, shaking its head.

“Can you believe it?” the squirrel gawked. “Have you ever seen such a peak? Even birds who approach it have yet to land on their feet.”

And as the indiGOAT gazed up at the summit with its compass-shaped eyes, it understood how a bird might get lost in its flight. For the formation was a bit mystical—like a tunnel into the sky.

At last, a true challenge, the indiGOAT beamed, entertaining impossible thoughts. For it knew there must be a way to land securely on top.

“Wolves and scavengers are gathering at the bottom,” the squirrel said. “It’s quite a buffet where the climbers’ bodies plummet.”

Sure enough, the indiGOAT saw vultures and ravens circling near the base on the new mountain, and knew four-footed creatures must also be there in abundance.

And it knew the longer it waited, the more creatures would die. For it was an indiGOAT’s purpose to mark the path of great heights. 

Yet it couldn’t jump until it saw the plane of a path, so it settled on eating a breakfast of grass.

“It can’t be done,” a hawk said from high in the sky. “It’s like an abyss with no bottom in sight.”

And the indiGOAT saw what the hawk meant, even as it knew that could not be true. For no peak was topless—as a jump would soon prove.

So the indiGOAT spent the day hopping around, seeking a spot that would be good starting ground.

​“It’s hopeless,” an ibex said as it made its way down. “There is no way to go over. We all must go around.”

Next came the humans, with their spikes and their ropes, and those who didn’t fall packed their bags and went home.

“It can’t be done; move along,” a doe said at the dawn of a new day. “There’s a lush, relaxing valley just beyond the horizon. Follow me! I know the way.”

Yet the indiGOAT declined to join the doe on its path to smooth green, for valleys of bounty are not an indiGOAT’s thing. 

Instead, it climbed and it climbed with its eyes trained on the summit in the sky.

“Turn around,” the hawk said, banking east in its flight. “This peak cannot be touched. Trust me, I have tried.”

Yet the indiGOAT climbed and it lept until it came to a spot where the peak came into focus on the ledge of a precipice. 

​“Scavengers await!” the tenacious squirrel said. “All who have jumped have ended up dead.”​

Yet the path was now clear, even if the incline was steep. It would require the bravest of hearts and the longest of leaps.

“I’ve never feasted on indiGOAT before,” a vulture said, flying by. “Today is my day to watch one drop from the sky!”

The indiGOAT made no reply—it just kept its eye on the path and lept out of sight.

Then nailed the landing on the needlepoint of a peak on the other side. 

Below, all the creatures seemed to share a collective gasp.

And for a few serene moments, the indiGOAT took in the sublime view.

Then it grew impatient to move on.

For now that it had ascended, there was the whole issue of getting back down, and on the sheer face below footholds were few to be found.

“I can’t believe it,” said the hawk as it circle around. “You made it! And now I see how it can be done.”

Soon the hawk was joined by other fowls and, as they made their loops, the indiGOAT spotted a path down. 

So it made its descent then bounded on to the next mountain.

Movie Review: Matrix Resurrections – A Compelling Evolution of a Rich Canon

If there was a positive review to send me in the days leading up to the release of Matrix Resurrections, Google didn’t find it. I’ll bet I got close to two dozen push notifications of negative reviews, one neutral headline, and not a single positive one.

So this review goes out to all those who want to read a review from someone who didn’t get up on the wrong side of the bed the day they saw Matrix Resurrections.

Matrix Resurrections might be the most indulgent-yet-cerebral love story I’ve ever seen on a screen.

It’s a story of hearts having to pass through the weaponized illusion of the mind to find the truth buried deep in their soul. From there, everyone has the same decision: Trust your mind, or follow your heart?

It’s deep waters.

If you’re a writer like me, the integrity of the Wachowski canon is a wonder that weaves its characters and plotlines together like a spider web.

Matrix Resurrections is brilliant filmmaking and I dare say that the only people on this planet who have the right to say otherwise are people like the Nolan brothers, Stephen Spielberg, and other greats who have succeeded at the same level.

The plot is tight.

The conflict is real.

The music is an evolution—combining traditional instruments with digital sounds to create a signature symphony that will still be recognizable a century from now.

The characters are solid — including the additions:

Brilliant. All of them. Including Bugs, not pictured.

The story evolves and leaves the characters on a new stage with new goals—albeit in a way that sets up anyone but the Wachowskis to make a total stinker of a follow-up.

This is their baby—periodt—even if only one of them is directing and writing, like Lana did with this installment.

By way of critique, I will say that there is one fight scene that is distractingly bad in its choreography, costuming, and filming angles.

I don’t know why, since these are all things the Wachowskis excel at. All I can say is that one thing we don’t talk about enough with the first movie is the quiet brilliance with which Lawrence Fishburne pulled off the physicality of Morpheus.

Fishburne left serious shoes to fill and they weren’t filled for the fight scenes of this movie.

Another critique I’ll add is there are about 5-10 minutes of this movie where the narrative and exposition seem to intentionally break the fourth wall and get really meta with the audience. It’s like Lana Wachowski is whispering behind her hand to you in your seat and, in that space, she drops a lot of lines that are likely to trigger different types of people.

I would need to watch the movie again to count how many types of people have triggers waiting for them in that window of the movie, but it’s pretty equal-opportunity in its pushing the audience to get defensive enough to flip off characters on the screen like Neo did in that one screen when he was talking to the Architect in the second movie.

Neo channeling you during this part of the movie

It feels intentional—flagrant, even—and I’m guessing it’s why so many reviewers summed up their experience like they’d just been forced to sit through a 2-hour dirty diaper.

My advice is this: If you are severely triggered in the first half of the movie, based on dialog you feel is a personal attack, let it go. Don’t let the Matrix have you.

Keep going and watch the genesis of a bold, new love story told to the soundtrack of an evolving symphony that is a character unto itself.

The Wachowskis are geniuses. And geniuses don’t care if you like them or not. They can’t. Part of being a pioneer is leaving others behind and letting them catch up in their own time.

In my opinion, Matrix Resurrections is a brilliant reboot with an interesting story to tell that 99.99% of anyone would screw up. But everything the Wachowskis have done in the past tells me they—together, or apart—can build where they left off, and I can’t wait to see where the story goes.

My opinion: Matrix Resurrections is going to age well.

Reviewers who crapped on it are going to eat their words over time and multiple viewings.

It is a love story for nerds and an epic of soulmates.

And this viewer loved every layer of it and looks forward to watching it again soon.

8 Safety Tips for Long Road Trips

I went LIVE on Instagram and asked if there was anything people would like me to talk about and Ashley brought up my walkabouts.

If you aren’t aware, I’ve spent about a year of my life just driving around with my dog and no plan.

Knowing this, Ashley asked if I had any travel tips for the road.

So here are 8 travel tips I would recommend for anyone on a long road trip.

Tip 1:

Carry enough fuel with you to cover 400 miles

How far can your vehicle go on a tank of gas?

If that distance is less than 400 miles, go by a gas canister for extra gas that makes up the difference.

red gas canister

You’re looking for 400 miles TOTAL between your tank and your bonus gas.

Are you ever going to need ALL of those 400 miles to save your bacon on the road?

Not likely — unless you’re driving across Canada — but that’s kind of the point. Most of the time, you’re only going to need ~50 miles worth of gas to get you out of a terrible situation, but sometimes you need more.

But 400 miles covers you in nearly every situation. So just plan for it and thank yourself later.

Tip 2:

Have simple emergency food to last you for 3 days

This is a perfect one not to overthink. You’re looking for food that takes up little space but provides nutritional value, in case of an emergency.

In my case, I had:

  • 1 canister of a meal-replacement powder (technically, 28 servings)
  • 5 gallons of water
  • 1 shaker cup

Did I ever need three days of emergency food while I was on the road?

No.

But did I ever mix some powder and water together to give myself some calories when I was out in the middle of nowhere, just because I could?

Absolutely.

Tip #3:

Talk to people

This may seem counterintuitive because we are often taught to treat new roads and people with trepidation.

But the truth is that nobody you meet on the road woke up that morning imagining your paths would cross. You’re just catching them in the middle of their lives.

Talking to everyday people in different regions is important because they are going to teach you the difference between safe people and actual predators.

Normal people keep things casual and public. They are curious and helpful without being clingy. And they never try to isolate you.

Once you have several interactions with healthy people, you will start to feel the rhythm of the catch-and-release of healthy interactions with locals who are happy to introduce you to their stomping ground before getting back to their day.

Then, when a manipulative person with ulterior motives crosses your path, you will feel something is off.

You will hear something is off.

And you can trust yourself.

Find a safe way to exit the interaction and get back on your way.

If you don’t have the contrast of healthy interactions, you will not be able to distinguish between your anxieties and an actual threat.

And an anxious person who is disconnected from their gut instincts actually makes for an eye-catching target.

So talk to people until you have a sense of how locals talk with tourists.

Then trust yourself when your gut doesn’t like someone, remove yourself from their path, and never look back.

Tip 4:

Leave weapons home

When I went on my walkabouts, several people approached me about bringing weapons. Two people even offered to let me bring their guns.

I declined.

I say this as a former karate instructor:

Unless you have trained with a weapon — including handling it under situations of high stress and adrenaline — you are likely just handing an attacker a weapon that will be used against you.

Let’s say you did take a gun on a trip for protection.

  • Do you know what to do if the gun jams?
  • Is your possession of the gun legal?
  • How many times have you been to a firing range and have you ever fired at anything other than rings of circles?

These are all things that come into play when your adrenaline is through the roof in an attack situation.

Unless you have trained with a weapon, can store it properly, and handle it without looking at it, it is a liability — not protection — in a dangerous situation.

Because the truth is that adrenaline rushes make people clumsy, sweaty, tunnel-visioned, and thoughtless.

You know when people are terrified in movies and run away — only to trip and fall while running like a freak?

So stupid, you probably think. That’s not how it is.

But such depictions are actually pretty accurate to adrenaline’s impact on the body in a crisis situation.

We talk anecdotally about adrenaline giving people superhuman strength to do things like lift cars in a crisis, but that is not typical.

People in the military, law enforcement, and martial arts spend hundreds (or thousands) of hours training their bodies to perform in stressful situations for the simple fact that adrenaline responses are not known for making people more capable.

So if you can’t handle a weapon with your eyes closed, don’t take it on the road with you.

Because I’m pretty sure statistics still say that it is far more likely to harm you or someone you love than an attacker.

Your greatest defense on the road — in almost all situations — is being unarmed and innocent.

Keep that advantage and leave your weapons home unless you are trained and the weapons are legal wherever you are headed.

Tip 5:

Let someone lowkey track your trip

Part of safety on the road is someone back home knowing where you are.

Part of staying sane on your trip is having this person NOT be an obsessed or anxious person who is going to stress you out.

The person you want to track your trip is highly responsible with a full life. They care about you but they don’t have the time, desire, or personality to stalk you.

This person is your first point of contact if something is off.

Let this person track your GPS and create a check-in schedule with them.

Give them nothing to do so long as you are doing your part. The ONLY time they have to do something is if you don’t keep your schedule and they can’t contact you.

Then they should have a plan for who to contact and what to do next.

BONUS: One thing I did whenever I was in an iffy situation was text my person pictures of people I was with and any unexpected address I was heading to. And I ALWAYS let the people I was with know I was doing it for safety reasons.

Not a single stranger was offended. In fact, almost all of them felt better after I did it.

Tip 6:

Visit friends

Sometimes, someone you know will be an hour or two out of the way.

Offer to visit them. Why not?

They can decline — or, sometimes, they agree to a visit but you can hear the stress dripping off of their voice as they do. (You can use your judgment in those situations as to whether the timing is right.)

Traveling offers you the rare chance to see old friends in their new environments and experience the world their living in.

And that is always worth a few-hour drive.

Tip 7:

Do your research before bringing any animals

I took my dog with me on my walkabouts.

There were perks to having a dog along, but there are also a LOT of drawbacks.

SO MANY doors are shut to you when you have an animal with you. And it is not humane to keep them in cars or hotel rooms while you go do touristy things. (If you’re mentally arguing with me on this claim, just trust me. Don’t do it … unless you’re rich and your animal is used to it.)

I could have done so much more on my trip and visited places like National Parks, museums, and countless other spots most people want to see on the road.

I chose to save those visits for another time and brought my dog.

That was the right choice for me. She watched my back like a guardian angel and quickly cleared out anyone who didn’t pass the vibe check.

Bringing my dog was the right choice for me.

Weigh the pros and cons of bringing your pet(s) on long trips with you, then do what’s best for you both.

Tip 8:

Journal

This is something I DIDN’T do that I WISH I did.

Document the little things.

Take pictures, but never let taking pictures keep you from experiencing the moment.

See everything with a curious mind and document what’s new to you and how you first experienced it.

Someday, you’re going to look back and marvel that you ever wrote such things because you will have totally forgotten at least half of it.

And you’re going to light up all over again when you remember.

#

There you have it: These are my top 8 tips for taking long road trips.

Thank you, Ashley, for asking me to FINALLY write them down.

If you have a request, feel free to reach out to me on Twitter, Instagram, or Patreon and I might do a post or a LIVE just for you!

Happy Holidays & a Bold New Year

I officially declare 2022 “the Year of the indoGOAT” … but more on that later.

Oh, what a year it’s been.

The best of times

The worst of times

Routine times

Quarantine times

Everything in between

If you’re like me:

  • this year went fast — REALLY fast
  • everything changed, yet nothing changed
  • you did a bit more navel-gazing than usual
  • you said goodbye to more people than you were expecting to

If you weren’t like me, you:

  • traveled a lot
  • embarked on new adventures
  • went to no funerals
  • enjoyed working remotely in an industry you hope to retire in

Honestly, I hope your year was far more adventurous and dynamic than mine. Because this year was a bit heavy for me.

The year before that was a bit heavy, too.

And I must confess that multiple unexpected deaths mixed in with bouts of quarantine and fruitless routines really gives one a lot to ponder on.

And all my pondering has led me to the same conclusion: Time is short, doubt is pointless, and if you have something to give then it’s time to get in the game.

To do that, I need your help.

HELP!

If you’ve known me a while, I rarely ask for help and I certainly don’t ask for Christmas presents. But this year I’m asking for both.

This year, for Christmas, will you become my patron for the year of 2022?

Starting at $5 per month, you can fund (and vote on what you want to fund) projects throughout the year.

Projects you can expect to see include:

  • Books
  • Art
  • Videos
  • Podcasts
  • Clothing
  • & MORE

I’m seriously going to give you so much value for your investment that it’s silly. But that’s what you get when you give me a budget to create with.

Building Brick-by-Brick

For every $5 gift, a gold brick will light up on “The Yellow Brick Wall.”

(Can you see the 4 sponsored bricks that are lit up? Take note of how small they look on your screen. This is relevant later.)

If you don’t know what the Yellow Brick Wall is yet, I’ll save you the long story for now.

Long Story Short: The Yellow Brick Wall is a time capsule. Wherever it appears, guests can paint over its gold in black-and-white (NO COLORS, including grey). People can write words, paint pictures, and leave any image they like.

It is a snapshot of a record of time, place, dynamics, and people.

There are no rules of what one can or cannot depict on the wall, only the promise history will remember what you valued over gold.

But more on that later…

How It Works

Think of things this way:

  • Each $5 sponsors a brick on the Yellow Brick Wall
  • When a brick is sponsored, it changes from dark to gold with your first name & last initial on it

Bricks can be gold-lit:

  • 1-by-1
  • in groups
  • in blocks of 60, or more, to depict custom images

And for those of you wondering if you can advertise on the Yellow Brick Wall –which will be featured on my home page ALL of 2022, the answer is:

YES

Not only will whatever BLACK-AND-WHITE image of your choice be featured on my site all year, but it will also have a PERMANENT SPOT on the Yellow Brick Wall when I mint the final image as an NFT at the end of the year.

For those of you wondering: Why a minimum of 60 bricks for custom images?

Well, if you look at the image of the brick wall above, you will see that the individual bricks are quite small/illegible on different screens.

Custom images need enough real estate to be seen.

Simple as that.

Voting For Projects

I’m starting a Patreon, where projects will be pitched, voted on, and completed in order of interest.

But you can also vote outside of Patreon and use Venmo to vote in the memo space.

  • Projects will have an allotment of bricks that need to be sponsored to begin
  • Patrons can choose to have their monthly subscription cast votes
  • Bricks — even custom-image groups of bricks — can be purchased separately to cast votes
  • If no projects are greenlit, I will work on whatever I want in the meantime

EXAMPLE: Let’s say that Pimpernel 4 is one of the projects and it gets funded. I will then make writing Pimpernel 4 my full-time focus until it is done.

Then everyone pledging $15 or more a month will get it for free.

Sound fun?

Good.

Then follow me on Patreon or Venmo me.

And may the Year of the IndiGOAT begin!