travel, marketing & entrepreneurship

My 3 Favorite Emails from The Listserve

Published: August 18th, 2012

I learned about The Listserve from Yoav Shapira, a former co-worker (and adventure-racing friend) of mine.

The Listserve is a growing email list of 20,000+ readers. Each day, one of the visit web site subscribers from the list is randomly chosen and buy viagra lowest price canada wins the opportunity to write an email to the list. It’s a social experiment that I’ve been happy to be a part of the last two months. While I have not yet won the opportunity to write an email to 20,000+ people, I’ve enjoyed the many emails from around the world that are sent to my inbox each day.

Here are 3 of my favorite Listserve emails:


Email 1: David Evans

I’m going to tell you about an inspirational person. He loved to push himself to the limits, the sports he loved were always ones where he could use his brain, expeditions, climbing, bouldering, kayaking, orienteering, he maintained his nerdy ways.

I don’t want to give you the wrong impression that he was really intelligent there was that one time we drove all the way to a festival for the day, he got out the car and realised he had no shoes on ‘Oh shit got no shoes on, we’ll have to go back’, that was kind of cialis from canada stupid.

He did use his intelligence to get a degree in Mechanical Engineering and teach children Kayaking and climbing, but I liked to remind him of the stupid moments more than these.

His determination and complete love of life led him in so many directions, being a DJ, learning to fly a plane, and all the while he wanted to better himself. He came back from India and wanted to learn so much about spirituality, religion and philosophy, he had a desire to know why we were here.

He always wanted more, more adventure, more knowledge, more achievement.

You would never guess this on a night in Liverpool when he would turn into the craziest party animal. One night, he was dressed up as a paramedic for a fancy dress party, ordered a pint of Red Bull and best prices on generic levitra a pint of vodka, dancing the night away to techno taking a gulp from each one in turn.

I could spend hours telling you about his life but put simply he was just so nice, and kind and hilarious, someone everyone of you would love to have as a friend.

David Evans is my older brother, he died 1 July 2011 in Chamonix, France in a climbing accident. He was 24 but lived such a meaningful life that inspires me everyday to live my life through and for him.

David’s advice would be what his tattoo said, he would tell every single one of you with a huge smile on his face and in his deep scouse accent ‘Learn from yesterday, live for today’.

And If I could tell him one thing I would answer his question of why he was here, I’d say that he was here to infect so many lives with the love, determination and inspiration that guided his.

Rachael Evans
London, England

Email 2: Intelligence & How to Get It

You are what you know.

A contemporary view of intelligence finds that it is the real viagra without a prescription sum of cialis official website two factors:

G(f) is fluid intelligence- the size of your working memory, how ‘fast you think’ etc.

G(c) is concrete intelligence- a measure of how much factual information you have acquired.

Learning more information then is the key to greater intelligence.

Hart and Risley (1995) found that children in non-working households heard, on average, 616 words per hour, while children from professional families heard 2153. By the age of three this totaled a difference of 30 million words. Less well off children are exposed to fewer concepts- and develop less concrete intelligence.

Research into memory and cognitive neuroscience has soundly shown that the learning of new material is much more efficient if you already know a body of linked material.

Eric Hanushek’s work suggests that a good teacher can get 1.5 years of buy tramadol cheap online learning growth in one year, a bad teacher 0.5. The consequences of a bad teacher for a number of years in a row can be devastating. Note that many of our most challenging schools struggle to attract good teachers.

Finally, we know which classroom practices most enhance learning and achievement. We have a well-developed science of learning- but you’ll have to look very hard to find proof of this in our schools. It’s long overdue that schools, classrooms and teachers applied what works, and the folk pedagogy and traditions that guide our educational institutions were replaced by evidence-driven practice.

Dr Mark Evans
Norwich, UK

Email 3: Little Kid

As a college student/intern/tutor/babysitter/freelance writer figuring out what I want to do with my life, I wouldn’t be where I am now without the help of some amazing people who helped me early on in my career.  They could have easily ignored me and dismissed me as a “little kid,” but instead, they took me under their wing and gave me work experience, guidance, and time that I will always value.

Thank you to the editor of the Town Journal in Ridgewood, NJ.  At 14, I sent you my book report on the Odyssey as well as suggested that I become the paper’s next book reviewer.  You didn’t laugh, but invited me into your office for a meeting, where you offered me the position.  I was elated.  You worked with me through awful draft after awful draft peppered with nonsensical words from the thesaurus because I thought they sounded fancy (and New York Times-esque).  You sent me long e-mails full of suggestions about how to improve my writing, and I took each one to heart.  I can’t thank you enough for taking the discount viagra australia time to work with me and allowing me to pursue what I thought was merely a dream.

Thank you to Kate Jackson of HarperCollins Publishers.  After I wrote an article in the Town Journal about my disdain for teen books, she wrote an editorial in response.  I then asked if we could meet and discuss our differing opinions on teen literature, and she agreed.  When we met, she offered me a summer internship at the company in the children’s editorial department.  Kate and the team I worked with that summer were incredible, and it made me realize that writing will always be a part of my life.

My point here is that if you’re young, don’t be afraid to do what you love.  I used to think that I had to be of a certain age to accomplish certain things, but I don’t think that way any longer.  Age isn’t a barrier to accomplishments, and it doesn’t define who you are.  Always strive to achieve, no matter how old you are.

Julia Lynch
New York, NY

You can join the list by subscribing here.

Wahoo! I’m Back!

Published: August 13th, 2012

After taking a 10-month hiatus from the blogosphere, I’m happy to be back.

To be honest, I am not fully sure why I stopped writing. Maybe it was my new job. Or maybe it was because I felt like I had pigeonholed myself into a particular series of blog posts on The 9 to 5 Alternative. Or maybe, because I was no longer romping the globe as a cost-of-living analyst, I lost the spunk to sit down and crank out a few words.

Maybe. Maybe that was it.

Regardless, I missed writing. I missed the community of 500+ subscribers. The comments and click now emails. Meeting new people. Sharing and receiving stories, business ideas and images.

I believe in synchronicity, or meaningful coincidences. About a month ago, two events happened within the generic cialis softtabs same week that made me realize I needed to write again. They were small experiences, but something clicked.

First, I received an email from Jeffrey Cammack of Safari Guide Africa. I had never met Jeff before. The email, titled “Keep writing,” included the following, and only the following:

Just found your blog, and appreciated the read.  I saw you have not updated for about a year, so wanted to give you the encouragement to get writing again.

Jeff, you’re the man. I really appreciate you reaching out.

Secondly, I was publicly called out on a well-read blog, The Tropical MBA, a blog that I’ve been a huge fan of the last couple of shop tramadol overnight years. I didn’t even know I was on this guy’s radar, which made the mention more surprising.

So, I kicked myself in the ass, took a cold shower, hopped back on the proverbial blogging horse and created a brand, spanking new website:

It’s still new and needs some work, but after a month of tinkering I was ready-enough to hit the publish button.

So here I am, clicking publish. Look forward to seeing you all again.

In the meantime, you can find me on Twitter or Linkedin. You can also subscribe to my new updates via RSS or email.

Ode to the Urban World: 8 Cities. 8 Images.

Published: October 6th, 2011

I’ve always been more of a nature guy.

Mentally drawn to lush, distant valleys and high-altitude passes, I often yearn for the natural aesthetic—for green, for calm, for walking and camping and simple living. Sometimes at night, I look upwards and imagine an unpolluted sky—brightly dotted with the periodic streak of a shooting star. When was the get levitra online last time I saw the Milky Way?

Living in a city though, despite its artificial light, is fascinating. Vibrant, bustling with its own particular nuances and collective personality. Similar to Mother Earth and her palpable energy, urbanism evokes its own tangible power.

Over the last few weeks, I’ve been putting together a photography portfolio, hosted on one of my favorite domain names, I built the site to organize and showcase the many images I’ve been so fortunate to capture in my travels. Like this blog, Photobunga is more of a personal endeavor—somewhere to document memories and to reflect. That said, all of the images are for sale, so if you’re interested, let me know!

Paying homage to the urban world, here are eight of my favorite city shots:

Sydney Australia Sepia

Sydney, Australia | May 2010
Taken from the Royal Botanic Gardens, which cover 30 hectares and contain 7500 species of plants from all over the world, this image presents Sydney’s impressive cityscape. It was raining that afternoon, and to conquer the flat light I shot this image in sepia.

Baku Azerbaijan

Baku, Azerbaijan | November 2008
The capital and buy levitra cheap largest city in Azerbaijan, Baku is a port city that is experiencing a resurging oil economy, and with that, a lot of construction. I took this image from the top of the Park Inn hotel, on the balcony outside of the Mirvari Club, a sushi restaurant.

Rio de Janeiro Brazil Sugarloaf

Rio de Janeiro, Brazil | February 2011
Rio de Janeiro is, in a word, breathtaking. With it’s beautiful geography and people, it’s a true photographer’s playground. I took this picture from the top of Sugarloaf Mountain, a granite and quartz behemoth that juts up from the city. I believe this cable car was featured in a James Bond movie?

Astana Kazakhstan Bayterek

Astana, Kazakhstan | November 2009
The top of Bayterek, a monument and observation tower, offers a 360-degree view of Astana, Kazakhstan’s capital and second largest city. These days, the Soviet-era buildings are now being removed and replaced with new structures–President Nazarbayev has paid particular attention to Astana’s aesthetic, with internationally acclaimed architects and designers being brought in to redesign the cheap cialis generic city.

Minsk Belarus

Minsk, Belarus | May 2009
With its wide, lick-ably clean streets and monolithic Soviet facades, Minsk represents the grandiose aesthetic of Stalin’s massive post-war rebuilding. Things I remember about Minsk: stiletto heels, supermodels and cialis soft canada surprisingly good Indian food. Yummy.

Kuala Lumpur Malaysia

Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia | November 2010
Taken from the Petronas Towers, the tallest building in the world from 1998 to 2004, this image showcases Kuala Lumpur’s urban core. Limited to 1000 tourists per day, the skybridge is definitely worth waking up early for. I waited in line for 1.5 hours to get tickets!

Luanda Angola

Luanda, Angola | August 2010
While this is not a particularly impressive photograph, I decided to include it due to Luanda’s unique situation. Not only is it the most expensive city in the world for foreign workers, or expatriates, it’s undergoing massive reconstruction efforts that will significantly alter its cityscape over the next few years. My time in Luanda was chaotic–the traffic was remarkable abysmal–but I enjoyed the novelty of being there.

Seoul South Korea

Seoul, South Korea | May 2011
I love Seoul. I was fortunate enough to experience the city during a festival–the Han River pictured above, which bisects the city East to West, was full of art installations that made for a fun walk. With it’s many neighborhoods, amazing food and nightlife, Seoul is a must-visit if you’re taking a trip to Asia.

Funemployment, Digital Marketing and Nerve Rush

Published: September 22nd, 2011

I had it all planned out.

In late May, I’d write an epic post about my six week trip to Asia, where I went to South Korea (and quasi-North Korea), Russia, Guam and Japan. I’d talk about the food in Seoul, my weekend in Kyoto, the broken, snowy streets of Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk and an end-of-the-world inspired nudist beach party, sparklers and all.

In mid-June, I’d write about my trip to Portland, Oregon and all the amazing people I met at the World Domination Summit. I’d talk about Nate, who is walking across America; Joel, who is launching an Impossible League and Mark, who is building an online marketplace for parking spaces. It was an engaging and inspiring weekend, unlike any conference I’ve attended. #wds2012 anyone?

In July, I’d write about a one-week cost-of-living survey in Reykjavik, Iceland, where I ate fermented shark, hung out at a geothermal spa and enjoyed nearly 24 hours of continuous sunlight. I’d upload pictures, talk about the people I met and share a few stories. If I was feeling particularly sprightly, I’d even mention a road trip I took through Maine to Acadia National Park.

But no! Despite a rock star summer, it’s been 100+ days since my last update! What happened?

No excuses, folks. My break from the blogosphere was a bit too long, and for that I apologize. Let it be known that I’m back!

I, er, Left my Dream Job (the Most Amazing Job in the World)

After 3 years and 50+ countries, I ended my tenure as an international cost-of-living surveyor. As you might imagine, my travel stamina was beginning to wear thin, the jet lag starting to take its toll. I’ll cherish those years for the rest of discount generic levitra online my life and only hope I can keep the bar set as high as it’s been. A big shout out to my former employer for such a precious opportunity and set of experiences.

So, what’s next?

Excellent question. I’m currently exploring the levitra brand realm of funemployment–looking at full-time gigs in the digital marketing/web analytics space and working on a number of side projects in the meantime. I landed my first freelance web consulting gig with a real estate firm, Assured Commercial Mortgage Company. I’m building a few websites, putting together a photography portfolio, selling some things on Craigslist, you know, trying to optimize my days as best as possible. It’s been tough to stay motivated, but I’ve been enjoying the hustle. The Tropical MBA guys would be proud.

Nerve Rush | Gut-Wrenching Adventure

I wanted to highlight one of the projects I’m working on, as it officially launches today. Back in June, Joel Runyon and I started talking about working together in some capacity. We’re both into the extreme sports/adrenaline space and figured that would be a  good place to start.

Fast-forward a couple of months, shared Google Docs, emails and phone calls –> and Nerve Rush was born. We’ve already got a load of content published, with more on the way. Any feedback at this point is highly appreciated, as we’re still working through the kinks and figuring out where to take the site. If anything, this will be a fun side project for us.

Talk soon! Woot woot.

Real-Time Tweeting with Becca Alper

Published: May 18th, 2011

Case Studies in the 9 to 5 alternative: No. 10

Welcome to a series of profiles on alternative lifestyles. If you think that you (or someone you know) would make for an interesting interview, get in touch!

Meet Becca Alper. For the last several months, Becca has been living in New York City, working for a real-time media company called Sulia. I’ll let her tell you more, but Sulia filters Twitter content into a series of specific content channels, many of them on timely events and breaking news. These channels are made available to other media companies like Flipboard and WSJ.

I chose to feature Becca (and Sulia) for two reasons. Not only do I adore Becca–she’s a close friend of mine–but I think her situation makes a great point, that not all 9 to 5 jobs are [insert negative connotation here]. Becca raves about her job and had been given a fantastic opportunity to exploit her interests and cheap viagra soft to provide value in a corporate structure. I applaud her for sharing her experience.

How and when did you end up joining Sulia?

I started at Sulia in October of last year. My friend from high school has been with the company almost since its inception and reached out to me as soon as she learned Sulia was going to start curating Portuguese twitter content.

What are your job responsibilities? What are you working on these days?

When I arrived at Sulia, they had one Portuguese language Channel, Brazil. Sulia has thousands of live, English language Channels, so I had to play a lot of catch up. By now, I’ve built over 300 channels, based on our English taxonomy: sports and teams, fashion and beauty, politics, business and professions, living, etc. Only a few of cialis england the channels I’ve built don’t have English equivalents, like samba and Spiritism, a religion that believes in communication between spirits and levitra from india living people, that is hugely popular in Brazil.

I also build channels around breaking news stories. I recently covered a horrific shooting that happened in a Rio middle school. Combing existing channels about Rio de Janeiro, public safety and national news, I created a live stream of updates from major news outlets, political leaders, and community activists. It’s fascinating to see how these live Channels evolve. In this case, from the time the story broke with few confirmed facts, through the funerals of the 12 school children who were killed, to the discovery of a video the shooter recorded before he executed his plan.

What are your hours? How is the office laid out?

I get to the office by 9:30 am and leave between 7:30 and 8 pm. The Internet doesn’t close after business hours, though, so it’s not unusual that I find myself tweeking Channels that need help or building Channels around breaking news early in the mornings or on the weekends.

You told me you loved your job. Why is that?

I have been passionate about Portuguese language and Brazilian culture, ever since I studied abroad in Northern Brazil my junior year of college. To be paid to know everything that is going on in the Portuguese speaking world and curate Portuguese Twitter content to reflect that is a dream.

I also love living in New York, which, in my book, is second best to Brazil. Part of covering trends and current events in the Brazilian Twittersphere is immersing myself in all things Brazilian, even when I’m not at my desk. I go to Brazilian bars and shows, I take samba lessons, and I even celebrate the Jewish holidays with a Latin American congregation. Not only do I love being able to pursue all these extra-curriculars, but I also appreciate that my co-workers at Sulia encourage and levitra prescription online take an active interest in my endevors.

Where has Sulia come from, and where is it headed? What role do you see yourself playing in the future?

Sulia has not always been Sulia. CEO, Jonathan Glick, started TLISTS back in 2009 as list-making tool for web publishers and Twitter clients. Lists are a way to begin organizing twitter to make it easier for users to follow topics, instead of hunting for accounts one by one. We quickly realized that lists need a filter to sift out junk and off topic tweets. So last fall, TLISTS rebranded and launched Sulia, a realtime media company, focused on filtering Twitter into compelling, high-quality content Channels. There are lots of great lists out there in the Twittersphere, and by crowdsourcing lists on topics, we create Channels, filtered streams of Twitter content from only the best-regarded experts on any given topic.

Sulia’s Channels on thousands of evergreen topics, timely events and breaking news are available on its own website. In addition, Sulia makes its Channel streams available to media companies through its API and customizes the channels to their specifications. FlipBoard,, Gannett properties and Everyday Health are some of the companies currently featuring ourChannels. We’re also working on a bunch of different consumer experiences, across platforms, in collaboration with our partners.

Sulia has already proven it can successfully adapt to the changing media landscape, so I’m confident we will be around in some form or another, for a while to come.

I am building our Portuguese language content to the point where Sulia can start working with Brazilian media groups and American media companies with Brazilian users. A little farther down the road, I see myself spending more and more time in Brazil as Sulia begins to work more closely with Brazilian media companies and buy xenical without a prescription eventually opening Sulia’s first foreign office in Rio de Janeiro or São Paulo.

I have a personal goal of living in Brazil by the start of the World Cup in 2014. I’m optimistic I can achieve it with Sulia.

You can reach Becca on Twitter (@GringaInformada) or on her newly launched blog, Manhattanlandia.