What do you get when you combine a group a friends who studied engineering, a passion for bicycles, and a city known for manufacturing? My answer: a sweet bike, a unique approach to working, and a really good time. Today on the podcast, as part of the South of Mumbai series on the road in India, we hear from the talented team at Scolarian bikes in Coimbatore about what they do and why they do it. And how it all ties back into life and changes in India.
A good friend said to me today “seems like all the work you’ve been doing and the journeys you’ve gone on, they are all pieces of a puzzle, and now you have to put that puzzle together.”
It would seem so, after 13+ years as a blogger, 9 years as a podcaster, and over 7 years of giving lectures and workshops around the world, I’ve always believed that this was building up to something and I would know what at some point down the line. All this knowledge, experience, and the contacts I have around the world, they do indeed fit together in different and sometimes unexpected ways.
But the puzzle still lies before me, waiting to be solved. And whereas in the past there always seemed to be time and a natural order to all this, now it would seem push has come to shove financially and professionally and the question is – can I put it all together and make something out of it that I will be good at, enjoy, and be able to live from. Over the past decade the answer has been yes, yes it can and will work. I have been fortunate enough to have lived the kind of life where I do indeed have options and people willing to help me sort through these options to find what is real and worth while.
One feeling that follows all this is that the time for sitting back and just going with the flow has ended. The time for action, decisive, meaningful, and well thought out, has arrived. Success is in no way guaranteed; I need to stand up and create the next opportunities. Just like I did when I started this whole thing all those years ago. The same spirit that caused me to start writing online, with an honest and determined approach, even at the risk of sounding like a fool, is what once again will get me to the next level (of life and slow journalism) which I very much desire.
On that note, on to Brooklyn!
For the first time in the history of this site I have been mostly silent for almost a month, choosing instead to spend time with family, and act as a good tour guide for visiting friends here in Portugal. A sort of regrouping as over the past few months several issues have arisen and plans have fallen through that left me confused about how to proceed.
One issue is perhaps familiar to many freelancers out there in these times of economic difficulty and the decline of paid journalism, a client who will not pay for work that I have been doing for several months. It is probably a legal issue to even mention it so I’ll just leave it at that, those that do similar work are probably all too familiar with the issue so I don’t even have to explain further. The kind of unexpected development that leaves one financially crippled and looking for any available solutions in the short term, including falling back and regrouping in a country where life is cheaper and family can provide a little comfort for a few weeks.
While I have been on this hiatus I also did something I have never felt comfortable doing, applying for funds from a foundation in order to do a podcast project. Those familiar with this site know that direct donations from readers and listeners has long been the way to go when it comes to funding my work. No middle person or hoops to jump through, no having to explain my work to people in a position of power who have little idea of what this world of personal media is all about. Somehow, presenting myself here in this forum has long been something I feel more comfortable with than trying to write an essay or submit a proposal in some formal manner. Even crowdfounding our project last year felt more natural and logical than sitting before a committee of 4 judges. There may even be a committee out there that would understand my work and their financial backing would probably be more than I usually can raise on my own, but to this point, I still feel that this here is where I belong and where I am understood. The world out there, filled with forms and hierarchies, thats the world where I get strange looks and disparaging comments. Though I have to admit things have come a long way from the days of having to explain what a blog is or why podcasting is interesting.
It is fitting that setbacks come around the same time that the summer hits and my family gathers in the country that shaped a big part of who we are. It gives me a chance to reconnect with my roots, to reflect on how I got here and why I do what I do. Surely days spent on the beach watching my niece and nephew play in the sand are good for the soul and will become the fuel I need to make things happen and push on with my journalistic-artistic mission that has been playing out on this website for more than 10 years now. It may take some time and there will surely be more disappointments in the future, but recharging and regrouping is just what was needed at this point in my life-career.
What comes next? I’ll show you, very soon.