Fear is a Sign Post

Fear is a Sign Post

This morning I listened to a podcast where Shawn Blanc was being interviewed about focus and using deep work to experience success in business. Someone in the podcast audience asked him the question:

How do you get over being afraid so you can birth a new idea?

Shawn’s response? You never really get over being afraid. Instead, you need to learn how to persist despite the fear, uncertainty, and doubt. You need to start thinking about fear as a sign post on your path. When you come to the sign on the road that proclaims fear, take this as the signal that you’re on the right road to achieving something important.

I like this philosophy. It sounds great on paper. It’s not so easy in reality, but I suspect the more often you persist through the fear the easier it gets. I think it has a lot to do with being self-aware and being comfortable with feeling your emotions and not letting those emotions and fears dictate your actions.

I’m definitely no expert in persisting through fear. But hearing Shawn’s words today has given me the inspiration to practice and do better.

Anticipation is Half the Fun

Anticipation is Half the Fun

The anticipation is killing me! As of this writing, I am 22 days away from next trip and I’m completely invested in the vacation mindset. Not only am I excited about getting away and enjoying the Caribbean sunshine, but I’m also excited about the preparation itself. I’m a “list” person so I love thinking about all the things that need to go on a prep list and then getting to cross things off as they get done. It’s like a game. But I’m getting ahead of myself. I haven’t even told you about my upcoming trip…

At the end of April I will join 3,000 of my closest friends on the Carnival Glory for a 7-day Eastern Caribbean cruise out of Miami with stops at Half Moon Cay, St. Thomas, San Juan, and Grand Turk. I’ve booked a balcony stateroom and will be traveling on my own (aside from the other 3,000 people onboard). This will be my third cruise, all of them with Carnival.

Why did I choose this particular sailing? The past two cruises I went on (in 2013 and 2015), I don’t think I was a deliberate about the choice as I was this time. Probably because I didn’t know enough about cruising to know what to look for. And yes, I know I have a LOT more to learn still, but I feel like I’m a bit more prepared this time around. Here are some of the thing that were important factors in my choice of this particular trip:

LENGTH – I wanted a 7-day cruise. When you figure that the first day onboard is really only a half day by the time you embark, go through the muster drill and get settled into your stateroom, you’re already losing a day. Then the last day isn’t really even a day since you’re disembarking early in the morning and kicked off the ship before you even finish eating your last breakfast burrito from the Blue Iguana. So a 7-day cruise is really more like 5.5 days of true vacation.

TIMING – Based on obligations at my day job, I needed to travel after a bunch of deadlines in April. With an April 29th sailing I’m actually cutting things a bit close to those deadlines and I’m going to have to scramble in the coming weeks. But waiting much longer factors into the next point…

PRICE – Price was definitely an issue for me. Traveling alone comes at a premium since cruising is based on the dreaded “double occupancy” — my fare wasn’t exactly double what a single person pays, but it was pretty darned close. (Yes, I’ll be talking about exact prices in another blog articles if you’re interested.)

AMENITIES – The ship was important to me this time. My first cruise was on the Carnival Legend and I discovered the adults-only Serenity Deck was my favorite spot on the ship. My second cruise was on the Carnival Conquest and to my dismay, I discovered there wasn’t a Serenity Deck on this ship (I naively assumed it was a fleet-wide amenity, I guess). So finding a ship with this feature was essential to me this time around. Carnival Glory fit the bill.

PORTS – I wanted to visit San Juan so finding an itinerary with a stop in Puerto Rico was factored into the decision. This was a “nice to have” not a “deal breaker” option, so I’m happy that I found a trip that worked for this wish. The rest of the ports on the list didn’t really matter to me. I haven’t been to many places in the Caribbean so my main goal was to visit new places rather than repeat an itinerary that I’d already been on.

This trip is the first time I used the services of a travel agent – specifically a Personal Vacation Planner from Carnival. Once I had settled on the exact trip I wanted to book, I left the trip in my shopping cart on the Carnival website and called David Chirinos and asked him to look over my reservation and get me booked. I have heard from multiple sources online that having a PVP with Carnival has been super helpful, so I thought I’d give it a try. David saw the cabin I’d chosen on my own and pointed out a couple flaws with my choice (I would have been right above the theater and the crew often have full-blown, loud rehearsals after the shows are over and it can get noisy). So he helped me move my cabin choice to a quieter area of the ship but still convenient to the amenities that were most important to me.

Once the cruise is booked then there are all the “other” things to tackle. Like airfare, hotel, transportation, excursions and port activities. I’m a researcher, so this part is just as fun as figuring out which cruise itinerary to book. The hotel and transportation are figured out, but activities in each port are still up in the air. But thanks to Amazon I’m now armed with a couple new travel guides about the ports of call in the Caribbean and I’m still doing my research on what to do in each port. No, I haven’t yet booked any excursions so I’ll save that discussion for another blog article about the plans.

Once I have a trip booked I find myself highly distracted in almost every other area of my life. It’s hard to focus on the mundane tasks of the day job or my business and I have to force myself to pull back from thoughts of lounging in the sun if I expect to get any real work done. But anticipation is half the fun, right? Surfing Pinterest and Trip Advisor and Cruise Critic and Facebook for fun things to do while you’re traveling and meeting new people before you even arrive. Right now I already know 145 other people who will be on the same cruise as I’ll be on because I’ve connected with them online already. And they’re just as excited about the trip as I am.

Female Solo Traveler: Why I love it

Female Solo Traveler: Why I love it

I’ve been traveling alone for years and I love it. Trying to remember exactly when it all started, and I think it was about 20 years ago when I first started going camping by myself. Then it progressed to long weekends in Northern Michigan and trips to out of town conferences with some vacation days tacked onto the end. Then suddenly I found myself on the balcony of my stateroom on a 7-day cruise to the Caribbean.

That first cruise in 2013 was the big leap for me. I went from timid weekend trips or safe camping trips to something big, scary, and expensive. Not only did I go on a cruise by myself but I was also traveling out of the country. Alone. Yes, I was a bit nervous but I wasn’t scared or fearful about the trip. My mother, on the other hand… she was making plans for my estate and making sure she knew where to look for my body when I didn’t make it home. (But she was also excited for me and a little bit jealous of my freedom, she later told me.)

That first cruise had me hooked and I’m about to embark on my third trip to the Caribbean. In the past few years I’ve settled into a routine of solo travel and I’m loving it even more now that I’ve found my confidence and sense of adventure. OK – maybe the word adventure isn’t the right word for the kind of travel I enjoy, but we’re going to go with it anyway.

If you search the Internet for “female solo travel” you’re going to find dozens of websites about how to do it safely. So yes, pay attention to those things. Tips like:

  • Always letting someone back home know your full itinerary
  • Making copies of your driver’s license, passport, credit cards and emailing them to yourself or keeping a copy with you while you travel
  • Trusting your instincts and playing it safe in dicey situations
  • Smile and be friendly to strangers
  • Research your hotel before you book to make sure it’s in a good part of town
  • Keep a tight hold of your purse or bag because thieves target people who are alone
  • Know the area you’re traveling to and ask the locals about spots to avoid
  • Keep your head up and look around when you’re walking around town

Great tips, huh? But why are they only female solo traveling tips? Shouldn’t everyone observe these tips – even if you’re traveling in groups or with your family? Believe me, I’ve read all the blogs and articles and I follow that advice. I just find it interesting that women need different safety tips than anyone else. But hey, if it helps women overcome their fear of traveling alone, I’m all for it.

I get one of two reactions from people when I mention that I’m going to be traveling alone (or when I meet strangers while on my trip). Those reactions are:

  • Aren’t you bored being by yourself?
  • Oh no! Be safe, it’s so dangerous for women to travel alone.

I’ve traveled with friends and family plenty of times and I can assure you that I don’t get bored being by myself. In fact, I love the freedom it gives me. There’s nobody to consult about where to go for dinner or if I decided to skip the planned activities of the day at the last minute. If I get distracted by an interesting site on the way to something else, I don’t feel guilty about wanting to stop and explore. There’s nobody to answer to but myself and I am allowed to be as selfish about my time as I choose to be. Honestly, the freedom is probably the best part of traveling alone.

I’ve also discovered over the years that I probably have some quirky things about the way I travel that others might find…. interesting (yeah, that’s a good word for it). So let’s just clear something up right away. I’m a self-proclaimed geek. I’m a girl but in my luggage you’ll find that the gadgets outnumber the pairs of shoes that I pack. Don’t judge.

Look for another blog article about traveling with gadgets. Ha! Maybe I need to focus less on “female solo traveler” and more on “female geek traveler.” It might be an untapped market.

I’ll close with that thought and just add one final thing. No matter who you are, male or female, solo or family, geek or non-geek, traveling and exploring is a life-changing adventure and I highly recommend you venture out and find your own style of travel. And have fun!

I Want to Blog Again

I Want to Blog Again

For the past few months (probably longer but I ignored it before then) I have wanted to start blogging again. Not blogging for the business or blogging for a specific purpose or niche… but blogging for me. Like the kind of blogging that got this whole blogging thing started. A web-log. A journal. A place where I can talk about whatever the heck I want to talk about and nobody is going to care if it’s on-topic or curated properly or packed with value. A place where I can write for myself and if other people want to peek into my world, that’s fine too.

So here I am. Blogging.

It’s not my first time in the blogosphere, of course. I kept a journal of my weight loss for nearly 7 years and those blog entries are all still live at Journey to a Healthier Me. Those entries will eventually make their way over here and be archived with the rest of what’s here, but not today. And probably not tomorrow either. I also started (and stopped) a blog called {Create} that was all about making artsy craftsy things and showing you how to do it too. Those blog entries are already here – just scroll back to older entries and you’ll find them.

Then there was my latest venture called Dreams with a Deadline. This one is still dear to my heart and I’m proud of what I did there. It’s still live for now – but those blog entries will come over here too and be merged with the rest. Don’t worry, I have big plans for making sure everything is categories and easy to find. Or maybe I’ll just leave it all in a big pile of beautiful chaos and just let you have fun digging through the archives of my mind.

So anyway, Dreams… that website is all about dreaming BIGGER and setting bigger goals and taking big action to reaching those goals. The deadline part is about achieving all these big goals by the time I’m 50 years old. Time marches on. I’m 47 now and time is a tickin’! I’m definitely further down the road now than I was when I started that blog, but I’ve gotten  a long ways to go before I hit those big goals. Once those articles are here I’ll start writing about that part of my life a bit more and add to that journal.

So you’ve stumbled across this blog post. Welcome! I’m glad you’re here. For now it’s a secret. I’m not advertising that I’m doing this yet – there’s a lot of construction to do first. So if you’re here in real time, just keep it under your hat for me. It can be like we’re part of a super secret club or something.

What’s the plan here anyway? Is it just going to be about Pam yammering on about life and goals and nonsense? That sounds pretty boring. I know. I lead a pretty normal, ordinary, non-exciting life. So I’ll try to keep it as non-boring as possible. But here’s the plan:

  • Revive Dreams with a Deadline – I really do want to achieve those big goals I’ve set. I really do want to finish writing that book I started. I really do want to teach you how to achieve your own big goals and see if we can do this big thing together. Cheer each other on. Celebrate the success of those in a Dreams with a Deadline community.
  • Creativity is important to me – I’m a graphic artist at my day job as well as in my business (Tremble Creative Services). Both of those things drain my creative juices regularly. I need art in my life to refuel and recharge. Not just digital art either… I need to get my hands dirty, get splinters, splatter paint on my face, use my brain to solve problems and come out the other end with something tangible I can touch and feel and experience.
  • I love to travel, want to come along? I try to take at least one big trip every year and a few smaller weekend trips closer to home. I even love day trips to festivals or just go out for a drive to take in the scenes. I think I have a unique perspective because I’m a solo female traveler and I don’t let that hold me back. I’ve always loved reading travel journals of other vacationers and have wanted one of my own. So I guess this is my chance, huh? I keep an art journal while I’m on my trips, but I’d love a longer narrative place that I could go into more details about my plans, experiences, tips and adventures.
  • I learn, you learn. One of the great things I loved about keeping the blog during my weight loss journey was that it became a place for me to “dump” information and be able to refer back to it later. I could do an in-depth research project on any random topic related to my weight loss, then dump all that research, my opinions, my findings into a blog post and it became a valued library for me. As it turns out, that’s what most of my readers loved about my site too. I have a lot of stuff in my head that I’d like to write about and just get it down on paper so I don’t have to store it inside my head anymore. I’ve done a lot of learning in the past few years about business, marketing, branding, graphic design, and traveling.
  • A place to show my work. I’m a graphic designer. I’ve made a lot of really cool things. Clients hire me to do more cool things for them. They trust me because someone else told them to trust me. That’s a great way to keep busy. But it’s not a great way to operate my business. Yes, I need a portfolio on my biz site and I’ll get to that too. But here, on this site, I want to show off the stuff I’m most proud of. The stuff that doesn’t fit into the box I need to keep the business stuff confined to. I have won design awards. I’ve done work for some amazing publications and projects and my work has been seen all over the world. I don’t mean to brag or anything, but I’d like to have a place for all that stuff to live and this is the place for that. It’s going to take a bunch of time for me to build that. But it’s on the list. I’ve written it down here and I’m committed to building it. Soon.
  • My hammock on the web. As I say on the homepage of this website – this is just my small slice of the web where all my various interests come together into a tidy little pile of chaos. I’ve owned this domain name forever but never really did much with it other than host some documents to use elsewhere. But I’d really like to move in here, unpack my stuff and make it a home. I don’t know what it’ll become or where it’s going. But they say that everyone should have a “personal brand” and I guess this is as good as it’s going to get. My plan:  don’t over-think it. This blog post, for instance, is being written right in the editor on the backend of this site. It’s not being drafted in a document, edited, revised, keyworded and retooled until it’s exactly on-brand and sounds perfect. Sure, Grammarly is helping to keep my spelling errors in check, but mostly I’m just writing whatever comes to mind next. That’s my hope for most of the writing that happens here. We’ll see how it goes.

If you don’t know me already, you’ll find that I’m long winded. I type fast (because being a secretary for 15 years sort of makes you a fast typer), so it doesn’t feel like I’m writing a lot of words until I look back and realize how long stuff is. So this is your fair warning. I type a lot. Read it if you want. Skim it if you want. Or just look at the pretty pictures. I understand.

Welcome! I’m glad you’re here. Give me a shout and let me know you’re here. Best place to find me these days is on Instagram @pamtremble


Learning from design experts

Learning from design experts

I’ve recently begun reading “How to Think Like a Great Graphic Designer” by Debbie Millman. First, I have to say that it’s been a while since I’ve encountered Debbie Millman. Years ago I listened to as many podcasts as I could from her website Design Matters. Somehow I forgot about her amazing radio shows and now I have a LOT of catching up to do!

As I’m working my way through her book about influential graphic designers of today, she has piqued my interest about each of the people she features in this book. I’ve had to stop midway through the chapters to look up images and designs mentioned in the interview. This got me thinking about my recently completed education in design school and the distinct lack of research into current design greats. We studied art history and studied individual aspects of design elements like typography or layout. But we never had the opportunity to dig deep into what makes a graphic designer outstanding in the industry. So I want to do some digging and see what I find.

For those that know me, you know that I’m a research fanatic. I love to get my teeth into a topic and find out everything I can about it and figure out how that new information applies to my life, my work and my goals.