Tuesday, November 27, 2007

The Story of the Journey (so far)

Today I announced to the world that I am making the full transition from my professional organizing business, Organized for Success, to fotos! After twelve years, I'll be closing my doors so I can fully focus (HA!) on the photography.

Some of you on my mailing list were surprised to learn I was no longer in Phoenix and asked for the background, so here it is. And by the way, I kept that I was leaving largely under cover so that I could continue to generate business for the contractors who were working with my clients in my absence. So sorry to be sneaky, and now you know why you haven't been seeing my mug around NAWBO or WISK or NSA or any of those old stompin' grounds we used to share.

About two and half years ago, a friend invited us to live in San Miguel de Allende, a lovely colonial town in central Mexico. Raymond's career was at a transition point, and I was feeling the ten-year itch with my business. We had a wonderful life in Phoenix, but we decided to say YES to adventure and throw caution to the wind. We sold our home and most of our stuff, put a few things in storage, packed up our cat who was 17, and our dog who was 14, taught them some basic Spanish, and off we all went. We stayed in San Miguel for about half a year, and absolutely loved it. While there, I started playing with Raymond's digital camera, which soon became MY digital camera! I shared some of the pictures I took on a blog, and got requests from people to buy prints. The business was born. When it came time to leave, we realized we weren't ready to settle back down again. (I had spent my entire life in Phoenix, and once I pried myself loose, I wasn't ready to go right back again.) We spent almost a year in Southern Cal, which was great for me as I had never lived by water. We had about a 180 view of the Pacific and it was so good for my soul to look at that water, and breathe in that sea air. And that's when I got my web site up and running.

About a year ago, business brought us to the San Francisco area, and we've been exploring around here. It's so great here! Those of you who have lived here now what I am talking about. The climate is ideal, the culture and food is amazing, the diversity is gorgeous (we just got back from the best dim sum I've ever had), the scenery is lovely, and all of that is why it's so darn expensive! The cost of living, and the fact that sometimes the earth goes rapidly up and down and back and forth, are the only downsides of living here. Raymond has been working here at a job he'll be wrapping up in a few months, as he has made an artistic decision of his own. He is a writer, always has been, and he needs to work at something non-taxing so he can devote more off hours to his craft. He's deep at work on a screenplay, and has three others in formulation. So we're both making the transition to making our living from art, and we'll see where that takes us. In this digital age, I am really clear it's more possible than it's ever been.

So our next move is this: after the job wraps us, we're heading ever north to the Seattle area as we have dear friends and family in the area (most of the family in Canada, including Whistler, which does not suck for skiing). We'll likely be there for a couple years, then we're thinking about doing the ex-pat thing again. Mexico? Italy? Something soulful and lovely. But who knows? We're trusting our guides and our guidance. Not having kids helps. Oh, and our "kids" did fine in Mexico with us. Our sweet kitty and puppy both made it a couple more years and both passed at ripe old ages just this summer. They seemed to leave us when we were finally more stable than we'd been, as if to say, you guys are going to do fine, so we're checking out now. So we're petless for the first time in over 20 years but I'm sure that won't be our status for long.

I think that's the full update. There are a lot of lessons in this whole thing, and maybe a book someday, but I tell you, the organizing and de-cluttering were a major theme throughout! Letting go of our lives in Phoenix, our home, our communities, our stuff was HUGE for us, and truthfully, we're still grieving parts of it. And being organized to work remotely and stay focused through all the transition has been critical. It hasn't been easy but it's been absolutely worth it. I mean why not? It's just life, right? When you mess it up, which you will, you do your best to make it right or do it better next time. So there you go.

1 comment:

Abhay Padgaonkar said...

Hi Karen,

What a wonderful surprise!

My first instinct was that you had gone nuts!

But when I looked at almost every one of the pictures, I realized that you had (finally) discovered your talent!! The pictures are truly gorgeous. They are so beautiful, I couldn't stop looking at them. The shapes, the colors,
the contours, the radiance. They are really a treat.

I have read many (not all) of your organizing tips over the last few
years---and promptly ignored them. I am happy to report that my office is still the same mess that it was when I started. I just want you to know that looking at the pictures did more for me than all the organizing tips put together. No disrespect, but I am sure I will enjoy mental margaritas a lot
more than the organizing tips. (It's not the tips. I am hopelessly and blissfully disorganized, and glad for that.) If you are ever in town again from your peripatetic (and enviable) lifestyle, I wouldn't mind having a real one or two either with the two of you.

Congratulations on a courageous and brilliant detour. All the best to you and Raymond! I hope both of you are wildly successful and tremendously happy with your choices.

Take care,

Abhay Padgaonkar
President, Innovative Solutions Consulting
abhay@pobox.com | (602) 628-1234