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Meeting Ken Ilgunas - Author, Walden On Wheels

I had the great pleasure of meeting a young author, Ken Ilgunas, this evening. Ken's book, Walden on Wheels, has earned him considerable recognition as an adventurer, thinker and counter-culture young adult.

Tonight's intimate gathering in a local Winston-Salem home allowed me to visit with and glimpse into the life of this novel man. He is certainly on a journey and it will be very interesting to see what his unique living and the resultant societal recognition means for him and others - as time progresses.

From his own website:

Once I was a cart-pushing suburbanite from New York. But then I fell in love with Alaska and Thoreau, so now I go on adventures and write about them. 

I originally started this blog to chronicle my "vandwelling" adventure at Duke University in January 2009. When I enrolled in a graduate program at Duke, I was nearly broke because I'd just finished paying off my $32,000 undergraduate student debt. So I bought a van -- a 1994 Ford Econoline -- and I secretly lived in it on campus so I could afford tuition and not have to go back into debt. 

In May 2011, after two and a half years at Duke, I graduated debt-free, with a little over $1,000. A book about my experiences, Walden on Wheels, will be published in May 2013.

His writings will entertain you and quickly reveal an independent and resourceful spirit committed to living life differently. Click over to Ken Ilgunas' website and get to know Ken a bit and consider reading his book.

Currently he is writing his second book which will catalog his experiences of hiking the 1,700 mile route of the Keystone XL pipeline.

You GO Ken!

Stop. Look. Listen.

Before you cross the street, stop, look and listen. This advice was drilled into my head as a child. Before you cross the busy street - which for me was often traffic crammed Ocean Boulevard in the heat of the Summer tourist season in Myrtle Beach, SC - you should stop, look both ways and listen for traffic coming as well as look. Stop. Look. Listen.

One of our kids, at preschool age, learned this phrase incorrectly and would utter "Stop. Look and Licken," when we would prepare to cross a street. In loving and nurturing parental fashion, we never corrected her and soon we all had a new phrase for practicing safe crossings.

There are all kinds of crossings in life.

The saying stays with me. Stop, look and listen. My life is busy. I plan each day for a busy life. I enjoy it. Living is a lot like showing up at the Sunday buffet and having to chose what you are not going to taste. I'm not particularly good at saying no. I want the entire feast!

Last weekend I spent some time in Asheville, NC. I had two wonderful days with nothing planned. I went for a hike in the mountain woods, visited the Folk Art Center, took a long sit at a Blue Ridge Parkway overlook, and tarried for hours in a local coffee shop writing, reading and relaxing. I stopped, slowed down, looked at the world I was in and savored, listened, to the details and nuances of my living - that one day. It was a beautiful day. I think I'll do it some more.

When is the last time you followed the simple direction: Stop, look and listen?

3 Offensive Public Speaking Tips

After one of my earliest public presentations (I was, as they say, still 'wet behind the ears') ended, many people filed by and spoke words of appreciation and encouragement to me. After almost everyone else had left an elderly lady walked over to me and gave me some words of advice I have never forgotten.

“Young man,” she said, “You need a good job for a beginner. I have some advice for you, if you want it.”

I felt a little slighted, but told her I would welcome her feedback.

“Well,” she continued,” Remember these three things: 1. Stand up so they can see you. 2. Speak up so they can hear you, and 3. Once you have said what you came to say, Shut Up. You did OK on the first two, but you kept talking too long tonight. Leave us a little room for thinking”

Then she hugged me and shuffled off.

I eventually got over the injury she inflicted on my pride, but I have never gotten over her words. Time and again I have returned to those words.

1. Stand Up – there are numerous skills that the public speaker needs to master in order for our appearance to assist in our communication.  We need to be seen as  a part of the message we are communicating.
2. Speak Up – clearly spoken, well chosen words projected to the back of the room will always command attention.
3. Shut Up – Every day presentation should have a beginning, a middle and an end. The end should be as precise as the beginning and must always leave room for people to draw their own conclusions and do their own thinking.

Good advice for all of us who speak in public. What are your early lessons in public speaking?

Authoring the Book "Wishful Preaching" - Almost Done.

After about a year... Edits are done. The cover art is done. Just hours away from hitting 'send' to the publisher.

Available SOON via Amazon.

Can I get a Hell Yeah?!

Going Social - It's Your Choice

Thinking about going 'social' on someone or about something? We've all been there - bad customer service, misrepresented products, lousy experience...the list goes on. However, I subscribe to the 'think it through' approach. Going Social on a brand or product has the potential to smudge a business's reputation, or even go viral and result in major loss of brand value. Social media IS marketing, so I need to remember that this isn't just about me venting and whining. Before I let a momentary frustration ignite my Social  fuse, I like to go through a checklist:

1. Have I made the business aware of my problem?
2. Did I contact customer service or management and try to get resolution?
3. Did I use a softer "I'm less than happy" approach on Social media first?
4. Did I give the experience some time (24 hrs) after the last attempt at resolution?

If my answer is 'yes' to all 4, I might just be forced to unleash y Social wrath on them...maybe, if it's worth my effort.

On a lighter note, here's a infographic that might help you with your Social Media posting via BreakingCopy.

LinkedIn Troubles - I am not a Woman... part 2

So, I share An Open Letter to LinkedIn below via my Social network and then I get this.

CLICK to enlarge

That's just wrong in so many ways.

An Open Letter to LinkedIn

Dear LinkedIn:

I do adore you, honestly. You are an almost perfect tool to assist my networking efforts. However, please refrain from offering me ads that are...well...a disconnect. My name may be Kim, but my gender is no secret. You know that. I am not, nor have I ever been, a woman. Honest.


Work Contest - I Must Rule

So, today a contest was announced at work and the challenge is to get as many new followers to follow us on Twitter, Like us on Facebook and Connect with us on LinkedIn. By using special URLs they can track who sends people to the pages.

Here's what I need you to do (PLEASE). Click on each of the links below. Like, Follow or Connect as the destination page allows. That's it.

AND - If you leave me a comment with your Social links, I promise to return the favor. Deal?

Pretty please with sugar on top...

Click NOW!

Besides...we get PIZZA!


Sometimes the appropriate response to reality is to go insane. - Philip K. Dick

TO DO List

I have no idea where this originated, but I had to share it.