Destination England

Our journey from debt to England…and everything in between!

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Karma: Friend or Foe?

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Sorry for the lack of posting.  We’ve been in the middle of unpacking and had a few hiccups this week.  Plus I’ve been watching My Name Is Earl on Netflix, and am enjoying it immensely! Karma is something I’ve always believe in, maybe not on a grand design scale, but more in day to day living.  I still think bad things happen to good people, but I also believe that we get as good as we get. So what’s up with Karma?

Karma Round One

Recently at work, I was written up.  I’ll spare the details, but let’s just say it was my own stupidity and laziness.  It was a smack in the face, and I’m doing my best to correct it.  To be honest, I am still a bit nervous, and worry about my performance and improvements not being enough.  Though a friend of mine made a good point: The system is designed to make you nervous and feel horrible! I felt like a dog with its tail between its legs.  Which I think is a good thing, because it makes me realize that there is area for improvement, and I need to be focused on that.  I think most of this has been brought on by being burnt out.

Let me just say that I don’t hate my job.  It’s a great job. I had just let myself slide, despite warnings by my boss. Being a procrastinator by nature, I kept pushing it back and “coasting” through.  Now, Karma seems to have caught up with me and said “You can’t coast anymore!”  Message received loud and clear.

Karma strikes again!

Karma, it seems has chosen other ways to kick me in the butt and make sure I’m paying attention.  I have been a big advocate of emergency funds.  I don’t really know how people live without them.  Our emergency fund was dwindled due to the fact we moved and hired movers to do the work.  We had to pay a prorated amount for rent, and also had to pay the movers.  This wiped our emergency fund down to virtually empty.  This should have been ok as we have $150 automatically set aside each paycheck to fund that emergency fund.  I figured after a few months we’d be back on our feet with it.

Thursday morning we were driving from our new place to our old place to finish some cleaning and grabbing that last few items we had left.  On the middle of the interstate was a very large rock standing straight up.  The problem was, it didn’t look like a rock, until we were virtually on top of it.  The damage done was luckily minimal (all things considered), and no one was injured.  It took out the oil pan and a few things related, but that was all.  It turns out this rock, was a piece of concrete from the bridge overpass that the state department of transportation was supposed to have repaired.  What does this have to do with karma?  No emergency fund meant we have had to dip into our money set aside for our trip to England to cover the costs.  Mind you, it isn’t bad, but it’s still a bit of a let down.  Now, the emergency fund we’re working to build is going to be strictly that!  Only used for emergencies!

Over the last few weeks I’ve been really looking at how karma (or whatever you choose to call it) has played a role.  I can definitely see various cause and effect situations that have come through.  While I haven’t made a list of things to correct, I have been striving to keep a watchful eye out.  I don’t think we can avoid karma, but I’m sure we can keep the negative responses to a minimum!

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Written by Jas

May 23, 2010 at 7:15 pm

Posted in articles, blog, Random

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What am I reading? 5/4/2010 Edition

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7 Life Changing Lessons Learned From Walt Disney – Disney is an icon, and everyone knows something about him. These tips are great tips to apply whether in your life or in your business.  @dumblittleman

Don’t Wait for a Discount – Ask for One – I’ve run into this twice this past 12 months. Once when my cable provider’s “promotion” expired, and my bill went up by $50, and again when we were researching AT&T’s internet service.  The worst they can say is no, so why not ask?  @getrichslowly

A Bad Credit Score Could Cost You Your Job – My personal take on credit scores is that they’re rubbish.  The fact that employers could potentially use that against you hiring sounds dodgy to me, though in some situations I could see a reason for it(banking industry for example).   @thewriterscoin

Color Survey – Pretty amusing read, and it seems women don’t see in quite the broad spectrum as we theorized they must!  @xkcd

Written by Jas

May 6, 2010 at 8:00 am

Posted in articles, blog, Random

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Beautiful Blogger Award!

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I recently have been given the Beautiful Blogger award!  Thanks to ‘Cross the Pond for presenting me with the award!  With this award, I must list seven things about myself.

  1. I married to an English woman – Sarah’s born and raised in Hammersmith, London. We’ve been married for over a year legally (we had a handfasting two years ago this past March)
  2. We met on the Web -We met through the fan based community, Tarvalon.net for the fantasy Series Wheel of Time.
  3. I have a baby boy – My son, Connor is just over 7 months old, and some days I don’t know where it all went. He’s growing and learning something new every day.  We’re in the midst of him learning to crawl, and quite frankly it terrifies me! Operation: Baby Proof is a must at the next apartment!
  4. I love College Football – I am a die hard Ohio State fan, but I love the whole sport! I will do my best to keep it to a minimum on this blog! (GO BUCKS!)
  5. I fell in love with England – This happened after I met my wife, but having visited twice, I absolutely love the culture, the landscape, and the history.
  6. I am an only child – I am an only child, and while my childhood was a good one, I do wish I had had that sibling companionship.
  7. I work in Tech Support – Yes, I’m that voice on the other end of the phone when you call because your laptop doesn’t turn on, Outlook somehow deleted that email you spent 3 hours composing, your internet flakes out, or the credit card reader (read floppy drive) declines and confiscates your cards.  It’s sometimes a thankless job, but some of the stories are priceless!

Thanks again to Erin from ‘Cross the Pond!  I’d like to pass this award of to some other folks!  Stephanie @imcountingufoz, and Sarah (my wife) @crookedways and I must return the favor to Erin @’Cross the Pond!

Written by Jas

May 4, 2010 at 2:08 pm

Posted in articles, blog, Goals

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“A Powerful Agent…”

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The past month or so, I have been researching the idea of freelance writing.  I enjoy writing, and having fallen out of it the last few years, have decided it’s time to dive back in as a side hobby and maybe a source for additional income.  The more I’ve thought about it and researched it, the more I’ve been attracted to the idea of making it a full time career.  Lots of others out in the world have done it, why can’t I?

What led me to this point?  Well, there are more reasons than I could post on this article, but here are a few of the big ticket items.

  • Cube Life Isn’t For Me – I currently work for a Company, that in the way of Corporate America, this is one of the best in my opinion.  But, I’m finding more and more that the 95 isn’t for me.  Too many times I wake up, the sun is shining, the air is crisp and fresh, and I am faced with the reality I won’t get to enjoy it.  I don’t like Cube life!
  • Family Matters – This is a huge one. After my son was born, I realized I want to be there for all the small things as well as the big things. I want to spend as much free time as I can with him and my wife.  Freelance writing allows for that flexibility. As I tell my wife “Have laptop, will travel!”
  • Passion – I felt I had lost my passion.  My wife has been finding her way spiritually and it’s reignited her passion.  I looked around and there was nothing I was truly passionate about.  Since starting this blog and researching freelancing, I have felt more energized. 
  • It’s Not About The Benjamins – While I would love to be able to live off freelancing, it isn’t the primary factor in doing it.  I’m finding I would rather be known for what I have given to society (or those around me), than how many pennies are in my bank account.

Mark Twain stated “A powerful agent is the right word. Whenever we come upon one of those intensely right words… the resulting effect is physical as well as spiritual, and electrically prompt.” It amazes me how one can read a piece of fiction, and see the author use their words to paint the landscape, the emotions, and the imagery of the story.  How one can read a book or article on a topic they know nothing about and come out retaining even a small portion of that knowledge.  Words can pull at our heart’s strings in ways we can’t imagine.

What To Write About?

This is an area I am struggling with currently.  What direction do I want to go in? What topics should I write about? Originally I started this blog as a place to discuss my family and I’s journey from the US to moving to England.  Now, I wonder what else could be discussed that others would want to read about.  Also, having found renewed vigor in writing, I want to use it as a practice ground for my writing.  I want to write about England, but do so in a way that isn’t recycling the same facts that can be found in a history book or tourist guide.

As far as writing professionally, I honestly don’t know where I would like to go with that yet.  Right now, I’m in the planning and researching stage.  I’ve been reading blogs on freelance and ordered a few books that have some positive reviews about explaining on how to get started, and how to succeed in freelance writing.  I’m sure as the months progress, this blog will transform, and begin to take a proper shape.  This is uncharted territory for me, and its both exciting and scary at the same time!  I’m looking forward to finding my voice, and finding my niche in the world of writing.

What Now?

RESEARCH. MORE RESEARCH. AND STILL MORE RESEARCH!    Knowledge is power, and there is a profusion of information out there.  Also, I am hoping to reach out to others in the blogosphere with similar interests with moving to England, or English related blogs.

In the upcoming weeks I plan to post some articles outlining our experience with the US Visa process, as well as some posts relating to our time in England this June.  We’ve got a jammed packed three and a half weeks, and I’m sure there will be many stories to tell, and experiences to share!  If you have any ideas or thoughts on what you’d like to read about please leave a comment or send an email.  Feedback is always welcome!

Written by Jas

April 28, 2010 at 6:00 pm

What Am I Reading? 4/21/2010 Edition

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10 more uncluttering things to do every day @ unclutterer.com – This article hit on some sensitive areas that I need to work on in my day to day.  These are areas I’m going to try to make a commitment to focus more on (especially #4 and #5!)

100 Things to Do During a Money Free Weekend @ thesimpledollar.com – This list has some really great ideas for inexpensive or free activities to spend on a weekend!

Parents Should Teach Kids Finances, Not Just Schools @ frugaldad.com – My parents never really taught me how to handle money, and it was a bitter lesson, I’ve had to learn the last five years of my adult life.  Having a son now, one thing I want to impart to him is how manage his finances.

Flights resume as ash fear recedes @ bbc.co.uk – This is a big concern for us right now, with a flight to England looming just 39 days away.  I’m relieved to hear things are getting back to normal.

George will bring Spring… @ crookedandhiddenways – An interesting look at England’s patron saint with a pagan twist!

I’d like to make this a weekly thing, as I do come across some pretty cool articles on other blogs, and news articles.  If you have suggestions on blogs or new articles please share in the comments!

Written by Jas

April 22, 2010 at 8:00 am

Posted in articles, blog, Debt, England, Random

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