Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Merry Christmas! I Just Quit My Job!

It’s true!  I quit my cushy job as a public defender!  Two weeks’ notice two weeks ago, and on New Years Eve I fly to France and then China.
See, it’s been a good two years (aside from the terrible 18-month post-relationship-breakup depression!) and I learned a great deal, but I’ve always been one to follow my hunches and tackle my dreams.  Well, I got this cool job offer a while back but for various reasons, it doesn’t start until 2015.  So I decided to take these next 14 months and do something REALLY cool; something I have ALWAYS wanted to do. 

And so… I’m going to France first, to teach English in a French high school near the Spanish border.  I arrive in Paris on January 1st.  I’ll be living with a French family and my hope is to take my advanced French to a true level of fluency.  In March, I’m flying to Oslo, Norway and with a eurorail pass, taking the train down through Sweden, Germany, Czech Republic, and down through Venice, and into Lugano, Switzerland where I’ll be giving a talk at my alma mater, Franklin College.  And seeing some friends along the way. 
Then down to Rome, Italy to stay with my good friend Roberto for a few days, and then, a direct flight to Shanghai, China, where I will be living for a year: studying Chinese three days a week; teaching English five days a week; and along the way, learning Kung Fu, shooting two new music videos from my album, and finishing two new screenplays and two novels I’ve been writing. And hoping to score a new non-fiction book deal.  Boomshakalaka.

And I decided two things:

a)      I am going to share my adventures and thoughts with you here on this blog.  Everyone loved my book, “To Benning & Back” which chronicled my adventures in Army basic training in day by day stream-of-consciousness journal format, so I figure it might be nice to do that here too: but on a public real-time blog.  Whoah!  Groundbreaking craziness!  But seriously, everyone always tells me that my life should be a reality show, so hey, why not a reality show in words?  As much as I can, I hope to share my life with you: the trials, the joys, the sorrows, the vindications, while protecting the innocent at all times. J  So I hope you will be sure to visit this website often:  I think you will find it fun, funny, amusing, enlightening, and thoroughly enjoyable.  Or your money back!  (How does that work with a free blog?)

b)      I also relaunched my life, career, and business coaching business, under a new name:  Awesome name, right?!  Of course, I still offer Unstoppable Artists Coaching under this new banner, but now also Time Zen Coaching; Guerrilla Networking Coaching; and General Life & Business Coaching, all based on my various books I have written, which you can find on Amazon/BN.  Check out the website and see how I may be able to help you or a friend!  It’s amazing how Skype has revolutionized the world: I can keep in touch with friends overseas, and now, run a worldwide coaching business while I am traveling that very same world.  Romp on!
So the truth?  I’m a bit nervous.  About it all.  Why wouldn’t I be?  It was totally scary quitting my job, particularly since I will be getting paid far less in China, and also because so many of my law school buddies are still out of work.  But that’s always been me: never happy with security; always pushing the envelope and taking risks.  But yes, IT IS SCARY!  I’m probably not going to be back home for 15 months.  I’m leaving everything I know!  At the same time, it’s exhilarating.  I love travel.  I love foreign languages (I am studying 22 at the present moment, no joke).  And I have always wanted to work in France, and in China.  And voila, it’s happening.

I’m reading this great book now that my friend Robert Riger (Head guy at Pimsleur Language Products, Simon & Schuster) gave to me called, “The Greater Journey: Americans in Paris” by David McCullough and a few of the quotations jumped out at me.  See, in the 1830s, there was a huge exodus of Americans to Paris, always via tall ships and voyages lasting six weeks minimum on the rolling seas.  I feel as these people did.  Washington Irving wrote of his first trip across:
“But a wide sea voyage severs us at once.  It makes us conscious of being cast loose from the secure anchorage of settled life, and sent adrift upon a doubtful world.  It interposes a gulf not merely imaginary, but real, between us and our homes--a gulf subjected to tempest and fear and uncertainty, rendering distance palpable, and return precarious.”

Although I am traveling by plane, the distance is the very same.  My job at Legal Aid Society ‘the secure anchorage of settled life’.  And the doubtful world: the vast continents of Europe and Asia that await me in this next year.
Charles Sumner, the once US Senator, wrote:

“A smacking breeze has sprung up, and we shall part this company soon; and then for the Atlantic!  Farewell then, my friends, my pursuits, my home, my country!  Each bellying wave on its rough crest carries me away.  The rocking vessel impedes my pen.  And now, as my head begins to slightly to reel, my imagination entertains the glorious prospects before me…”
And so too am I leaving my friends, my family, my home, my country.  Fortuitously perhaps, I don’t speak to my sisters anymore, and my ex is totally out of the picture, and my best friends all live across the country and the globe anyway (or in the city), so leaving is not as painful as I thought it might be.  For a while I thought I met this girl who would have made leaving really hard, but that didn’t work out, and thanks for that!  One thing that saddens me is that my dad is 92 years old (me 36) and I fear he might move on while I’m away.  But ya know, I thought the same thing in 1997 when I went to Switzerland for college, and when I got home, he was still alive and kicking—I’m sure the same will happen now.  He’s a hardy son of a bitch, and I hope I’m as virile as he is when I am 92. J  He was in Shanghai himself during World War II--he stayed at the Broadway Mansions hotel for four months, a hotel which is still standing!  I highly doubt he will fly over to see me, but at the very least, I'm gonna stay in that hotel one night, just as he did back in the day. :)

And that ‘rocking vessel’ Sumner talks about?  The turbulent aircraft.  Makes me smile, because I remember back in Officer Candidate School, with the US Army, I was selected to be a chopper pilot.  Only the best of the best get picked for flight school, and I was one of them.  And for a week, I was on top of the world.  I WAS GONNA BE MAVERICK BABY!  TOP GUN CHOPPER JOCK!  And then mom says, “Um, Monroe, you get airsick.”  Haha.  Damn, my armpits are sweating like crazy now!  Damn antiperspirant not working one iota.  Wait one sec: need to change my shirt.

Okay, anyway, when she said that, she struck a chord.  Today, I take Dramamine before every flight and I do fine.  But I always dreaded the two-hour helicopter missions in Iraq, and particularly when the bay doors were closed, and when we were over hostile territory: the chopper had to swerve a lot to avoid getting hit by possible antiaircraft rockets/RPGs.  But I am very proud of myself: I didn’t throw up once in Iraq!  Diarhhea: that’s another story. ;)
And finally Nathaniel Willis, as if speaking from my own mouth, wrote:

“The dream of my lifetime was about to be realized.  I was bound for France.”
As am I!  I’m super thrilled.  Super stoked.  Excited, excited, excited!  In a year, I will return to New York, speaking even better French; and NO WAY!—speaking, reading, writing, and understanding Mandarin Chinese!  A NY attorney with an MBA and who speaks Mandarin?  Sounds pretty employable to me!  And I will have lived in virtually every part of the globe: The New World, The Old; The Middle East; and Asia.  And with my continuing language studies with Living Language (Portuguese, French, Japanese, Chinese, Korean, Spanish, German, Italian, Greek, Russian, Hindi, Hebrew, and Arabic); Pimsleur (Chinese, Korean, Japanese, Spanish, German, French, Italian, Norwegian, Lithuanian, Swahili, and Turkish), Babbel (Norwegian, Swedish, Dutch, Danish, German, French, Italian, Portuguese, Indonesian, Turkish, and Spanish), and FSI (German, French, Chinese, and Bulgarian), I can honestly say that in three years, I WILL and AM GOING to speak at least 20 foreign languages at a conversational level.  Mark my words!  And check in with me in 2017. J 

P.S. if you like learning languages, buy the platinum language sets from Living Language at Amazon or; email to and tell them you want all languages for a year and you will get a HUGE (I mean HUGE!) discount; go to and download amazing language products right to your iPhone / iPad; and for free,, direct from the US State Department, free thanks to public domain.
Well, that’s my update to you and a preview of what you can expect over the next year.  As always, I heartily encourage you to go kick some major ass, get OFF your ass, and stop being lazy.  You KNOW you are being lazy about something so just stop procrastinating already! 

P.S. - You can also sign up to receive direct updates via email.  Just visit and sign up to my email list on the contact page.

P.P.S. - Merry Christmas to you!  I'm an unapologetic Christian, and today (and this entire holiday) is to celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ.  So there!  Happy birthday Jesus!  (that's HAYTHOOTH--I'm practicing my Spanish accent for my visit to BarTHHHHelona, haha) And if you want to read a TRULY inspiring book, read Joel Osteen's new one, "Break Out".  It should be your battle cry book for 2014.

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