Untapped Cities offers a huge variety of tours about secret New York City history. Alexander Hamilton’s historic home, the abandoned Ellis Island Hospital, Grand Central Station, abandoned subway stations, the Woolworth Building, Central Park, the Brooklyn Bridge, Times Square, Penn Station, the Members Only Players Club, and the list just. keeps. growing.
As a little gift to you, I wanted to share a special discount code that gets you 15% off of ALL of their tours – just type in CHRISTA at checkout. You can share this with friends and use it as many times as you want. And there’s no expiration date. Because I love you, and I want you to have nice things. And by nice things, I mean adventures.
My year of yes is more than halfway done and I’ve got to say that saying yes to everything I possibly can has been both exhilarating and exhausting. It has led me down strange paths that I never would have explored, or would have explored eventually after spending many long hours of planning. In this year of yes, I’m just going for it, perfect or otherwise. (And it’s almost always otherwise.) But I’m also learning to let go of outcomes at breakneck speeds. I’m learning the power of staying present and doing what I can and want to do in the moment. It’s made me much more spontaneous. It’s making my curious brain and extroverted personality to try new things just for their own sake and value and not what they may lead to. And that has been a gift, albeit it a tiring one, that I’m very grateful to receive.
In two weeks, I’m going to Dublin to do research for my second Emerson Page novel. As a gift to Ireland, I’m leaving silver charms with the quote, “She believed she could so she did”, and rose gold keys in all the different places I visit for people to find. I’ll tuck them away in museums, gardens, historic sites, bookstores, libraries, and pubs I visit in Dublin and on excursions I’m taking in Northern Ireland to Newgrange, Hill of Tara, Giant’s Causeway, Dark Hedges, the ruins of Dunluce Castle, and on the Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge. I can’t wait to see who finds them. They are a perfect token of Emerson’s spirit. And after all she’s given me, I wanted to return the favor to the world. Happy hunting, Ireland!
“Stuff your eyes with wonder. See the world. It’s more fantastic than any dream made or paid for in factories.” ~Ray Bradbury
This weekend I started planning my trips to Vancouver, Ireland, Iceland, and the Galápagos, and this quote ran through my mind over and over again. To stuff your eyes with wonder? There isn’t any higher goal or better way to live. I love to be amazed. It makes every day an adventure. Stay curious.
My 2018 resolution can be summed up in one word: Yes. My friend, Ria, recently told me about an article she read in which the author explained that when you commit to saying yes, your day ends up in a completely different place than where it started. And I’m all for that. Yes to:
I’m going to make 2018 the best year of my life so far in every way. And I’m going to lift others as I rise. We’re doing this.
“People who avoid risks are rewarded with their safety. People who take the risks are rewarded with adventures.” ~Andy Crouch, improvisor and Director of Education at the Hideout Theatre
Everyday we have this choice: to stay safe or to have an adventure. My friends often comment to me that my superpower is that I have absolutely no fear of rejection, and therefore have lots of adventures. I think that’s mostly true. Professionally, I have zero fear of rejection. In my personal life, I’ve got a little more trepidation. (I’d do well to start injecting a little more bravery into my personal life. That’s a story for a later post.)
I have been rewarded in my life with many adventures that have had varying degrees of success. I’m grateful for all of them, even for the ones in which I failed magnificently, because they led me to even more adventures. I think that’s really the point of it all: to go out into the world, and I mean as far out there as you can possible get, and see what you find. That’s what I’m doing, and then subsequently what the characters in my books are doing.
Now that my full-time job is squared away and my first book is less than a month from publication, I’m plotting out the adventures that my characters and I will have in this coming year. And it’s going to be one hell of an adventurous year. Stay tuned…
A few days ago, I mentioned that I was having trouble writing Emerson‘s second book. Last night, I just decided to tag along with her to see where she was going, what she was doing, and who she was with. I didn’t expect or ask for anything. I just stayed quiet and listened. I was helped by the idea of a dæmon in The Golden Compass; Lyra’s dæmon sometimes hitches a ride on her shoulder to join the adventure. I did the same with Emerson.
It’s odd what your characters will tell you when you just listen to them. I found out Emerson’s birthday is January 1st, that there are now hundreds, maybe even thousands, of people who are looking for the same treasure that she seeks, and that her travels take her not to one place in Book 2 but many places. There’s some romance, heartbreak, and loss. She will be plunged into memories she would rather not see but are vital to her pursuits and her destiny. There are portals hidden in plain sight. The line between the physical world and the world of the mind is blurred to the point where they’re really no different at all. Time and space are much more fluid than we imagine them to be.
So today, I’m putting my ear to the ground, closing my eyes, and listening intently to the adventures Emerson has taken. I imagine her now, much older and wiser, entertaining a woman (me) who just showed up at her door and asked to hear the story of her life. She has a lot to tell me. She just needs some time.
I’m in my next round of edits with my publisher and we’re putting together the marketing plan. The cover art and illustrations are in progress. The question I most often get, of course, is “what is the book about?” Here’s a short, draft synopsis:
Thirteen-year-old Emerson wants to know who killed her mother, Nora, and why. Nora was a gifted anthropologist well known for her research on ancient cultures and languages. Five years ago, Nora was found dead on the steps of the Metropolitan Museum of Art. “We’ve never seen anything like it,” the NYPD’s spokesperson said. “Life has gone out of her with no explanation.” And with that, the police gave up their search for answers.
But Emerson didn’t. Her journey to discover the answers about her mother’s death takes her deep below the street of New York City on a dangerous adventure into a secret world of books where the very existence of human imagination is at stake. She must survive and thrive a battery of mental, emotional, and physical challenges if she is to fulfill her destiny, protect everyone she loves, and continue her mother’s legacy. If Emerson fails, human creativity and imagination will cease to exist.
Time is running out. A dangerous threat looms large and too close to home as Emerson must choose between fulfilling the last promise she made to her mother and ensuring that the human capacity for creativity is preserved forever. Will she defy her mother’s final wish or sacrifice the only living family she has left?
Yesterday I turned down an opportunity for a new job. A great job. A job with a wonderful mission that matches my skill sets and would be the next step on the technology-based product development path I’ve been on for almost a decade. I’ve now done this several times in the past month.
“Why?” you might be asking. The opportunities were great, but not great for me. Sometimes the culture wasn’t right. Other times the team wasn’t right. Often the communication wasn’t right, or non-existent. And most importantly, that path isn’t the one I want to be on anymore. It’s been a great decade. I’ve learned a ton, so much more than I ever thought I’d learn when I started down this road. I’m glad I took this journey, and I’m glad it’s over. Like a good long hike, my body’s tired but my mind is clear and my heart is full. The view is spectacular, and now I’m ready to take another road on another adventure.
That adventure has to be heavily focused on writing, communication, and relationship-building. It has to take full advantage of the business skills I’ve spent a considerable amount of time and money to hone. It has to be brimming with creativity and the mission of the work has to be to build a better world. I think that these kinds of opportunities will be with a socially driven for-profit company or a nonprofit. And as far as location, I’m looking at New York, Philadelphia, and D.C. I’ve spent my life in this Northeast Amtrak corridor. I’ve gone to school here. The majority of my close friends and contacts are in and around those cities. Nearly all of my past employers are based here. I am by all accounts an east coaster, and proud of it. I’m a New Yorker at heart, and I always will be. Once you know exactly who you, you can’t be anyone else. Authenticity and integrity are everything.
I talked to my friend, Chris, yesterday. We talked about how important it is to align who we are with what we do as the key criteria to a happy career. You can only play a role for so long. Eventually, you walk off the stage, you take off the costume and the makeup, and all you’re left with is the person in the mirror. Bare-faced—scars, imperfections, and all. Now that’s the person I listen to. The heart and the gut I follow belong to her. And her time is now. So is yours.
“All great ideas are dangerous.” ~Oscar Wilde
I love this quote my Oscar Wilde. If you are making big plans now, or thinking about making big plans, chances are you’re coming up against some scary realities or risky choices. It’s easy to shy away from dangerous circumstances. What if you fail? What if it doesn’t go as well as you hope it will go? What will other people think? I’m thinking about all of these things to. Despite the fear, I say we move forward anyway. Let’s do what scares us. Let’s stand in our light, speak our truths, and embrace the messiness of all our new ventures.