People don’t take me seriously when I tell them I have work to do. It’s a strange thing, to break out of the 9-5 mould and still, you know, have to earn a living and stuff.
Last week I flew to Halifax to begin a Cross-Canada excursion with my good buddy, Cailin. This is all happening in the middle of me launching my Social Media Atlantic Canada (www.socialmediaac.com) business, and while several other things have been falling into place.
I’m a freelance writer and a social media consultant/manager. I’m Location independent. A Digital nomad. A dirty hitchhiker holding a cardboard sign saying “NEED RIDE TO LIQUOR STORE.”
As a travel enthusiast, I’ve long been invested in the online community even before I ever left the island. It began with blogging, and then developed into me writing and editing web content for magazines like Matador Network and NileGuide. Now I have a broad network, friends in every corner of the planet, and most importantly, I plan all my travel through social media… something that hasn’t quite caught on around here yet.
And somewhere in the last year of being stuck in the dredges of the “unemployment black hole” and finding myself wasting away days on my futon watching daytime television with drool hanging from my mouth, a light bulb went off. Newfoundland is missing out on a valuable opportunity to put itself on the map, especially when the tourism folks are planning on doubling the industry by 2020 (www.uncommonpotential.com). Hence the birth of SMAC: my mission to put Newfoundland and Labrador online while serving as a sort of ambassador… maybe one that’s just drunker than most others.
My entire Cross-Canada trip has been planned through social media. It was Facebook that alerted me to Westjet’s Blue Tag Thursday sale for a $69 ticket to Halifax, then a Via Rail seat sale to Montreal. I arranged half my accommodations through Twitter (some are complimentary, mind you, in exchange for media work), and Manitoba Tourism got in touch with me to discuss things to do in Winnipeg once they saw me talking about the trip online. Cailin and I are picking up a free car from HittheRoad.ca, an organization we learned about through Twitter, and driving the rest of the way to Vancouver. We’ve even organized a Toronto Tweet-Up with some people we’ve only ever associated with online.
And the whole time, I’ll be working and keeping up with my clients.
Some of you find this weird, the socialization online. To me it’s the same as offline. I’m a sociable person, in every aspect of my life, and I love spreading the NL love.
But first, I need to state my claim as a self-employed, full-time worker. And it’s not easy when you’re staying at your friend’s house, and her fiancé asks you to help in the garden and is confused when you say you’re working, and then keeps handing you glasses of wine. It’s hard to refuse another friend when they ask you to come join in for mid-afternoon drinks on a patio in sunny Halifax. It’s an exercise in willpower, but bless their hearts.
If you want to follow along on my adventure, join me here or on my personal blog at CandiceDoestheWorld.com. You can also use the Twitter hashtag #CCCC.