One of the biggest blogging metrics is how many “followers” you have. I’ve always thought that was a silly thing to call it. As Ralph Nader put it, “the function of leadership is to produce more leaders, not more followers.” I am currently on a roadtrip from Zambia to South Africa through Zimbabwe, Botswana and Namibia. Our group is a hodgepodge of professionals looking for adventure. I’ve spent a lot of time with these people over the last few weeks.
Everyone in our group works remotely and makes a decent living. Our ages range from 21 – 70 and our professions run the gambit from investment broker to IT professional to videographer to HR manager to amazon sales marketer, etc. Each of these people is a mover and shaker. We are a herd of black sheep. We have taken the rulebook for life and thrown it out the window in favor of doing things that inspire us, challenge us, and lead to growth.
It got me thinking about why people like you read this blog. Not in the self-conscious way that most writers worry if people give a shit about what they have to say – instead, I’ve been wondering what it is that I’d like to share with the world, what’s my message?
We are Drawn to Outliers
In the US we have a culture obsessed with celebrities. People go to see their favorite bands and they feel electrified. There’s something magical about watching people do something they’re so passionate about, and do it well. I think the reason we love watching these people is because they are pursuing a drastically different lifestyle. They are black sheep. For many people this is a refreshing break from the mundane.
I have 445 subscribers to my weekly emails. I like to think that these people are my core followers. Of them, over 100 are friends and family members who just like to keep track of what I’m doing. I think the rest of the people I’ve never met who are following my journey are doing so in a similar way: because it’s refreshing to see someone pursuing their passion – doing something that seems brave, different and exciting. Some of you may be interested in traveling the world, some may be interested in becoming captains, but the vast majority are likely just reading along for the hell of it – and I’m so thankful for all of you!
Visiting the Dead
Every time I go home I take ten minutes to drive into the graveyard and visit my friend who passed away in 2010. He was 24. He and I were not best friends; in fact at this point I’ve probably spent more time with him postmortem than I ever did when he was alive. So why do I do this?
In 2010 we lost three young people in our small town in three unrelated accidents. It was a pivotal moment in my life. I graduated from high school in 2008 and took a gap year to travel. In 2009 I went to college and spent the year maintaining a straight “A” status at CUNY schools. When I compared the year of traveling with the year of studying it was clear which had been more educational.
Experiencing the loss of these three young men changed my life forever. It reminded me that life is short and can be taken from you at any moment. Why spend most of your time (or any time) doing something you’re not passionate about? So, I go and listen to a few songs with my old friend. I stand on the grass that has grown over his remains and remind myself to be fearless in the pursuit of my dreams. In the end, we will all end up returned to the earth and all that matters is what we do with the dash on our gravestones.
Moxie and Epoxy = Courage and Hard Work
The biggest challenge that I’ve had with this blog so far is defining the message for Moxie and Epoxy. Some of you follow me because my first post “11 Badass Facts About Girls Who Work on Boats” got lots of attention back in 2014. You were expecting to read all about sailing. Others found me through pieces that discuss traveling topics like solo female travel safety or advice for planning a trip to Cuba. Many of you first came to Moxie and Epoxy when you read an inspiring interview in my Women Making Waves series.
So, is it a sailing blog? Is it a travel blog? Is it a personal blog? Is it all about the interviews? It’s none of those and all of those at the same time.
The unifying theme of my posts is that there’s more than one way to do life. Sure, you can have a 9-5 and have an awesome life – no judgment – but that’s just never been my style. In a world that’s shifting quickly, leadership has never been more important. I want to inspire people to be the leaders or “captains” of their own lives, to never accept the status quo and to fearlessly pursue their passions. The moxie that you see on this site shouldn’t only inspire you to travel or sail; it should inspire you to be more fearless in your day-to-day lives.