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Writings of a solivagant, gypsy soul, foodie, and pirate hopeful. Unconventional mother. Sometimes profane. Occasionally profound.

What would you give up to chase your dreams?

Matt Ray leads a surreal existence that encompasses swimming with elusive whale sharks, jungle treks in pristine rainforests, lemur encounters in Madagascar, South African safaris and stunning ocean horizons. He’s an environmentalist, minimalist, sailor, diver, writer, musician, photographer and world traveler.

But he wasn’t always that guy. Only a short few years ago, he was like most of us. He worked diligently for his employer, had realistic goals of home ownership, possessed a normal amount of stuff, and led a stable life that allowed for planned vacationing here and there.


Photo by CCoffman20 on Instagram

The Mighty Resilience of Survivors

Stable mental health is my illusive unicorn. I see it ahead and nearly grasp the beastie, but it skitters off and leaves me floundering in a dense forest of depression and mental muck. Like many survivors of child abuse, I have emotional baggage that exceeds the standard weight limits. I spent half my life unaware that I was carrying excessive luggage. Once I understood I had such an emotional burden, I spent the next several years beating myself up. Why couldn’t I just get over this? …

Gypsy soul, foodie, and pirate hopeful. Sometimes profane. Occasionally profound.

I’m Elle.

My life is punctuated by periods of restlessness, where I pace and plot ways to escape, followed by intervals of bizarre adventures.

This is how to celebrate Hawaii

I loathe routine. My only habitual behaviors are consuming mass quantities of coffee, writing, inserting Oxford commas, and sustenance-seeking. Everything else is subject to change at the discretion of this management.

A career that brings passion and purpose is worthy of your efforts.

Photo by bruce mars on Unsplash

As a child, selecting a career was as simple as answering the question, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” Adult realities are far more complex. The possibilities can be overwhelming, especially for young people entering the workforce. But it’s not just graduating seniors who experience this. Most working adults encounter career shifts and job eliminations. Others linger in unsuitable positions or adverse working conditions and feel the slow stifling of their passion.

I empathize with those struggling to find a career home.

The combination of a terrible academic history, generational poverty, and naivety, created challenges as…

Photo by Hush Naidoo on Unsplash

Self-Advocacy Against Gender Bias & Racism in Medical Care

Recently, I was a nasty woman patient, asserting my medical rights and taking no prisoners. For this tirade, I make no apologies. Gender biased roles implied I should submit to the rules, like a nice, quiet girl. But this isn’t a situation for my docile compliance. Time is of the essence. I had to aggressively push back against the system.

I didn’t always see these encounters as prejudice. But in totality of the healthcare experience, it is another brick in the thick wall of gender discrimination, causing women to forcefully self-advocate, even when some are gravely ill. …

Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

But I Learned Gratitude

The nutcracker standing on my fireplace mantle is pathetic — a damaged, macabre holiday icon. Tragically decapitated at the hairline, like an unfortunate dinner guest of Hannibal Lector, this lobotomy patient now reigns over my 2020 Christmas. One painted eye is partially scraped off. The other fixed and open, in a perpetual, leering wink. The sword at his side is also broken and hangs flaccid. These injury sources are new and mysterious. After the holidays last year, he was intact and carefully packed away — a brave and solid decoration. This year, he emerged from the wrappings a mangled travesty.

Photo by Sherise . on Unsplash

COVID Fatigue & The Ongoing Fight for American Workers

In the beginning, I thought I was prepared for a pandemic. At least, better than most. I was wrong about that. The stress of running a perpetual marathon in this environment is unraveling my psyche. I alternate between affirming self-talk and sinking into a pool of profound negativity. Most days, the latter is winning.

The stakes are exceedingly high now, complex, and different in the types of decision-making I’ve built a career around. I should be proficient at this.

Full disclosure: I’m not. I’m struggling. I am suffering COVID fatigue.

The next few months are predicted to be challenging, with…

Photo by Andrew Neel on Unsplash

Eight Steps to a Powerful Writing Income

In 2017, I received $7,300 for a white paper I’d written. The article — a 7.3K word leviathan on establishing a workplace safety culture — paid a dollar per word. Although one of the larger single projects I’ve developed, it reflects my standard rate. Depending on the depth of research, I usually charge $0.50 to $1.00 per word. Can you get this type of pay? Absolutely. My skills aren’t magical. Dear Writers, stop selling yourself short. There are markets that pay quite well for your knowledge. Earning a viable income simply requires refocusing your craft as a business commodity.

Underpaid & Unappreciated Are Unacceptable


Photo by Jonathan Borba on Unsplash

My Mental Health Checkup for 2020 Season

The progression of 2020 has been strikingly similar to trying to pass a kidney stone — seemingly endless in duration and teaming with unexpected and excruciating twists. Small wonder the holidays amidst a pandemic are frustrating and challenging, too.

As we’re all keenly aware, life is complex now. Pandemic-related living has caused financial tension, changes in our social lives and work habits, and separation from friends and family. Even a brief grocery store trip is stressful and seems rife with hidden microscopic hazards. Keeping social distance for almost a year is hard, even for loner folks like me. …

Photo by Cory Woodward on Unsplash

You Need to Be Their Extended Family Now

“Hey Mom, I just wanted you to know, I’m dating a girl. I’m gay. I love you.” Before I could answer, my youngest daughter hung up. That was how she came out to me. The master of brevity, that one is. Also, she has a proclivity for calling at odd hours, totally unaware that some humans actually sleep at night and our brains aren’t wired for 24–7 interactions. But I digress.

In that one micro conversation, she took a huge leap of faith, trusting I’d accept and love her. At the time, I didn’t understand the courage it took to…

Elle C.

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