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The Undeniable Tour

The Undeniable Recap of 2015

Geez! 2015 was an insane year for Rosie and me. I spent over a month on the road this year, and Rosie and I had an unofficial competition to see who could run up the highest medical bill (too bad I can’t claim her as a dependent on my taxes).

Per blogging tradition, I’ve had the joy of looking back over the last 12 months and have compiled a list of the top events from my year.

Visiting the Seattle Troll

Visiting the Seattle Troll

1. The Undeniable Tour. I did a two-week sponsored road trip from San Diego to Seattle, staying mostly at hostels, and speaking to lawyers and law students about how to improve their careers with social media. The Undeniable Tour was an incredible trip – I met so many amazing people, saw so many incredible things, and I got to see a few friends in the mix too. I’m glad I did it – but I’ll probably never do something like this again. Planning the tour was a full-time job by itself. Hat tip to Jason Zook and his course How to Get Sponsorship for Anything that helped me make this all happen.

Love this Dog

Love this Dog

2. Rosie Became a Pirate. My sweet basset hound was diagnosed with glaucoma this year. We had to remove her right eye, and it will only be a matter of time before she goes completely blind. She has been such a trooper with the surgery and taking eye drops every day that cause tunnel vision. Her medical situation changed my life now that she’s on three medications. My daily schedule revolves around her. And with her eventual blindness, I’m more cognizant about making her life awesome. We spent a long weekend at Long Beach visiting the dog beach and dog-friendly restaurants.

3. I Joined Venjuris. At the beginning of 2015, I became Of Counsel at Venjuris – a business and IP boutique law firm. It’s probably the best career move I could have made. By combining forces, I get to take on more complex and litigation cases, and now it’s easier for my clients to get help with their patent needs. I love the people I work with and it’s definitely taken my skills as a lawyer to the next level.

4. Modeling. Starting this summer, I got to do a bit of modeling this year – portrait work, underwater work, milk bath, and bodyscaping. Modeling lets me be expressive in a whole new way, and the resulting photos are amazing. There are some exceptionally talented photographers in Phoenix. As a bonus, one of the photos – a compilation of 13 images of me – is the new postcard for Carter Law Firm.

5. Medical Mystery/Heart Problems. 2014 ended with a medical mystery for me – night sweats, dizziness, fatigue, and chest pain. Three cardiologists, two ultrasounds, and a transesophageal echocardiogram later, they determined I have a hole in my heart – a defect from birth – but this wasn’t the cause of my medical problems. My doctor ran every blood test he could think of and everything came back “normal.” Our best guess is I’m prone to severe costochondritis and anxiety.

6. Seeing Friends. The Undeniable Recap usually lists the top five events from the year, but I want to add a bonus event. It’s not really an event but one of the benefits of traveling so much this year – I got to see so many friends that don’t live near me. That was probably the best part of this year; almost everywhere I went, there were familiar faces. If I had to name my favorite moment from 2015, it would be hugging my former voice coach Richard Weidlich in New York.

With Sheila Dee in London and my Signature Sickle Foot, Photo by Evo Terra

With Sheila Dee in London and my Signature Sickle Foot, Photo by Evo Terra

Firsts in 2015
DNF race
Transesophageal Echocardiogram (with Propofol)
Making Cornbread
Stay in a Hostel
Ride on BART
Skinny Jeans
Couchsurfing
Episcleritis
Sticking Gum on a Wall
Scone with Clotted Cream
Solo International Trip – to London
Sitting Second Chair
Sights: Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Fame, Hollywood Walk of Fame, Times Square, Central Park, “Free” Stamp Sculpture, Fork in the Road, LucasFilms, Ballard Locks, Seattle Troll
Events: Content Marketing World, Periscope Community Summit, Ungagged, Dad 2.0 Summit

Meeting R2D2 at LucasFilms

Meeting R2D2 at LucasFilms – Still with my Sickle Foot

Celebrity Sightings
R2D2
Anderson Cooper
Michael McDonald
John Cleese
Scott Sigler
Colin Wright

In Memoriam
Leonard Nimoy
Joseph Cherapan
Sandy Askland
Atticus VanSlyke
Trixie Ortmeyer

Day 73/90 – Invading New York with Mitch

Day 73 of the 90 Days of Awesome is in the bank! What made today awesome? I found out that Mitch Jackson and I are co-presenting at the Periscope Community Summit in New York this fall!

Doing The Human Side show with Mitch Jackson

Doing The Human Side show with Mitch Jackson

Mitch is an awesome personal injury attorney in southern California. He is a great guy who’s also active on Twitter, Periscope, and has a podcast called The Human Side. I had the pleasure of being on the show earlier this year – we had a blast. I’m jealous of his Periscope videos that he shoots next to the ocean just before he goes surfing. We hoped to connect in person when I was passing through southern California during The Undeniable Tour, but unfortunately our schedules didn’t mesh.

Today I got a call from a giddy Mitch. He was so excited to share the news that we will be on a panel together at the Periscope Community Summit to talk about the legal issues related to using Periscope and other social media platforms.

“Do they know how awesome this is going to be?” he asked me.

“They think they know, but they have no idea.” I responded.

Then we went off on a tangent about how we aren’t going to sleep when we’re in New York because we’ll to be so busy with the conference and trying to see all of our friends and to connect with New York-based social media movers and shakers. As proud members of the Vayner Nation, we decided we at least have to stop by VaynerMedia to see GaryVee. Mitch suggested we jump in an Uber with him when he’s between meetings to maximize our time with him. Can you help us make that happen DeMayo?

I’m so excited that I will finally get to meet Mitch in person, and we are going to blow the Periscope community away with our talk. They will never think of lawyers in the same way again. I can’t wait.

In case you missed it: Day 72 of the 90 Days of Awesome – I love that my job lets me fix my clients’ problems.

Day 52/90 – Lunch with Marc

Day 52 of the 90 Days of Awesome is in the bank! What made today awesome? I got to have lunch with my friend Marc!

Sorry! I forgot to take a selfie at lunch.

Sorry! I forgot to take a selfie at lunch.

Marc Lerner and I met when we were first year law students at Arizona State University. Wow – we’ve been friends for seven years. Time has flown by. Law was a second career for both of us. We were both involved in the Center for Law, Science, and Innovation and we had a few classes together. Studying with him was great – his dining room would be covered with giant Post-It Notes with his summary of the course material. I’m sure his kids learned a lot about the law by exposure.

Marc and I get together for lunch at Zoe’s Kitchen periodically to catch up (love their Greek Salad!). Today we realized that we hadn’t hung out since before I went on The Undeniable Tour. We need to hang out more often.

I love seeing my law school friends. It’s not traditional networking; we’re just friends catching up – and we happen to be lawyers. We understand what it means to practice in this industry in a way that outsiders can’t understand, and of course we get to talk about normal stuff too like kids, travel, the future, etc. We don’t have to be fancy; we get to just be people.

In case you missed it: Day 51 of the 90 Days of Awesome – Taking a Break from a Crazy Week with Rosie the Basset Hound!

Day 25/90 – Social Media Marketing Webinar for Lawyers

Day 25 of the 90 Days of Awesome is in the bank! What made today awesome? I got to do a webinar on social media marketing for the Washington Bar Association, Solo and Small Practice Section!

Live Tweet from Today's Webinar

Live Tweet from Today’s Webinar

I spoke to law students and lawyers along the west coast about social media marketing during The Undeniable Tour earlier this year. The Washington Bar Association asked if I would do a webinar version of this talk. Of course, I jumped at the opportunity.

So today was the day – at noon, I jumped on the webinar with Mark Jordan of the Solo and Small Practice Section and spent just over an hour talking with 3-4 dozen people about how I use Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, YouTube, and blogging to network and build my practice. I really tried to emphasize the interactive nature of social media, compared to print ads and billboards which are a one-way communication. I also tried to focus on how important it is to make time to blog, to be present on the platforms where you choose to create an account, and to be authentic. There is no split between my professional and personal lives.

We ended the webinar with questions from the audience and the thoughtfulness of their questions suggested that many of them are ready to take the plunge into blogging and being more active on social media. All the feedback I’ve heard so far was positive, so I hope I’ve helped this group be more effective at networking and promoting their knowledge and work.

I hope I get to do more things like this in the future. It’s a bit weird to post a sign on my door that says “Webinar in Progress. Please Do Not Disturb” and spend an hour talking at my laptop screen and webcam, but it’s a lot of fun too.

In case you missed it: Day 24 of the 90 Days of Awesome – I’m so lucky to have so much freedom in my life.

Summer 2015 = 90 Days of Awesome

Selfie from May 30, 2015

Selfie from May 30, 2015

I’ve decided to call June-August 2015, “90 Days of Awesome.” (Yes, I know technically there are 92 days in those three months but “92 Days of Awesome” sounds weird, so just go with it.)

I am making a conscious decision to do awesome things this summer, but maybe not awesome in a way that you’re thinking. 2015 has been an amazing year so far for me – new job, Dad 2.0 Summit, The Undeniable Tour, and speaking at Ungagged in London are just some of the highlights – but I want to shift gears a bit for this summer. There are only two hard and fast rules for the 90 Days of Awesome:

  1. No airplanes.
  2. No dog kennels.

While everyone else is fleeing the desert for cooler temperatures, Rosie and I are staying home. I want to work my ass off, focus on my health, exercise more, see my friends, and tackle some projects that I’ve been putting off. At first glance, it may sound like I’m going to be kicking back this summer, but that’s not true. (I’m pretty sure I’m incapable of “kicking back.”) I will be busy as ever, but I want it to be a different kind of busy – a more purposeful busy, with more exchanges of ideas and connecting with more people.

I’ll also be laying the foundation for the fall and winter – especially in regards to speaking engagements. I have two speaking gigs already booked and at least four more in the works. I have a few other project ideas that I can’t start until the fall, but I can clarify my ideas and plans this summer.

Of course, I’ll keep you in the loop on what I’m doing and I may invite you to participate in some of the shenanigans of the 90 Days of Awesome.

Traveling Reveals What’s Important

So great to see Tyler and Katie in Portland

So great to see Tyler and Katie in Portland

I spent the last 2 weeks on the road with The Undeniable Tour. I flew to San Diego and drove to Seattle, doing a speaking engagements and mostly staying in hostels along the way. I lived out of a small suitcase in the backpack, and I could have brought less if I didn’t have to dress like a professional or be prepared for such a wide variety of weather.

Hanging out with Clinton in Hollywood

Hanging out with Clinton in Hollywood

When I step back and reflect on my adventurers from a personal perspective, I see that traveling with such few possessions and traveling by myself reveals some of my core values. I hand selected my speaking engagements, lodging, who I interacted with, and how I spent my free time. It’s been a long time since the last time my days felt like they were my own and not dictated by deadlines and to-do lists. I often drove without music or the news playing in the car so I had lots of time to be alone with my thoughts.

Even though I am a gregarious performer, I’m a very simple person when it comes to my tastes and what’s important to me. I like super soft fabrics, memory foam mattresses, hot coffee, and excessively hot showers. I like to be near the ocean even though I hate getting sand in my shoes. When I had down time during the tour, I often went for a walk, read my book, or slept. I wish my city was more walkable.

Reunited with Sarah in Seattle

Reunited with Sarah in Seattle

I enjoyed chatting with my fellow travelers in the hostels, but I wouldn’t say that I socialized with them. I was in each city for only a couple of days at most so I was picky about who I spent quality time with. I’m really glad that this trip allowed me to see so many of my friends, some of who I hadn’t seen in close to a decade. There have been several times I’ve contemplated putting a map of the U.S. on my wall and marking where all of my friends live with push pins to help me remember who to look up when I’m on the road.

Living out of the suitcase reminded me how little I need to be happy and comfortable. It made me want to continue my diligence in regards to living a minimalist lifestyle. Since returning to Phoenix, I’ve added a few things to my donate-to-charity pile.

This trip definitely showed me that it’s important to periodically take a break from my everyday routine and surroundings to reflect on who I am, where I’m going, and what’s important to me. As much as I enjoyed sharing information and ideas with my audiences about how lawyers and law students can use social media and the blogging in their professional careers, the weakest gained from this trip for me personally was it gave me some time and space to think about my priorities.

Hostel vs Budget Hotel – Give Me a Hostel Any Day

I’ve been staying in hostels for most of The Undeniable Tour, mainly for economic reasons. There was one area that didn’t have a hostel so I opted to stay in a budget-friendly hotel. After comparing the two, I’d rather stay in a hostel any day.

My bunk at the hostel in Hollywood

My bunk at the hostel in Hollywood

Feels Safer
I feel safer staying in a hostel dorm room than I do staying in a hotel. For one, there are other people around. Every night in a hostel this trip, I’ve had between 2 and 23 roommates. There’s no funny business going on with an audience. The door to the dorm room has a lock and everyone has a locker in the room where they can lock up their luggage, but I’ve seen people leave their laptops on their beds without worry.

Each hostel has a staff, and most have someone working the desk 24 hours a day. They’re the gatekeepers who keep non-guests out. Many have front doors that are locked at night, unlike hotels that are usually open all the time.

Because I feel safer in a hostel than a hotel, I tend to sleep better. Usually it doesn’t bother me if someone snores or turns on the light once I fall asleep.

Communal Kitchen
Hostels come with kitchen that is stocked with all the typical kitchen tools so you can bring food and cook for yourself. Many hostels have a “Free Food” section of food that’s been left from previous guests too. Everyone seems to be respectful of others’ food – you label your food when you put it in the fridge or cupboard. If anything, people seem to be offering to share what they have.

Community Resources
Hostels are made for adventurous travelers. More than hotels, hostels are teeming with maps, lists of nearby restaurants, shops, and attractions, and many hostels organize outings for their guests.

Better Value
When I travel, I typically need a room to sleep and Wi-Fi to check my email. Sometimes extra bells and whistles are nice, but they’re not necessary. And it’s ironic that the more expensive hotels charge for Wi-Fi whereas many hostel stays come with free Wi-Fi and breakfast. I’d rather pay $22-50/night to stay in a bunk bed in a hostel than $50+ to stay at a budget-friendly hotel.

If you are interested in connecting with me while I am traveling please follow me on Twitter. If you have any questions or comments about The Undeniable Tour, please shoot me an email.

Ruminations on the Road

Relaxing for a moment at the Trees of Mystery

Relaxing for a moment at the Trees of Mystery

I’ve been ruminating about my sexual abuse and the person I used to be for the last few days. I’ve had memories of my past and parts of others’ stories of abuse (real and fictionalized) entering my mind at random times. They’re nothing compared to full-blown flash backs which leave my completely paralyzed until the memory has run its course but they are thoughts and ideas that invade my brain and random and often inopportune times.

It came on fast and strong while I was walking through San Francisco. Ruminations are not new for me but they are something I haven’t had an issue with for a few months. Memories and ideas by themselves are not harmful but they can be distracting, and at times distressing. I told myself, “Ok sweetie, calm down. It’s ok that you’re having these thoughts but you’re scheduled to speak in an hour. Perhaps you should focus on that.”

I got through my talk just fine, but that random invasive thoughts continued to enter my brain whenever I had down time. As I was driving north towards Oregon, I tried to step back and look for themes running through the memories. I noticed my thoughts had underlying issues of anxiety, rejection, vulnerability, being attacked, and craving comfort. I grew up in northern California and I wondered if being near the places and people that are connected to the time of my abuse and the maladaptive behaviors I engaged in to cope with it was stirring me up emotionally.

I wonder if the thoughts will subside the further away I get from California. Perhaps I’m getting emotionally agitated because The Undeniable Tour is almost done and I have so much crammed into the back half of this trip. I guess time will tell.

Minimalist Travel Update – Doing Laundry on the Road

Golden Gate Bridge!

Golden Gate Bridge!

A few days ago I wrote about what I’m doing to separate my dirty clothes from my clean clothes during The Undeniable Tour. I roll my clothes to save space in my bag. At the end of each day, I flip my shirt inside-out and roll it up with my socks and underwear I wore that day and put the bundle back in my bag.

I did my laundry on Day 8 of the tour while I was in San Francisco. I had worn each article of clothing I brought with me except for my bathing suit and my yoga pants. I took those out of my bag along with my blazer and sweatshirt and took my suitcase down to the laundry room.

Rolling my laundry worked out great! As I tossed each bundle into the washing machine, I held on to the edge so it unrolled as it went in. I loaded the machine in about a minute and I had no issues with laundry sticking together.

I will definitely keep doing this for the rest of my trip. Rolling my dirty clothes keeps my luggage tidy so I can easily and quickly get ready in the morning, which is a huge asset when you’re living in a hostel and have to get dressed in the dark if you’re awake before your roommates.

Minimalist Traveling – Managing Laundry

All Smiles in Santa Monica

All Smiles in Santa Monica

I am on The Undeniable Tour and living out of a suitcase and a backpack for two weeks. I only packed what I knew I would need for a week with plans to do laundry at one of the hostels where I’m staying.

When I packed my bag, I rolled most of my clothes which makes it easier to maximize the space in my bag. Rolling takes up significant less space than folding. One of the downsides of rolling your clothes is you can’t have a clean clothes and dirty clothes pile in your bag and it might be hard to determine what you’ve worn – especially things like socks. I didn’t want to create a mess when it came to sorting out my clean clothes from my dirty clothes come laundry day, so here’s what I did at the end of each day.

  • Take off shirt from the day and flip it inside out (inside out = dirty; right side out = clean).
  • Lay shirt flat on the ground.
  • Put dirty socks and underwear on shirt.
  • Create a mini bundle of dirty clothes by rolling up shirt with socks and underwear in it.

My suitcase is still filled with rolled up clothing, but come laundry day it should be easy to manage because all I have to do is shake out each bundle with an inside out shirt into the washing machine and turn it on. That’s my master plan at least. We’ll see how it goes.

I’ve been traveling with rolled up clothes for decades. I’m surprised it hasn’t dawned on me to roll up bundles of dirty clothes before. It’s definitely made it easier to get ready for each day because my dirty clothes are segregated from my clean ones.

Traveling definitely helps me see what things I really use in my day-to-day life and makes me question if certain things actually add value to my life or if they’re just taking up space. And for those of you who read my Burning Books post, I started the tour with 6 books. I’m currently down to 3.