Balls to the Rat Race!

Thursday, January 15th, 2015 | Category: Online business, Stuff that matters, Travel

‘I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me’.-Top regret of the dieing. -Bronnie Ware- Palliative care nurse.

Like lots of people I had a dream to travel the world. Not in bite size two week trips. I wanted to really travel and have the luxury of getting to know a country inside and out , to do yoga in India, stay with tribes in Vietnam and generally be a bit of a hippy with an income that required little work. Dreamer right? Nope I achieved this in a few years and I am of the belief we can all achieve our hearts desire with a little self belief.

What is your dream? Is it dragging yourself to work everyday because you fear not being able to pay the bills? Not to mention having an unhealthy work/life balance? My personal belief is that we are all a little programmed to behave in a way that is deemed normal by the capitalist society in which we inhabit. ‘Be a success and you can own lots of inanimate objects’ seems to be the underlying narrative. Which of course when looked at objectively is absolutely bonkers. We all know these items do not bring happiness nor does putting yourself under undue amounts of stress.

When I happen to be on the tube at rush hour, I play a weird game (don’t judge me) whereby I pretend I am an alien (!) and observe humans as a rare species. The result brings to mind a character in philosopher Albert Camus’s L’etranger (Or the Outsider) -The robotic woman who has mechanical movements and ways, he observes her and becomes fascinated by her I am not saying I am Mr Camus but if you are interested, read it as he puts it far better than me. This staring habit has got me onto a bit of trouble on the tube like when a lovely Rastafarian chap tried to arrest me with a Toys R Us badge I ended up having a giggle with him. I enjoy a bit of madness. He definitely wasn’t in the robotic camp. But I digress. Back to the Rat Race.

Are we aware that we are, not all, but for the most part pretty unconscious do you think? That we are plowing to work head down, not smiling, robotic, not engaging and most definitely stressed!
Some of us are lucky and bound out of bed to a job we love but a lot of us are driven by unconscious narratives and may have even achieved our idea of success and aren’t even sure why we feel unfulfilled. It feels too scary to do something different or it sounds unachievable or spoilt to want more free time and inner happiness when you have a cushy city job. In my humble opinion you are not any of the above for wanting more, we are just living in times of a a twisted value system in our society.

This is how I followed my intuition and manifested a great work life balance for those of you who want to follow a similar path.I have worked in many fields of business but having a rather low threshold for boredom, (or as an online quiz told me recently more than likely ‘ADD’ ) and a passion for presenting on TV, I was afforded many ‘resting’ periods.It was in one of those ‘resting’ periods . That I came up with an idea of helping people in the entertainment industry get work…what better than an online portal? But I had NO ability to build websites and I am actually not very tech savvy.

I registered a name. Commissioned someone to build the site to my specifications and I was off. All for the grand outlay of DRUM ROLL five hundred pounds. It didn’t work. But by jove I had a website!

TIP 1: Once you have a good idea that you are passionate about and love then just bloomin’ START!
In my experience hundreds of people have great ideas which they happily tell me about, but for some reason they just sit on it. You don’t really have a lot to lose by trying. Do it!

Now at this stage I was scratching my head..hmm what next? Knowing my weaknesses (ahem NO tech knowledge) I called up someone who I knew had the ability to arrange the payments systems and he did a really great job of getting the non working site up to scratch and he became my business partner for quite some time.

TIP 2 : Know your strengths- Draft in help if needs be! Whatever site you are doing you can pitch it to someone who has the relevant skills and experience in exchange of a profit share or a partnership. This is a really great low risk strategy just make sure you have all agreements and clauses set out before you begin.

So incredibly in month one the site was in profit , alright only by 30 quid or so but still… AND it was helping actors, actresses, extras and presenters get started in the Industry. Bit by bit word got out and suddenly I was spending time learning about social media promotion and spent a lot of time pushing the site online. By the end of year 1 it was a business that was able to financially support two people and by London standards that is pretty darn good.

TIP 3: Work hard at PR and social media and pushing your site in year one. Have in mind your goal and know that your will get to the stage whereby you can employ people and your workload will be reduced if you so wish. Note: My workload was less than 4 hours a day at this stage and I was working in other things too to assuage my grasshopper mind. If you want to be a digital nomad or have a good work/ life balance don’t be too greedy or a control freak. Farm out the work so you have enough to travel and live well and aren’t overburdened with work. It employs others, enhances their life and you are free to enjoy yourself more.
Fast forward 3 years later and I set off on that trip around the world with my trusty laptop as my office my debit card and a backpack.

Sara Damergi

It isn’t a fluke, or luck. There are hundreds of thousands of people doing the same thing around the world today. A simple Google search will reveal them all.

So if you feel unfulfilled, take the time to listen to yourself and be concious then just make a start in my experience , everything else falls into place when you are aligned with a goal. Good Luck!

 

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#FoxNewsFacts

Wednesday, January 14th, 2015 | Category: Middle East, Stuff that matters

I first came across Fox News in 2006 during the conflict between Israel and Hezbollah whilst in a state of panic I was seeking news about my family who live in Beirut .

 

I had been awake for 24hrs watching where the bombs were going off and beside myself with fear as I saw a helicopter fly over my dad’s building.

 

 I had become more than marginally obsessed with all the news channels. Flicking from channel to channel, trying to frantically guess the locations of  the Israeli aircraft.

 

It was during this adrenalin fuelled channel surfing that with heavy eyelids I became infatuated  in switching from the BBC to Fox News back and forth , back and forth (I have done this before…when I am on TV but it is more to marvel at my wrinkles on HDTV and delight at a 10 year younger version of myself on normal telly ).

 

But back to Fox…. glossy , coiffured, and as far as I could tell a satirical entertainment show. Surely this can’t be the News? You can’t say that?  Is this a joke?

 

Now I am not saying the BBC are perfect, Let’s face it all forms of media have their faults. 

In fact I always wonder why our News readers in general have to be so stiff and non-human.

When they say something funny or remotely out of the ‘Newsreader’ box they look at one another, indulgently shuffle their papers and curl their lips awkwardly into a macabre smile  as if one of them had secretly passed wind.

 

 But at least I suppose, there is an attitude of gravitas and implied impartiality that isn’t about grabbing big audience ratings and sensationalising public information to the ‘nth’ degree. Which as we have seen this week seems to the general public consensus of Fox ‘News’

 

When terrorism ‘expert’ Steven Emerson went on as a guest and described Birmingham as ‘Totally Muslim’ and ‘Non Muslims did not enter’ …Sigh.The world finally sat up and said What????

 

The hashtag #foxnewsfacts took off and started trending on twitter ,as people thought up the most ridiculous things they could to demonstrate the ridiculousness of a News channel broadcasting (and not for the first time…) laughable and bafflingly inaccurate statements. 

 

Here are a few of my favourite tweets.

 

A Muslim lady offers her protection for non-muslims considering a trip to Birmingham.

 

‘@rabeb_Othmani If you are a non-muslim and would like to visit Birmingham #illridewithyou #foxnewsfacts 

 

and Mr Sarfraz Manzoor 

 

@sarfrazmanzoor By the 1970s there were only a handful of white men left living in Birmingham. They were dubbed The Birmingham 6. #FoxNewsFacts

 

In fact I spent most of the evening toffing my hat to the brilliant hashtags on twitter. It was actually a real credit to the Britain I think we all are proud of, multicultural, tolerant and of course highly sarcastic. 

 

But on a more serious level how on earth is this shaping American society?

 

 We may laugh it off in the UK but this is News Channel, inconceivable isn’t it? And actually in my opinion a real worry.

 

 I spent six weeks working in America last month filming for ‘A Place in the Sun’ for C4 and I experienced isolated events of  Islamophobia to the point I was actually a bit scared to say half my family were Arabic and Muslim in case I got a negative reaction. Which is something I have never experienced to such a degree here in the UK . 

 

Whilst there, a local barman in Orlando told the production crew ‘You guy’s have a big problem with all those Muslims in England’ they promptly tried to explain they had no such problem and they loved the multiculturalism in the UK .They were met with bemused looks and silence.

 

I was told whilst having a lovely chat about travelling with an American man in his twenties that he ‘wouldn’t go back to Amsterdam as it was full of Mosque’s and Turkish people’ I didn’t know what to say, so simply moved my chair and started a conversation about the weather with the cameraman.

 

An estate agent who hailed from India, lived in the UK and had grown up around all types of different religions, told me that it was so bad that she had given up arguing at dinner parties about the difference between fundamentalists and Muslims, as it became too heated and awkward so she chose to remain silent. She said the media were to blame.

 

 I think the worst experience I had was in 2011 when I was in Cambodia chatting to a lovely American lady in her 30’s who came out with the clanger almost out of nowhere ‘we just need to kill all the Muslims’ Yikes. Is it legal to say that?

 

I obviously need to make it crystal clear it is obviously not all Americans that think in this way, the vast majority were wonderful ,kind, welcoming and far friendlier than us Londoner’s who gaze passively at the floor when on the tube to avoid eye contact, or god forbid a conversation with a stranger.

In fact  whilst doing a Yoga class in Siesta Keys in Florida I had a lovely chat with the teacher of the class about evolution and solutions to cultural problems and the like and she in fact brought up Fox News as a distributor of what she termed ‘biased information’  

 

But I don’t in fact blame the people who think in this way actually despite their views some of them were really quite nice, The question is if this is their public information service how else can they think after, being bombarded with information like as the Great ‘terror expert’ Steven Emerson told Fox News;

 

‘in parts of London’  “Muslim religious police” beat “anyone who doesn’t dress according to Muslim, religious Muslim attire”. 

 

Crikey!

 

@saradamergi I think I best get my Hijab on before I walk the dog. #foxnewsfacts #LondonLife

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