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Lisa Niver Rajna

The Money Nerve by Robert Wheeler

Giving up Bread or Internet for Passover? Finding Balance and Freedom on Tax Day

For the last year and a half I have been living in Asia and eating rice. As I thought about Passover approaching, I figured giving up bread for eight days would not be meaningful as I really only eat rice in Thailand. I contemplated what could I give up that would be a daily reminder that the Jews were slaves in Egypt and when we were forced to leave in a rush, we ended up with only matzah to eat.

May all who are enslaved throughout the world, come to know freedom. May all who are free, appreciate the blessings of abundance. And may all of us dwell in the house of God and give thanks for our good fortune as we celebrate these rituals of Passover. (Opening Prayer from 30Minute Seder)

The struggle to find freedom resonates with me. I have considered giving up the Internet for eight days and wondered about how to run We Said Go Travel and not be online at all. But we do not give up wheat for Passover we give up, leavened bread. So perhaps giving something up 100% is not right but rather choosing wisely and with intention is more meaningful.

Overwhelmed The BookIn Overwhelmed: Work, Love and Play When No One Has the Time, Brigid Schulte honestly discusses being a working mother and how her life is out of control with no leisure time–hers is a “frenetic family.”  She is shocked when John Robinson states that she has thirty hours of leisure time a week and quests to understand where does her time go. As she researches the origins of leisure and who feels in control of their time, she goes to time conferences, meets wonderful Danish people with plenty of time and even learns to fly on the trapeze.

Her explorations remind me of SCUBA Diving, where we say, “Plan your Dive and Dive your Plan.” First, she works to discover what are her priorities and then creates a way to live them. Everything on her to-do list does not get done but the meaningful connections she needs to feel joyous do.  I want to live “a life of leisure [which] was the highest aim of a human being. True leisure, the Greeks believed, free from the drudgery of work, not only refreshed the soul but also opened it up.” For Schulte, “role overload” and “contaminated time” have to end in order to move forward and she is willing to make the literal and figurative leaps!

The cult of being busy does not allow us to make a commitment to doing the things that feed us in work, love and play. Are you ready to get off the track of the “everydayathon?” The way off of the hamster wheel involves being able to answer “three questions that drive so much of the unending overwhelm: • How much is enough? • When is it good enough? • How will I know?” Schulte admits for herself it is a work in progress but she and her husband are looking at their parenting roles and household responsibilities and how they can support each other and their family in a way that works for everyone.

Sarah Blaffer Hrdy argues that with the support of “cooperative breeding” and “alloparents…in human evolution, mother’s lives were more integrated between work and home.”  Many women feel alone in their daily struggles; bringing back the village may allow time for each individual to become as self-actualized, self-efficacious and joyous as possible. Managing and having appropriate expectations can create change that feels like freedom.

The Money Nerve by Robert WheelerFinding independence from being bound to technology or bread or our ideas requires thoughtful contemplation. This year as Passover begins, taxes are due. April 15 is a day of dread for so many Americans. My friends are worried about being audited, paying the bills and what do they owe for taxes. All of this concern about money is similar to the drama in Overwhelmed about not having any time to do what you want, Robert Wm. Wheeler in The Money Nerve explains that you have the money you need to do what you want. He can help you and be your guide to a life of meaning and money.

As Wheeler states, “There is a lot of fear and shame surrounding money. We need to start admitting without shame or embarrassment that we may not have been taught how to handle money (or that we may not know all the answers). We need to bring our money issues out in the open and start changing our belief system about money.

Being honest about your choices allows you to be end your enslavement. Wheeler’s clients tell him: “I need a TV…or…I need to go to Hawaii.” But Wheeler reminds them: “They are wants, not needs. They want those things. They need oxygen; they don’t need the newest cell phone. Once you start to hear your own voice, you can begin to give yourself alternative choices, which will change your mental map.” With the Money Nerve, Wheeler helps you figure our your finances and how to make your dreams come true as well as get your taxes done on time without drama.

When Wheeler says: “Your goal is to move forward as who you truly are. Live the life that you choose to live. To me, living a life without restraints and self-judgment— and living it with gratitude—is what makes everything worthwhile,” I want to run to his next workshop. The priorities we choose create our life and as Wheeler says, “make sure they match your desires.” There are 1,440 minutes in each day and 168 hours in a week, you can spend each moment only once. What will you pick?

As far as changing your life, Schulte says: ““I’m not saying it’s not hard. But I am saying it’s like you’re wearing the ruby slippers. You have the power. You’ve had it all along.”  When you click your heels three times, what will you wish for?

I hope that this Passover week you find freedom from what enslaves you. Remember your life is the compilation of the choices and non-choices that you make. Choose wisely and with intention. Hag Sameach!

Video: Maccabeats’ Passover Music

About this ArticleLisa Niver Rajna, M.A. Education, is a passionate writer, educator, social media ninja, speaker and global citizen, who has traveled to over one hundred countries and six continents. She is the creative spark behind We Said Go Travel and just returned from filming in Puerto Rico with Richard Bangs and White Nile Media.

Naomi Wolf speaking at Stephen S. Wise Temple Library Lunch
Naomi Wolf speaking at Stephen S. Wise Temple Library Lunch
Naomi Wolf speaking at Stephen S. Wise Temple “It Happens Every Spring” Library Lunch

I believe in books and that Benjamin Franklin was right when he said the library is the greatest American institution. I am a library evangelist and was delighted to be in Los Angeles for the “It Happens Every Spring: Annual Library Lunch” at Stephen W. Wise Temple organized by Roberta Lloyd, Library Director and the Library committee.

Dana Guerin introduced Naomi Wolf by saying that Wolf’s father had taught her to do nothing without passion. This group of Jews was passionate about books, libraries and dealing with real issues.

Naomi Wolf shared about why Jewish women have been successful in America. From Lilith the first woman known for being a disobedient and disruptive feminist to Sarah who had a voice of her own and protested sharing her husband to Miriam and Deborah and to the more recent Gloria Steinem, Betty Friedan and Diane Feinstein, Jewish women can be seen in large numbers in leadership.

Naomi Wolf and Dana Guerin
Naomi Wolf and Dana Guerin

Wolf spoke about how finding the passion points in our personal stories allows us to access the powerful authentic tales we need to tell. As Jews, we have a high involvement style of speaking that Deborah Tannen has written about in her work on culture and gender. Jewish women have been raised with the idea that we are entitled to a voice and that talking has a positive social value. For these reasons, Jewish women can often be seen in successful leadership roles.

Given our past narrative of being landless in Europe, Jews were often required to be entrepreneurs and chose ideas. Studying law allowed for many conversations about justice and meaning. However, Wolf talked about how Holocaust trauma has created a situation where many people have a near knee-jerk reaction to situations in Israel and are fearful about survival which allows for Jews to be blind to aspects of ourselves as occupiers.

Naomi WolfWolf also talked about what it means to be chosen. In the Torah, the idea of being the chosen people is about a process not a place. It is a transaction with G-d. If you visit the sick, if you do justice to the slave and the poor, if you are compassionate then you are my chosen people. If you are good and just, then this space will be blessed as a promised land. Wolf said the chosen people are not an ethnicity but those who choose to share this place as good people.

What is necessary is for us to encounter each other. Seth Godin recently wrote about the difference between search and discovery: “Search is what we call the action of knowing what you want and questing until you ultimately find it.  Discovery, on the other hand, is what happens when the universe (or an organization, or a friend) helps you encounter something you didn’t even know you were looking for.” Wolf was encouraging listeners to consider that when we find the “other” and meet face-to-face we have the opportunity to engage, meet and discover options. There can be healing when we are all in one room.

Naomi Wolf and Lisa Niver Rajna
Naomi Wolf and Lisa Niver Rajna

Rabbi Yoshi Zweiback shared that we are a Jewish community celebrating books. As a group, we come together to create a place to have hard conversations even if we disagree. The genius is to know how to listen to each other’s voices and share concerns and thoughts. When we ground this discussion in Jewish tradition as Naomi Wolf did, there can be magic and healing in community and sharing stories.

Thank you to Naomi Wolf, Dana Guerin, Roberta Lloyd, Rabbi Yoshi Zweiback and the Library Committee for creating a memorable and inspiring program.

Naomi Wolf is the author of eight books, including the recently published, Vagina: A New Biography and the New York Times bestsellers The Beauty Myth, The End of America and Give Me Liberty.

About this ArticleLisa Niver Rajna, M.A. Education, is a passionate writer, educator, social media ninja, speaker and global citizen, who has traveled to over one hundred countries and six continents. She is the creative spark behind We Said Go Travel and just returned from filming in Puerto Rico with Richard Bangs and White Nile Media.

Lisa Donald Lili-002
Mayor Lili Bosse, Chef Donald Wressell and Lisa Niver Rajna

15,000 slices of cake! Beverly Hills is turning 100 and celebrating in style! Donald Wressel from Guittard Chocolate unveiled his plan to turn 700 pounds of chocolate and one metric ton of ingredients into a giant chocolate birthday cake.

Mayor of Beverly Hills Lili Bosse invites everyone to join in the festivities, ferris wheels and fireworks on April 27! Three blocks of Rodeo Drive will have family fun and incredible food with Taste of Beverly Hills.

Join Efrem Harkham, Marcus Mueller and the entire Luxe Rodeo team to eat cake and celebrate the centennial!

 

VIDEO: Let them Eat Cake! 15,000 slices for Beverly Hills 100th Birthday Party


Let them Eat Cake! 15,000 slices for Beverly Hills 100th Birthday Party!

Wondering about the cake? 700 pounds of chocolate from Guittard Chocolate–over one metric ton of ingredients!

See Chef Donald Wressell’s plan for the cake!
Hear Mayor Lili Bosse’s warm invitation to all to join in the party and dance!
Join the Rodeo Drive Committee in front of the Luxe Rodeo Hotel for an incredible celebration April 27, 2014! For Taste of Beverly Hills and family fun with two giant Ferris wheels and fireworks!

Thank you to Efrem Harkham and Marcus Mueller of the Luxe Rodeo for hosting today’s celebration reveal!

See you April 27 for the Centennial Celebration!

All photos and video by Lisa Niver Rajna on Nokia Lumia 925
except for photo of Lisa, Donald and Mayor Lili photo credit: Barry King

 

Enjoy over 245 videos with over 194,000 views at We Said Go Travel on YouTube.

Safe Travels!

Lisa Niver Rajna
We Said Go Travel
April 2014

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Thank you to TripWolf for listing We Said Go Travel as featured bloggers!

tripwolf’s travel bloggers of the month March, Lisa and her husband George from We Said Go Travel, are writers, speakers, but most of all, they are travelers. Up until now, they have visited more than one hundred countries and Lisa herself has worked on a cruise ship for 7 years. Not settling for writing for others only, they also like to inspire travelers to write about their own travels and to submit their articles in the We Said Go Travel writing contest.


What is your blog about? Where are you from and where do you live?

We Said Go Travel is a global community of writers and travelers. We have articles from every continent. During the last thirteen months, over one thousand people on our planet from seventy-four countries has shared their stories in our writing contests! We left Los Angeles, California, USA in July 2012 and have been wandering about Asia.

GL Nepal

Lisa and George in Nepal.

Sushi or pork roast? Sushi but my favorite is tempura. (I don’t eat pork)
Coffee or Red Bull? Neither- I don’t drink any caffeine!
Wine or beer? PROSECCO! I love the bubbles.
Suitcase or backpack? Backpack—love Eagle Creek
Night train or night bus? I like the night train and the night bus. I want a sleeper bed not a seat so sometimes depending on the country to get a full sleeper you have to go with train vs. bus!
Sleeping bag or bedding? Sleeping bag for Nepal trekking otherwise bedding.
Window or aisle? I love a window seat! I like to see where we have been and where we are going.

LG Palau boat

In a boat in Palau.

Since when does you blog exist? Any post you recommend to our readers?
We Said Go Travel began in 2010 and started as a way to promote our memoir, Traveling in Sin.
Why is traveling so important to you and how would you define ‘real travel?’Traveling is an education. I love to learn about new places. Real Travel does not require leaving your home town. If you are exploring and finding a new way to look at an old situation or problem, that can be REAL TRAVEL!

LG Ajunta caves jan 19 2013 india

Ajunta Caves, India.

Do you plan to travel indefinitely?
I worked in travel for seven years on a cruise ship and now have been backpacking for years. I am certain travel will always be important in my life but I am not sure how it will look in the future.

Is there a place you would like to go back to, and is there one you never want to see again?
I would love to go back to Mongolia! The vast expanse of nothingness was fantastic and intense. I also really want to see Antarctica, my final continent!

Do you have a story to share about plans gone awry?
In our book, Traveling in Sin, we talked about the two nights that we literally had nowhere to stay. It was my greatest fear and it came true TWICE! I learned that it really does always work out!

LG first dinner India Kolkata

Ever encountered a cultural misunderstand you are still embarrassed for?
Once I was in China and I said, “Frey Chan How.” The Man said, “I don’t understand English.” George said, “She is not speaking English!”

Is there anything that you dislike about traveling?
One thing I am working on is how to stay connected to my friends at home and others we meet on the road. It can be hard with the time distance to have a phone chat with someone. I am working on figuring that out!

What was the strangest food you’ve ever eaten, and what was the best?
I ate a fried cricket in the Sunday Night Market in Chiang Mai, Thailand because Tyler convinced me that they taste like Lay’s Potato chips. I decided he has not eaten potato chips in a long time! For my friend, Nancy’s birthday, we ate in the restaurant on the Sun Princess. The headwaiter brought us one of everything on the menu for dessert! That was tasty, memorable and a great gift!

If you could choose a superpower, which one would it be?
I like Wonder Woman’s lasso of truth. I sometimes say that I have sticky fingers because so much information finds its way into my hands!

Which three items do you not leave home without?
I have five and I just wrote about them for Tim Leffel!

Definitely my Becca Bikini, my hula-hoop and tiger balm!

LG Chiang Mai

Chiang Mai, Thailand.

What is your favorite place in your home country or city? 
I love Santa Monica beach in California. I love to go on long walks and search for dolphins!

Mountains, beach or city? beach
Cockroaches or rats? Rats
Couch-surfing or guesthouse? Guesthouse. We did couchsurf for the first time this summer in Guam. It was great.
Skiing or surfing? Skiing but only because I have not tried surfing yet. I want to try it out!
iPhone or Android? Windows phone. I love my Nokia Lumia 925.
Travel tool you find most useful: Kindle. Love it!
Postcard or emails? I email all the time. But it is fun to send the occasional postcard.

How do you inform yourself about your next destination, and how do you prepare for the trip?
I ask other travelers who have been recently for their favorite spots. I think recent local information is the best.

Your latest discovery on the Internet?
Skyscanner for flights and Spotify for music.

The best breakfast in the world is on a balcony listening to the waves crash while eating cereals in pajamas!

Sunset over Water in Koror

Sunset over Water in Koror.

What is on your bucket list for 2014?
Antarctica, African safari and Sardinia

If you could recommend three places our readers must visit in their lifetimes:
Shwedagon Pagoda- Myanmar, Angkor Wat – Cambodia, Koh Lipe – Thailand

The most important life lesson that you learned while traveling:
Use the F word (FLEXIBLE) as much as possible!

Anything else you’d like to share? 
Thank you for including me in your interview series. I hope your readers will share their stories in our next Travel Writing Contest starting in May 2014. We have a $1000usd cash first prize. Our new travel video contest will start this summer with an incredible grand prize of TRAVEL! The best way to stay in touch is to sign up for our newsletter, which comes out twice a month.

Writing contest: http://www.wesaidgotravel.com/writing-contest

Blogger name(s): Lisa Niver Rajna
Blog: http://www.wesaidgotravel.com/
twitter handle: @wesaidgotravel
facebook: http://www.facebook.com/pages/We-Said-Go-Travel/
Google+: https://plus.google.com/100874978323166560555
Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/wesaidgotravel/

Instagram: http://instagram.com/wesaidgotravel
Memoir: Traveling in Sin http://www.amazon.com/Traveling-in-Sin-ebook/dp/B00DY1YS8M
We Said Do Good: http://www.wesaidgotravel.com/we-said-do-good

 

cropped-uofpenn102Filming Puerto Rico with #RBQuests

By: Lisa Niver Rajna

This article first published on Frankly Penn for the University of Pennsylvania Alumni Blog.

Recently my friend, David, told me, “Walk through the open doors.” It reminded me of the inspiration from the gate at the University of Pennsylvania: We will find a way or we will make one.

I spent last week in Puerto Rico filming with Richard Bangs and White Nile Media in conjunction with Orbtiz and the Puerto Rican Tourism Board. I enjoyed everything from kayaking at the Wyndham Grand Rio Mar to meeting golf greats and brothers, Jesus and Chi Chi Rodriguez as well as taming the “Beast,” which is the name of the highest zipline on the planet at Toro Verde.

chi chi golf st regis

Everyday had a highlight of a different kind as meeting people and hearing their stories was incredible. I loved working on the different video segments as we searched to elucidate adventure, family and LGBT travel. Meeting recently or nearly married couples for our romance segment was sweet and diving to 94 feet with sharks and eels was unforgettable.

richard juan lisa interview

Traveling has always been a part of my life. It was a treat to be part of this team and I cannot wait to see the ten video segments unfold in the hands of a professional editor. I plan to share them all with you as soon as possible and am so excited to see how they all turn out.

sunset dry forest puerto rico

I learned at the University of Pennsylvania that I could make things happen from founding a magazine for the College of Arts and Sciences with a few friends to doing medical research. I created a thesis that brought together ideas from several departments and figured out that even on sunny days in February a California girl needs a coat in Philadelphia. All of my experiences have shown me that when the door opens, you should walk through to the other side.

Thank you for all your support of my site, WeSaidGoTravel, my YouTube channel that just went over 190,000 views and this next journey. More details on my #RBQuests adventures, see the posts from last week: Old San JuanLivin’ La Vida LocaMeeting Sports Giants, and Adventures in Western Puerto Rico. Coming soon is the Go Pro underwater dive video as well as Go Pro video from the BEAST!

See more from Puerto Rico on our #RBQuests Tagboard a thttps://tagboard.com/RBQuests/161971.

toro verde lisa
Wyndham Grand Rio Mar2
Sunrise Wyndham Grand Rio Mar
Ramon Lisa Agua de coamo
Ramon Hooping Agua de coamo
Lisa and Juan Mr Gay World
Jose Enrique
Frank Ed dive boat Copamarina
Edward Copamarina
didrik richard dry forest

Share this:

Sunrise Wyndham Grand Rio MarHello from Puerto Rico! I wanted to share a few photos from Day Two of filming with Richard Bangs andWhite Nile Media! This week we are creating videos forPRTourismCo and Orbitz Originals.

Wondering what we are doing? I will be sharing social media with the tag #RBQuests. Use this link to the TagBoard or see below to follow along.

I loved Sunrise at the Wyndham Grand Rio Mar and hula hooping on the beach. My first night I was out with Juan Ortiz, Mr. Gay World Puerto Rico clubbing in Santurce and my second night I was interviewing him at sunset on my balcony!

Didrik Richard Filming

 

Behind the scenes with Didrik and Richard!

richard juan lisa interviewPina Coladas were invented in Puerto Rico and they are fantastic post interview. In photo: Richard Bangs, Juan Ortiz and Lisa Niver Rajna.

Lisa and Juan Mr Gay World

Photos coming soon from golfing the famous 16th hole on the Ocean Course at the Wyndham, kayaking and an incredible water park! Thanks for participating with us! Lisa

Do you have any Puerto Rico favorites? Share them in the comments below! Maybe we will film there next!

Thanks for following along! Lisa


 

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tune KL nightTraveling in Asia has been our life for the last eighteen months. George and I love to fly on Air Asia, they have great fares and fly everywhere we want to go. They are to Asia what Southwest Airlines is to the United States; a reliable low cost carrier with many flights.  During a recent flight, we learned about Tune Hotels, which is the hotel chain related to Air Asia. Air Asia is also involved in Tune Talk (phone calls), Tune insurance and Tony Fernandez has plans for a Tune Hospital as well as sponsoring a car in the Motor Car Races!

When we returned to Asia after visiting family in America, we decided to investigate Tune Hotels in Downtown Kuala Lumpur. The hotel is a few blocks from the rail transport system. We took the KLIA rapid train from the airport into KLCC and then went a few stops on the rail line. When we left KL, we went three stops on the rail line to the bus station. It is simple to find the hotel no matter what public transport option you choose.

KL night trainEven if you arrive with jetlag, it is simple to go across the street to the Selamat Datang Market in the basement of the Maju Junction Mall where there is Starbucks if you are craving coffee after your flight to Malaysia. There is also a 7-11 right inside the hotel for any other basic needs. We went around the corner for fantastic food. We recommend the restaurant Cirber for traditional fish ball noodle soup and try the local cold tea. Nasi Kandar is a local favorite restaurant where we enjoyed fresh hot roti telur (egg), Tofu, rice and water for under $2usd. Lunch in a capital city for two American dollars directly across from our hotel was a great find!

G KL towersTune Hotels is famous for their 5 star beds, power shower and a la carte service. I agree with them that travelers want to find a room with a comfortable bed and a hot strong shower. I can tell you that you will not be disappointed. Our bed was lovely and the shower was both hot and powerful. I have often complained about a hotel when the bed is too hard or the shower is only a few drops of water and will not get the shampoo out of my hair. Tune Hotels truly deliver on their promises.

The system at Tune Hotels is similar to the pricing on Air Asia flights. Every room comes with the basics and then you can add packages for extras. The room does have a ceiling fan but if you prefer air conditioning you need to choose a package or buy it as an ala carte.

Comfort Package: 24 hour air conditioning and Towels 22MR

Cozy Package: 24hr air conditioning, 24hr TV, 24hr WiFi and Towel and Toiletries: 36MR

Other extras (pricing as of Feb 1, 2014 for a stay in KL, Malaysia:

Breakfast 10MR, WiFi (12MR per device for 24 hours), late checkout (2pm) 12MR, Entertainment Package: 24 hour period (32 inch LCD TV with 12 channels) 10.60MR, Early Check-in from 11am 15MR, Towels and Toiletries 6MR, Air conditioning 22MR for 24 hrs, 16MR for 12hrs.

Cindy Lisa KLThe hotel was very clean and felt very secure. You can only have one room key per room which could be an issue if you wanted to go somewhere without your partner or roommate but is important to their eco-commitment and the system of keeping the lights off if you are out of the room. It is also essential for the security system. You cannot enter the lobby after midnight without a room key.

We enjoyed our first stay at Tune Hotels and look forward to more clean, convenient and fantastic nights with the Tune Hotel Group! More hotels are opening all over the world. We cannot wait to stay with Tune Hotels in Bali and Makasar, Indonesia. The only question to ask is– which hotel will you stay at first?

Condado Plaza Hilton
Condado Plaza Hilton
Condado Plaza Hilton

I am on location in Puerto Rico filming with Richard Bangs and White Nile Media! This week we are creating videos for PRTourismCo and Orbitz Originals.

Wondering what we are doing? I will be sharing social media with the tag #RBQuests. Use this link to the TagBoard or see below to follow along.

My first night in Old San Juan, I was honored to have with Mr. Gay World Puerto Rico, Juan Ortiz, as my guide. Want to learn more about the Mr. Gay World Competition? My interview with Juan will be on YouTube soon!

We began our evening at the NuYoRican next to Da’House with sounds of salsa. We went to meet one of Juan’s fans and eat a top 10 tasty pizza at La Foccacia. This bright restaurant beckons all types of people and acts as a gallery for many local artists and writers. I highly recommend you enjoy the art and the food.

Our next stop was the local favorite, Lupi’s Mexican Grill, which has two locations, one in Old San Juan and boasts 60oz Margaritas! Owned by Eduardo Figueroa, of the NY Mets, San Francisco Giants, and the California Angels, this fusion restaurant is lively, friendly and authentic.

Wyndham Grand Rio Mar2
Wyndham Grand Rio Mar, Puerto Rico

Mr. Gay World Puerto Rico and I then went to Santurce which he called the “gayborhood!” Our stop included Circo, a club renown as the top Saturday night hot spot for drinks and dancing!

Our first hotel was the Condado Plaza Hilton and my room on the 7th floor had outstanding ocean views! For the next two nights, we will stay at the Wyndham Grand Rio Mar. More news, photos and video from the road coming soon!

Do you have any Puerto Rico favorites? Share them in the comments below! Maybe we will film there next!

Thanks for following along! Lisa


exploratoryJean Kaneko is a tinkerer. Being around her and the Exploratory, no adult or child can help himself or herself, you feel swept up in the ability to gather parts from open containers and start to make. Perhaps you are drawn to scraps of fabric to design your own plushie animal or you prefer to create your own video game with marshmallow controllers. Jean has joined together pieces to design, build, create and be a maker. She also draws together Lawrence Hall of Science, AmeriCorp, VistaCorp, USC BioMedical Engineers, social scientists, parents, teachers from all levels and all types of schools as easily as she assembled over 200 small wooden pieces to build a nerdy derby from an open space design at MIT or make a MakerBot Replicator 2 3D printer print a “statue” of a board member from over 20 iPhone photos from 123D Catch.

Many people in American question, “What is wrong with education?” If you are ready to be part of the solution, drive to Culver City and come learn with Jean and her incredible team. The Los Angeles Times recently reported that the SAT will no longer penalize for guessing, obscure words will be removed and the essay will be optional. It is true that testing and authentic assessment in schools is a problem. It is an issue that teachers have been discussing for years at our Los Angeles Science Teacher Network Meetings. What rubric do you use to fairly measure students of different aptitudes? If students can be nine types of smart from Howard Gardner’s Frames of Mind, how do we measure them?

Students are asking if school is worth going to? What will they learn? Will they be truly engaged? Will there be jobs for them at the end? Parents are worried if students are learning the right things. Michael Milken recently spoke to a sold out crowd of Wharton graduates about Global Prosperity in the 21st Century. What will make a difference to our future and our economy? “Education.” He said: “Lifelong learning and engaged citizens who care about themselves and our planet.”

How do we inspire lifelong learning and creative problem solving? With making. Last Wednesday night at the Milken Institute, Milken remarked that in the future on the International Space Station instead of bringing every spare part required they will use a 3D printer. On Thursday night at the Exploratory, I saw my first 3D printer and its results. It is a combination of art, science, sweat, tears and love to make all of these components work. Students and teachers are dedicated to understanding how to use rhino, maya, google sketchup, tinkerCAD and the other flavor of the month software programs to understand design and the many programs necessary in the steps to 3D printing. Being educated is a moving goalpost as the tools keep changing.

If we want to support entrepreneurship in schools and what we really want as parents, as partners, as members of a democratic republic, is engaged citizens who can evaluate new tools and choose wisely which politician to lead us or which software to learn, buy and work with we must teach creative thinking and problem solving.

Sir Kenneth Robinson said in his book, The Element:

“Children starting school this year (2009) will be retiring in 2070. No one has any idea what the world will look like in ten years’ time, let alone in 2070. There are two major drivers of change–technology and demography. Technology is developing at a rate that most people cannot properly grasp….the world population has doubled in the past thirty years, from three to six billion. It may be heading for nine billion by the middle of the century. This great new mass of humanity will be using technologies that have yet to be invented in ways we cannot imagine and in jobs that don’t yet exist.”

Many parents complained to me when I was teaching their children about time. Students feel overwhelmed by their schedules during the day, afterschool, homework. They want to be in sports programs, maker clubs, orchestra, robotics, foreign language classes, student government. Adults feel overwhelmed by messages from email, text, Facebook friends, social media pressures, job stresses, and of course in Los Angeles by traffic. How do we find the time to go to the Maker events and discover what we can build?

The question is what are we working toward? Do we want a child with a 4.5GPA with a perfect SAT score and an admission to a top school or something else? Can we have it all at the same time? One thing we can all learn at Maker is to make our own opportunities.

Choose to get involved by being a mentor or take a class at the Exploratory, find yourself with Ann Bradney at Radical Aliveness this Saturday or watch a video of Awesome Sylvia, or Joey with his marshmallow air cannon. There are many ways to participate in changing education and ourselves. Commit to taking a step this week, have a conversation about what is the goal of education, or learn about the new “Tree of Possibilities” and five ways to power a hand-made boat. The Exploratory has a $35 drop in fee. Stop by and meet one the amazing fellows for “office hours.” Visit with a monthly membership for $75 for one parent and child. I wonder what you will decide to Make!

About the writer: Lisa Niver Rajna has been traveling and teaching since 1990. Find her at We Said Go Travel or Science Isn’t Scary.

Paris Letters Source Books Janice MacLeod

SEVEN DAYS LEFT to share your story in our Inspiration Travel Writing Contest!

We are looking for an article about a place that inspires you to spend your time with no regrets. FIRST PRIZE is $1,000usd. Total prizes: $1,750usd. CLICK HERE for more information and to ENTER! I thought your might need some inspiration from Paris so here is my recent article from the Huffington Post about the new memoir, Paris Letters.

Paris Letters Source Books Janice MacLeodParis Letters: Relax and Let the Journey Unfold

“Leap, and the net will appear,” says Janice MacLeod in her memoir, Paris Letters.When MacLeod realized that “I grew up; my dreams did not,” she decided to act. She began by with a New Years resolution in 2010 to become an artist. Simply choosing a path is powerful. On December 31, 2006, I made a resolution to find a long-term partner and buy a home. On January 18, 2007, I met George, who would become my travel partner and husband and within days, found a home which I made an offer on and still own.

Reading her memoir, Paris Letters, I was surprised at the similarities in her memoir and my own. While she was “thirty-four, single, lonely, feeling unfulfilled by my job, and on the brink of burnout,” I was slightly older (thirty-nine) and much heavier. We did have the same magic number. MacLeod decides: “For now, I had to save or make $100 a day.” When George and I decided to create a budget for our sabbatical year, we also used $100 a day as our goal.

Before I met George, I went though many of the choices that MacLeod made. I had read “Calling in the One: 7 Weeks to Attract the Love of Your Life,” and one of the suggestions was to clean out a drawer and make space in your life for love. I ended up cleaning out half of my house and taking 17 giant bags to National Council for Jewish Women Thrift Shop in West Los Angeles.

MacLeod began with cleaning out closets and realizing shopping more only brought clutter into the house. She ponders: “Was I getting rid of the things that got in the way of a remarkable life? Could I actually have a remarkable life underneath all this stuff?” Making conscious choices to take care of herself, paint more, finish letters and sell things she did not need allowed her to reach and surpass her goal “by doing a hundred little things to save or earn $100 a day. I managed to save almost $60,000, nearly twice what I thought I’d save.”

Read the full review: CLICK HERE!

Here is how my article ends:

MacLeod shares how she became kinder to herself:

I let myself stay home and paint rather than go out ‘just in case my soul mate was there.’ I started enjoying the process of unraveling my apartment and of not having as many choices in my closet. I walked more. I bought myself flowers. I started this journey by getting rid of clothes, but eventually I slowly peeled off the layers of judgments I had placed upon myself for failing to get married by the ripe old age of thirty-four. For failing to find happiness in my chosen career. For creating a life that wasn’t much fun. I let myself off the hook. I forgave myself for the judgments. The truth is that I did the best I could with what I knew at the time. And at some point, I had the good sense to change my usual self-inflicting, unnecessary, and lame New Year’s resolution from an uncreative ‘lose ten pounds’ to a simple practice of writing in my journal. It was this slight change that got the ball rolling.

I hope that you have made resolutions you can keep. Maybe try a new one this year as a Valentine’s gift to yourself. To write in your journal. To take a daily walk. Or to become “The artist who is the head honcho creative director of her own life. We must know how to design our lives. We are all artists, and each day is a canvas.” Paint something beautiful!

About this ReviewLisa NIver Rajna is traveling the world with her soul mate and husband, George. They left Los Angeles in July 2012. Follow their journey at We Said Go Travel. Read about their underwater engagement in Thailand in Traveling in Sin.