EPISODE 014: How Can Someone’s Travel & Life Experiences Lead to a New Business Venture?

Have you been itching to maybe start something new for your career? Maybe not necessarily CHANGE careers at this point, but dip your toe in something new on the side?  

Are you at a loss for what that might be, or even if you have an idea, you don’t know where to start? 

In August, The Career Passport is exploring this theme of starting something interesting on the side and potentially expanding it eventually to BE your career. We’re talking a lot about the early stages of this, the part a lot of people skip over or don’t really talk about when sharing their stories. We’re talking with people in the thick of it- they’ve started something, but they’re in the beginning stages of it, so they’re just a few short steps ahead of you (meaning: your idea is TOTALLY doable!) 

This week on Episode 014: Building Your Side Hustle With Focus and Sanity, we’re talking with Mari DiChiara, Founder of Mari on the Map, a different kind of travel experiences and advice blog. I’ll let her tell you more, but the big thing that makes me go back to the site almost weekly is that she really succeeds in making sure people with limited vacation time and dollars look back on the trip with really great memories and know that all of the travel experiences they had were totally worth their limited time off.  

travel experiences


How Mari’s Travel Experiences, Etc Led to Mari On the Map 


We’re talking with Mari about the verrrrry early beginnings of her service and blog, so that you can see what the very beginning of an idea looks like. I want you to grab a listen to get your own nuggets from this juicy episode, but I’ll share what stuck out to me the most here, so that you can start to see these things for yourself in your own life. 

  1. The Setup/Circumstances: Mari recognized she wasn’t feeling that creatively challenged and she noticed an idea a friend to post a photo a day on Instagram, and she adapted that to be around something she loved- travel.  What’s missing for you and how can you recognize it and go out and get it? 
  1. Say Yes to New (Travel) Experiences: This is something we bring up often on the show and Mari underscores the importance of it in the genesis of her website and service. You’ll see how she says ‘yes’ when you listen, but I urge you to think of ways you can say ‘yes’ to new things to open up doors for yourself.  


Early Stage Trial and Error 


And as always, I’m not just going to stop with the very beginnings of Mari’s blog! We’re also talking about her process as she’s moving through the first phases including: 


  • Juggling the blog with work and consulting projects – specific hacks and systems she uses to keep it moving and growing 
  • Monetizing: How she’s currently thinking of ways to potentially turn this into a full time thing down the road. 


Because here’s the thing- we often see people who are, in our eyes, massive successes and we often have this misconception that it just sprang up overnight.  


Rarely do we see the beginning stages of something, the trial and errors, the hours it takes to create one simple page….and THAT, my friends, is often the reason we give up before we really even get started, so I’m SO grateful to Mari for sharing these ebbs and flows with us today on the show! 


And I’ll leave you with one of my favorite pearls of wisdom from Mari: 


“The learning process should never end – if you’re asking how and why all the time, then you’re always learning something new and growing.” 


Show Notes (Timings are Approximate) 


Mari’s decision to pursue Mari on the Map: 2:25 

Saying Yes (to new travel experiences, et al) 7:55 

Making the most of time off (travel experiences hack!) 9:15 

Travel Experiences Enrich the rest of your life 11:15 

Creating White Space for Idea Generating 13:50 

Doubts & How She Overcame Them: 17:40 

The Next Phase for Mari on the Map- The Evolution to Monetization:  21:35 

The WINS for Putting Your Authentic Self Out in the World 27:00 

Juggling Work, Consulting & Mari on the Map- Hacks & Tips: 28:40 

Rapid Fire Travel Questions (with the expert this time!!): 41:00 




Resources Mentioned on the Show 

Guide on How to Launch a Blog 

The Chiang Mai (Thailand) cooking class she took 

The Puerta Cerrada (Closed door Restaurant) she went to in Mendoza 

Career Passport Travel Episode with Lynze Ballay 

League of Kitchens – Cooking classes in NYC 



Stay in Touch with Mari: 


Get updates on her latest travel guides 




Episode 013: Building A Biz You Love From Scratch + What it Takes to Be a Graphic Designer

building a biz

Alex Harper is the CEO and Founder of Women of Culture, a women’s arts organization in NYC. Her mission is to bring women from all walks of life and all types of backgrounds around interest and love of culture.

The Career Passport Podcast’s theme this month is all about building a biz around what you love or find important. You’ll hear from women doing this in a variety of ways- as a full-time corporate job, as a side project/side business or as a full-time business. There’s no right or wrong here, and I think these stories will open your mind to all manner of ways to think about what might be interesting to you as a career move- either now or in a couple of years.

(If you want to hear all about Alex building a biz, fast forward to 18:30.)

What struck me about Alex is her evolution as she created Women of Culture.  This wasn’t a bolt of the blue kind of moment where she just KNEW she had to do this. Some of my key takeaways are here, but grab the episode by clicking the button below and see for yourself:

  • WRITING: She started with diving deep with a journal. Really working to uncover experiences that mattered to her as a child and things she was missing from her current experience
  • COMMUNITY: She joined a community of like-minded people and creators working on ideas for their next project(s). She found support and camaraderie from the structure of the group and it really helped her with building a biz.
  • DOLLAH DOLLAH BILLS: In the past, she would have dismissed an idea like Women of Culture because “it’s not what’s making me money right now”. Alex busts through that way of thinking like a champ on the show and shows how a side project can become a side business- and who knows- with her awesome plans for expansion, potentially a full-time thing soon!
  • OPEN TO RECEIVING: With all the above in place, her mindset was in an ‘open to receiving’ frequency. If you don’t have that, ideas that come your way bounce off and go somewhere to wither and die. So how can you change your circumstances, just a little bit, to be open to receiving?

And if you didn’t think that was enough juicy goodness for one show, we did talk to her about what it’s like to be a graphic designer, her day job, for our Day in the Life Series. This part is first on the show, so if this is a field you’re interested in, check this part of the show out. She goes into detail on:


  • Differences between agency life and in-house
  • Skillsets required
  • Portfolio tips
  • Professional resources and associations
  • What a day in the life is like



Show Notes (Timings are Approximate)


Graphic Designer Day in the Life: 2:19

Agency versus In-House: 5:30

Skillsets Needed and Nice to Haves: 8:11

Portfolio Must-Haves & Tailoring: 8:36

“Verticals” within graphic design 9:35

Career Progression 14:30

How to be a standout graphic designer 15:50

Women of Culture intro: 18:32

How she decided to do something outside her 9-5: 20:06

Her journaling methodology: 21:45

How did she get started? 25:40

Juggling Women of Culture with full time job 28:15

Future expansion of Women of Culture/ Business Evolution 29:45

What makes her heart sing 32:55

Upcoming events: 34:33



Resources Mentioned on the Show:


Art Director’s Club

Career Change Kitchen Online Career Transition Course

Upcoming Women of Culture events


How You Can Reach Alex:


Click here to get updates on the latest events

Instagram: @womenofculture1


Episode 012: Seeking: Sane Financial Advice & Perspective


On this week’s show, we’re talking to Amanda Holden, Founder of Invested Development and the Dumpster Dog Blog. She seriously keeps it real about all things money, finance and investing, as you’re about to see.

I knew I just HAD to talk to Amanda when I saw her article on Career Contessa where I am a mentor, about how she saved $30k, quit her job and moved to South America for a year (kinda like I did in 2012 too!). So I knew we’d have a ton to talk about just surrounding our sabbaticals, but little did I know what a treat I was in for with her perspectives and knowledge around savings, investment, and retirement.  We’re talking to her on this week’s show: “Seeking: Sane Financial Advice & Perspective with Amanda Holden.”

I’m gonna break this post down into two main sections so you can get a taste before listening:

  • Her thoughtful and present career trajectory and what you can learn from it
  • A couple juicy finance tidbit that you can get more of by listening to the show






Like many of us, Amanda kinda fell into a job after college. She knew she could get a job there and it would compensate her well, so she went for it.  Like most of us after college (many of us with debt), that’s the prudent path that makes sense.

But here’s where her path diverged. She disliked the job jusssst enough to do something about it. What struck me was that even with the long hours and grueling day to day slog of her finance job, she was able to have the presence of mind to pull herself back from the hamster wheel and realize there was something out there for her, but that she needed a break to figure it out for herself.  And that’s when her sabbatical plan was hatched. Grab the episode to learn more about how she saved $30k in 6 months to move abroad and leave her job, and how she ended up as a founder of a growing company that shares investment advice for women.

So, if you’re sitting here reading this and about to click play, think about where your career is at and think of ways to have enough presence of mind to pull yourself back from getting on that hamster wheel (if it’s indeed a hamster wheel that is keeping you from doing something else). Maybe that’s going on a long weekend alone, carving out journal time each week or something else.







Amanda dishes a lot of perspective on the show (and you can get even more on her site here), so I’ll keep it simple here. We dig deeper into all of these on the show:

  • Start now. Even though Amanda gets that we in our 20s and 30s have a lot of other expenses as we figure stuff out, starting NOW is key to be able to take advantage of longer a timeframe of investing AND compound returns.
  • Share financial goals with friends! I’d say this one’s so important- we also talked about it a few weeks back with The Fiscal Femme. It’s important to be honest so your friends can support you (and help you not buy that $80 blouse)
  • Consider the approach of saving within specific confines, rather than ‘spending in moderation’ when trying to achieve a big goal
  • Being hellbent on buying a home can’t come at the cost of your retirement.
  • Start with the WHY behind savings and investments and THEN move into investment basics. Don’t overwhelm yourself with how and where at the start.  It’s so important to have a good foundational understanding first!


I hope you enjoy this one- Amanda is a breath of fresh air in the often (old, white, male) traditional investment space. Drop her a line if you need some help kickstarting you finances


Show Notes (Timings are Approximate)


What led Amanda to move abroad: 1:45

Amanda’s plan for her sabbatical 5:45

Planning Finance plan for sabbatical: 10:00

Why she’s talking about money now: 13:05

Amanda’s savings philosophy 16:35

The foundations of retirement 18:30

The importance of “paying yourself first” 23:50

How path dependency and Parkinson’s Law can derail your finances 27:45


Resources Mentioned on the Show:


Career Contessa– Resources and Perspectives for Millennial Women

Amanda’s Investment Blog: Dumpster Dog Blog

Amanda’s article on Career Contessa– How She Saved $30,000 in 8 Month

Parkinson’s Law

Path Dependence

Ellevest– Investment platform and advice for women


Where you Can Find Amanda:



Episode 011: That Digital Nomad Life, Though: How To Make Your Dream a Reality

digital nomad

digital nomad

SO…..you wanna be a digital nomad, butttttttt:

  • You don’t know where to start
  • You’ll most definitely relegate yourself to a life of Cup O’ Noodles and overdrawing your checking account
  • Who are you to quit a stable job with a steady paycheck?
  • You’re the most undisciplined person ever and will binge watch “Glow” on Netflix all day

I could keep listing all the things that could possibly come up when you contemplate actually going for something that’s been your dream for awhile now, but I think you’re intimately aware of them all.

INSTEAD, let’s do two things:

  1. Grab our Bust Your Fear Worksheet here, which we talk about on the show
  2. Turn to the Career Passport Podcast this week and talk to Erin Greenawald, who spent about six years as an editor of branded content for the Muse, a hugely popular career website for millennials. Erin quit the Muse and flew off into the sunset to become a digital nomad seamlessly and she lived happily ever after.

Sike. It didn’t happen like that at all, and Erin is giving us the real skinny on how she realized she wanted to do this, how she pushed through resistance to stick to the goal and how she actually is working through structuring her life (hint: it’s a work in progress).

“When it came to where I was professionally, my heart and my gut had different opinions (than my mind) on what I should be doing.” – Erin Greenawald, on how she realized she wanted a change


If you’ve wanted to make a leap like this- or really trying anything new like a new entrepreneurial venture, for example, this show is a MUST. LISTEN.  I’m going to include some of the gems here but to get the full raw beauty of this show, you gotta listen.


digital nomad


  • When thinking about a big change, ask yourself: “Could you use what you have to give yourself the freedom to clear out what’s not working and open up space to find what is working?”
  • Structuring an unstructured life: It’s trial and error and a lot of reevaluating
  • The notion of patience around an unstructured move like this – a different perspective on career (and the impact of social media on your feelings on your career)
  • What if EASE is a metric to help you define success? (Versus hours logged or ‘working yourself to death”
  • How to use authenticity to attract your tribe and potential digital nomad work
  • Change is ongoing- it’s not like most people wake up one day and say, “I’m making a change!!” and then they go full steam ahead with their plan with no reservations. There are ongoing hurdles and this is NORMAL.

Anyway, I’m going to hand it over to your earbuds now so you can grab the episode on your way into work. Maybe, just maybe, it will plant a further seed in you to take the smallest ittiest bittiest next step in your quest to be a digital nomad of some sort.

And don’t forget- we’re on a lot of other platforms now for the Podcast, in case you don’t have iTunes. You can check ‘em out below.


Show Notes (Timings are approximate)

2:15 How Erin realized she wanted to try the “digital nomad” lifestyle + imposter syndrome

5:20 The moment she realized she had to radically listen to her gut

7:00 Perspectives on change

10:35 “Sending Ships” Tool

12:30 Examples of Ships

16:00 What has clicked into place for Erin and what’s she still working on?

18:00 The positives of ‘moving home’

19:20 Structuring days as a digital nomad

24:50 Patience

28:30 Authenticity as a tool to attract your tribe and opportunities

30:45 Resources Erin consulted to figure this out

35:00 Rapid fire Travel Questions


Agenda for 2017 Hustle Fest– at the New Women’s Space

Angela Jia Kim’s “Sending Ships” Tool Crisis Textline

Sheryl Sandberg’s Career Jungle Gym – in Lean In

Erin’s article on the decision to quit her job: https://grow.acorns.com/having-a-cash-cushion-allowed-me-to-quit-a-job-i-hated/



The Artist’s Way- 12 week program on re-tapping into your creativity

Danielle LaPorte: The FireStarter Sessions

digital nomad

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digital nomad

Episode 010: Day in the Life of a Learning and Development Professional

learning and development


There’s something for everyone in this episode, and I’m so excited to be able to share it with you.


We have Garvey Chui, Founder of the Verb Group, among many other things that you’ll learn about in this episode, on the show this week to talk about two things:


  1. What it’s like to be in Learning and Development, as part of our ongoing “Day in the Life” Series
  2. How to weave together a narrative that may seem “all over the place” to the untrained eye (and by extension, how to do all that you love in your work and life)


learning and development


The Career Passport is about NOT having your dream job, and Garvey is an excellent example to underpin how important I think this crucial idea is. One of her major life influencers, Gary McPherson (read about this crazy inspiring dude here, here or this book here), taught her the importance of not sticking to one career. He also taught her that connecting ideas, best practices and people from around the world is what makes work exciting and leads to lasting and continual change. So, along with her mother teaching her to challenge the status quo, Garvey set out to create quite the career for herself.

But being a learning and development professional is not all that Garvey does. In the second part of the show, we delve into the complicated topic most people like to avoid- how to weave together a narrative when you do a bunch of different things. You’ll see she also helps people with legacy planning and helps people transition to the startup/entrepreneurial world, among other things.  We’re talking with her about:

  • Her 3 key influences that keep her moving everyday
  • Key skillsets for someone looking to get into learning and development
  • A week in the life of a learning and development professional (We created a tool here that’s a dossier of sorts to get you started with your L&D research)
  • How to package your narrative when you do a lot of different things?
  • Why Knowing your Audience is KEY for narrative work
  • How she gets around pigeonholing herself (but still creates a story that resonates and moves her forward)

learning and development

Like I said, there’s something for everyone in this show, whether you’re into L&D or not. So grab a listen and grab the tool and let us know what you think in the comments below!



Show Timings (Timings are Approximate)


Garvey’s Intro & Notes on Her Narrative: 2:15

Digital Nomad & Inspiration to Do It: 5:20

Ebbs and Flows of Digital Nomad-ding 11:10

What it’s Like to Be In Learning and Development: 12:15

What are the core things needed and what can you learn on the job? 17:40

Typical Week in the Life of L&D Professional: 21:00

What Goes Into Creating an L&D Program: 24:00

Part 2 of the Show:  Crafting Your Narrative for a Diverse Background: 28:55

You Don’t Need to get it Just Right: 32:10

If Your Narrative Feels Untidy, Do This: 34:20

Working with Garvey on Your Transition 38:40




Resources Mentioned In the Show:


Garvey Chui’s information



Instagram: @nomiz & @influencersoftheweek

Intel on Digital Nomad Communities: http://www.ozy.com/fast-forward/pro-tip-for-digital-nomad-wannabes-watch-out-for-the-scammers/76169 

Gary McPherson:





Recent stats show 50% of the US workforce holds a job that lets them telecommute at least partially. Majority of these individuals travel while they work remotely, introducing them to the Digital Nomad community. 

Here are some resources if you want to learn more on what to do, how to do it, and where to go for reliable wifi and comfortable  accommodations:

Nomad Forum – the go-to Q&A site for digital nomads and remote workers to exchange information on working remotely

Remote Year brings together professionals from across the globe to spend a year working, traveling, and exploring 12 cities around the world, spending one month in each location.

Unsettled offers the ability to live and work month-to-month across destinations in multiple countries.

30 day immersion – useful whether you’re an entrepreneur or to increase your cultural intelligence – Taiwan specific

Hailley Griffis provides a great summary of some of these “digital nomad plug and play” communities


MOOCs (Massive Open Online Communities) platforms to  up-skill  (for free!) online:

Notable ones in the US are:

Here’s more info on MOOCs.

-Lastly, here is a course on Cultural Intelligence (with is the capacity to relate and work effectively across different types of cultures) with Common Purpose and FutureLearn.


learning and development


Free Downloadable Tool

Listen via iTunes

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Listen via PocketCasts

Listen via PodDirectory

learning and development