Hello, everybody. It has been seven months since I posted anything here on my blog. That’s because I have been busy posting things on other people’s blogs. And getting paid for it!
It all started in May, 2014 when I contacted an automotive blog, Gas 2.0, and inquired about writing opportunities. They said they just happened to be looking for a writer. I did a few stories for them and they liked my work, so soon I was doing a post a day for them.
Gas 2.0 happens to be part of a larger enterprise called Important Media, which has about 20 blogs within its corporate umbrella. All are devoted to some aspect of sustainability including recycling, solar power, energy efficiency and climate change. Soon, I started writing for some of those other sites as well.
Then last December, I was contacted by a fellow in Munich, Germany who has a blog that focuses on alternative fuel vehicles – hybrids, plug-in hybrids, electric cars, and hydrogen fuel cell cars. In other words, anything new and hot in the world of transportation that lowers the carbon footprint of our cars and trucks.
He asked me to write for him and I agreed. Now, I am up to doing about 100 posts a month for him and still writing for all those other sites. He recommended me to another website that specializes in all things having to do with Tesla Motors. Suddenly, I find myself with as much work as I can handle and sometimes a little more.
The reason this all came about is because in September, Carolyn begins her last full year of teaching. After it’s over, we will be free to travel whenever we want, instead of only during school vacations. I want to be able to continue earning income after I give up being a state constable, something I have been doing for more than 12 years.
Blogging lets me work anytime I wish from anywhere in the world. My daily time zone is defined by one fellow in Warsaw, another in Munich, another in Silicon Valley, and a fourth in Honolulu. At this point, I am earning about as much from blogging as I do from being a constable, so I can give up my “day job”, work from anywhere and suffer no significant loss of income. You gotta love that!
I have no boss and no fixed time schedule. Yes, I still need to work if Carolyn and I are to be able to travel the way we want, but I can do so from a hill town in Tuscany, an island in the Aegean, a cottage in the Black Hills, or an apartment in Australia.
There’s another aspect to this that is critically important to me. I am now a man of a “certain age. ” I couldn’t get a job in the regular workforce no matter how qualified I might be. The economic system is biased against older workers and that is just a fact of life. Online, I am not judged by my appearance or my birth certificate. I am judged solely on the merit of my writing.
I have known people who were born before there were airplanes, televisions or spaceships. I marveled at all the changes they saw in their lifetime. I was born before the invention of the transistor. I thought “high tech” meant stereo sound. My last year of college, incoming freshmen were required to learn some basic computer skills. I considered myself lucky that I didn’t have to get involved with all that nonsense. Computers? Phhffft. Who cared?
Now, the computer is providing a path for an older person like me to continue earning a living instead of spending my days playing canasta with the other old crocks down at the senior center. It has also broadened my horizons. My writing keeps me current with the latest technological changes in many fields as well as the political policies in countries around the world designed to promote sustainability.
While I am grateful for the opportunities the internet provides me, it has not brought us together the way old hippies like me thought Woodstock and the Age of Aquarius would. In fact, it has splintered us into more and more factions. It has enabled the rise of hate groups and promoted a resurgence of racism. Instead of bringing us together, it is driving us apart.
I recently came across a quote attributed to Marshall McLuhan and I find it very enlightening. In fact, it has become my new mantra. “We shape our tools and thereafter our tools shape us.” (Some say McLuhan never actually said that. It came from his close friend Father John Culkin, a professor of communication at Fordham University and friend of McLuhan.
We live in a digital age. We are surrounded by digital technology, enveloped by it, enmeshed in it, and ensnared by it. Apple and Google are said to be working hard on building their own automobiles. Do they hope to compete with Tesla? Probably not.
More than likely, Apple wants drivers to buy more stuff from its Apple Store. A Google car will know where we are at all times and deliver targeted ads directly to our touchscreens as we drive. In other words, digital technology may represent the ultimate victory for those who want to sell us stuff. I take little joy in that prospect.
I look forward to staying connected with you all online. And thanks for following my blog.