The crisp and cool of Autumn arrived on the 3rd week of September. I spent a week in bed gripped by a flu slash cold slash plague. It’s amazing how a cool breeze and weakened state of mind can create a space for thoughtful introspection. Since June 1st, four months wow, I have been working in the wonderful world of freelance. My first foray into entrepreneurship.
The idea to write this blog post came to me after standing on my balcony, staring across the cold and endless horizon that is Lake Ontario. I hopped back into my apartment, wrapped a sweater around my shivering torso and started typing. I thought this change in season was a perfect way to reflect on the summer and throw my ideas for the future out into the universe.
I returned to Toronto this Spring after spending five exhausting weeks running around Scandinavia, Russia and the Baltics on a press trip I had coordinated with eight tourism boards. I reviewed over 60 restaurants, stayed at some of the most stunning hotel properties and enjoyed a refreshing solo travel experience. Traveling on your own is such therapy: wandering through art galleries, skipping through markets and having the time to reflect on life while controlling your own iTunes playlist.
Insert Enya “Sail Away” reflection rhythms, to set the tone…
I returned to Toronto a little bit excited and a little bit nervous about my next chapter. I decided to structure my day so that I guaranteed productivity. I would spend my mornings answering client emails, responding to press releases, writing and tweeting. In the afternoons I would make a home made lunch, enjoy a swim at the pool and work on various projects. Evenings included running around to restaurants, events and sometimes finding time to sleep a full eight hours (what a marvel). I tried my hardest to read one book this summer. I’m almost finished Norwegian Wood and happy I’ve had an author to inspire me. Murakami’s romantic tale set in Tokyo was a great source of escapism.
This summer has been full of fantastic opportunities:
- networking with some of the cities most inspiring personalities
- working with a broader group of PR Pro’s
- acting as a judge for the 2012 Ontario Culinary Tourism Awards
- Brand Ambassadorship with Iogo Canada and Eatzclub
- switching my blog from wordpress.com to wordpress.org
- working closely with Sean Beckingham at Branding and Buzzing to create social media and blogger outreach programming for top notch clients
- reviewing over 400 restaurants in Toronto
So what’s next? My family is just finalizing our plans for a trip to South Africa in the late Fall. I think a little safari and wine therapy is exactly what I need after such a busy summer. It will surely be one of the most memorable travel experiences to date (my first visit to Africa) and am glad I get to share it with my family.
My Goals Moving into 2013:
- continue to devour Toronto’s dining scene. Once I’ve reached 500 reviews I expect someone to send me to fat camp
- continue to create fruitful relationships with brands that resonate with dobbernationLOVES
- investing in a blog redesign to better showcase the breadth of my writing
- regular exercise to ward off weight gain and support healthy body and mind
- fine tuning my focus from restaurant reviews to more diversified content such as fashion, theatre and weekly cheese and beverage product reviews
This Fall and Winter I am looking forward to working with new clients and continuing to foster the relationships in which I have been so lucky to have made. If you are a Toronto based company, whether a small business or large corporate brand looking for a little dobbernationLOVES treatment please get in contact with me. I’m excited to diversify my client base! Who knows I may find myself working part time to hone a few of my skills at an agency. I do sort of miss the social experience that only a workplace can provide.
If you are a freelancer who just read through my ramblings and “totally get it” tweet at me! I want to foster more friendships with entrepreneurs as I feel we can learn a lot from each other. And hey, I make pretty good muffins #justsayin
When it really comes down to it…what I really do hope for myself and for all of you out there that are reading this on the interweb, is that you can wake up every morning excited to be alive. With a smile on your face and with passion in your heart. I’ve learned this summer that it is not exactly easy. There are fantastic days that peak and slow days that roll into valleys. My goal is that sometime soon I will be able to drive myself onto a highway where I can zoom, smooth sailing into the sunset until the horizon greets me with a warm kiss.