Self employment and the mobile office

June 12, 2012

My apologies for not having been more present here since my last entry on May 13  where I did a shout out to get more Amazon reviews. I am happy to see that some people took the time and effort to put down their opinions which is highly appreciated and useful.

The main reason for my silence over the last four weeks was that I became very busy, if not to use the term “over extended” with my business venture, which in the meantime has developed into a full-time job. The main reason why time is an issue these days is that my mental creation and the visions I had during the disastrous stage of being mentally burned out during the year 2007 took shape and form and now in 2012, five years later, one morning I woke up and realized that I have a business to run. Before, my business was a hobby, something I did on the side, something I was able to squeeze in whenever I had time, something which produced a fair amount of pocket-money  but now it has grown into a true small business with all its perks, problems and day-to-day routine. And, there are a lot of day-to-day responsibilities to keep everything up and running and so I can proudly call myself the “Allrounder” covering activities from the highest management level to the lowest janitorial duties. I love it.

Basically now I have what I was dreaming about a long time before I had the guts to take a hike from the corporate world and venture out on my own. Times are still not secure and self-employment is a very fragile undertaking and cumbersome thing, time intensive, mind-boggling and at times stressful.  I wonder how all this will develop further in the course of this year.

The freedom in self-employment is priceless but it also takes a lot of self-discipline and responsibility.

In order to make the most of it with all other activities I am involved in I have created my mobile office. In other words – integration of work and fun whenever possible. Correspondence is mobile, supervision can be mobile, telephone calls can be taken wherever there is reception.  A smart phone is the most important tool in the tool box of the self employed.I can spread my electronics on a rock overlooking the Pacific Ocean, on a stretch of green grass looking at a lake, sitting in a street Café  or sipping wine in wine country. The ever-present mobile office just makes it more interesting to be in business on your own.

Everything has evolved over the last five years and has developed accordingly, and  now I am at the point where I have to manage my time more effectively. Once again it takes thought, strategy and execution and every step I take today can materialize tomorrow and can create more opportunities in the future. Having said all this, I definitely will continue to give updates in the blog but most probably they will be more sporadic going forward.

Here are some impression of my first mobile office when Highway 1 called for a beautiful ride over memorial day weekend.


A new bike and much more

April 29, 2012

A lot has happened again in the past two weeks since my book reading at the Moto Shop in South San Francisco. Also, the first introduction of the To Drink the Wild Air music video let the world go  (somewhat) “wild” and our You Tube links went truly hot for a little while there in cyberspace.

For anyone who missed it  the first time around  Sassy Kool and Birgit Soyka

We all know how the world works nowadays and what networking and spreading the word can do and so the video also found enthusiastic attention in Germany. As a result I have received an E-mail from a friend establishing contact to a famous racing team.  This is not just any race team  but a team dedicated to  win  the “e-power championship” series  (organized by  the Fédération Internationale de Motocyclisme)  of electrical motorbikes, a world series championship only existing  since 2010. Hence the  revolution of electric bikes and its ability to compete for our attention in the future.  What is being tested on the race track today will be stock production tomorrow, therefore all the racing activities out there have some research and development aspects to consider. It seems that the e-bike series is also the series where most female riders can be found. One of the most famous female road racers was Katja Poensgen who competed fairly successful in the GP 250 scene in the year 2001. Now she was spotted as a new team member of the Münch racing team competing again on an electric bike.

The Moto GP in Laguna Seca, California is around the corner, an event featuring the best of the best in motorcycle racing. The event is scheduled from July 27 to July 29 2012. It also will feature the e-bike series. I was invited to meet the  German Münch racing team and its members.  I am looking very much forward to it in order to get one step closer to see the racing action of the e-bike scene from the first row seat.

You can find more information here :  http://www.muenchmotorbikes.com/en/intro/

But this was only half of the news. The other earthshattering event of last week was that I went out and got a brand new motorcycle to experience the sharp technology of 2012. I skipped 18 years of  technical motorcycle development but now I’ve got one of those beasts and even though it “only” is a 600 cc engine this Suzuki GSX-R 600 is a rocket ship. I am quiet happy with the purchase and will enjoy every single mile on in.  Here are some pics when I picked it up from the dealership this weekend.


Party, Cops and a Locksmith

February 5, 2012

Last week a Facebook message has worked its way to my absorbing eyeballs.

It read “To Drink the Wild Air Chapter 5, Page 90I was enjoying my life to the fullest, and I never, ever rejected an invitation to a good party.  Someone was reading my book and was challenging me.  Hey – it still is a valid statement – and so I spent my Saturday night at a happening, lively, gone viral party which was planned for around 25 people and 100 showed up. I don’t have to elaborate about a roof top party down town San Francisco on a warm winter night,  having drinks in front of an outdoor bonfire and cooling off with a swim in the swimming pool. For me the drinks yes – but swimming –  not my thing anymore.  Techno was blasting, a dance floor was created, free flow of chicken wings, good talks, cool people, the evening was splendid.

As a responsible citizen I decided to go home before 1 AM. The whole city was pumping with Techno music, one party after another, heavy down town traffic jams had to be conquered, especially on Mission Street.  Finally traffic was flowing, it was dark – I saw three dark creatures stepping in front of my car. Cops with a guy in hand cuffs. I slammed my breaks feeling a bright flashlight beam in my face. They had other problems I guessed and kept on going. Already half through the city it hit me like a ton of bricks   “Where is my damn phone “???? Well- it was not with me. I stopped the car- looked for the phone. Fancy people have two phones. Called myself – no ring tone. Phone was gone. Back to the party crossing down town again! Traffic jam, Cops, people in handcuffs and Techno music.

I re-traced all my steps and ended up at  our party again- it was 1. 30 AM. Found the phone under a chair where it slipped out of my pocket. Relieved I left the party a second time. Crossed the city a fourth time, arrived at my house at 2.15 AM. Now it became chili. Too cold for my short sleeves and light jacket. It was a good night  and satisfied with the evening I  put my key into the front door lock– key got stuck , didn’t move and broke !!! The door was closed.  Hmmmm- and now what?

I was sitting on my front steps thinking about Mexico when I forgot my keys one night in the office and had to spend the entire night in my car in front of my apartment building. That was summer in Mexico City and Juan brought some blankets – this is San Francisco in the winter and nobody brought any blankets.

Thank God I found my phone earlier because otherwise my perspectives for that night would have been more than bleak. A Hotel would have been the ultimate solution but preferably I really was interested to get into my own house.  Thanks to Blackberry and the Internet I found a 24 hour locksmith. I was sitting on the front steps for 30 minutes waiting for that guy and freezing my butt off. The moon was shining and the ocean breeze was palpable. 

At  2 AM the sleepy locksmith finally arrived. He put himself to work with a critical look on his face. Only solution was to drill out the lock and put in a new one. This took another 40 minutes. The bill and night service was stiff but it was the inevitable at that moment.  Another lesson for San Francisco. Never leave home  without a sweater !!!!!

Finally at 3 AM I crawled into bed. More than 2 hours after leaving a party only seven  miles from my house…..  So much to another eventful Saturday. It was a great night.


True friendship

January 30, 2012

Last Friday I received a phone call from an old friend I haven’t seen for 27 years!!   All I heard through the cell phone lines was:  “ I will be in  San Francisco !!!!!”

TWENTY  SEVEN (27) YEARS!! This is a damn long time, and hard to grasp that it was even possible to lose touch of each other for such a long time.  Just go to Chapter 9 of “To Drink the Wild Air” and read the story of The wingspan of a free spirit. The story contains adventure, compassion, friendship and an unforgettable road trip with my run down bike. Bernie, selflessly spent a night at the General County hospital in Los Angeles with me while some doctors butchered my highly damaged foot which only hours before was mangled in a motorcycle accident. There was no one else around. I was alone in a city without mercy. But one human, I hardly knew to that time, helped out and carried a big weight in the final outcome of this miserable situation and subsequently of the course of my whole life.

Now, 27 years later on a Saturday afternoon Bernie knocked on my door, I opened the door and we started  talking like it just was yesterday. We spent a beautiful weekend roaming the beautiful Bay Area and reminiscing from the first to the last minute of his stay. Luckily this trip included his 65th birthday.

Such instances make us very aware what real friendships are all about in oppose to our many Facebook friends we painstakingly maintain to be informed and to stay “cyber technically” connected. Fortunately an old organically grown and maintained friendship delivers proof enough that it is more worth throughout a life time to know a few people in depth than knowing thousands of people superficially.

The ultimate truth is that time is relative. Those 27 years seemed like they were compressed into 48 hours but once talking about the happenings of 27 years- time revealed its true nature and intention. Twenty seven years can also be a very very long time.  Our youthful faces have made room for the lines of the infrastructure of life experience, wisdom has conquered recklessness, we all need reading glasses, our thoughts are utterly structured and we are forced to listen to the requirement of our physical bodies. 27 years leave undeniable tracks on our psyche, physical bodies and our mind. This is the human condition. Everyone will experience the same sooner or later.

Bernie, my friend, I am glad we had the opportunity to celebrate your 65th birthday together. It was an honor, great pleasure and a lots of fun.


Books, Volunteers and Moto Shop

January 23, 2012

Last week I still had time to dream about Alaska when I came across a blog of two adventurous girls traveling the most northern state on their BMW motorcycles.  But more about Alaska later – right now let’s stick around the Bay Area were things are happening.

Yesterday was a wet and busy day. I took the bike to pro-actively attack the perpetual parking grid log in San Francisco and then continued down to South San Francisco to visit the open house event of the new Bay Area Moto Shop. Needless to say I arrived there pretty wet.

My first appointment was the volunteer meeting for the famous San Francisco Writers Conference  http://www.sfwriters.org/ scheduled for February 16 -19, 2012. I am privileged that I was accepted as a volunteer for those three days of discussing writing, publishing and Marketing. Over 100 industry speakers will share their experiences and offer services important for everyone interested to sharpen their trade. The place where Writers, agents and publishers celebrating Craft, Commerce and Community. Those four days of volunteering will be stressful but well worth my time. I am looking forward to create new connections, meet likeminded people and to get new ideas for 2012.   It took two hours to be informed about the duties of the 85 volunteers gathered in the California Room of the Mark Hopkins Hotel in San Francisco. The meeting was followed by a Hotel tour which revealed nothing short of old San Franciscan style and beauty.

After that meeting I saddled my bike and went down south to the open door event of the Bay Area Moto Shop. http://www.bayareamotoshop.com/ . The place where every rider, biker or two wheel enthusiast can work on their bike or scooter and take classes to learn how to do it yourself.

I think this is a grand idea and I will take some classes to wipe away those cobwebs I have accumulated over the years to re-acquaint myself with ancient technology like carburetors, oil changes and other important maintenance issues. Well yes- carburetors are a thing of the past before fuel injection took over the bike world but we still deal with them in the older models. My bike is old!

I will be involved with the Moto Shop and we are planning to schedule a “To Drink the wild Air” event in April of 2012. It is still too early to talk about it but it will be posted plenty in advance.

Looks like I will be busy over the next months. Tomorrow we will be out on the road again. Hopefully the weather will cooperate and the sun can come out to play.


Dreaming of….

January 16, 2012

I went to wine country yesterday to savor the beauty of the lush landscapes cradling the many vineyards of northern California and its mild climate. I was sitting in the sun with a glass of wine and started to dream about the glaciers in Alaska. It was relaxing and soothing.  I still see the glaciers in my mind like it was just yesterday when I was up north to find peace for myself and I love to read the part in “To Drink the Wild Air” where I can re-live my experiences with pictures and sounds.

Its shape and blue-white color was of incomprehensible size and beauty, and only the privileged bald eagles with their enormous wings were able to land on the remote heights of the peaks, on top of the world between raw ice and the Universe. This mountain of ice seemed to soar endlessly into the air before my eyes, marrying the colors of the white-tipped crystals with the most beautiful and intense marine blue of this mighty sky, and continuing into the distance until it was stopped by the horizon. Each huge slab of ice breaking off the glacier created a rolling, crashing tidal wave that rocked any boat passing the glacier shore even within the safe distance of a quarter mile; and the bigger the piece of falling ice, the bigger the wave. 

It was absolutely stunning to watch nature at work like this. There was no silence in the presence of a glacier. The air was filled with sounds, sounds I had never heard before, quickly turning my initial awe into a deep reverence for nature while I listened to the symphony of the glacier’s orchestra playing its own creation of a masterpiece. Moving ice plates pushing against each other with raw force caused loud crackling noises interlaced with screeches and squeaks. The incredibly loud plop when one of the huge pieces slid gracefully into the water was followed seconds later by an immense echo that reverberated many times within the glacier’s core, the sound bouncing off the rocks on which the glacier had settled with the deafening volume of a thunderstorm. The glacier spoke to me and reflected, in its perfection, the sound of my own thoughts with the echo of many!


The call of the open road

January 10, 2012

Happy New Year!

The New Year has been creeping up on us. It is already January 10th of 2012 and we enjoy an extraordinary winter here in San Francisco. The last six weeks of warm weather definitely made up for the miserable summer we had in 2011.

Actually this is a very positive way to start the New Year and it will continue like that. After a very hectic Holiday season I finally can come to my senses again to see what’s on the itinerary for this year. To be honest I have not made any plans. No New Year’s resolutions or any firm goals. Things will happen when they are supposed to happen.

My life transition will continue full steam ahead, new people will come into my life and interesting opportunities will be presented. There will be some surprise events in 2012 I cannot talk about just yet and there will be new developments I never would have dreamed of. It is just a matter of going with the flow and to follow the music of my heart. Isn’t it great to just know that? Isn’t this what it means to live life to the fullest or experience every day like it would be your last?  With that in mind I closed shop yesterday and went on a beautiful Monday motorcycle ride. I followed the call of the open road and it was the most rewarding thing I could have done on any Monday.

The “To Drink the Wild Air “tour seems boring at times but great things need tedious preparation before they are come to blossom.

A successful transition is about the combination of a joyful and successful work life with a rich and rewarding personal life.  And once again I didn’t choose the easy route with self employment and the daily battle of survival. The art of being is to combine duty with peaceful existence!