Everyone Has a Story: Amber McCoy

Photo provided by Amber McCoy (amberdawnconsulting.weebly.com/) - Used with permission

Photo provided by and used with permission from Amber McCoy

On her website, Amber McCoy describes herself as “Content Strategist. Social Media Specialist. Music Addict. Travel Junkie. Wine Taster. Life Lover. Art Collector. Foodie. Daughter. Aunt. Sister. Friend. Then Ohioan. Now Seattleite.” She grew up in a family of farmers and says, “I work hard, dream big and do not pretend that everything is perfect, but […] I still continue to smile each day and be ecstatic that I am alive to live each day.”

Today, as part of this mini-interview series, Amber shares one of the places she’d like to visit, and the advice that has helped her make every decision in her life.

(If you’re interested in being interviewed for this blog or have someone in mind for me to ask, please let me know or leave a note in the comments section.)

What is one of your dreams for your life?
Travel to different countries, graduate and receive my MBA, own my own company one day and become a wife and a mother

What is something on your bucket list?
To visit Rome and see all the architecture and artwork I studied while doing my undergrad.

What is the best advice you ever received?
My Dad gave me the best advice – “Never forget where you came from, never forget how you were raised, never forget who you are and always be grateful for everything and everyone in your life”. This advice has helped me throughout every decision I have made in life, both personal and professional. It always helps me to remain focused.

Thanks for sharing your time and dreams with us, Amber!

Readers: Do you want to be interviewed, or do you know someone I should ask for an interview? Let me know.

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Everyone Has a Story: Dariko

Photo provided by Daria (www.dariko.net) and used with permission

Dariko, on “a wonderful trip to the Georgian Caucasus mountains, and Blue Abudelauri Lake impressed me a lot. I really enjoy spending time in the nature, so usually my weekend relaxing is happening somewhere outside of the city” – Photo provided by Dariko – Used with permission

Today’s mini-interview subject is Dariko, who was born in Ukraine and moved to Georgia. Dariko decided to move after she developed a deep interest in the Georgian culture during her time working in the German Parliament in Berlin, where she made friends with many Georgians. Below, she shares her project about urban pedestrian safety, her experience learning to run, and her advice on conquering the habit of overthinking.

(If you’re interested in being interviewed for this blog or have someone in mind for me to ask, please let me know or leave a note in the comments section.)

What is one of your dreams for your life?
One of my dreams is to step on zebra crossing in Georgia, the country I live in, the country I love… To step on, and not to be angry with the drivers. Currently they are not super respectful to pedestrians. The situation is improving slowly, but still the driving culture is like in many Southern countries. But as I want to spend my life in Georgia, I wish this could be better! For raising awareness about the problem, my friends and me launched a small project called “This Is Zebra” (“Es Aris Zebra” in Georgian). We want this problem to be finally solved, so we speak up about this.

What is something on your bucket list?
I would love to participate in Tbilisi Marathon 2015. I could never run or jog even 2 minutes long. Never ever. Always had an excuse for not going to jog – even though it seemed attractive for me. My health was not perfect, I’ve been bad at running and jogging at school, people will watch me, the weather is bad, I don’t have good shoes… But finally I just went out of my house and started. It takes time to learn, but it’s worth it. Nobody is watching me, nobody forces me to run a marathon distance, nobody expects from me the results of Usain Bolt, nobody gives an ef! It was me who didn’t want the truth: I was just lazy and scared.

So, during this marathon, there will be also a track for beginners. I think I will try to do it this fall!

What is the best advice you ever received?
Well, it was not an advice to me personally, but it was the advice of a life coach I really respect (Olesya Novikova). As she was talking about barriers which prevent us from developing and moving forward, she said that the majority of things we “know” about ourselves is the mixture of what the others were telling us, and our overthinking.

“Start a Big Cleaning”, she said. “Get rid of this mental garbage. As long as you keep your old beliefs, you keep getting what are you getting now, and not something new. It’s impossible to change your life without changing your old beliefs and habits.”

It was such a useful advice! Helped me a lot. “I can’t,” “I am not able,” “I have a difficult character,” “I am too strong, nobody can handle me,” “I am stupid,” “All the guys/girls are mean/lame/taken,” “It’s impossible to start your own business,” “It is impossible to lose weight,” “I am as I am, I am not flexible, I was born this way” – the majority of those statements we believe in are based on bad experiences of people we know, or our failings we don’t want to accept. After I started revising all this, life became much better. A truly amusing process!

Thanks for sharing your time and dreams with us, Dariko!

Readers: Do you want to be interviewed, or do you know someone I should ask for an interview? Let me know.

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The Goal List: where it’s been, and where it’s headed

When you’re surrounded by people who share a passionate commitment around a common purpose, anything is possible. —Howard Schultz

[[This is a different type of post than usual, more about the process of blogging and the history of this blog than any type of goal list activity. I’d like to know what you think – please share your thoughts in the comments section.]]

I’ve struggled over the past year to really clarify for myself why I write this blog, but recently it’s come down to this:

  • I’m passionate about my bucket list, and more broadly than that, goal-setting and accomplishment, and it makes me really happy when I see other people making and achieving goals of their own
  • I’m already in the habit of writing in my goal list journals about the moment/process of accomplishing each goal, and I talk about it a lot in person, so it’s a very natural transition for me to write about it online
  • I love writing in all forms, but blogging is special because it allows me to connect with people who understand this aspect of my life that I’ve had few people in real life “get” (see quote above). I want to create a place where other people are able to feel that same sense of understanding and encouragement
  • Sharing resources and amplifying/spreading enthusiasm about goal achievement are two things that I automatically do and make me happy

My original inspiration for starting the blog was a mix of wanting attention, an unquenchable desire to write, and my friends saying “You should start a blog.” My focus has expanded over the past year and a half, from only posting my stories of accomplishing goal list items (mostly poorly-written boring depictions of facts), to including a few resources, quotes, and stories of other inspiring bucket listers.

After six months of blogging, I started doing interviews with other bucket list bloggers and soon also added the mini-interview series called Everyone Has a Story. Both interview series grew, and I’ve been able to interview entrepreneurs, bloggers, an author, a photographer, an artist, and many other people who consider themselves “normal” or “boring” people but are actually very interesting and inspiring. (Shameless plug: everyone really does have a story – if you’re willing to be interviewed, please let me know!) Three months after that, I added a travel section (pretty fun to write). I also took two different month-long breaks this year, as I tried to get focused, manage stress, and renew my enthusiasm for blogging in general.

After a lot of reflection, I realize that I like blogging too much to let it go, so you’ll continue seeing posts from me. :) But I also know that there are a lot of things I’d like to see happen in the next few months, so expect some minor (and maybe some major) changes. As always, I appreciate your feedback. If you really enjoy a certain part of this blog and want to see it stay, let me know. And if something here really bothers you, let me know that too. I’m not going to promise to make everyone happy but I do take feedback into consideration.

For now, here are some of my dreams for this blog:

  • More interviews – I hit a little bit of a dry spell finding interviewees! If you’ve been inspired by someone and want to see them featured on this site, nominate them to be interviewed
  • More “Goal Accomplished” posts – because I like sharing the things I’ve done, since I know many of us have goals in common. I will continue to share resources specific to these goals to help you get your list done also, and I’m working on writing the posts in a more interesting way ;P
  • More travel – travelling is on so many people’s bucket lists, and I want to share stories, resources, tips, and must-see/do lists of places I (or other people) have visited
  • Increased Facebook community – it’s a poorly-kept secret! The Goal List is on Facebook. I didn’t widely announce it yet because I wanted to figure out what I was doing with it first, but I’m sharing it now, and if you want to head over there and let me know what you’d want to see out of a bucket list-focused Facebook page, that would really help me figure out which direction to take it.The Goal List: where it’s been, and where’s it headed
  • Retrospective bucket list – inspired by Wise Monkeys Abroad, I’m creating a list of things that would have gone on my list had I not done them already

What have you enjoyed so far about this blog? How has it helped you reach your goals?

This post is a result of my participation in Daily Post’s Blogging 101 course, which I’m taking to improve my skills, reach my blogging goals, and bring you a better blog! Stay tuned for more posts and changes

10 free things to do in Seattle

Seattle can be expensive! Looking for something interesting to do in the city, without spending too much money?

Here’s a list of 10 of the many things this city has to offer.

Gas Works Park


Photo Credit: Scooter Lowrimore via Flickr, Used unmodified under CC BY 2.0 license

Gas Works Park is a park converted from an old industrial plant that was used to convert coal to gas. It has many interesting indoor and outdoor structures, picnic areas, and a great view of Lake Union. This is an especially popular spot during fireworks shows.

Fremont Troll

The Fremont Troll, Seattle

Photo Credit: Sue via Flickr, Used unmodified under CC BY 2.0 license

Clutching a real Volkswagen Beetle, the Troll monitors the activity under the bridge with his never-blinking metal hubcap eye. It’s acceptable to climb on and around the sculpture.

Hiram M. Chittenden Locks (aka Ballard Locks)

Boats in the lock

Photo Credit: jc.winkler via Flickr, Used unmodified under CC BY 2.0 license

This is a great place to watch boats come and go from the higher elevation fresh water lake to the lower elevation salt water of the Puget Sound. There is also a fish ladder with a viewing area to watch fish like salmon go upstream, visitor center, and the Carl S. English Jr. Botanical Garden to wander through.

Burke-Gilman Trail

Burke Gilman Trail

Photo Credit: Gene Bisbee via Flickr, Used unmodified under CC BY 2.0 license

This 18.8 mile trail from Seattle to Bothell takes you through several Seattle neighborhoods and close to many parks and waterfronts, the University of Washington, and other connecting trails. It is used by many cyclists, runners, and walkers for exercise, commuting, and fun.

University of Washington campus

White pink Cherry Tree and Collegiate Gothic Art Tower, University of Washington, Seattle, USA

Photo Credit: Wonderlane via Flickr, Used unmodified under CC BY 2.0 license

The UW (say it like a local: “U-Dub”) is known for picturesque cherry blossom trees at least 80 years old. They usually bloom in mid- to late March, but that is dependent on the weather, as is the amount of time the petals stay on the trees. Even if you miss these blooming beauties, there are other landmarks to see on campus (like the Drumheller Fountain), or you can take a free walking tour led by students.

Pike Place Market

Pike Place Market

Photo Credit: Travis Wise via Flickr, Used unmodified under CC BY 2.0 license

A classic tourist destination featured on movies, but still popular with locals, the Market has attractions from the weird to the historic. The gum wall in Post Alley is a favorite, as is visiting the original Starbucks, watching fish being thrown, and watching buskers perform. You can also take self-guided tours or explore your own path. (Say it like a local: “The Market” or “Pike Place,” after the name of the street it’s on, never “Pike’s”)

Frye Art Museum

Frye Museum Entry Pool

Photo Credit: Joe Wolf via Flickr, Used unmodified under CC BY-ND 2.0 license

Other Seattle museums have free days but this one is always free – admission, parking, and hour-long tour included. The Frye Founding Collection alone has 232 paintings, which are joined by additional artwork in the Museum Collection and a variety of changing exhibitions.

Seattle Center


Photo Credit: Hourann Bosci via Flickr, Used unmodified under CC BY-SA 2.0 license

The Seattle Center is home to many festivals, events, and landmarks like the Experience Music Project (EMP) and the Space Needle. Neither of these are free, but there are plenty of free activities and opportunities year-round, like running (or dancing) through the water of the International Fountain (be sure to watch one of its five water programs synchronized to music), watching outdoor movies, or taking a self-guided tour of the many things the Center has to offer.

Klondike Gold Rush – Seattle Unit, National Historic Park

Klondike Gold Rush NHP

Photo Credit: Bart E via Flickr, Used unmodified under CC BY 2.0 license

This completely indoor park is free, consisting essentially of only a visitor center/museum, but is well worth a visit. The self-guided exhibits are highly interactive, and engage visitors of any age. The park also offers showings of educational videos, walking tours of the Pioneer Square Historical District, and demonstrations of mining techniques used during the gold rush (program schedule and offerings may vary throughout the year).

Ye Olde Curiosity Shop

Mummy II

Photo Credit: Michael Scheltgen via Flickr, Used unmodified under CC BY 2.0 license

In existence for more than 100 years, this shop (which is more like a museum) contains collections of shrunken heads, fleas in dresses (plugas vestidas), two mummies, taxidermy specimens of creatures with extra limbs or heads, dollar bill origami, and many more oddities.

Have you been to any of these places? Do you have other free or must-see attractions in Seattle?

Additional reading:
Read about Taylor’s experience (and see her amazing pictures) from her Seattle visit when we went to Gas Works Park, the UW campus, the Fremont Troll, and Woodland Park Zoo.

Want more posts like this? Leave a comment and let me know which places you would like to see featured, and be sure to sign up to stay updated on all the latest posts!

Interview with Daniel and Karissa at Bucket

Photo of Daniel Pino and Karissa Jobman, founders of Bucket (www.bucketpass.com) - Provided by Daniel and used with permission

Photo of Daniel Pino and Karissa Jobman, founders of Bucket – Provided by Daniel and used with permission

Today’s interview is with Daniel Pino and Karissa Jobman founders of Bucket, a company that “works to increase the access to tourism in developing cities, so you can simply explore.” They plan to offer a bundled Bucket Pass that includes tickets “to the top five attractions your destination has to offer,” and the first city to be included will be Quito, Ecuador.

In a blog post, Karissa explains that she and Daniel met during an internship with Southwest Airlines, during which they worked to check things off their bucket list. Their discussions about travel led them to ask the question: “How can we expand access to tourism in these less traveled countries?” They created Bucket Pass to increase convenience of traveling to these cities, in order to “unleash adventurers to make a few checks off their bucket list by providing savings that can make the unreachable – reachable” (read Karissa’s post: “To the List Makers and Risk Takers“).

In the interview below, Karissa and Daniel share what they think leads to success as entrepreneurs (while holding other jobs!), how they spend their free time, and the best advice they’ve ever received.

Names and company:
Daniel Pino and Karissa Jobman at Bucket

Fun fact about you:
Daniel: I’ve lived in 6 different cities in the past 6 years.
Karissa: My goal is to finish my 50 states tour within the next 2 years; I have 15 more to go.

Funner fact:
Daniel: I always leave the last piece for the end. Therefore, when I eat something, I always eat it from the outside in.
Karissa: I grew up in Nebraska, but not in a cornfield.

Funnest fact:
Daniel: I can’t brush my teeth and look at myself in the mirror. If I do, I can’t resist closing my eyes.
Karissa: I started Bucket my first year teaching in inner city Dayton, Ohio through Teach For America. People think I’m crazy, but I find when I am passionate about life and learning new things, my students are too.

What do you think has been essential to your success as travel-related entrepreneurs?
Daniel: I don’t think we can consider ourselves successful just yet. However, I do think that launching Bucket in Quito, while none of us are physically there, while working full time for other organizations, is a success. The way we’ve achieved it is discipline. Both Karissa and I are very disciplined when it comes to getting work done when it needs to be done. An example of that is how every Tuesday night Karissa and I talk and discuss everything that happened last week and what needs to get accomplished next week. We never miss this call and it helps us move fast.

Karissa: A strong partnership has been essential to our success. It’s hard to find someone that compliments your strengths in a work environment and you also can share a great friendship with. Daniel and I started as good friends and then moved to doing business together. We encourage each other when we lack energy, we challenge each other’s ideas, and we make time to share our lives with one another. So many companies fail due to interpersonal challenges, but we are able to maintain a balance of partners and companions.

What was something that surprised you about entrepreneurship?
Daniel: Partnerships. It’s REALLY hard to find a good partner. Someone that you can rely on, someone that you trust, someone that inspires you, and someone that you have a good communication with. It’s really better to be alone that someone who is not the right fit. However, once you find that person, it’s the best thing that can happen to your business. I compare it to getting married. I am really thankful that I am in “the same boat” as Karissa.

Karissa: I was and am constantly surprised about how many hats I have to wear as an entrepreneur. I have a diverse background in design, advertising, statistics, and communications, and with entrepreneurship I get to use them all, plus more. Some nights I find myself as an accountant or researching business law. I love how it constantly pushes me to learn more, but I also have to accept that some of the more tedious tasks I won’t be able to escape.

If you had to describe Bucket in 6 words or less, what would you say?
Daniel: Tickets to TOP attractions in developing cities.
Karissa: Enhancing tourism access in developing cities.

Who or what inspires you?
Daniel: Many entrepreneurs inspire me: Elon Musk, Richard Branson, Daniel Ek, and Bill Gates. I hope one day I can have the same impact in the world as they’ve had it.

Karissa: Creators fighting for social justice inspire me. For example, Dave Levin and Mike Feinberg, the founders of KIPP public charter schools, started their own school while in Teach For America when they were still in their early twenties. They could have taken the easy route of high paying careers with their Ivy League degrees, but they decided to dedicate their lives to promoting educational equity across America. They took risks, now students all across America reap the reward of their perseverance and heart.

What is your all-time favorite bucket list item (of yours or someone else’s)?
Daniel: Live in a foreign country. Preferably live there for more than a year. Preferably that country is “really foreign” (different language, different religion, etc.) I think everyone should have that experience at some point in life. It really opens your eyes, it makes you more accepting of others, you get to know yourself better.

Karissa: To foster or adopt a child

If you aren’t working on Bucket, what are you doing in your free time?
Daniel: It’s easy to become obsessed with your business to the point where you always want to be working on it. However, I try to balance my time and still spend time with my friends, travel, go to the movies, and work out. Especially this last one, working out, I think is VERY important to maintain your mental health and become more creative. Some of the best ideas I’ve had for Bucket have come up when I went for a run.

Karissa: What is free time? Just kidding. But I do find free time hard to come by; Bucket is my free time. I find it relaxing after a stressful day at school to post up at a coffee shop and work on designs for Bucket. But when I do have a free holiday, I travel any chance I get. I love domestic travel, exploring cities, and reuniting with friends I’ve made all over the country. I work hard to maintain these relationships even when I live hundreds of miles away.

What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?
Daniel: This is actually a famous quote, but it was shown to me by a professor: “Happiness means having something do, something to hope for, and someone to love.”

Karissa: “You can travel the whole world, see the seven wonders, and do everything in life you’ve ever dreamed, but life is best in company of the people you love.”
I’ve worked in many cities, lived abroad, and traveled a ton, but my most treasured moments are with my closest friends regardless of where I am. Travel is amazing, but at the end of the day, people are always greater than places. This is why the majority of my destinations involve reconnecting with people I have encountered in my life. (Although solo travel is great for making new friends.)

Thank you Daniel and Karissa for taking the time to do the interview and for sharing your stories and advice with us. If you want to learn more about Daniel, Kairssa, or Bucket, please check out their websiteFacebook, and Twitter.

Want more interviews like this? Leave a comment and let me know who you would like to see featured, and be sure to sign up to stay updated on all the latest posts!