WHY WE STARTED WAYFINDERS NOW
Back around 2014, Michael and I had experienced a time of profound stress and upheaval involving work-related stress, illness, and family emergencies of various kinds. We noticed that many of our friends, too, were experiencing difficult things—financial troubles, the stress of finding sustainable work, student loan debt, toxic workplaces, infertility, and serious illness.
That said, these friends managed to handle their daily lives with such dignity and vulnerability. We take solace and inspiration from their examples. Eventually, we began to notice the unexpected gifts—and even humor—within our respective journeys too, whether it meant reconnecting with loved ones, continuing to have meaningful moments, or being able to laugh at the end of the day and experience wonder about the world.
Michael (a New York-bred photographer and brilliant pun maker with the sharpest wit) and I (writer who tends to make accidental puns from a small North Florida town) love to collaborate.
We hope Wayfinders Now brings you some overdue laughter about difficult things, as well as inspiration about unbusying ourselves, and making more space for joy and abundance in various forms.
Over the years, both of us have worked a slew of jobs to support our artistic lives and, in spite of reaching certain traditional benchmarks of professional “success,” we still felt stressed about the daily grind, struggling to cover bills, and feeling like we were “living to work.”
So we began to actively seek an alternative approach to what we called the “survival mode,” instead desiring a way of living and working that aligned more with our values, something that offered more creative and financial flexibility.
We didn’t know what that would look like, necessarily.
But there are certainly folks we admire who have inspired us along the way. For our own way of living, however, we still had to shape it ourselves—and we still are actively creating our own desire path, staying adaptable as we go.
Since then, we’ve shifted careers, sold our home, and moved onto a 35′ sailboat, significantly reducing our living expenses, paying off significant school loan debt, and we’re consciously (and gradually) changing our habits of being busy, overworking, and being distracted.
Our experience is imperfect and sometimes messy, but it’s ours and we’d love to share with you about the joys and benefits of living small and what we’re learning along the way.
For instance, we’ve recently collaborated with Sierra Club to develop their first plastic reduction toolkit, which offers a step-by-step guide for enacting plastic reduction ordinances in local communities. We’ve also worked with the National Wildlife Federation, Green Boater TV, and Exxpedition (all-women sailing voyages exploring the impact of and solutions to plastic and toxic pollution in our ocean).
- Cocktail waitress at a tiki-themed bar
- Video game writer
- Framing gallery stooge
- Art camp instructor
- Backup singer
- Hostess at an all-you-can-eat buffet (1st job at 15 yrs old) 😅
- Airport food kiosk employee
- Film office hotline rep
Esther’s a published writer, UX/UI designer, and former assistant professor in creative writing with over 20 years of experience in education. She’s worked for respected schools and companies in tech, such as Basecamp—most notably known for their remote work culture—and recently contributed towards curriculum design and content creation for Designlab, rated as the #1 design intensive, where career changers find meaningful work they love.
- Bartender at an Irish bar
- Delivery truck driver
- Bakery manager
- Snowboard maker
- Guitar builder
- Professional painting crew
- Concert stagehand
- Plant nursery employee
- Hot dog stand cook and dishwasher
Michael’s a photographer and software engineer with over 20 years of experience in the arts, including co-founding a printmaking collective. Right now, he’s creating ziatypes on the boat and his last few artistic projects have involved tin types, bromoils, and 4 x 5″ photographs.
About Kaylana and Bowie
- Baked goods thief (Kaylana)
- Lap warmer (Bowie)
- Cockpit lounger (both)
- Head bonker (both)