I somehow stumbled on Revanche's twitter through Lauren, and instantly fell in love. Her tweets are a perfect mix of serious and irreverent, and her blog, A Gai Shan Life, is no different. I love how she writes about money in an earnest way, without it ever feeling like I'm getting a lecture. I've been trying to write more about money recently, and reading Revanche's writing is always inspiring to me. I hope you'll check out her blog after reading this interview!
Who are you?
Depends on when you're asking. I'm a geek, a professional, a problem-solver. I'm mom to a canine and a human, wife of the best partner in all the hemispheres. I'm an advocate, an idealist, and a bit of a misanthrope. I want everyone to behave decently and bring some value to the table so when the world acts in strange and disappointing ways, I'm Toby Ziegler:
Where can you be found online? Do you have a blog or other online receptacle for your work? If so, how would you describe it to a stranger you've just met while on vacation? Remember, you're in a hot tub with them on a clear cold night, stars twinkling above you. They want all the details. If I were talking to a stranger, in the flesh, and they could identify me in a photo later? I wouldn't tell them about the blog at all! I've been a pseudonymous blogger for so long, unless I'm meeting a longtime reader or fellow blogger, my default is total denial: Blog? What is a blog?
For those in the know, I'm either on Twitter at @RevAGSL or at A Gai Shan Life. There, I'm the most authentic me I can be.
What inspired you to start writing/blogging? When did it happen?
Back in ought-eight, no, ought-five, Blogger was (still?) the hot new thing so my cadre had all decided to start their own personal blogs, which quickly withered for lack of attention. But I, lone wolf that I am, stumbled across the earliest generation of personal finance blogs and for an English major with a serious addiction to learning about money, this was heaven. Between a series of bad decisions and terrible circumstances, my family had gone from head above water to several leagues under, anchored by debt and a business gone sour. I took great solace in the actionable advice from a community that was at least as aware of and usually in need of financial management as I was. It took me about a year before I actually ventured to write about my isolating circumstances and then several more years before I actually felt comfortable with writing. Now it's still about money but in addition to, not to the exclusion of, the other things in life.
Why do you write?
This is a question I've asked myself. I originally envisioned a bloggery discussion with people about the same age as me and interested in money but many of those original bloggers disappeared while I stuck around. My blog evolved into a safe place to work out money in life problems, a place where I could vent about my frustrations with family without being a jerk who named names. I didn't want it to be a me against them situation, and there was no way to focus solely on the issues if identities were involved. It's cheap therapy, to boot! These days, it's still a learning experience but with fewer, but bigger, fumbles.
Your writing inspires me. Who inspires you?
D'awww shucks! This one is a little harder for me, it's like being asked who my favorite author is. I can't pick just one. I take my inspiration like I do delicious foods: anywhere I can get it! A good show, an interesting person, a happy dog, gorgeous photos. Someone who keeps plugging away, despite obstacles; someone who has achieved, showing us the way; someone who finds joy in life in the most unexpected places; someone who learns to ask for help when they need it. (I'm terrible at asking for help.) Someone with creative flair and an eye for art - I've got exactly one ounce of artistic anything in me, that's enough to appreciate it but not to create. My dog's patience is inspirational, as is the stubbornness of my wee child, as is the thoughtfulness of my partner, as are the wonderful friends who show up for me when I need support. They all fire me up to be a better person, and write about it!
In keeping with the admittedly loose travel theme of Not Intent On Arriving, if you could have an all-expenses paid trip anywhere in the world, where would you go?
Oh no, conflict! We've wanted to do New Zealand + Australia for AGES but haven't because I want to be there for two months at least and that's a lot of time and money. HOWEVER. I love (x1000) discovering small towns in Italy where the food is so wonderful. Or big cities. Or wherever in Italy - I've only ever had one bad meal in Italy and that was my own fault for having seafood pasta in a place called Eat 'n' Go. I bet they weren't even Italian. Or Thailand - oh goodness, we had so much good food in Thailand. Though, admittedly, I have a much higher incidence rate of passing out due to Oh-So-Spicy!! in Thailand than I do in Italy. Clearly, I travel on my taste buds.
What is your favorite place on earth?
Home. Home home home. I love travel, I love discovering new places and new foods but I like being in my homespace so much.
Anything else you'd like us to know?
Comic books are awesome, my Spanish is absolutely terrible, and I love perfectly crisp green beans.