Friday, December 20, 2013

LIVE from Mongolia on the radio with Bryan Crump!

Vol. III, No. 11

What does cutting coupons have to do with following a dream?

A few days ago, I was on the air with Bryan Crump, host of Radio New Zealand's Nights. Click above to listen to me talk about my CBS mentor Magee Hickey, my inspiration Christiane Amanpour, and what I think of cutting coupons. On that last point (cutting coupons) I explain why that, of all things, helped drive me to a banking career. Hope you enjoy the broadcast. I certainly enjoyed speaking with Bryan Crump. Bryan is the voice of New Zealand, so it was an honor to sit down with him and tell him my story.

- Enter to win Patricia's very last personal copy of LIVE from Mongolia, signed and shipped to your door. Click her Facebook page to find out how! 

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Publishers Weekly Review & A Radio Interview with Bryan Crump!

Vol. III, No. 10

"Light, humorous, and relentlessly optimistic." This was how Publishers Weekly described LIVE from Mongolia. I'm thrilled with this vote of confidence, but there's been even more good news. After this review was released earlier this week, sent out an email recommending my book. I found out about this via Emily, my Wellington running partner, who forwarded the mail (and then suggested a 10k run, which I shamefully declined on account of what's going on. Read on.)

Patricia Sexton with Radio NZ Host of Nights, Bryan Crump
And what's going on, drumroll, is that I've been interviewed by none other than Radio New Zealand's Nights, a weekday evening show described by his producer Robyn Walker as a "nightly voyage of attitude, longitude, and latitude." For me to get a chance to sit down and talk with Bryan Crump was a real honor. As a kid, Bryan started out, following what I can only presume was his 'dream' to become a journalist, by recording variety shows with friends in a bedroom studio. From there, he went on to cover rural issues in both New Zealand and Australia, produce documentaries, and report on what's going on in Parliament. As Nights host, he is the voice of New Zealand. Needless to say, I was a little bit nervous, and when I'm nervous I tend to be loquacious.

So, if you tune in on December 18th, you'll get a chance to hear me talk about why on earth I'd leave a "sensible" job for an unpaid internship in Mongolia. You'll also get a chance to hear me talk about things that I hadn't written about, like what happened when I tried to book a ticket to Kabul, Afghanistan, and what I think about following a dream career or choosing love. To be honest with you, I'm not sure how well I did talking to Bryan. I've spent a few sleepless nights since the interview was taped, fretting that I'd said too much. Well, I'll let you decide. I'll post the link to the interview once it's aired in New Zealand. Or, for those of you in New Zealand, tune in Wednesday, December 18th to Radio New Zealand National.

Today, Friday, I'm headed back to America with my little girl to celebrate Christmas. I haven't been this excited about Christmas since I believed in Santa. So, to all of you out there reading, from China to Mongolia, Australia and New Zealand and Pakistan, New York, the U.K., Ohio, Arizona, and Nevada (I check my blog stats occasionally, which tell me this is where most of you readers are coming from!); to all of you out there, Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, and a very Happy New Year. I'll be interested to hear about your dream-following New Year's resolutions!

P.S. LIVE from Mongolia is on sale on Amazon for 40% off. If you order now, it should arrive in time for the Christmas holidays. And if I'm in your city, I'll do my best to sign it. All the best!

Patricia Sexton is the author of LIVE from Mongolia, a #1 best-seller on Amazon, published by Beaufort Books. She's hosted Sinovision's WE Talk, a talk show exploring how people overcome extraordinary obstacles to pursue their dreams. She's worked for CBS News and written for Britain's International Life. Sexton authors this weekly blog about following dreams and dream-followers. Follow her on Twitter @PatriciaSexton and on Facebook @LIVEfromMongolia.

Thursday, December 05, 2013

An Email from Christiane Amanpour

Vol. III, No. 9

Forty days w/o my girl who now has an accent
WELLINGTON — "Mum!" my little girl shouted when she saw me. It had been forty days since I'd seen her last, and she seemed taller, more filled out, more a child than the baby I'd left behind. For the last six weeks, I'd been traveling to New York, Boston, Philadelphia, Washington D.C., and Cincinnati, launching my book and making speeches about following your dreams. Although I'd tried to Skype with my daughter during that period, the time difference between Wellington and America made it difficult to arrange. And, Skyping seemed to upset my little girl. Although she tried, she couldn't fit her breakfast toast through the computer screen to feed me, and somehow that was her clue that I wasn't really there.

So, all this got me to thinking about Christiane Amanpour. As many of you know, she's the woman who inspired me all those years ago to follow my dream out of banking and into journalism. As I wrote in LIVE from Mongolia, and as I said at every single book launch speech from New York to New Zealand, I knew where Christiane was…was where I wanted to be. Christiane had also followed a dream into journalism, and this is how she describes her journey, in her keynote speech in September 2000 at the Edward R. Murrow Awards Ceremony:

"I arrived at CNN with a suitcase, with my bicycle, and with about 100 dollars … it was really exciting. We were pioneers … and I was really just the tea boy to begin with, or the equivalent thereof, but I quickly announced, innocently but very ambitiously, that I wanted to be, I was going to be, a foreign correspondent."

I've read this speech of Christiane's countless times, and each time I do, it gives me the same chills down my spine that it did that first time I stumbled upon it. When I finally quit my banking job to pursue journalism in Mongolia in 2006, I sat in an internet cafe in Ulaanbaatar and pondered once more the woman who'd inspired me to leave behind my sensible and promising career for a very, very different path. And that's when I decided to email Christiane to say all this. It took me quite a bit of time to work up the courage to actually hit 'send' on a mail that was preposterously long and loquacious, but finally, I did so. A few weeks later, there was a message in my inbox, a message from Christiane Amanpour herself.

Christiane apologized for taking so long to respond, wished me well, and then said the very thing that would keep me going when the doubts would soon begin to appear, and I had an awful lot of doubts in those years. Although I never doubted The Path, as it were, I did doubt myself and what I was actually capable of. Christiane said, "I can see you are doing wonderfully with the motivation it takes to do this kind of thing."

Motivation. Christiane Amanpour thought I was motivated! If your inspiration thinks you're motivated, well then, you have no excuse. Why would you waste time thinking otherwise? Of course, I did spend some time thinking otherwise, and doing so left me with a choice between following my dream to CNN, or returning to banking for "one more bonus." But I won't spoil the story for you; the book ends with a bit of a surprise, a situation and decision that surprised me too, and I was the one in the situation making the decision!

So, as I return to New Zealand and my husband and daughter, after forty days on my book tour talking about these things, I'm reminded of Christiane's advice and assessment from all those years ago. I'm encouraged that the nature of pursuit is not a single-minded path, but sometimes a circuitous adventure, one that requires motivation to keep going, despite the doubts, even when you've been gone so long that, in your absence, your daughter has developed an accent.

"No!" my little girl said to me, as we spent days hugging each other and reacquainting.

"I was on an adventure," I explained to her, carefully sounding out the word. "Can you say 'adventure'?"

"No!" she exclaimed again. But she pronounced it with her new accent, "Nye-oh!"

Patricia Sexton is the author of LIVE from Mongolia, a #1 best-seller on Amazon. She's hosted Sinovision's WE Talk, a talk show exploring how people overcome extraordinary obstacles to pursue their dreams. She's worked for CBS News and written for Britain's International Life. Sexton authors this weekly blog about following dreams and dream-followers. Follow her on Twitter @PatriciaSexton and on Facebook @LIVEfromMongolia