So, what do you do as slowmads? This month, we launched an oral history podcast!
Updated: Oct 8
As we mentioned before, our lifestyle is not exactly a vacation, it's not exactly moving to a place, but something in between. Yes, we do some sight-seeing. But most of the time, we live in a local apartment, explore the neighborhoods, and live as much like locals as we can in the time we are there. Our last six weeks in Osaka (with a one-week "vacation" in Shikoku) has been great. I'll write more about Osaka in particular in the next blog. But it is the stuff we're doing at "home" that I want to write about today.
Paul engages in many creative projects. The last couple of months in particular, he's been fine-tuning our financial retirement model to keep track of our spending and our investments. And by fine-tuning, I mean he codes software and develops investment models that do rich analysis of companies and carefully balances our portfolio. He actively trades in the bond and stock markets in a small percentage of our funds. His work helps us find peace of mind to know that we can continue to live this lifestyle. It helps us set realistic budgets. He's been teaching himself Japanese. We both read a lot. Paul also manages the Prepared Mind Project, www.preparedmind.org, which gives grants to people to build creative, web-based projects. People who receive a grant from him promise to engage in collaborative brainstorming for six months to help themselves and the other recipients create their visions.
Last fall, I applied for a Prepared Mind grant - not for the money, since the money is both of ours. But for the collaboration. I'm kind of a frustrated Historian. I majored in History in college, but when I applied to grad schools in History I was actively discouraged because the job market was so bad for PhD historians. So instead, I went to law school. I had a great career teaching. But after retirement, I got the bug to "do" history. You can hear why I chose this project in this video. While we were in Australia & New Zealand, I participated in a series of conference calls with fellow Prepared Mind grant recipients. They helped me craft an oral history project whose subject is Generation Jones. I can confidently say that without that collaboration, my project would never have been anything more than a half-baked aspiration. The encouragement I received from Paul and the other Prepared Mind participants helped me fine-tune my ideas and set achievable goals.
So what, exactly, is Generation Jones? On the website, www.genjoneschronicles.com, I post links to discussions about what it means to be a member of Generation Jones. Historically, people born between 1946 and 1964 were called "Baby Boomers". However, a lot of people have observed that the latter group, those born between 1954-1964 really had a distinctly different life experience. That group has been called "Boomers II", "Echo boomers" and "Generation Jones." I've adopted the latter label for my project. I was born in 1958, and I never felt like a Baby Boomer, culturally. For example, my cohort just missed being drafted, Ms. Magazine published its first issue, with the famous article, "I Want a Wife" (about how a working woman needed someone at home to organize her private life) was published in 1971, when I was in 9th grade.
From January to June, I interviewed Gen Jonesers. These are people born between the years 1954-1964. I interviewed people while I was in Australia, New Zealand, & Fiji. I talked to people by video conference, so some of my subjects were in the United States. By July, I had interviewed 15 people. You can see their pictures, go to their episode, & click on the transcript of the published interviews profiles here. The links on that page will become active as each episode is released.
For the past six weeks, while we've been in Osaka, I've been working on creating a podcast channel with these 15 episodes. It took me many, many hours, days, and weeks to figure out how to produce the first one. Everything from how to get a channel, how to edit the audio, how to create clips, how to create musical transitions, how to create transcripts, and much, much more. I have now produced 5 of the episodes! You can hear them on Spotify & on Amazon. I'm hoping to produce one a week for a 16-episode first season. The last episode will be me, answering the same questions as my guests.
If you go to "Gen Jones Stories" you can click on the podcast episodes and get a transcript in English or Japanese.
But, the project isn't really about me. It's about the stories of so many interesting people, who faced similar challenges across the globe during their lifetimes. I feel privileged to share their stories and I think they are fascinating. I feel responsible for telling their stories accurately and well. I hope some of you will give the channel a try. I think you might enjoy their stories, too. And maybe we can figure out what it means to be a member of Generation Jones. If you are a member of Generation Jones, I invite you to go to the website and share your story.
Note: This post has been edited to include more information about Generation Jones.
I'd to hear what you think about the project!