Jamaican in China!–In the beginning!

NOTE: Each page of my China adventure that you will read is an actual email that I send to my mailing list. This was the first email I sent just before beginning my adventure, that I sent to a small list of friends, family and clients. Enjoy, and thanks for taking this journey with me!--Walt


Subject:   from Walt…drum roll, please
From: walt@saipanliving.com
Date: August 22, 2010 8:27:10 PM GMT+10:00
Hope all is well with you.

A little over four years ago, I wrote the first “Freedom Song” just prior to my escape from America and my move to Saipan. (If you weren’t on my friend’s list then, you can read it at Walt’s Escape from America!

walt fj goodridge on saipan escape from america jamaican on saipan

My move to Saipan, Northern Mariana Islands, in 2006 ranks in the top 3 best decisions I’ve made in my life! I’ve never been happier with the climate, the culture, and the cuties! I’ve met many great people, wrote several books, started a tourism business, and felt that I was contributing through my weekly column in the Saipan Tribune, which is now in its 220th consecutive week.

One of my proudest moments was receiving an official CNMI Senate Resolution No. 15-54 in recognition of my contributions to Saipan, its residents and economy.

Ah, but it seems it’s that time again.

As I said during the original Freedom Song, “Ever since leaving corporate America in the fall of 1995, I’ve been executing a plan to create the lifestyle of a modern, minimalist, nomadic, passionpreneur based on a passive-residual income stream!” In other words, I want to be able to see the world and not have to worry about getting a job in the places I decide to reside.

Well, the nomad part is acting up again. So, with that said, I offer you, on August 22, 2010: (drum roll, please….)
FREEDOM SONG, PART II
My Freedom Song continues
with a new exciting verse
A life afar has beckoned
and I want to tell you first!
This nomad’s bell again has tolled
I answer and take wing
I’ve set my sights on China!
and the city of Beijing
The ticket’s bought, the visa’s done
I’ve got a place to rest
I’ve minimized and digitized
reduced all I possessed
They ask, “What will you do there?”
and, “What put you on this course?”
“A man named Lucas,” I reply*
“Just going to the source!”
I’ve learned the basic language
and I’ve made a friend or two
Just waiting for the date now
and the day I bid adieu
So, wish me well and please stay tuned
Me? Nervous? Nope. Well, kinda…
but you know me, I’ll prosper
in my brand new life in China!
(thought I wouldn’t find a rhyme for China, didn’t you?)
Walt

p.s. I visited China once before in 2009, and vowed to return (see jamaicaninChina.com download below). I leave in a week for Beijing, with plans this time to visit Shanghai, Hainan (a tropical island off the south coast of China), and other countries in the region including Myanmar, Vietnam, Cambodia and Thailand. If you have any friends or contacts in the region, please do put me in touch. It makes the experience much nicer for me.

p.p.s. My skype account is “waltonsaipan”

p.p.p.s *let me know if you need the “Lucas” reference explained. I’d be more than happy to!

Me and Buddha on a previous trip jamaican in china 2009 adventure ebook cover

Who is Walt?

The Short Version:


“Once upon a time, there was a Jamaican civil engineer living in New York who hated his job, followed his passion, started a sideline business publishing his own books, made enough money to quit his job, escaped the rat race, ran off to a tropical island in the South Pacific, and started a tourism business so he could give tours of the island to pretty girls every day….and live a nomadpreneur’s dream life.”


The Long Version:

Hi! My name is Walt F.J. Goodridge. Many years ago, after I graduated from Columbia University with my Bachelor of Science degree in civil engineering, I was, like many people, destined for a career in my “chosen” profession. I say “chosen” because I wasn’t really the one who chose it. Like many people, I only ended up in engineering because my counselor in high school said I should do it, and being a good student, I listened.

So, immediately after graduation, I accepted a job in the Design Division of the Port Authority Engineering Department on the 73rd floor of World Trade Center One.

However, within the first fifteen minutes of my first job in corporate America, I realized, beyond the shadow of a doubt, that I absolutely hated it! I saw the future, and the prospect of working a monotonous and restrictive nine-to-five job for the rest of my life, scared me to the core!

So, from that moment, I did everything I could to create the freedom I desperately wanted and to escape. But no one had ever asked me “what’s your passion?” or “What do you love to do?” I had to ask those questions of myself. While in college, I had been a radio deejay on WKCR-FM, and I loved music. So I went in the direction of that passion and first did some graphic design for an album, then became an artist manager, then record label owner, until, by a stroke of chance, I found my true calling for sharing information and wrote
Change the Game
. Through the success of that single book, I was able to match my civil engineering income, and walk away from my career to become a full-time “passionpreneur.” I then went on to write several more books on the music industry.


Based on the effectiveness of the information in my books, people asked me to consult them to start businesses and launch their own passionpreneurial ventures. In time, I developed my life’s mission (“I share what I know, so that others may grow!”) , and when the internet came along, I took that mission online, providing “information, inspiration and ideas to help people succeed” through my books, as well as my own brand of motivation I called “Life Rhymes. Every week, for nine years I sent my emails to tens of thousands of subscribers.

Over the course of that time, as I developed my experience and expertise in website development, internet marketing, and living true to my self, and helping others do the same, I launched dozens of websites, created more unique products and developed a unique “Passion Profit Philosophy and Formula” and a coaching and seminar practice as the “Passion Prophet.”

In 1999, I self-published the formula in my “how to” Turn Your Passion into Profit which, with yearly updates, has consistently sold in the top 50 in home-business books on Amazon.com. (They say that imitation is the best form of flattery. So, I consider myself flattered that several authors followed my lead with similarly-titled books of their own!)


(Also available as a six-CD audio.)



E s c a p e   F r o m   A m e r i c a        




But, as much as I felt fulfilled by helping others realize their dreams, we “Passion Prophets” have our own dreams, too! In 2006, through a friend who had visited and raved about his experience,I “discovered” the little-known US commonwealth island of Saipan for myself, booked a one-way ticket, and escaped from New York to begin living out my own nomadpreneur dream life on this Pacific island paradise.

J a m a i c a n   o n   S a i p a n



Once on the island, and wanting to be a part of the re-branding of Saipan’s image,
I launched the WeLoveSaipan.com website, then
20 additional sites
devoted to showing the world the often overlooked images and impressions of Saipan and the CNMI (Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands).


I now write a weekly business column
for the Saipan Tribune entitled “The Saipanpreneur Project.”



I’ve written:



(1) Jamaican on Saipan!.

(2) Doing Business on Saipan to further encourage entrepreneurial activity on the island, and….


(3) Chicken Feathers and Garlic Skin:
Diary of a Chinese Garment Factory Girl on Saipan
, co-authored with former garment factory worker Chun Yu Wang, and…



(4) Saipan Living! A comprehensive guide for moving to, finding a job,
working, living or vacationing in the Northern Mariana Islands of Saipan, Tinian and Rota
.

I also co-founded Destination Saipan Marketing, Inc., a tourism company to help visitors experience the best of Saipan’s accommodations and activities.


One of my proudest moments came when was recognized by official CNMI Senate Resolution No. 15-54
for my contributions to Saipan, its residents and economy.

As you can tell from the title of my website, I’m originally from the beautiful island of Jamaica, and, you can read about my first year and impressions of life on a different island paradise in the book Jamaican on Saipan!

Over the course of the years since escaping from corporate America, I’ve written a total of 20 books, over 400 articles and almost 500 motivational poems,
and have dozens of websites that I manage!

But wait! There’s more!


J a m a i c a n   I n     C h i n a


Saipan was a great experience, but the urge to see more of the world keeps calling me! So, I set my sights on China! And you can now follow my adventures on my “Jamaican In China! blog”!




I    s h a r e    w h a t    I    k n o w ,    s o    t h a t
   o t h e r s    m a y     g r o w !    


Everything I do serves my purpose. The PassionProfit™ mix of products includes creations and guidance from my own journey discovering, developing and turning my own passion into profit, as well as the products of others who are doing the same. They contain “Information, inspiration and ideas to help you turn YOUR passion into profit!” Just the fact that a Filipina nurse created a children’s book based on her son’s school assignment, or a Chinese garment factory worker can write and share her experience with the world, (See “Best of Saipan” department) for example, represents an idea to inspire you to do something similar.

Everything, including my fun adventures in China, are offered to you to prove a point–to show that we can all make different choices–to show how and that it can be done, and encourage you to do the same.
Yes, freedom is achievable!

Even so, I’m always humbled by just how much impact my own fun adventures has on others:

“Hey Walt,
When I first heard your personal story of the experiences that led you to the path of the passion pursuit, I knew you were achieving what many people think is out of their reach. You made me see that achievement had never been out of the reach for me. After attending your seminar and purchasing your book, I knew that the passion within me could only be profitable once I decided to take the necessary steps to success. I saw you as someone I was able to connect with and it made me think, “If he can do it, so can I.” I am currently turning the passion I have of creating artwork, photography and dance to that next level. No longer are these just hobbies but a way of life that is invigorating, challenging and fulfilling. I feel a deeper connection to the purpose of this life path I am on. By focusing on this passion of creation, I am liberating myself from the limits of doing something I had no passion for. Getting Turn Your Passion into Profit was one of my first steps to acknowledging my own purpose, power and freedom. Thank you! And this comes straight from the heart because that is where passion truly lives. Peace and blessings!”
Nicole Woo, DC




Everything   You     Believe….    is    Wrong!


That was just a little about me. I share it with you simply to offer myself as an example. I can honestly, and proudly say that the reason I’ve been able to create the lifestyle of my dreams is because I dared to choose to believe things that were outside of the mainstream.

It started with my decision to become vegan. Once I started questioning the things that were fed to me (both figuratively and literally) while growing up, and once I started to see the differences in my body, my energy, my creativity and the incredible lightness of being that came from not eating meat, I realized that I had to continue the quest for truth in all other areas of my life.

I’ve come to the conclusion–quite bluntly–that everything we believe…is wrong. Everything we’ve been taught serves the purpose of keeping us powerless, keeping us dependent, misled, misguided, deteriorating and trapped on a treadmill….but it doesn’t have to be that way.

Read more about the strategy I use to create and maintain my freedom.
Here’s how I do it>>

MLK Day on Saipan: What a month!


Wow! It’s been a hectic few weeks!

mlk
First a little background:
In April 2006, CNMI Governor Benigno Fitial signed the bill enacting Martin Luther King Jr. Day as an official CNMI holiday to commence on January 15th, 2007 (You can see my coverage of this in Walt’s Escape from America (Opens in new window). In the past, there had been commemorations of MLK Day on island supported and hosted by private individuals and groups. Now, as an official holiday, this year’s commemoration took on particular significance. it was appropriate to do something more than in previous years. This excerpt from a letter sent out to local leaders and media explains:

Initial program plans include an open-to-the public “Rally, Reflection & Recognition” event with guest speakers, a keynote address, and a “Freedom March” centered in and around the American Memorial Park. Also featured will be the presentation of a “Young Freedom Fighters Award” to local student-winners of our school-wide MLK Essay/Speech Contest. Cynthia E. Nance’s selection as Keynote Speaker comports with the stated 2007 program theme, as the first woman and first black dean of the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville, Law School and as a Professor of law.
To place Dean/Professor Nance’s accomplishments in perspective, it should be known that Arkansas is where Governor Orval Fabus, in 1957, in defiance of the orders of President Eisenhower to admit black students to Little Rock Central High School and in the face of the National Guard, and in the eyes of the world, vowed publicly that black and white children would never be allowed to attend school together in the State of Arkansas. Dean/Professor Nance, in the true spirit of Dr. King’s dream, has “over come” such entrenched barriers of racial discrimination in education and employment opportunities, and her professional and academic achievements serve as an inspiration to freedom loving people everywhere.

So things started back in December when the planning for the CNMI’s first official Martin Luther King Jr., Day kicked into high gear. The planning committee of the African American Cultural Preservation Committee (attorney Joe Hill, president) here on Saipan met every week and as the event closed in, we met every other day in the lobby of the World Resort Hotel.


After weeks of planning, the day finally came, and we met and welcomed Dean Nance at the airport at 1:00am Friday morning. With singer singing, ukulele playing, cameras snapping, the Dean was welcomed in style to the CNMI!

…and then we wait for luggage

With a full itinerary, the Dean was on her way to Rota that Friday morning, Tinian the next day and returned to Saipan on Sunday. The Tsunami (see Angelo’s account;opens in new window) delayed things a bit.

On Sunday, there was a reception in her honor at Judge Lizama’s residence.

Monday (MLK Day), found us all busy setting up the stage, moving tables and chairs, setting up sound systems and everything else one needs for an inaugural commemoration.

As organizer of the MLK Essay and Elocution contest, I was up at 5am reading essays, creating handouts for the judges, and then was off to Joe Hill’s office at 7:30 to make photocopies of all the entries. Along with Dorothea Bryant and Angie Wheat, we hosted and judged the elocution portion of the contest that morning.

Now I have to say something about the contest; something about the support and attitude of the students and teachers and committee members here in the CNMI. Of the many people who received the contest announcement, some as late as the day before the deadline, 12 schools’ principals and teachers chose to participate.

From those schools, 30 students chose to submit essays, 5 students chose to memorize speeches

Of those who received the announcement ON ROTA, 6 students chose to participate, and their principal found a way to get their essays hand delivered to us IN TIME!!

There are students, educators, even strangers who graciously chose to sit through the chaos of this our first event to support the children and the intention behind our efforts.

So, along with yours truly, there were 3 judges (Dorothea, Angie and Laura) who–all drafted at the last minute–chose to listen to and judge the speeches that morning, then chose to work tirelessly (without ANY complaint whatsoever) the entire day (missing the march, and portions of the ceremony, feeding themselves at their own expense) in order to diligently grade EVERY student’s written essay. (Thanks, ladies, for putting up with my spontaneous, last-minute chaos!)

Shots from the Official Commemoration!



Park Ranger Kelchmer (is that your official title?) prepares Dept of Public Safety Commissioner Rebecca Warfield to project the “look of authority” while retaining a woman’s mystique and grace

Note: the next several shots courtesy of Angelo Villagomez




Monday morning’s cleanup of Makaka Beach was a success. Participants from MOVER, MINA, RC&D, Rep. Kaipat, Rep Waki, and Mozell’s Boys picked up trash and bushcut our own tall grass. The Saipan Tribune covered this cleanup, which was part of the “Day on, not a day off” celebration of Martin Luther King Day. Over 30 people attended this cleanup


Official Master and Mistress of Ceremony, Ambrose Bennett and Shequita Bennett.


Gus Kaipat sings CNMI anthem.


The front row VIPs.


Joe Hill makes welcoming remarks


Ryan Ortizo wows the crowd with a stirring rendition of Martin Luther King Jr’s “I have a Dream” speech


Congresswoman Cinta Kaipat tells of the history and struggle of getting the day formalized in the CNMI


Senator Maria Pangelinan


VIPs on stage


Essay & Elocution contest winners from left to write: Audrey Jo Ada, Alice Tessen, Joan Liwanag, Raymark Denora (not present: Jo Micah Cabrera)
Check out the Winning Essays


Elocution contest winner (High School Division) Joan Liwanag


Elocution contest winner (Elementary School Division) Raymark Denora



And now, ladies and gentlemen, our keynote speaker…




[end of Angelo’s shots]

The evening was inspiring as well as entertaining, and was a great kickoff for what will be an annual tradition which will grow in attendance and participation….

Well done to all who stayed up late, got up early, donated their time, energy, ideas and passion to make this long-awaited day a reality here in the CNMI!


Special thanks again to Ranger Kelchmer for letting us use the office for grading the essays!

And even though this is a personal blog, I’d like to spread recognition of appreciation
by way of the following:

This Project was made possible by support from the Northern Mariana Islands Council for the Humanities, a non-profit, private corporation funded in part by the National Endowment for the Humanities.

(NOTE: check back to this post for links to videos, winning essays and even more photos!)

But wait! It’s not over yet!
Having made the 10,000-mile trip from NY to Saipan myself three times (that would be a total of 5 times across the Pacific) in less than 9 months, I know firsthand how it feels. I also felt that having come all this way, the Dean should at least get to see some of Saipan’s native beauty beyond the scheduled talks, official meetings and presentations that filled her schedule. So, I plotted a friendly “kidnapping.”

I arrived at Kagman Elementary school on Tuesday afternoon after the second of the official school meetings, managed to tick off fellow committee member Sam Joyner and a few teachers (sorry ladies, didn’t intend to offend anyone, but kidnapping’s a dirty job that wins few friends) and sort of pushed my agenda forward to add some down-time activities to the Dean’s stay!

It was about 3pm. With only a few hours of daylight left, and since we were in Kagman, I first took the Dean part of the way down the trail to Forbidden Island (um, don’t tell AAPC president Joe Hill, he’d have a fit!)





…then to Tank Beach

….then to Mount Tapochau


….she asked to stop by Judge Weiss’ place, so we did that for a few minutes…By then it was about 4:00pm, the daylight hours were dwindling, so the Judge graciously sent us on our way with his own recommendations on where to take the Dean.


….then I took her to a little-known trail to a secluded fishing spot (introduced to me by Captain Carlopens in new window) near Marpi Point just in time for a great view of a Saipan sunset! Man, that’s a steep trail! Kudos to the dean, who, ill-prepared for my kidnapping itinerary, and dressed in only sandals and with a toe she hurt earlier in the day, completed both the Forbidden island trail and the Marpi trail in fine style (i.e. alive to talk about it!)

….then to Banzaii Cliff

…then to Bird Island

…and on the way back, took a wrong turn and ended up at the Grotto. By then it was dark, so we didn’t get to see much. Within a few minutes one of Saipan’s Finest showed up (wonder if news of the kidnapping got out!). He asked if everything was alright. I told him I was fine, and that the Dean was treating me well. Or maybe he was asking HER…hmmm, …in any event, the Dean and the officer had a nice chat about the undersea world of Saipan’s diving spots while I wondered if he was secretly detaining us waiting for “backup” to take me down!!

No SWAT teams showed up, so I chauffeured Dean Nance back to the World Resort to meet with Joe.

My work here is done!

The next morning (Wednesday), driven to the airport by Rose Smith, the Dean and a few of us had a small farwell gathering…


Willie, Rose, Dean Nance, Joe, me (one of these days I’ll see Willie smile in a photograph, I just know it)

Dean Cynthia Nance shows her ticket to the gate agent, walks up the ramp, and heads home.

More to come!

An alternative travel narrative: Pursue Passion! Break Free! Cross boundaries! See the world!