The Year That Tested Me Like No Other – 2015 In Retrospect

The Year That Tested Me Like No Other – 2015 In Retrospect

New Year, New Me right? Ummm maybe, maybe not. 2015 has been in a word “stressful”. On many levels I took chances and gambles to see just what I as made of and how I would deal with life and all it could throw at me. Both personally and professionally I’ve been in positions that were both exciting yet taxing. Some results made my smile, some results made me cry and others just had me asking why.

Freelancing was the business model as every dollar I earned this calendar year was via independent free lance work. I acquired my first long-term consulting client via my Social Media management business. I proved that I could do it and do it effectively. I expanded the #SamuraiRides branch of my brand and grew the following of the site with a steady flow of content like my #SamuraiSitDown series. 

Travel also stepped up a bit this year. I made the decision to cut back on event coverage that wasn’t fiscally beneficial but also decided to give a larger portion of my time to Nomadness. From the Summer BBQ now known as Nomadness Reunion weekend to the massive #UAETakeover in Abu Dhabi & Dubai, the heart of 2015 was spent putting in work to push the growth of the Tribe. All of which led up to the Sept launch of our 1st business conference NMDN.

Last minute trips to Miami and then to Antigua helped give me the little spark that I hope to bring over to the new year. Fingers crossed.

On the surface things definitely looked great. Yet as we know there is always more below the surface. I’ve been looking to take my social media skills to a larger platform. While growing the Social Media Samurai I see so many established businesses that are in dire of digital assistance. The search has been long and frustrating to get in the door. It’s the classic dilemma of people wanting you to have a certain specific level of experience to accept you. There’s no question that I know social media but hiring businesses see a man engaged in freelancing and indie work seems to scare people away.

As much as SMS has done for me it’s still not where I need it to be. From a money making stand point It’s a revenue stream but not profitable enough yet.

The goal is to be able to live a self-sufficient life doing what makes you happy. Sounds simple but nothing is simple these days…especially living in New York.

I won’t lie. I’m feeling real sub par. I’ve always been my own worst critic but by most standards I think I’m not looking too good. On top of that 2016 already promises to be 10X tougher in many areas. I’ve always said I don’t give up and I don’t break but patience is wearing thin. Life isn’t holding back on the tests and challenges and something has to give eventually.

There was also the personal side of 2015. I learned just how far love could go but that it wasn’t the be all of life. Love can feel great yet be equally frustrating. Years of friendship can be interrupted in many ways. Just as you think something is moving in the right direction someone throws you a curve. Pretty much I learned to accept what is given to me. You can’t make adults do what they simply have no interest in.

In spite of all that I’m thankful for the support system I have. I thankful for family and friends who repeatedly showed me love and appreciation through both words and actions. I’m in good health. My heart is in an interesting place but I’ll deal with that and mentally my mind is as (over)active as ever.

A beautiful mess? That might be another way to sum up 2015. I still see the light at the end of the tunnel. I just need to keep pressing on and be more focused and organized. Mental strength and precision in the form of self-control is a key virtue of Bushido. I need to put that into play.

I also believe in asking for help so I’m making a humble request of anyone reading this. If you are a person of faith please toss a prayer in my direction. If you’re not into religion shoot some positive thought in may direction.

Wishing you all Love and Prosperity in 2016.

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Social Media Samurai Year In Review: The Best Of Samurai Sit Down 2015

Social Media Samurai Year In Review: The Best Of Samurai Sit Down 2015

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One of my favorite things about The Social Media Samurai is having a platform to introduce people doing good work and giving a place for people to express themselves devoid of the media politics that often make true expression a frustrating situation. This year I had some amazing  conversations with a number of people that really left a mark on the culture for 2015.

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Hip Hop Artist Nitty Scott MC & Media Personality Cleverly Chloe were 2 of the ladies featured on Samurai Sit Down.

Hit the Jump to see a few snippets and updates from this Year’s season of #SamuraiSitdown!!

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Social Media Samurai Year In Review: The Best Of Samurai Rides 2015

Social Media Samurai Year In Review: The Best Of Samurai Rides 2015

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It’s been an amazing year for #SamuraiRides. The good people at DriveShop have put me in behind the wheels of some great vehicles. I can honestly say I didn’t have a bad experience with any of the rides I reviewed. As I prepare for the new fleet of cars for year 2016-2017 lets take a look back at some of the stand out experiences I had in the 2015. Having reviewed multiple cars of a few specific automotive brands I’ll share the best of each in this wrap up edition of Samurai Rides.

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Samurai Holiday Drop: SnapChat Trophies

Samurai Holiday Drop: SnapChat Trophies

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Earlier this fall SnapChat figured out to similar to Foursquare/Swarm, giving out awards for social activity is a winning incentive to engage users. They just dropped some Winter (its 70 degrees outside) updates, so as  a holiday gift you can hit the jump for the breakdown of trophies and what is need to earn them all.

Merry Christmas

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Internet Xmas – Managing The Holiday Blues

Internet Xmas – Managing The Holiday Blues

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The Christmas season is generally a very happy time for me. It’s a time for family, friends, reflection and appreciation. I’m blessed to have no shortage of people who I love but with that being said there a frustrating element that I’ve battled that past few years.

The Holiday season isn’t about the gifts giving but I do like it as a moment to let my folk know hoe much I appreciate them and all they do for me. I take time to hand select cards that capture my feelings specifically for them. As I’ve worked to build my social media brand there have been financial peaks and valleys. I’ve spoken on these before in the telling of my Social Media Samurai evolution. I was fortunate last year as I had a very well-paying digital campaign bring me on board leading right into Christmas.

This year while my work has continued to progress it wasn’t as big fiscally as the previous year. Nothing reality checks you about where you are in life than not being able to do what you really want for the Holidays. Compounded with various other things in my world it’s a weird feeling for me this year. I was gifted a surprise trip to home to Antigua which was a blessing but back to my everything NY reality is the pressure to make things happen. I have no options. Time is not with me as far as I’m concerned. I need to make these ends match my influence. When my bank account is on par with my clout than maybe I can breathe easy.

I’m not stopping. I don’t know how to give up. Plans are on deck for the new year but still there are moments. Moments when I turn on the Christmas lights and vibe out to classic holiday melodies sending up a prayer that it’s going to work out. Please, I need it to work out…..

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New York to Antigua – Back Home And Inspired

New York to Antigua – Back Home And Inspired

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After a 22 yrs I finally made my way back to my family’s home land of Antigua. The trip sparked a lot of emotion and thought within me. Below you can see the opening to the piece I posted on Medium.com. Hope over there for some personal reflections and rediscovery of purpose.

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New Rochelle, NY has been home my entire life. 34 years of existence, born, raised and shaped by the middle class suburban upbringing just 30 minutes north of New York City. With that being said, from a very young age I knew that where I’m from went deeper than that. I’m from Antigua, a small island in the West Indies. As a kid, the annual summer trip back to Antigua kept me connected but not fully understanding the bond I have with the island. Fortunately that’s a connection I’m now dedicated to strengthening and reinforcing.

The issue at hand is that until just recently, I haven’t been to Antigua since Oct of 1993. My last memories of the island were a funeral service for my great grand mother. I was 12 at that point. In the years that followed family from Antigua would start to visit NY for extended periods of time and then eventually move up here permanently. At the same time I was entering my teen years and wasted no time to getting my working papers. Summer trips to Antigua were replaced with summer time jobs or domestic trips to see family in closer locations. As I got older and could now travel on my own i wanted new locations. I also had new connections and relationships that drew me to another places. The final component was simply budgeting. $600+ for a flight didn’t work for me vs $200+ to other destinations. I felt that my childhood years earned me the right to see other places. A foundation was set in Antigua. As I grew and matured into the man I am I realized that those roots needed to be nurtured both externally and internally. Not just for me in the here-and-now but for the future.

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Getting back to the roots……

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Erykah Babu Answers “The Questions” Via OkayPlayer

Erykah Babu Answers “The Questions” Via OkayPlayer

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Erykah  Badu, the woman that charms the world, took a few minutes to link up with OKayPlayer and answers questions live from the public. It goes without saying that the questions ranged from the expected to the exceptionally odd. Never to be thrown off her game Lady Badu keeps it entertaining through out. See the video below.

 

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SAMURAI SIT DOWN WITH TORONTO MEDIA/PR MAVEN ELLHAH PT 2

SAMURAI SIT DOWN WITH TORONTO MEDIA/PR MAVEN ELLHAH PT 2

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Welcome back as we pick up with Toronto’s own Ellhah and our conversation on the current state of affairs in her home town. We also get a little deeper with social matter both on and offline.

If you haven’t read part one yet visit this link then hit the jump for the 2nd half of the conversation.

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SAMURAI SIT DOWN WITH TORONTO MEDIA/PR MAVEN ELLHAH PT 1

SAMURAI SIT DOWN WITH TORONTO MEDIA/PR MAVEN ELLHAH PT 1

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In recent years I don’t know of any city that has seen it’s stock sky rocket like Toronto. From the diversity of it’s citizens to the art and musical explosion of mainstream heavyweights like Drake and the Weekend, Toronto has emerged on the radar of people that never gave the place a 2nd though before. Y’all many are now jumping on “The 6” bandwagon there’s more to the City then OVO and Caribana. For this final edition of Samurai Sit Down I have the pleasure of chatting with Ms Erin Ashley also known as Ellhah and Ellhah Media Group. We get into all things Toronto in this 2 part conversation. Enjoy.

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 Hey what’s good? Please introduce yourself to the people. Let them know who you are, where you’re from and what you do.

Where to start… I started my career in the music industry as a writer at KevinNottingham.com back in 2008, which at the time, was one of the best indie outlets on the Internet. From there, I worked my way into the publishing industry, and have worked with outlets from Canada’s Exclaim! to XXL, and of course, managing Boi-1da.net. In addition to those, I’ve worked with a few festivals like Atlanta’s A3C Festival and Toronto’s Manifesto Festival, and have also put on a few showcases highlighting talents like EarthGang, Devontee and Raz Fresco. A lot of different opportunities have crossed my path over the years, and I’ve been grateful for every one of them, So, because of this, I now have my own public relations company. It’s a been word of mouth business for the past year, but there are things in the works for 2016.

I’ve had a personal warm spot for Toronto since the first time I visited about 4 yrs ago. How would you describe Tdot. What does it mean to you personally and in term of its overall culture and growth.

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It warms my heart that you still call it T-Dot… ‘The 6’ hasn’t grown on me yet (or many others, for that matter) yet. I grew up out the outskirts of the city, but have always loved the bright lights of the city. We’re a city of immigrants and first-generation youth, which has made Toronto such an incredible place to grow up. We’re proud of our cultures, and the city goes out of its way to highlight that. Every weekend in the summer there’s a festival that celebrates one group’s culture – whether it’s Caribana or Taste of Italy, everyone participates. The city is special in the sense that if you ask a Torontonian where they’re from, they will doubtfully say Canada – even if they were born here. It’ll always be where they’re parents were from, which sums up how they were raised and unites us as an immigrant community. I mean, it almost feels funny when you don’t hear 3-4 languages in your vicinity at any given time. You learn so much about the world simply by talking to people, which is probably why Toronto is so incredibly captivating.

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SAMURAI RIDES: MIAMI ART BASEL 2015 WITH THE MITSUBISHI LANCER

SAMURAI RIDES: MIAMI ART BASEL 2015 WITH THE MITSUBISHI LANCER

#DriveMitsubishi #SamuraiRides

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When the Calendar flips to the month of the December the streets of Miami open up for the annual Art Basel Festival. Creatives of all types share their talents with the international crowd that converges on southern Florida and once again I had the pleasure to cover it. In addition to that my time was made even more pleasurable as I hit the streets with the 15′ Mitsubishi Lancer. With a clean Diamond white finish and black leather interior my time on the roads, streets and highways of Miami were more than enjoyable.

In stark contrast to my Art Basel experience last year, roughly 1/2 of my time in Miami was met with rain. Yes it was a wet one for much of the Art Basel experience. Fortunately, this gave me some real first hand experience with the handling and on road efficiency of Mitsubishi’s sporty sedan. Some of the worst rain would hit at the late night hours when I was on the road back to my lodgings. Thankfully the Lancer stayed steady through the torrential down pours with no sliding or slipping.

As luck would have it nature would relax just enough for me to enjoy the incredible artistic displays and festive environment that Art Basel transforms the Wynwood area into.

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My overall travels in Florida took me from Margate  to Fort Lauderdale then down to Wynwood and South Beach. Over the course of 4 days I needed just one stop at the gas station. The mileage I got out of  the Lancer was beyond efficient. Couple that with how comfortable the ride is even for someone as tall as me and you’ve got a winner.

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After the jump you can see more images of the Mitsubishi Lancer and get a run down of some of the specs you can look forward to with this ride.

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