We had the good fortune of connecting with Carrie Green-Zinn and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Carrie, what led you to pursuing a creative path professionally?
I really love this question because it reminds me that “creative person” is actually part of my identity. I lost that for a while and I am so happy to have it back! In fact, the entire reason I started my blog was because of a serious need to bring creativity back into my life. A few years ago as I approached my sixth decade, and an empty nest, I felt a slump emerging. It was a dearth of creativity, and I desperately needed to infuse myself with some kind of spark.
My mother fostered a house filled with art, music, cooking, travel, and all things creativity. From early childhood, my love of dance was always supported. I never wavered from my desire to become a professional dancer and actually never considered doing anything other than dance. I danced and traveled my way through college, and then had a few great years in New York City. I even danced in a circus in Mexico, toured with a Bugs Bunny show, and took class every day with some of the best teachers in the country.
Sadly, that all lost its luster after a few years. It was the 80’s and NYC was tough. I felt like I wasn’t providing anything to the global community by constantly auditioning, serving salmon hors d’oeuvres at fancy parties, teaching private aerobics classes, and barely having enough money to pay my rent, let alone travel. During a painful period of a twenty-something introspective crisis, I discovered the world of dance/movement therapy. At the time, it was a little known profession of psychotherapists who use dance to help clients explore their issues and heal. This, to me, was the perfect combination of keeping my creative, dance-self alive and helping people in need, while also making a living. Getting my masters in Dance Movement Therapy turned out to be the magic sauce for my career transition. It took me to California and introduced me to some of the most vibrant and creative circles of people I could ever have known. (Including my husband, FYI, a musician). I was fortunate to work for years in psychiatric hospitals as a creative arts therapist. It really fed my soul. That is, until it didn’t any more.
Fast forward, I had children and obtained a second masters as a School Psychologist. Next thing I knew, my daughters were fully launched as grown-up, world-traveling, creative geniuses, and no longer needed my creative juices to keep them going. My shift into the empty nest only exaggerated the fact that I had become entrenched in a career which took me farther from using creativity, rather than closer.
So, on my 59th birthday, I gave myself a creative challenge. The initial goal was 52 blogs, and 52 photos, in 52 weeks. By the time I was 60, I had not yet met the goal, but it was clear that I loved blogging about everything from my childhood stories, to my thoughts on aging, to my travels and adventures. It was more fun than I had had in a long time. I had figured out how to bring creativity back into my life, but how could I possibly keep it going?
And then it was March 2020. The girls came home, the schools were closed, I was working on Zoom, and pining away for the places I wanted to visit when the world opened up again. I became obsessed with following travel bloggers. These people got paid to travel, take photos, and write about it? How had I missed that memo? Who cares that I am in my 60’s and we are in the middle of a global travel ban. I had found my passion, similar to my three year old dancer self, I was determined to stay fulfilled and creative. I dove in, got a coach, and created something I am really proud of.
I pursue a creative career because it keeps me feeling vibrant. Traveling and sharing my stories, tips, and photos with people is a seemingly simple idea that brings me enormous energy, pride, and pleasure. When people tell me they were inspired to visit Sedona because of my blog, or to stay in downtown Chicago because of my blog, or to try a new hike in the Bay Area because of my blog, I am blown away. It’s working! My creativity sparked someone else’s. How great is that?
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
I find that many of the talented women in the travel blog space are younger than I. They are at different phases in their lives which allowed them to quit their jobs and travel full time. What sets me apart is that I am entering this business as I approach retirement from my career as a School Psychologist. My age factor allows me to offer first hand travel and lifestyle insights and inspiration to the girlfriends’ travel groups, the family travellers, the couples traveling, and the midlifers looking for affordable travel opportunities.
My children are grown and my husband and I want a retirement that is rich and full with travel, adventures, and creative projects. We will soon have the time to “do whatever we want,” and while that is enormously exciting, it also takes careful planning. I am very proud of our approach to this stage in our lives because we work so well as a team to make sure we will both achieve our goals in the years to come. These are the challenges we face and tackle as we meet each milestone. I think this is the big lesson: Our creative lives are non-negotiable, and to fulfill those dreams, we need to be financially secure, organized, and smart. My biggest nightmare is to finally have the time to travel, but to not have the means!
This is at the root of my brand. I am a woman who loves her life as a mother, partner, and professional, and wants to see the world as not only a reward for all that hard work, but mostly because I know how travel enhances, inspires, and enriches people’s lives.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
Three words, Go Hike Sedona! I visited Sedona recently with my best friends and blogged about our incredible hikes. Here are my top recommendations;
The Boynton Canyon/Subway Cave Trail is a gorgeous hike, not very strenuous, that takes you to a once in a lifetime spot. You’ll see the red rocks that Sedona is famous for and one of Sedona’s treasures, the Subway Cave. Along the way, you pass through some of Sedona’s vortexes and can visit the ancient Sinagua ruins. The vortex earth is alive with energy and has been known to cause people to see swirling colorful lights and experience healing!
On the Soldier Pass/Brins Mesa Trail you will see the Devil’s Kitchen Sinkhole, the Seven Sacred Pools, and the Soldier Pass Cave. This is a great hike if you want a real sense of the history of the region. You’ll see sacred Native American sites, and the results of millions of years of geological evolution since being the home of dinosaurs!
The Devil’s Bridge Trail is a relatively easy hike finishing with a climb to the famous Devil’s Bridge. It is a natural sandstone arch that stands 54 feet tall. It is one of Sedona’s most popular spots because of the ease in accessing, and of course, for the remarkable views. I can’t seem to figure out why it is called Devil’s Bridge. Clearly, it was made by angels!
We hiked early in the morning each day then relaxed and soaked in the hot tub at our amazing VRBO with views of the red rock. Staying pandemic safe was more important than dining in at restaurants, so we cooked some of the time, and twice we ordered delicious food from Picazzo’s Healthy Italian Kitchen. We ventured out to shops and found some great stuff at the oldest store in Sedona, the Hart Shop.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
My husband and daughters have been hugely instrumental in the emotional, editing, and tech support aspects of my travel blog journey. I literally generated the idea for my blog with my daughters’ Gen Z attitudes and mindset. They have an amazing set of skills in social media, communication, and in saying, “OMG Mom, don’t do it like that.” My oldest designed my website, logo, and has taught me to use Illustrator and WordPress. My youngest is my photography teacher and editor. My husband is always encouraging and never freaks out when we have to spend money to get me off the ground. The four of us support each other’s creative ideas and pursuits on a daily basis. I can’t thank them enough.
My brilliant and renowned coach, Kamelia Britton, has been, and continues to be, my personal Yoda, offering expertise, intuitive genius, structure, and guidance to keep me progressing. She is wise in ways that stun me. Not only do her years of experience in the field and life experience inform her approach with clients, but she has an uncanny ability to know the right buttons to push at the right time.