pontes newsletter #7

scribbles made on



My sassy and unforgettable grandmother Rosa used to preach for a yearly “seiri”: a time to look through one’s belongings & get rid of junk not often used. My mother took a liking to the ritual & spread the word to me and my sister. While searching online for inspiration, I discovered these two were evangelizing from the japanese 5S practice, a detailed workplace guide aimed at efficiency and effectiveness. For the last two months Simit & I have been looking through cubbies-drawers-shelves and the like, sifting for the truly essential. The mission in mind is to institute sustainable order as well as lightness.

Have you snagged yourself a glass of water yet, or do I still need to remind you?

As some of you already know, Simit & I will be graduating from Bushwick in mid-december. We’re going to be working, traveling & volunteering in Latin America for the next year-or-something (check out the pseudo-itinerary here). The seiri-survivors will be carried on our backs. Well, that & we’re leaving four boxes with Simu’s extremely generous sister Tamu in the Poconos. For those of you who have done long-term traveling, what were some of your essentials? :) Here’s our list so far if you wanna recycle or suggest additions!

Inspiration for this project came from an unassuming road trip around Morocco. Through a strange turn of events we received a tempting proposal to live & eat for free at a trade school while Simit worked on the design/specifications of the school expansion & I worked on setting up their eCommerce site. Although that project did not come to fruition (yet!), it encouraged me to search for similar volunteering-and-trade opportunities. My wonderful cousin & world-explorer Fernanda suggested we take a look at the workaway platform; Workaway matches volunteers up with projects all around the world. You can lend your skills or learn something new. In return, hosts will house you and feed you.

While volunteering 50% of our time, we’re both going to continue our professional careers through remote contract work 50% of our time. We’ll be cyber-building in our respective fields (architecture 2D drawings / 3D modeling magic & data/software wizardry). I thought about leveraging online platforms for contract work as well (such as toptal, upwork, fiverr). Disappointment quickly strolled in: the global eMarketplace for freelancing was offering rates that didn’t match my worth (and work output that didn’t measure up to my craft). So through personal networks I’ve started building a freelance portfolio.

I feel so grateful for all of you who have supported me along this transition. This dream wouldn’t be coming to reality were it not for all the emails & conversations that led us here. My current projects are neither skillset or domain specific at the moment. I am doing two projects in the machine learning space, one CSS/design project & planning for a software prototype. Domains are also varied: liver research, real estate, IoT machinery insights. Simit is going to be continuing to work for his employer remotely, but is open to picking up new contracts as well. If you see something, holler-or-something! ʕ•ᴥ•ʔ

Some of the challenges that I have been working through as I transitioned to freelancing: how can I maintain a rigorous skills development regimen? (fastai has proved to be an incredible resource so far! Any other tips?). Can I manage to not reduce my time to x-dollars-an-hour? I’d love to not work more than 8-9 hours a day; But it’s easy to over-work when the benefit is so tangible and immediate (read: stacking up a fat invoice).

And how about you? How have you been feeling? What’s your next adventure? What’s something you learned recently? Got any words of wisdom / advice for ya gurl?

If you’re around New York, on December 14th we’re having a gathering at the Jungalow to celebrate this wonderful stage in life. Come on through!

With so much love,