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Chapter 2: Prepping A New (Van)Life or #WTF, Nat

Updated: May 27, 2023

Special thanks to:

Mike, Marilyn, JP, JF, William, Chicken Wrap, and Marc-Alex. Without you all, I may not be writing this today. In fact, I wouldn't be in my van, living my dream. Oh. And Scott Duncan. Because it's ALL SURETY and ACCOUNTING.


TL:DR, listen to this instead:


MAKING NOISE

It's not like I sold all my stuff, bought a van, and took off. This wasn't an impulsive decision; I started immersing in what blogs there were at the time about living out of my van. Once upon time, #Vanlife wasn't -- a hashtag.

(If you're confused, read chapter 1 here)


At this point in 2012, I still have no idea what I am going to do to sustain myself. The good part? I only have myself to account for. no kids, no boyfriend - just me. And so it begins. Jumping from job to job and repeating to myself "this is temporary", was key.


Heating a 5 1/2 with the stove with a hacker, a chef, and a wannabe. Harbouring a terrorist/fugitive and raising funds to house him (charges were dropped this year - 2022 - a DDOS attack can be considered a VIRTUAL SIT-IN. Winning!!).


Stealing from Dollarama so we could eat, sleeping under a picnic table at Square Viger in -30° C.

Getting kicked out of RBC for occupying it in protest. Getting Tom Mulcair to speak at our event - Shit - we even used Litecoin to buy Starbucks - true story - which, now, holds the top spot for the most expensive sandwhiches I ever ate in my life.


For the next 4 years, I would decide to step out of the shadows as a follower in these protests, and lead. We needed to be the glue ;) BE THE GLUE FFS!


With a small team of 5, we've moved mountains. I could list all of the movements, from #Flushgate to #OùEstLaSûreté, but really what I want to underline is what I learned. (If you want to read more about what we did, most of it is covered right here in TL;DR's portfolio)


Tom Mulcair speaking at the rally against Bill C51 in Justin Trudeau's riding in Montreal.  Oh, and me.
Tom Mulcair speaking at the rally against Bill C51 in Justin Trudeau's riding in Montreal. Oh, and me.

WHY DIDN'T I THINK OF THAT?

Unbeknownst to me, I was acquiring what I now know to be called growth hacking skills. What is growth hacking? I thought you'd never ask. It's learning how algorithms work to manipulate them in your desired direction. A mentorship from Commander X (fascinating encounter) during those years is what would spark what seemed to be an evergrowing desire to learn the internet of things. This is actually where Blink came from. My friend Mike was watching me code a webpage one day, noticed I wasn't blinking, and just yelled at me:

Blink, bitch!

Apparently, I wasn't blinking. It stuck and now here you are on Blink's blog. I digress.

In 2016, like a slap in the face back to reality, a moment of clarity. Keep in mind that at this point I still have no fucking clue where I am going with my life. Politics? Finance, again?


During #OùEstLaSûreté, Pete said something that changed EVERYTHING.


From memory, it went something like this:

Nat, you know people would pay a lot of money for you to do what you do, for them?

It was true, I was just too blind to see it. If you had a topic you needed to get out there, if you were being censored on Facebook, we were the answer. We knew what had to be done. @NatLaPirate: she knows how to bypass censorship & growth hack algorithms. Get it, now?


That was it. I loved public speaking. I had a new found passion for commerce and entrepreneurship, I knew how the algorithms worked: why wouldn't I give marketing a shot?


He was more right than I understood at that time. For the next 3 years, I would get hired in different agencies acquiring skill sets to add to my growth hacking. Search Engine Optimization & web design at LinkNow Media, my Facebook blueprint certification at Ensuite Media, Google Ads, Email - I went around seeking what I would need to start my own marketing agency.


Some people prefer to borrow money to acquire new skills in school; I chose to get paid to learn. #Winning


FOUND IT, GOT IT

And my hunch was right; I was passionate about marketing and soaked in as much as I could everywhere I went. Will and I then noticed a problem. A big problem. All of these agencies don't talk to each other, thus damaging your digital footprint (SEO). All of these pieces needed to speak to each other for Google to understand who you were and rank you in search results.


That was it; we were going to fix digital footprints and then implement organic, authentic communication strategies that combined run-of-the-mill marketing PLUS our growth hacking, for businesses in Quebec, and help grow our economy.


Which brings us to 2019. I'm ready. Alongside my partner and PR mastermind Will, TL;DR Consultation was born. This company would allow me to live on the road and wake up to which ever view of the sunset my heart desired.


Phase 1, complete!


But it wasn't going to be easy peasy, buy a van and go; now I had to get "permission to drive" from our gubberment. This meant paying off outstanding tickets, passing the theoretical exam again, as well as the road test. More on that in Chapter 3, maybe. Talk soon,







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