• Day 15/90 – Rockin’ my Fake British Accent

    Day 15 of the 90 Days of Awesome is in the bank! What made today awesome? Speaking with my fake British accent!

    Union Flag by Jay-Jerry from Flickr (Creative Commons License)
    Union Flag by Jay-Jerry from Flickr (Creative Commons License)

    I’ve known I’ve had a decent British accent since I was about 20. I’ve been told I speak in the “high English” dialect. Most of what I know has come from watching British actors on TV and movies. When I was in London for the Ungagged SEO Conference last month, I used my fake accent quite a bit and used terms like “that’s lovely” and “cheerio.” The conference staff said my accent was believable but they had to correct my pronunciation of a few words when I put the emphasis on the wrong syllable.

    Since I’ve been back, I continue to amuse myself with my fake accent – usually with baristas, servers, and clerks. People seem to like it. One person who know how I actually speak suggested I make the change permanent.

    This morning I went to Urban Beans for networking meetings. I ordered an Arnold Palmer in my British accent and one of the clerks asked me what part of Britain I’m from. Without skipping a beat, I responded with, “Oh I’m not. I’m English by blood, but American by birth.”

    Which is absolutely true! I have a strong English heritage. The weird thing is, so far, everyone I’ve said this to appears to believe me.

    Oh, I’m way too easily amused. It’s the simple pleasures that brighten my day.

    In case you missed it: Day 14 of the 90 Days of Awesome – Visiting Reverend Patrick!

  • Traveling without Tech

    London from the top of St. Paul's Cathedral!
    Hello from London!

    I spent last weekend at an SEO conference in London called Ungagged. (Yes, poor me, I had to accept a trip to London to talk about social media law.) Initially, I thought the trip would give me another opportunity to practice minimalist packing, but it gave me a much richer experience of traveling without a cell phone.

    Before I left for this trip, I contacted my wireless provider and added a small global package to my phone. Unbeknownst to the clerk or me, they gave me a plan that doesn’t work in the UK, so when I arrived I had a cell phone that was worthless as a phone. I could still connect to the hotel’s Wi-Fi, but otherwise, my phone was an oversized pocket watch that was set to Arizona time with a built-in camera.

    Whenever I wasn’t in the hotel, I felt like I was back in the late 1990’s when I had to go back to the computer in my college dorm room to check my email. Actually, it was better than that because I had a pager in college so there was always a chance my hip would start vibrating. I bopped around London virtually tech-free. Many times I left the hotel without taking my phone with me and when I did take it, it was only to be able to take photos.

    St. Paul's Cathedral
    St. Paul’s Cathedral

    I loved walking along the Thames River, looking at the various shops. I navigated only with the recommendation from the concierge – not even a map or a guidebook to direct me. I figured if I got lost, I’d stop at a shop and ask directions. It was quite freeing to travel untethered to my phone – nothing to distract or direct me. I simply followed the streets and whatever whims moved me. As I walked along I thought, “This is what being a tourist used to be like.”

    My hotel was located near St. Paul’s Cathedral which has a dome that towers above much of the surrounding skyline. When I wanted to return from whence I came, all I had to do was turn around and head in the opposite direction. If I moved in the general direction of cathedral, I knew I’d get back to my hotel eventually. I was never afraid of being “lost” in the city.

    It was so wonderful and relaxing to leave my phone behind and enjoy London. I suspect I got to see and experience more of the city merely because I wasn’t distracted by notification chimes or tempted to bury my head in my phone. It’s definitely a practice I want to adopt more often.