Be Brave Enough to Suck at Something New.

Recently, while scrolling through my Instagram account, I came across a picture of a surfer crashing hard above a wave, his body going one way, his board the other. The picture alone caught my eye, but it was the caption below the picture, “Be Brave Enough to Suck at Something New”, that really caught my attention. I had heard that phrase before, but never really gave it much thought. Perhaps it was seeing the words in print combined with the picture, but this time something was different about reading that phrase. For whatever the reason, those eight words resonated in my head all day long.

Maybe it was the state of mind I was in at that moment, maybe it was my insecurity of switching careers, maybe it was because I was dealing with some family issues, or maybe it was because I had started a new graduate school program, but my overall confidence was extremely shaky, and I was questioning my self-worth daily. Ironically, changing things up and starting over again was not anything new to me, as I had a previous career in education, worked internationally, published a book and even started my own podcast, but I had never felt so out of my element than in that moment. Nothing was clicking and nothing felt “normal.”  I had mastered the art of acting like I knew what the hell I was doing, as I put on a smile, chatted “freely” with coworkers, played the part of confident person, and even closed a few sales, but I was miserable. I had become a good actor on the outside, but internally, I was an emotional wreck. I woke up daily wondering if that was the day that I was figured out to be a fraud. I internalized my negative thoughts and allowed my anxiety to get the best of me all while still trying to function and focus. To put it mildly, I was a mess.

Call it timing, call it irony, call it clarity, call it whatever you want, but I am truly convinced that scrolling on my phone and seeing that post did not happen by chance. It finally clicked to me that it was my approach to potentially sucking that I was afraid of, not necessarily change. A perfectionist at heart, I was comparing myself to others my age, comparing my bank account, comparing careers, comparing happiness and even comparing my home life. Understanding that it is indeed alright to suck at something new made me stop overthinking and instead, made me start embracing the challenges in my life. The reality is we are only in competition with ourselves to get better every day, as it should not be about comparing your story or timetable to anyone else. Often in life we play it safe at the first of insecurity and even more so, take the easy route instead of the road not taken. That is not to say there is anything wrong with taking the easier path, as I wish I were indeed wired that way, but I am not. Being brave enough to suck at something new does not necessarily imply one should start a new career, but more so, simply take a chance at something, anything, just get out of your comfort zone. Go on that trip. Take a cooking class. Talk to that stranger in the coffee shop. Write that book. Learn a new language. Go back to school. Join that gym. Whatever it is that you keep debating over, choose to do the thing that scares you the most. Quit overthinking and just live. We all suck at something new, and we all fail from time to time. Failure in inevitable, but how we respond and persevere is really all that matters. I do not claim to have all the answers, and I still suck at plenty of things. I still wake up a lot wondering if I am making the right decisions, but I am starting to learn that nothing is ever permanent, and we can always change our minds and start over again.  I do believe life is for the living and chances are indeed there for the taking, even if that means we suck at something for a bit.

BenThere S2 E13: 4th Generation TCK, International Businessman, Husband & Father, Tim Brantingham.

Tim Brantingham

Tim Brantingham is a US passport holder but has lived most of his life in Asia, having been born in Taiwan, with 12 years at Taipei American School (TAS); and having worked the last 30 years in Taipei, Shanghai, Hong Kong and now Tokyo. Tim comes from a line of American missionaries and is the fourth generation of American to live and work in Asia—his kids are the fifth.

Tim went to the College of William and Mary in Virginia, and has graduate degrees from the University of Hong Kong and Oxford University. He is a co-founder of Brantingham & Carroll International, which he runs with fellow TAS classmate Matt Carroll. They have an engineering, manufacturing and supply chain business working mainly in renewable energy. They also dabble in craft beer and venture investments.

Tim is married to another fellow TASer, Mariko Dose, and together they have three kids attending Nishimachi International School in Tokyo.

Watch as we chat about TCK life, being a 4th generational TCK, raising TCK’s, family life, studying at Oxford, acclimation to ones passport country, international schools, travel, mentors, international business, craft beer and much more!

Tim can be reached at:



#tck#tcklife#taipeiamericanschool#travel#family#business#craftbeer#writing#oxford#internationalschools#passportcountry#mentors#Asia#Taiwan#HongKong#Japan#acclimation#chosenfamil #benthere

S2 E13, Tim Brantingham

BenThere S2 E 12: Mentor, Educator, Counselor & International Traveler, Merilyn Franz.

Merilyn Franz.

Born in New Mexico, Merilyn Franz called Phoenix, Arizona home for 35 years prior to becoming an international educator. With her husband Derryl, Merilyn enjoyed three years at the International School of Bangkok, nine years at Taipei American School, and three years at the American School of Bucharest, Romania. Incredibly grateful for her years living overseas, and never one to slow down, Merilyn is currently retired living in Independence, Oregon and stays busy as a hospital volunteer while also helping at food banks. She has four adult sons, one adult stepdaughter, fifteen grandchildren, and fourteen great-grandchildren. Sadly, Derryl (known as “Coach” to many of us that knew him), passed away on January 18, 2018. Derryl is missed terribly, but ever the optimist, Merilyn continues to feel blessed by the people met and over-the-top life experiences they shared together.

Watch as we chat life, the international experience, international schools, family, Derryl, acclimation, culture, travel, life now, optimism and much more!

Mrs. Franz can be reached at:



BenThere S2 E12, Merilyn Franz.

BenThere S2 E11: TCK, Award Winning Artist, Singer, Musician, Mom & Wife, Angela Soffe.

Angela Soffe

Angela Soffe is an award-winning artist raised in Asia and now based in Washington state. Known for her intimate vocals and piercing lyrics, her songs are morsels of real life wrapped in honest Americana. Her recent album, “Second Wind” won the nomination for “Americana Album of the Year” by the Independent Music Awards 2019. Her new single, “Rocks” also won the Great American Songwriting Contest in 2019. Her work and story has been featured on independent films, commercials, and podcasts worldwide. She’s recording and releasing her next album in Nashville, TN in 2021.  

Watch as we chat about growing up in Asia, travel, acclimation, cultures, family, music, songwriting, pursuing dreams, plus an acoustic performance of her hit, “Rocks” at the very end of the interview!

Angela can be reached at the following:  


Instagram- angelasoffemusic 



BenThere S2 E11, Angela Soffe Interview.

Music Video of “Rocks”

Official Music Video, Angela Soffe “Rocks”

BenThere S2 E10: Global Citizen, Architect, Designer & Twin, Valeria Lie Alonso.

Valeria Lie Alonso

Valeria Lie Alonso is co-founder of the international design studio Lie Alonso alongside her twin sister, where they create transcendental spaces and pieces in the realms of architecture, design, furniture and aviation. Daughters of the New World, born and raised in São Paulo, Brazil, the twins’ ancestry stems from a Spanish father & Surinamese-born Hakka Chinese mother.

Having lived in Brazil, United States, and now in the United Kingdom, she has developed international multimillion-dollar projects from concept through completion, managing affluent & Forbes 500 clients while coordinating projects with various teams and companies worldwide, expanding her experience in industrial design and the luxury market. Previously, she worked for two of the largest business jet manufacturers in the world, Embraer Executive Jets and Gulfstream Aerospace. During this time, she directly engaged in winning international sales and delivery campaigns, traveling the world guiding clients through the extensive process of personalizing aircraft interior and exterior designs.

Valeria has uprooted her life twice, first by leaving her career in Brazil, and then again in the US to pursue her dreams and aspirations. She immigrated to England right before Brexit and COVID-19’s lockdown, where she reunited with her twin and has been focused on building their life long vision, celebrating their heritage through their multidisciplinary practice.

At Lie Alonso, their creative philosophy represents a fusion of influences, developing unique spaces and pieces that transcend the classical and contemporary ages, with a sophisticated approach and a sense of ease and wonder. Their deep connection to distinct cultures brings an intrinsic way of understanding clients’ needs and desires, envisioning global perspectives, and uniting multidimensional aspects into rich cohesive designs, full of personality, charm, and effortless presence.

Watch as we talk culture, home, traveling, chasing dreams, starting an international business, family, global perspectives, and much more!

Valeria can be reached at:


Instagram: valerialie


#globalcitizen #travel #brazil #unitedkingdom #USA #international #culture #globalperspectives #home #internationalbusiness #architecture #design #twins #dreams #relocation #family #benthere

S2 E10, Valeria Lie Alonso

BenThere S2 E9: TCK, Global Citizen, International Admissions Director, Educator & Facilitator, Metta Dael.

Metta Dael

Metta Dael currently serves as the Director of International Admission at Northfield Mount Hermon, a boarding school in Massachusetts. She returned to her alma mater after serving as the Director of Education programs at the Women’s Housing and Economic Development in the Bronx, NY. She spent most of her life in South East Asia – Indonesia, Singapore, Thailand, Hong Kong before moving back to the United States. Her former jobs have included working in the NY theater scene, a production assistant in a number of movies, an extra on MTV Jams, research for Nickelodeon children’s shows, and a teacher. Metta has facilitated admissions and cultural competency workshops in fifteen countries. Ms. Dael holds a Master’s degree in Multicultural Education from New York University’s Gallatin School and is a graduate of Columbia University’s Executive Education Program in Not-for-Profit Management. She has turned her TCK upbringing into a real job which allows her to travel and meet prospective students from around the world.   

Watch as we chat about international living, the concept of home, being a Third Culture Kid, identity, travel, international schools, acclimation, professional careers, family, and much more!  

Metta can be reached at the following: 



#tck #thirdculturekid #globalnomad #globalcitizen #travel #HKIS #HongKong #philippenes #singapore #identity #thailand #indonesia #usa #teachers #educators #admissionsdirector #family #northfieldmountharmon #randomrunins #Shanghai #southeastasia #parenthood #accidentalprivilege 

S2 E9, Metta Dael

BenThere S2 E8: TCK, Military Brat, Humanitarian, Historian, Traveler & Renaissance Man, Barry Barnes.

Barry Barnes

Barry Barnes grew up both a Third Culture Kid (TCK) and Military Brat (MB) living predominantly on military bases in both the United States and the Philippines. Having lived in 41 houses by the time he was 19 years old, Barry is indeed a global citizen with a true understanding of people and culture. Professionally, Barry spent time as a behaviorist, high tech executive, entrepreneur, software industry spokesman, author and corporate consultant.

Currently living in Reno, NV, with his wife, Liz, retirement hasn’t slowed Barry down at all as he continues to travel the world, is a writer, and artist, a humanitarian, a classic car restorer, a woodworker, do-it-yourselfer, a carpenter, a collector, a volunteer, a lifetime learner, an observer and commentator, a wisdom collector and so much more!  A true historian and Renaissance Man, Barry’s story is both unique and fantastic! 

Watch as we discuss Barry’s early years, family life, growing up on military bases, living outside of the United States, travel, cultures, writing, beliefs, careers, humanitarian work, hobbies, “retirement life”, lifetime learning, art work, and much more!  

Barry can be reached at:  


S2 E8, Barry Barnes

BenThere S2 E7: Firefighter, Husband, Father, World Traveler & Story Teller, Chad Camp.

Chad Camp

Chad Camp has worked in the EMS field for over twenty years in both Utah and Nevada while holding positions within Vivint Arena, Gold Cross Ambulance and New York, New York Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas. He is currently a Firefighter-EMT, Sr. Engineer and Swift Water Technician for the Salt Lake City Fire Department. A world traveler, master story teller, and self-proclaimed international entertainer known for his impressive karaoke ballads and dance skills, Chad also has a passion for baseball and is a huge Disney fanatic.

Chad and his wife Melissa reside in South Jordan, Utah, and are proud parents to six children ranging in age from 11-22 years old.

Watch as we talk about life, family, travel, firefighting, sports, fatherhood, dream jobs, friendship, getting older, bucket lists, and much more!

Chad can be reached at the following:




S2 E7 Chad Camp

BenThere S2 E6: TCK, International Speaker, Author, Podcaster, and Comedian, Christopher O’Shaughnessy.

Chris O’Shaughnessy

Christopher O’Shaughnessy is a passionate and versatile speaker, comedian, and author who uses a unique blend of story-telling, humor, and provocative insight to engage a wide array of people on topics ranging from Third Culture Kids and the effects of globalization to building community and increasing empathy.  

Chris’ book, Arrivals, Departures and the Adventures In-Between, has received high praise from students, teachers, and other experts in the TCK and international community as a resource that is both enjoyable to read at a student level, and able to instill truths, insights and skills essential to navigating life successfully as a TCK. It has also been used in teaching cross-cultural skills and instilling global awareness in a variety of disciplines at the college level and for businesses.  

Christopher can be reached at: 




Podcast: Diesel & Clooney Unpack The World

Listen in as we chat life, third culture and cross culture differences, travel, international living, globalization, empathy, friendships, speaking, writing, comedy, and much more! My apologies for the visual issues, as the sun wasn’t playing nice!

Chris O’Shaughnessy

 #tck​ #thirdculture​ #crossculture​ #globalnomad​ #globalization​ #travel​ #internationalcommunity​ #storiestotell​ #lostintranslation​ #speaker​ #comedian​ #author​ #storytelling​ #arrivalsdeparturesandadventuresinbetween​ #accents​ #friendships​ #empathy​ #benthere