Learning can be addicting

Learning can be addicting. As can stepping out of your comfort zone.

I learned this the hard way my freshman year in college when I thought it would be a brilliant idea to take a drawing class. Turns out I am horrible at it. But I gained a much better appreciation for those who are really gifted at it. It made me a more well-rounded person.

Fast forward thirteen years and I’ve I stumbled upon something I didn’t know I needed → Skillshare, an online platform filled to the brim with fun, affordable community learning classes.

Tomorrow I am starting with a Map Design class, taught by the talented Anne Ditmeyer of Prêt à Voyager. Everyone I’ve told this to so far has stared at me blankly as if to say “…why, Jess? You have never mentioned maps before…” But they don’t know about the lifetime of National Geographic Magazines I used to page through in my grandparents’ attic. Still today, my favorite part of any magazine/blog/website is when it includes a map. Like this guide to the Washington mind, this spotlight on Malta or this city guide to CapeTown.

My project for the map class will be to finally put together an expat’s guide to my favorite neighborhoods in Brussels. {While planning to put together another map about April’s trip to South Africa!}

Then in March, I am going to take a “video portrait” class taught by Kat Conte, to learn how to make a quick video portrait of someone who inspires me for the blog.

If you are anything like me, there are some 20 careers floating around in your head at any given time that you would like to try {one of them is organizing the Olympics but I’m not sure Skillshare has a class on that yet}. Taking these creative, easily-manageable classes has already helped me step out of my everyday routine. I have an excuse to spend some time on subjects I love.

And that makes me incredibly happy.

Photos via National Geographic and Pinterest.

  • 1. Fantastic title!
    2. yes, we have lots of parallels (National geographic)
    3. I also am horrible at drawing (but I also hate that they teach you drawing is supposed to look a certain way… if only there were Julia rothmans + kate bingaman-burt’s when we grew up!)
    4. always. keep. learning :)

    • Thanks Anne!

      Re: 3 above, So true! And of course as a freshman, I was too nervous to argue the contrary. Yet another reason to study when older and confident :)

  • Jay

    I’m taking the map class too!

    Skillshare is addicting – I’m constantly browsing classes. I’ve been debating doing a photo editing one now too!

    See ya in class :)

    • Looking at day 1 of map class, I think we are going to get spoiled by Anne’s class, Jay! So much great information. Photo editing sounds like another good one.

  • so happy to have found skillshare. honestly, i’m a bit terrified of graduating grad school this year, because in my fantasies I just get to go to school forever and ever and never stop learning. good to know i dont really have to (and i dont have to get up early for skillshare classes either ;)

    bookmarking this as a treat for myself post-postgrad-graduation!

    • Jess, I think you just pegged another skillshare perk. Normal sleep schedules still guaranteed.

  • That’s amazing, thanks Jess. Very exciting!!

  • i had just started adding some classes to the watch list! i am a little scared to sign up though, it been 13 years since i finished school and it all seems a little daunting! i guess the prospect of youtube videos watched secretly in the comfort of my home seems quite appealing! no accountability there ;)

  • looking forward to seeing your maps – its a course i have bookmarked for myself – hopefully a bit later in the year.

  • i just hopped on over from the class website to visit your blog – it is lovely! and for the record: i really like your drawing style for the map you made this week. when reading your post i had to think of a blog post that illustrator kim welling wrote last week: http://kimwelling.blogspot.nl/2013/02/free-friday-on-drawing.html, probably you’ll enjoy reading that too!

  • That sounds so cool, Jess! I can’t wait to hop over and see what sorts of classes they offer. Good luck with your map making!


Twelve years ago, Jess moved to Europe for what was supposed to be a one-year stint. Fourteen years later, life abroad is just as entertaining. She blogs about it here.