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Entrepreneur, full-time traveller + wine pro. Words in Ascent, Mind Cafe, PGSG, Startup. charlotte.emma.brown@gmail.com

Conservatism Masquerading as Girl Power Makes for Some Confusing Messages

If you ever want a decade personified, ask a teenager from that time about their experiences. And my formative teenage years happened in the early noughties (2000–2009).

Back then, I had two friends. One of them, let’s call her Angie, found the love of her life at 16 years old. I believe they are still together 20 years later, or so Facebook tells me.

The other — she’ll be Lucy — took a different path. One night, Lucy lost her virginity. Devastatingly, it was insinuated that it was not of her own consent. …


I am not the person I thought I would be

My younger self would have assumed that by my 36th year, I’d be married with children, a 9–5 job, living in suburbia. The marriage came (to fellow Medium writer Sam Dixon Brown), I tried suburbia (hated it), I ditched the 9–5 job nearly a decade ago and there are no kids in the vicinity.

Growing up, I didn’t give a damn about food. I didn’t even try wine until I was 18. And yet, at 28, I became the co-owner of a wine store and bar (the youngest female wine merchant in the UK at the time) and food and…


I pursued all of them until I questioned why

My mother used to tell me that if I didn’t work hard at school and didn’t go to college, I’d end up stacking shelves at Woolworths. In her mind, it was the worst insult she could think of.

I heeded her warning and worked towards everything she wanted me to. In my adulthood, I have gained a college degree, bought a house and attempted a linear career path.

Perhaps you were brought up in a similar household that spoon feeds the ‘success equals office work and suburbia’ rhetoric. …


Just not in the way you imagine

There’s a rabble of friends in my dining room. Some old, some I only met that day. Today, there’s a common theme. We’ve come together to celebrate the wonder that is the Gamay grape. It may sound offbeat to you, but for me and my group of wine trade friends, Gamay can induce feelings of rapturous delight, worthy of a day of reverence.

We’re each at least half a bottle in and I’ve got a gentle buzz going on. We sit around the table, full of disgustingly fatty French delights I’d spent a few days making, to pair with this…


The good, the bad, and the downright weirdness of it all

In October 2020, I officially retired from work and life as I knew it. I was 35.

Through a series of largely intentional — but some fortuitous — events, I now have enough passive income to oversee all my basic living costs forever.

This is not a life I thought I would lead. Growing up, I thought early retirement was reserved for the rich, and ‘early’ meant 55. I grew up poor and just assumed I’d be working for money forever.

But if you’re open to it, life sometimes has a funny habit of taking you down avenues you never…


Sometimes the right advice comes along at just the right time

If you write here, you surely know the feeling. You wake up, you check your stats, they’ve done nothing overnight. You feel like you’ve just written your best stories to date, so why are they going nowhere? You were so sure they would.

Then your partner — another Medium writer — bounds in, high off his viral story that’s still going strong, 3 months after it was written. “It’s happened again! I’ve had a spike overnight! Where are these views coming from?”

Urgh.

Another time, you might Taylor Swift it and shake it off. But this particular day just isn’t…


‘Essex Girl’ and ‘Jersey Girl,’ conventions are sexist, outdated, and affect us all

You can hear her coming down the street. She’s loud, her laughter sounds like a witch’s cackle. She turns the corner and you see her, caked in poorly applied foundation, blackened eyes, bleached blonde (or maybe jet black) hair to her waist. She loves the fake tan, that’s for sure. And her breasts are unnaturally hoisted up thanks to meters of boob tape that you can just see poking out of her deep V-necked top. She’s stacked up high on pointed stiletto shoes that look like they’re torturing her feet, one toe at a time.

Am I in the US’s…


If I knew what I know now, would I have tied the knot in the first place?

When I got married, I didn’t have much choice in the matter and I was just 24 years old.

It was not forced in the arranged marriage sense. I actually wanted to get married — desperately so — because it meant I could start living with my fiancé. We could start our life.

My family are avid Baptist churchgoers which meant no sex before marriage and certainly no living together. The latter would have signalled the end of my already rocky relationship with my father.

I didn’t want the fight and the family break up, so I took what I…


I haven’t spoken to her in 15 years, but my friend’s social media changed my life

Dear old friend,

You removed me from your Facebook circle many moons ago. Not as an act of aggression but simply because I didn’t make the annual Facebook cut. We just lost touch.

But 6 years ago, before the cut, you posted an off-the-cuff, dismissive status update that changed my life. You probably didn’t even think twice about it.

“I’ve just watched the Minimalists on TED and now I want to get rid of everything in my closet haha.”

Minimalism? I never heard of it

So why was I instantly drawn to it? Is it because I was living on $300 a month and felt like…


And they could change yours too

Have you ever heard or read something that instantly changes your perspective on something you previously held as gospel?

It’s less a lightbulb moment, more a mushroom cloud. Goodbye old way of thinking, hello unrecognizable new world.

I love learning from those who have already figured stuff out; it saves me a lot of time and effort. I borrow, I steal, I internalize and then I pass the information on, like today. 6 sentences that blew my mind. Who I was before I heard them is not who I am now. Because good advice can do that to you.

1. When you’re scared to shake things up

“What…

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