About Me

Shelly Randall

I’m Shelly Randall, the mother of a 1st grader and the author of Sustainable Together.

I launched this blog in 2011 with the conviction that it’s not wise to “go sustainable” alone. Fortunately, I have put down roots in a welcoming place for sustainable living: Port Townsend, Wash.

Coming ashore
I sailed—really, I did!—into Port Townsend in 1999. For two years after college I had been crewing as a shipboard environmental educator, first with a boat on Long Island Sound, then here in Puget Sound with Sound Experience on the schooner Adventuress. I met my future husband here at a contra dance and decided to stay.

My first job was reporting for the weekly newspaper, covering the port and shipyard beats, among others. (My feature on an owner-built Rastra Block home won an environmental reporting award from the Washington Newspaper Publishers Association in 2001.) I later was employed as a grantwriter and communication manager for the Northwest Maritime Center and freelanced for maritime publications, including WoodenBoat and Sea Magazine.

In 2006 my husband Jeff and I took a year-long sabbatical road trip around North America (and I blogged about it, of course). The once-in-a-lifetime trip inspired him to switch careers from city planning to renewable energy (he now is employed by Power Trip Energy Corp.), and me to launch my own business.

From 2007-14 I owned and operated a communications consultancy that served local small business and nonprofit clients, such as the Jefferson County Community Foundation, Key City Public Theatre, the Northwest Maritime Center, and the Port of Port Townsend. In mid-2014, when my son started Kindergarten, I started the transition to a career in financial planning and advice, with an eventual focus on SRI (Sustainable, Responsible and Impact) investing.

Pre-Port Townsend
I graduated magna cum laude from Smith College, majoring in American Studies, and spent a memorable semester at the interdisciplinary Williams College-Mystic Seaport Maritime Studies Program in Connecticut—singing sea chanteys, messing about in the archives (and winning the award for the best history paper, on sailors’ slop chests), measuring salinity in a salt marsh, and getting only mildly seasick on the Caribbean field seminar.

At the age of 20, I broke my leg in a fall down a mountainside that could have easily killed me. The outpouring of love and support I received during my recuperation felt like sitting through the eulogies at my own funeral. Knowing how much we’d be missed is a privilege we all should have before we die.

An impressionable period in my young life was the two years (age 8-10 for me) that my family lived in Santa Cruz, Bolivia. My parents were former Peace Corps volunteers in Peru and were eager to return to South America after they had their three children. My veterinarian father volunteered with the international humanitarian agency World Concern and my mother substitute-taught at our English-speaking school. I understand now why they wanted us to experience life in a non-industrialized country with its cultural heritage largely intact. My horizons were permanently broadened.

My interior horizons have been broadened by Vipassana meditation, which I sought out after becoming a parent.  The introductory course at Dhamma Kunja was 10 days long, characterized by vows of silence and non-contact with the 100 other attendees. It was as close to living in a monastery as I’ll probably ever come.

Nowadays I enjoy “moving meditation” at my weekly vinyasa yoga class and do my best to practice “simplicity parenting.” I write much less than I used to, but maintain this online presence because of all the positive feedback Sustainable Together has gotten over the years.

Thank you for reading. Be peaceful, be happy!

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