Jon Knebel is the original creator of Creolio and the Creolio method of translation. That’s me. The guy writing this. So please permit me the bad manner of switching to the first-person.
A Little About Me
I grew up thinking outside the box. It’s caused me a lot of pain. A lot of pain that I can laugh about–at least on a good day, haha.
I wish I could show you a picture of me as a kid, in my purple shirt (back when the color meant that you loved mystery and not other dudes), with my hair sticking up because of two cowlicks and a big natural, happy, stubborn smile on my face.
This is me now:
In third grade, I’d already shown an interest in languages when I learned the Greek and Cyrillic alphabets. Not long after, I started studying Koine Greek, and am still pretty handy with a concordance.
When I got to college, I took a liking to journalism, and in my first and only complete semester at UW-Waukesha in Wisconsin (I was born in the city of Miller Lite and Harley Davidson), I wrote what the associate dean would later call the best article that the Observer had ever seen.
But I couldn’t be caged by a traditional education. With a hereditary entrepreneurial spirit, I left to start an ebay business, and later a small digital advertising agency. Through my own efforts, and without a degree, and involving a bout with homelessness and lots of hunger, within four years, I was able to become marketing director of a promotional products company in Highland Park, IL, and then an advertising specialist at an investment company in Chicago, making $50,000/year.
But I wasn’t happy. I was happier when I was tinkering with my language-learning stuff that I’d been developing since around the time of my semester in college back in 2007.
So I left all that behind and moved to Mexico, finally exploring the world and learning to relax a little bit and build relationships instead of only thinking about survival for a change. While the original motivation for this trip was to help promote my book “Stories de la Jungle” that I’d thought would have been completed around that time, it became something completely different at the same time.
I fell in love with the people and the culture, and I felt the injustice of the frequently negative american perception toward Mexico in the face of what it’s really like to be there. I wanted to share the good of the people with the world–a more real sense of Mexico than what Cancun or a superficial dip into the borderlands can get you.
And now my interest in journalism (or rather in the exploration and sharing of truth) has resurfaced in my YouTube channel and podcast “Creolio Spanglish Travel“. I’m a big fan of Anthony Bourdain’s casual and social style of exploration in which he places a high value on the people he meets. I hope to do something like that while teaching Spanish through a Spanglish take on the Creolio method. By expanding into audiovisual, I hope to create fun, entertaining, and culturally educational content that inspires and creates an even lower barrier of entry to the Spanish language than a book might.
Though I’ve given up a lot to be where I am now, I wouldn’t take back any of these decisions. They’ve brought me so much life and I feel a richer person for them. And, trust me, this hasn’t been a wholly hippie sabbatical. While I’ve learned to take life a little easier than during the spartanic experiences of my early adulthood and been able to make people a greater priority in my life, I have always had some sort of professional purpose near at hand in all of my travels.
This has all meant a low-budget for Creolio, and this is why I hope to grow my funds through book sales which can feed back into further book development and video production, providing students with a greater and greater variety of materials through which to learn other languages.