Following ones own advice is something I think most of us must get better at. I always tell my friends and others I speak to who happen to be in doubt or about to make a big decision in life: Follow your gut feeling! Listen to your heart! Your heart will never lie to you... Lately I’ve come to realize I have made the same mistake that many of us do. Also we do it who often seem to have the right answers to other people’s worries. Namely: I’ve been lying to myself. Or, should I say: I let myself, or my ego, be misguided by temptation.
Some of you old readers of my other blog might remember my little start up business I created up in Massachusetts?
My vegan take out/catering service that was created with my love for healthy, wholesome, organic, plant based food, the company I had barely time to open before I got offered a massive “once in a lifetime” opportunity in Miami. A wonderful, grand chance which meant I’d run my very own restaurant in a tropical city, far from the cold of Rockland MA. It would be huge with its 3200 sq. ft., and on top of that I was offered a big ass investment to get it started. Who could ever say no!
So I moved down here and got started. Gathered information, worked with architects to get the perfect drawings, inquired all my restaurateur friends about layout to maximize efficiency and workflow, changed sprinklers and inspected AC units, registered the LLC, met with engineers, planned the menu, made a careful study of the market, visited every vegan and vegetarian restaurant and juice bar, made a solid marketing plan, organized for construction, applied and received grants, started socializing and spreading the word, had conversations with future employees, visited the building department, dealt with regulations and restrictions...
But in the midst of preparations and the down-times in which I had to wait for anything from drawings or engineers to call me back, I’ve started to had this nagging voice in my head saying: This is not what you had envisioned of a life of peace and freedom. All this stress with administration, regulation, organization, financial planning and marketing strategies doesn’t rhyme with the simple life philosophy which you have searched for and gained in recent years. Was this the reason you set out on a long sail? I thought it was to gain clarity, peace and perspective, to find a way to live simpler and better understand the conditions of the human mind and heart.
Looking back at a text I wrote a couple years ago, about the perfect place to live. ~ Find it here ~ Not many of those points coincide with the culture and spirit of Miami and the United States. Old readers know that it had never been Alex’s and my vision to sail to America when we set out on our long world sail 5 years ago. After a few years of sailing the Med, Caribbean and South America, we literally only came to the US of A to make and save up some money. Because that is something anyone hard working can make a lot of in this country. The opportunities are endless if you put your mind to it.
So going back to what I as a human being really want from life, money is not what drives me. And even if it’s a necessary evil, I must realize that I don't have to sacrifice the true happiness of my soul to achieve it. I figured by the time my company had paid off the investment and made good profit, I would be exhausted from working 18 hours a day seven days a week and I would be another five years older. Probably not much happier. I would have worked my ass off to one day achieve what I literally can have today (referring to the concept of my previous post). I would have paid god knows how many thousand dollar in taxes to a country whose political system, lack of real democracy, its weapon and war sponsoring, the destructive food and pharmaceutical industries, the relentless materialism and commercialism - all what I strongly dislike and see as failure of a society and which is working against humanity.
And how much have I missed being close to my family and friends.. Most of my closest friends that all live in Europe are either still doing their PhD or have a bunch of kids so travel overseas for them hasn’t been very easy. And would I now open my place, there would be no chance in the world that I could take off for a week or more and leave my business with 15-20 employees to take care of themselves within at least the next three years. I get tired and sad just thinking about it..... It is not what I want out of life. But it has definitely been a very healthy lesson that has taught me to listen to my heart even further. To really define and live up to my values. No I will never get the time and money back that I've invested so far, but I've learned so much.
So what was my real dream, the one I put on pause and which I thought I couldn’t achieve just yet? Living near the sea. Gardening my own organic food. Running a small ten tables tops outdoor tavern with food of the day served from the kitchen of the house in which I live. Sea view and walking distance to the beach. A healthful, genuine atmosphere and simple but authentic people as neighbors. Peace, calm and quietness and lots of time and space for inner reflection. Closeness to my friends and family. Time and room for just being, breathing, reading, writing, photographing, cooking, sharing, learning, feeling, appreciating mother nature and its magic... that is who I am and I can't deny it.
We will always run into temptations. Some of which seems so alluring that we might lose the footstep for a while. At least that’s what happened to me. Though I wouldn’t ever want to be without these insights, as the experience is what made me redefine my values and really plant them into solid ground. I’ll tell you more about my move at a later time, but I have now seven weeks left in the US and then I’m finally flying back to my beloved Mediterranean. Will make the best of this time remaining and appreciate all the good that this country offer. I am thankful and happy for many things America has given me, one of the best things (besides the friendships made) is of course my degree in holistic nutrition that I have started to work towards, and which will be of great value anywhere I go and whatever I do in the future.
If anyone is looking for a great location in the heart of the historic district in downtown Miami, do let me know. The space is available for any sort of business. It will be THE perfect spot now that they are opening Miami Grand Central train station just a block away in 2016, not to mention every other huge project that is being built there as we speak. Jonas, the landlord is a good old friend of mine and he'll take good care of you. Rent is also very sympathetic in the first couple years.