When I was driving the moving truck towards Vancouver Island 13 months ago I knew that we had created a huge challenge for our family. Lisa and I had chosen the place we wanted our family to live and we could picture how our future was supposed to be. We wanted to work out of our own home on our own business. We would share all the responsibilities of the business and with raising the kids. We would not live a fast paced life and we would try to remove as much of the daily stress that had crept into our lives. We wanted to create the best environment that would allow us to help our kids to be strong, independent, and caring citizens as they mature. We would live a healthier life with daily exercise and I would lose my excess weight I have been carrying for far too long. We would enjoy each other’s company and we would spend our excess money and free time on doing the activities that we desired the most. In short; we left our old life behind to live our dream and to be as happy as any family can be.
The 13 months since our move has been fantastic. We have yet to reach all of our goals but we are a lot better off than we would have been if we had stayed put. That being said we have hit a bit of a lull. I have been exercising daily but I have lost focus on eating well and the Geocache Diet has stalled. I have been sitting on this one business idea that sounds great but have not progressed unsure if it is the best long term plan. We have been having a great time with the kids but we have also been letting some of the daily stresses with our family bother us a little too much. I have been even scanning some employment listings and thinking about getting a job. Lately for some reason we may have been telling ourselves that we won’t succeed at our plan and that we should try and go back to a typical lifestyle. Luckily our attitude turned around yesterday thanks to the Filberg Festival.
The Filberg Festival is an excellent arts festival in our new home town and after giving it a miss last year we wanted to make sure we enjoyed it this year. Apart from artisans from all over the west coast there is also a pretty good line-up of musicians playing pretty standard folk fest fare. Lisa and I bought a weekend pass and our plan was to visit as a family and also return alone when the kids had had enough. We have done this type of festival before but it has been a while and this time our experience was just a little different.
When browsing the different booths instead of seeing overpriced art that I just do not understand I saw artists who love what they do and were living a relaxed lifestyle of their own design. They were business people in part as they were selling their goods but in reality they just loved showing off their artistic passion. I could relate to the food vendors at this festival who was had come up with flavourful fast food that is enjoyed best when eating slowly while listening to some music. Yes the music. I have not listened to live music for quite a while and this absence, plus all that is happening in my life, allowed me to understand and relate to the folk fest music much more than in the past. Maybe this is because I am now a parent trying to do my best, or because I am someone who wants to create a slower simpler lifestyle, plus someone who wants to follow my dreams in creating the family business. Maybe it was just the beautiful setting and the fact I could relax and actually listen to live music. For some reason, or all reasons, the music seemed to connect like it has never done before. I felt a connection to Vancouver Island when the songs were about nature and small town quirkiness. I felt a warm glow when the songs were about children and the joys of parenthood, and my spirit was rejuvenated when the subject was about casing your dreams and living each day to the fullest. These were not songs about living on the streets from people who actually lived in mansions. No these were songs about real life and figuring out things as you go along by real people who play music because they love to.
Yesterday evening I saw a solo show from John Mann, the lead singer of Spirit of the West, and his performance gave me even more inspiration. The songs he played were not sung to make millions of dollars instead they were sung because they had real meaning to him. There were songs about his childhood, long lost loves, his family, and his battle with cancer. They were raw, rough, and real, and they were sung in such a positive manner and with such enthusiasm that it was impossible not to be moved. After the show I stayed seated and reflected for a while, grabbed a bit to eat and then reflected some more. I watched this artist, who has had a fair bit of success in his career with Spirit of the West, talk to people who had enjoyed his show. Some had to hug him with tears in their eyes and he was happy to comfort them with the same positive energy he had on stage. All I could think was here is someone who has it figured it out. He loves what he does and it shows. The positive energy while talking about real challenges and hardship was infectious and it put me in a great mood.
I took the long way home from the festival as I walked through the wooded paths that surround our home. During the walk home I decided, no I demanded, that I have to continue what we started and give this dream as much effort as possible. I got home, gave Lisa and the kids a huge hug, and then talked to Lisa about my renewed energy. I am going to stop messing around on this diet. I am going to take it more seriously and even though I may not reach my target in the time I gave myself, I am going to reach my target. I am going to continue to be the best father I can and have a lot of fun with my family. I am going to proceed wholeheartedly with the business plan I have been sitting on because it fits our personalities better than anything I have come up with yet. In this plan I get to combine my passion for travel stories, my love for Vancouver Island, and my knack with numbers and marketing. I will not go into much detail now but after this weekend I promised myself that it is full steam ahead with this plan which I hope to unleash on the world in September.
There was not one thing that the artists, food vendors, and musicians said this weekend that made me come up with this conclusion. It most likely would have been inevitable anyway because it was unlikely that we would give up at this point. The people at this festival just provided a model of what can be accomplished when you do what your love to do to try and make a living. You just have to make sure that once you start down the path you keep on going. Tomorrow is the final day of the festival and there is still some music I want to hear. Who knows what inspiration I will have on my walk home tomorrow?