'wanderer, there is no path, the path is made by walking. we're all wanderers in life.' -spanish poet, antonio machado

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Love in Prague...

...yep, that's right, bro - I'm stealing the title of your blog post. Sorry, couldn't help it. This is just one (of many) examples that really show you how much I look up to you! ha ha...seriously.

So, the background story on this video is that a couple of months ago my fabulous friend, Brittany sent me an email informing me that she came across this song on the radio and it reminded her of my relationship with Tom.

(side note: After returning from a 2-year stint in the Peace Corps in Niger, Africa, Brittany is embarking on a new global sojourn in Fiji. Her zest for life and traveling soul inspire me. Learn more about what she's doing on her south-spacifics blog - i love the name and i love the content. check it out).

Intrigued, I went on youtube to check out the video. Not only were the words so completely apt for my relationship with Tom, but the music video is incredibly beautiful. Here's the premise - Jason Mraz is singing to his love (Colbie Caillat) from the gorgeous cobblestone streets of Prague...while she is in some warm, sunny, brilliant location that sort of reminds me of Nicaragua (I think it is Hawaii, though).

For those of you who know me well, I've been on this whole "live abroad/work abroad" journey for quite some time, with numerous opportunities having come and gone throughout the last few years while working at global corporate giant Carlson Companies. I think I've told my story to just about everyone I know (sorry guys, but thanks for listening to me!:))...but basically I realized at some point that no matter how much time I gave corporate America, corporate America wasn't going to give me back the one thing I really wanted - a global work/life experience.

After trying so hard to seek out the opportunity that was right for me and relying on others to help me get there, I decided to take matters into my own hands and realized it was time for me to leave corporate America and move on to something...maybe not necessarily better, but different. I began to broaden my network outside of the contraints of the walls of Carlson and seek opportunities that directly correlated with my strongest passions (what a novel idea! work that correlates with one's passions?! whoa! revolutionary! ha ha...oh, and this will be a 'novel idea', as at some point I plan to write a book about this journey!) - adventure, outdoors, travel, building and sustaining relationships, etc. In doing so, I realized adventure tourism was something I wanted to pursue. Many hours -and adventure tourism website visits - later, I realized this was something I was keen to look further into.

After spin one fine Saturday (and before yoga), I was on a walk with my sweet, sweet Julie Rosenbaum, who gave me a couple of great contacts, including Larry Thraen...who was a friend of hers who had recently moved down to Nicaragua (yep, this tangent is starting to make sense now, huh?!) to start an adventure wellness tourism company, named Bodhin. It was just too good to be true. The notion of adventure wellness made me totally jazzed...organizing and facilitating hike/bike/yoga/scuba/surf adventures for burnt-out corporate executives on 'Raddical Sabbaticals' and the like?! Wow. Amazing. I loved it from the get-go.

My enthusiasm for Bodhin and Larry's mission grew after Jules put us into contact with each other and I learned more and more about the company and Larry's story. Funny enough, Larry (a Minnesota native), had worked for Carlson Marketing about ten years ago (in event planning), a sports marketing firm in L.A. with accounts like Nike (those of you who know me well know Nike has always been a dream of mine) and then relocated to Nicaragua to finally make his dream a reality. I spent the better part of June-October 2008 corresponding with Larry about a potential partnership opportunity and had the chance to meet Larry and take him to Jess' yoga class in Minneapolis when he visited.

In the midst of building this relationship, I remember having a conversation with my bro about the possibility of living in Prague. He told me, "Meg, don't make any rash decisions yet...there might be an opportunity in Prague with these guys who own a group of hostels here." As utterly amazing as Nicaragua sounded, I tabled the idea and Tom and I readied ourselves for our debut European adventure in mid-October, to Italy (Rome and Florence), Czech Republic (Prague - to visit my bro) and Poland (Krakow, Tarnow, Tuchow). Prior to the trip, Zach put me into contact with Jason Chin, Mathias Schwender and Chris Syvertsen, who owned three hostels:

1) Sir Toby's - now, I know we're not supposed to play favorites, but this one is dear to my heart for the warm vibe, communal environment and ecclectic decor (and guests!) - it is a traditional backpacker hostel Mathias opened 10 years ago (the 10th bday celebration was July 4th!). I just love it.

2) Miss Sophie's - after Sir Toby's, Mathias had a vision for a boutique/designer hostel and Miss Sophie's came to be. With lacquered cement bathrooms, rain showers, brushed steel beds, and more, the design is minimalist and gorgeous and continues to 'wow' guests (and dominate the press) today.

3) Czech Inn - I know, I know...ha ha..."Czech" - get it?! ;) Czech Inn also holds a special place in my heart, as the Hub (the central office) is located on the third floor of this beautifully restored 19th century building. Czech Inn is like a Miss Sophie's on steroids - an extension of this whole designer hostel/hotel concept, where value collides with luxury, it sleeps around 190 people and recently added 13 new double ensuites with a funky shabby-chic (you know I'm a sucker for shabby-chic!) decor. This is where I've spent much of my time here, both working in the office and managing art gallery-openings, music, comedy, etc. events.

4) Mosaic House - Still in the works, Mosaic House will be a new breed of accommodation. More to come in the future, but I can assure you it will be cool. This project will become more of a central focus in the coming months, as we ready the property to open its doors in early 2010.

So, after months of trying to make opportunities a reality, it seemed as if everything was just falling into place. I ended up interviewing with the hostels while Tom and I were visiting my brother in Prague and shortly thereafter got an offer, thought about it and prayed about it, and made a decision in November to join the gang here in Prague in January 2009. The rest is history, and I have been here for 6 months now. Wow, time flies.

Often I ponder what life would have looked like had I decided to travel to Nicaragua rather than Prague. It is interesting what direction life leads you.

I know many of you have asked me about my work here, so I thought it made sense to fill you in now. I manage the central office, where we manage reservations, guest inquiries, marketing initiatives (campaigns, collateral, partnerships, etc). I am blessed to work with an awesome group of people day in and day out.

SO...back to this video. I thought it especially interesting that she is in a warm, warm place (that looks like Nicaragua) and he is in the beautiful cobblestone streets of Prague. Finally...coming full circle here (thanks for hanging with my crazy mind!):). The words of the song are simply beautiful, and the video captures the essence of Prague's beauty so perfectly. It may have been overplayed in the States, but being in this Eastern block country, I hadn't heard it so I absolutely love it. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did...



Thanks to Boo for sending me this beautiful song. I love you, Boo - and I am thinking about and praying for you as you begin your new journey in life!

Love from Praha,

me

p.s. I am continually amazed by the art of writing...much like the creative designers I work with, I always seem to start with a concept (simply showing this video and giving a little background) and end up with a completely different product than I had anticipated (telling the story of how this whole journey came to be a reality)...simply brilliant.

1 comment:

  1. woo woo! you're very welcome megsie! and to think i didn't even know about the video... it's meant to be. i'm thinking of you too... so flattered you shouted me out twice on zmena! (sorry can't figure out how to do the e-dip accent) thanks for the prayers - could you include one about helping me find a flat in suva? thanks doll, love you!

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