As you well know this blog started when I quit my day job in Canada and moved to Mexico with my boyfriend and dreams of living a very, very simple life. At the time blogs were a new communication tool and it felt like the right fit for keeping my friends and family involved in my new life. My first vision for Scout & Catalogue was to be a space for writing – a kind of journal of sorts to record (catalogue) the experience of living in a new culture. As my readership increased it became clear that they were more interested in my photos and my textile progress than my words. I stopped writing (publicly – I have a life long addiction to journals so my personal writing has never stopped) and started snapping. Every once in awhile I head back to the first few essay posts to re-read how I was feeling in the first few months of ‘throwing it all away’ and building a new life.
It has been seven years since we first pointed the car south and started driving to Puerto Vallarta. In the time since I started dyeing fabric and a brand was born. We pointed the car north and moved to Toronto where I built a home studio and personally hand dyed and constructed every S&C item sold. After five years together V and I separated (he still has custody of Mouse who would not have been pleased with a cross country move) and I got on plane and headed west back to my hometown Vancouver. I now have a factory that helps with manufacturing which has been an important/terrifying step in creating a healthy and profitable business. It has been a journey to say the least.
As I wrote in an earlier post I am at a crossroads with S&C once again and have not yet decided which way to move with the company. I am giving myself some space and time to make the right decision and reflect on where I have come from. Over the next few weeks I’ll be re-blogging some of my early S&C essay’s – written from a time when I was deeply entrenched in transition, worried about decisions made and unsure about the future ahead (little has changed from that perspective!).
The text below is the very first entry on this blog – posted on September 7 2009. V and I had been living in Mexico since April and we were just starting to feel comfortable in our new life south of the border(s).
September 07 2009
The idea came about on a perfectly lovely August evening while biking home from work – what if we just left it all and moved away? Where we moved to was the least of my concerns, it was the idea of leaving all that I knew for something else that really grabbed me. As I am not one to make flippant decisions of such life changing magnitude while riding a 10-speed bike on a dusty road home it came with a bit of surprise that this particular daydream became a reality. Not just any reality but my reality.
That night I brought it up with my boyfriend, ‘V – you are, very conveniently for us, Mexican. Let’s leave it all and move to Mexico.’
V’s first reaction was to ignore me. He is very rational and understood that I had a good job, lovely friends and a strong connection with my family. Instead of exclaiming with excitement (in both English and Spanish) he calmly continued to chop vegetables for our dinner. The next day he emailed me, ‘I’m calling your bluff baby. I’m not convinced you could actually go through with it.’
This thought had also crossed my mind but as the days went by I could not shake the idea of moving to another country, especially one where I didn’t speak the language and the culture was foreign to me. I had long felt that everyone at some time in their lives should leave their hometown in search of adventure. At 28 I still lived in the city I had been raised in, having moved after university not across the country but across a bridge. Not only that, horrors upon horrors, I only spoke one language. Knowing only English had long been an embarrassment for me. How amazing would it be to respond, ‘My other language is Spanish.’ The fact that I live in Canada where our two national languages are English and French was of little importance to me. Mexico had become my target, my daydream refuge, my brand new life.
And so I quit my job, packed up my apartment and we bought a car for the drive down. Just for good measure I rented some documentaries on the great Mayan pyramids, the Conquistadors bloody successes and the political turmoil that has befallen Mexico ever since.
This I figured was enough to prepare me for my brand new life.