Category — Entrepreneurship

Dispatch from Kea

This winter I spent most of the month of February living and working on Kea, an island in the Cyclades in Greece. The trip and destination were made on a bit of a whim, spurred by an article in the NY Times about Greece and driven by a calling for a true adventure as I approached my 3-year mark in Maine. I don’t speak Greek and knew no one there, but I had been long ago with a friend from Babson and remembered loving it. I read that the island was known for its extensive system of walking and hiking trails, found a beautiful house perched up on a ridge overlooking the Aegean Sea, and was curious to experience the current economic and political climate in Greece first-hand.

I find it so fascinating how your experience of the world is always a reflection of where you are at. Nowhere is this more true than in travel, and this being my longest solo trip there were some serious moments of struggle, frustration and isolation. But also, I was struck by how many elements of the culture I didn’t remember from my first trip to Greece: the often seamless (and sometimes disjointed) blending of old and new, history and innovation; Eastern and Western influences weaving together in the language, food, architecture, dance, fashion, landscapes and everyday customs; the isolation of the language barrier, the expanse of the landscape, and the refinement & sophistication of the culture.

Kea is a beautiful, wild island steeped in history. Many families still live a traditional homesteading lifestyle where they produce the majority of the food they need, and the connection with the land and the rhythms of the seasons are very strong. But equally so the community is worldly, connected and well educated. The push and pull of “modern” life and tradition as evident as it is here in the US or perhaps everywhere. The chance to truly immerse myself in this culture is something I know I will always cherish. Not just as an outsider, but becoming friends with the incredible owners of the island purveyor Aristaios, Kiki and Andreas Mouzakis, and being welcomed so graciously into their lives and community. Travel is amazing like that, opening up space for new friendships and human connection even in unlikely places.

Even though from very different worlds, we bonded over a love of simple pleasures, prioritization of family (genetic and chosen) and an understanding of the way struggle and hard times remind us how piercingly beautiful our world is. We played tennis and football together, picnicked at the beach, hiked to the incredible ancient city of Karthea, talked life, politics, and weather, and shared so many amazing meals together.

I was struck by the era of transformation the island is in, evolving its deep roots of commerce and production to a future that is somewhat unknown. Kiki and Andreas pioneering a new wave of entrepreneurship, celebrating their culture and welcoming the world into it. The kindness I experienced is beyond anything I could have imagined, and for me is a powerful, powerful reminder of the bonds we all share, the coming together and exchange and inclusiveness that is humanity at its best. On my last night there we passed a phone around the table, each taking turns pulling up songs we liked and having that medley form the backdrop of our evening together.

Of course, we don’t always live in this space. We all have our own moments of fear, anger and frustration (for that I have learned some choice Greek words to express myself!), but to spend more and more time in that space, now more than ever, feels like the ultimate goal to me.

During my stay, the island went from winter to spring, The grasses greener, wild flowers appeared, almond trees burst out in blossom and the nights became warm enough for star gazing. As the island came alive I got a taste of how magical summer could be there, and I hope life brings me back to experience it. For now, I’m enjoying the new energy and creativity breathed into my work and life from the trip and so grateful to feel a sense of connection with a community halfway around the globe.

Yassas!

At the Acropolis in Athens

My home away from home on Kea

Inside Aristaios

One of the many beautiful beaches on the island

Kiki and Andreas at Karthea

The road to Vroskopos beach

March 22, 2017   No Comments

Fall in Camden

Camden from Megunticook Mountain, Opening Day.

Just about a month ago I was at the 12th annual Camden International Film Festival, now part of the Points North Institute. This is my 12th festival involved in some organizational capacity, and my 6th as a board member. At 36 that means that for a third of my life CIFF has been a part of it.

It’s hard to quite capture what this experience is like, seeing the event growing bigger and better than we ever could have imagined in the early years. For me it is a tremendous mix of pride, respect and being ever, ever humbled by the talent that keeps CIFF and Points North always evolving and pushing. It is awe at the drive and courage of the filmmakers and storytellers whose work we all come together to celebrate. And it is gratitude and a deep feeling of connection with the community that has year after year shown its commitment to welcoming this type of exploration on the coast of Maine. I think that is a combination of feelings shared by so many of the attendees, and a framing that makes the experience so incredibly unique.

And then there’s opening night. Seeing the local and filmmaking communities coalesce in Camden’s beautiful Opera House. Remembering the first year we sold out the venue and what a milestone that was for the organization. The unveil of Jon Laurence’s newest bumper, fingers crossing that all the tech transitions go smoothly, and that first dive into a weekend of transportation with friends and family.

This year’s opening short film was one of my favorites of the entire festival: The Art of Flying by Jan van Ijken:

Friday morning’s Shorts First program blew me away. The new short from AJ Schnack, Speaking is Difficult managed to, for me, cut through the numbness that seems to pervade our nation’s growing mass shooting crisis:

Ian Cheney’s new short film, Smog of the Sea takes a very different but equally powerful approach to another systemic crisis, our relationship with the planet. Meditative, immersive cinematography, ethereal music from Jack Johnson, and Ian’s knack for making complex topics relatable and human take us on an epic quest to the Sargasso Sea. He shares a bit of the story and filming process here.

And last night I watched Brett Story’s The Prison in 12 Landscapes having missed it during the festival and wow, such an incredibly powerful portrait of the prison nation that has and continues to grow in our country. The film opens theatrically at Anthology Film Archive in NYC Nov 4-10 and it’s a topic that’s close to my heart, with work on the documentary film Criminal continuing here on the coast of Maine. Brett has a way of weaving together these seemingly disparate narratives in a way that captures the nuance and grays of the current situation in a way that only film can do:

And to me, that is the true power of documentary film: to move us in ways that the written word, dialogue or imagery alone cannot. To weave these together and hold up contrasts, build connections and share the human experience. The ultimate journey.


October 23, 2016   No Comments

New Year, New Perspective

It is a blessing to do the work we do at Craft – to help clients we believe in grow their business and start and end each day feeling like what we do matters. But, you never know how life will evolve; how one step in the direction of your heart will influence a thousand after it. When I started Craft 4 years ago, I never could have imagined all the ways it would have changed my life and outlook on the world. This is my new sweet spot:

The sweet spot. Image by Anaïs Bock http://www.meetanais.com/

Some of this change has been really uncomfortable – forcing me to break out of habits or ways of working and being that had served me so well in the past. Other parts have felt as natural as diving into a pond on a warm summer day, or leaning into a fire after an afternoon outside in the snow. Perhaps the hardest piece was finding the courage to listen to that voice inside of me calling for a slower pace, more connection with nature, and stronger sense of community.

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January 8, 2015   2 Comments