Wow, wait, where are we? What date is it? I almost recall 2019 as one of those senseless dreams, packing so many different situations together that you don’t really have a clue on what is happening. It started as an offshoot of 2018, at the end of which I’d barely come back from the 7 Summits Africa expedition, to pack my bags again for Austria in January 2019 with the intention of moving there long-term.
Two-and-a-half months later, I was back to Mauritius, heart-crushed from a relationship turned sour, and sore from a professional slap in the face… should I have tried harder? Had I let her and myself down for not chasing that dream? Would we have managed to align on our life styles, plans and goals? You probably know what they say about the difference between holidays and immigration… Granted, I could have been much better prepared in advance, in terms of job search and language learning, but I expected support and trust. Most of all, I expected she would be grateful and happy to have me there, that we would enjoy each other’s company after 5 months of (good) long-distance relationship. Instead I received constant questioning, pressure, blame, expressions of distrust & disappointment, attacks on my character, capability and more. All that started within days of my arrival, after a short-lived honeymoon phase. When I ran out of finances to support myself and seeing the fighting wouldn’t stop (despite having decent interviews, two photo missions abroad, and starting a small job) I decided to go home where clients wanted me and where I could activate some last resort measures like selling my car, before returning.
Being removed from ground zero didn’t really help and the internal maelstrom kept on spinning for weeks. I had the ambition to move abroad and grow as a photographer or combining my skills into meaningful experiences. I had been excited about loving this woman and living with her, counting on the support she had offered when she invited me to move. At least I had thought she did. It was now clear she expected an independent man and that I had to figure it out on my own.
Meanwhile I felt I was reaching a point of no return in my career: my experience as engineer, sustainability professional and project coordinator seemed to be on the verge of becoming irrelevant after 3+ years as entrepreneur-artist. Having established a brand and a functional company, Blastoff Creative was my pride and joy. I had now completed most of the challenges I was excited about in Mauritius, was broke and couldn’t foresee another attempt abroad for many months… What about my future? Strikingly, the mainstream world was finally waking up to the reality of climate change and other pressing sustainability issues in 2019, at least in the news. Would I still make it back to this line of work if I kept on hustling like this much longer? To try and make this painful relationship work? Would it actually ever work?
As the maelstrom slowed down, and while devastating to think I was “abandoning” her, the right decision presented itself: cutting my losses by not going back, and rebuilding on foundations. About three months later I joined the CIEL Group as sustainability projects officer. Its business sectors are fascinating, the people and atmosphere are engaging, and I’ve already had the opportunity to be involved in significant tasks, which has helped divert my thoughts from the Austrian memories. Luckily, going to an office every day again has been easier than I’d anticipated. Of course, I often want to run to the mountains, but I do it anyway by optimising my free time as much as possible. This position also allows me to take a step back from the entrepreneur hustle, to gain more experience, to learn more about business and therefore to recognise past mistakes and gain new perspective. Evolving in a different context and towards new objectives builds a healthy forward momentum, too.
This isn’t easy to write, but somehow feels like turning the page. Going forward, I will make sure not to make such big moves at the same time (moving country / moving in with a partner / changing jobs) and will certainly not be factoring the expectation that others will do for me what I would do for them, in my decisions. Not judging here, we are all different and must spend adequate time and effort to get to know each other. Trust is a huge factor, and in a relationship or team, we must each trust that the other will her/his best towards the common goal. As for Blastoff Creative: staying alive and kicking with the adventure spirit, and I look forward to sharing more exciting experiences with you all!
Wishing you a strong, productive and conscious 2020, building towards a brilliant decade.
Hasta la vista,