Or why I no longer care what other people think.
The business failed. It actually didn’t, it’s still going, we sold it. Yes, we were forced into it but that has turned into a good thing, not so much for the people who forced us into it, but for us.
When we made the leap to create Ras Mbisi a lot of people told us we were mad, wrong, stupid to even dream about it. These people are over the moon that we came back ‘with your tails between your legs’, and yes initially we were very low. Yet we created an amazing place from scratch in a very difficult remote place, we had (a lot) 5 star Tripadvisor reviews. What we had realised was; We didn’t have enough capital to grow the business and it wasn’t big enough to get a loan in Africa to grow it. Now, today we’d be able to set up a crowdfunder and things could be very different, but having limped through the recession (worldwide recession 9 months after opening), the piracy in the Indian Ocean, Election fears, you name it, loans were hard to come by and we just had no way of raising the necessary cash. Better then to sell and get out. So we did.
Problem was it paralysed us for a while, OK so we were (are) both working, kids are in school (so proud of how they handled going from being free range home schooled bush kids to settling down to UK school life without becoming part of the herd), but something was missing, we weren’t free, we’d just slotted back into what we knew, working for the man, being one (two) of the beige army, except we aren’t. I have never believed that our generation would have a safety net like our parents, those pensions will not be there when we retire. So the idea that we should just work hard and sit tight letting our lives pass by does not resonate with me. At 46 it seems a bit late to start something new I’m told, really? Really? Fuck off.
What did I learn from building and running the Lodge?
- That Jon and I worked really well together
- That I was good at social media and not a bad writer
- That I was good at and enjoyed public speaking – this was from working with E frontiers
- That my recipes and menus were really, really liked
- That we were good at managing on very little
- That we were good at living in isolation without going insane
- That we were open to meeting all kinds of people
- That some people are just truly unpleasant and unhappy and nothing you can do will please them, you can only try. If you try and they are still unhappy, move on or they will infect you.
So, what am I doing now? I’m diversifying – watch this space…