June 28, 2012

Portable dreams

June 28, 2012
Downtown Seattle, via Twitter
I am woken up at 4:30am by a sound I cannot identify. 

In the time it takes to realize it is my cell phone – a device that solely receives daytime robot calls for someone called Brrr Urrr whose number I now have – the noise has stopped. 

The area code is oddly familiar but it takes me a full two minutes to understand I should have taken the call. 

As the melatonin hasn't worn off yet, I resolve to roll over and try to go back to sleep for another two hours, noncompliant brain already whirring away. 

I'm still clutching my first vital cup of morning coffee and ploughing through my inbox when the phone rings again at 7:00am. "I've seen your ad", the lady says, and launches into a long friendly tirade. On my screen, an email tells me my ad will only be published after receipt of payment as I live outside the archipelago. 

I gulp down some more coffee, take note of the lady's contact details and go to the website where my ad is already sitting at the top of the page, far longer and wordier than any other. 

That's the ad I haven't even paid for yet! 

My inbox sees an unprecedented surge of activity, too. A local journalist immediately offers help then asks as a casual  afterthought about what brings me to the island (shouldn't it be the other way around?), a lady sends me a shy two-line email that reads "I am friendly too" and, at that very moment, I know everything is going to be fine. 

By refusing to go back to Europe to watch my ideas die in some dead-end editorial job that would make the last three years of my life redundant, I forced myself to dream up an alternative. My partner's enthusiastic reaction gave me the confidence to pitch the idea to a client. 

Who loved it as much as we do. 

This new project builds on my previous work – on another island very far away – and is the pilot phase for something bigger. Because I will work with a country that has been crushed by the economic crisis, the budget is minuscule and we end up bearing most of the costs for now but I am confident funding will happen once the project gains visibility. 

The project is unusual and designed to shed some light on those who have been forgotten or are too often overlooked for economic, cultural, linguistic or geographical reasons. 

Ultimately, it's about bringing people together. 

From now on, it's all about explorers, everyday heroes and all those who dared to look beyond the horizon for a better life. 

This time, it's personal.


  1. I know I can email you and PM you, but here I am instead :)

    I'm sending you good positive thoughts as you start thing that you are starting.


  2. Every day I am amazed at how you are surrounded by miracles. Taking lemons and making lemon curd, indeed! I look forward to sharing this next adventure with you until we can resume our adventure here . . .

  3. Isn't it *always* personal Hannah? You are your vocation as much as your vocation is you.

  4. Sounds exciting, but scary too. Wishing you all the best!

  5. @Sean: I'm not making this lemon curd alone you know! :-)
    @Anonymous: damn right!
    @Ellie: Thank you! It was scary initially, but whatever fear and anxiety I had dissipated within 24 hours of landing on the island. It is an extraordinary place that is home to an extraordinary community...

  6. Great, but what is it actually doing?