“Eurobean – A New Beginning” – This post explains the reason behind why we made our lifestyle changes.
I had an amazing childhood growing up in Calgary. I can truly appreciate now, that I had near perfect living conditions and a truly beautiful and unique place to grow up. The climate and landscape in Alberta are quite favorable for the “outdoorsy” type. It can allow for you to access your inner adventurer quite easily. For those of you who don’t know; Calgary has a very western history with cowboys and rodeo’s and alike. One great feature about the city of Calgary is the major artery roads which go straight into the downtown core as well as the newly built ring road. Pick any location within Calgary and drive 2o minutes in almost any direction and you will find yourself in near isolation away from the hustle and bustle. Banff, Kanaskis, Lake Louse, Canada Olympic Park all so close to the city. The parks within the city are unreal (especially Fish Creek Park) as they are quite large, and you can easily feel like you’re not within city limits while wander around in them. This is a key factor in the lifestyle of people who live here. I could elaborate on these pleasantries however, there are an equal number of negatives as well. For example, 8-9 months of the year has an extremely high chance of snow (I’ve seen it snow in both July & August) and temperatures can remain in the -20’s for weeks at a time. Hail the size of golf balls is regular each year (or I’ve even seen up to baseball size) which makes Swiss Cheese out of the vinyl siding on houses. These situations can be quite unpleasant to say the least, but they are not the underlying factor which caused my family and myself to ultimately make the decision to pack up and leave. Please don’t get me wrong, Calgary will always be my home, and for me the positives out way the negatives, but we were also just ready for something new. This is my perspective.
From the age 1 to about 16, life in Calgary is 110% greatness. Tons of kids around, parks, woods or some sort of outdoor athletic activity area is in almost every nook and cranny of each community. Each community is unique too; kind of like how each small town is different from the other. Most of the people who live within each community seem to live there for their entire lives. So it’s inevitable that while you live in these communities that you will meet the same people over and over again. In hindsight this is actually one of my favorite features of the city because it creates a sense of belonging. Like your apart of something. People get to know you and you get to know them. So, in essence, the first chapter of your life – it’s great. The “bliss stage”.
In the second chapter of your life, let’s say, from the ages of about 16 – 25 things begin to change. You gain a bit more independence and a bit more responsibility. You get a Job, a car, a cell phone, credit card or maybe even a pet if you’re able to and brave enough. And actually, just a side note, I feel like people owning pets is quite common in a place like Calgary or maybe it’s the same everywhere, I’m not too sure. Alternatively, you are taking the other route in life of education first. Whichever way, you begin to gain that feeling of independence which each underdeveloped human craves. So, what happens next? Well, what most young individuals don’t fully understand is that with all of those things that you accumulate to make you feel more independent, they also cause you to gain more responsibility. Let’s call this portion of the second stage “the understanding “. You begin to realize that life isn’t all lollipops, rainbows and butterflies. You actually HAVE to work for what you need and want in life. Life gets a bit more challenging.
The third stage – I like to call it the “awakening stage” is a very important stage. To help me better explain I’d like to paint you a picture: You wake up one day. You’re squeezing every minute of rest before you need to pry yourself from your bed and get ready for your day. Your tired. You’ve been working for 6 days straight, 50-hour work week and you’re just done with the day before the day even begins. You continually remind yourself that you get 1 day off, and that you’ll make the best of it because your young and energetic and let’s face it… your to-do list is growing and it’s about time you take care of some of those things. Well… you do go to work but, when you get off of work your first intention is not to get something done… it’s to sit, relax and melt into your favorite comfy spot. And guess what? It’s the same for the entire next day. You deserve rest. You need it! Not to mention the measly 2 weeks of vacation per year we get (just compare the vacation times between Canada and the vast majority of the European countries and you will understand what I’m talking about). Because that next day is coming quick and to be capable of working at a capacity that your employer is satisfied with – that little bit of rest is needed. Well later on that day you ask yourself a question: “Why?”. What is the purpose that I am doing this for? You start to look around you. Everyone is in the same boat as you. Working day and night to try to scale the ladder and make it further in life. Calgary, this awesome place you live, is an underwhelming work-based city. Everyone is working, all of the time. Where has the culture gone? I mean, the Calgary Stampede is basically the only cultural element of the city had and the essence of it, the cowboy & rodeo part of it, is basically not really existent anymore. So, in-fact it’s just a big carnival. You go to it for 1 or 2 years and you’re done with it. I actually know people who would leave the city for the time that the Stampede was on to escape the ridiculousness of it all. This brings me back to what I explained earlier. Without those small perks of the City Parks and surrounding areas like Banff and Kanaskis or even just owning a pet, Calgary would be quite a depressing place if you ask me. So, Calgary lacks in the cultural sector. But this isn’t the underlying reason as to why we decided to pack our bags. Here is the thing… The economy in Alberta can be difficult for the small-scale entrepreneur if you are not prepared for it. I can only explain this next portion of this stage from a small scale entrepreneurial / business owner point of view. The economy in that province is based upon the oil industry. Oil is up, everyone prospers. The oil industry is down, everyone suffers. In my experience and after doing a little research I have found that these trends occur over about a 10-year cycle (give or take). In essence: 10 years of prosperity followed by 10 years of suffering. We were already starting on the downward slide of the scale when we realized that this isn’t what we wanted any longer. Why should we have to try to scrape through the next 10 years? Especially when my father, who was 63 should be thinking about retirement rather than working for the next 10 years. What could we do?
As explained in a previous post my father and I had been working together since 2007. We had built up a small bank account due to our side business: House Flipping but, with this economy going the way it was, we knew that the next cycle would be difficult for us. We made the decision to leave Alberta in attempts to join into a more stable economy in which could provide us both an even, stable income throughout the year. Interior BC was the place for us. We had vacationed here growing up and always dreamt of what it would be like to live there. Kelowna in particular caught our eyes right away as it is a young and thriving city. We began doing research into business opportunities in the Okanagan Valley. We looked at several businesses including Laundromats, landscaping & RV rentals but didn’t land on anything that worked for us. Soon, our business broker came to us and said: “Well, why don’t you have a look at this coffee shop I have listed?”. We looked at the business and decided it would be a good match for us, so we went ahead. 5 months later we drove out to the Okanagan in search of accommodation for the foreseeable future. This was our new beginning.