If you know me/follow me on social media, you may have noticed that my lifestyle has changed rather drastically recently. While May is usually spent in the turquoise waters of the Ionian sea, this year the only blue splashes on my skin were from the wistfully named Bali shade of kitchen and bathroom paint. I cancelled my long over-due trip to Greece (sorry yaya!) to concentrate on my latest project… Opening a cafe!
Yeah that’s right. I’ve given up my life of zero ties and minimal responsibilities and decided to do a grown-up thing. I’m still not entirely sure why, but one day in Verbier I heard about this opportunity and I could just picture everything falling into place. Go home, have a purpose. Have a wardrobe. And a bedroom. And more than a backpack full of possessions. The more I thought about it, the more it seemed to make sense.
I started to get really excited about the cafe, drawing up menus and thinking up marketing schemes before my proposal had even been accepted. I could picture the cafe in my mind’s eye (even though I’m not 100% sure I’d even been in before) and all of a sudden had an actual vision for how my life could be that didn’t involve grey dreadlocks and selling friendship bracelets on a beach somewhere.
I got the keys to my new venture the day after I arrived back in the UK, and realised that the little pavillion in the park would need a lot of work before my vision could become a reality. I dived straight in, sanding, painting and scrubbing for three weeks solid, distracting myself with dilemmas about shades of moss green, and what to do about skirting boards to stop myself thinking about the fact that I had just forfeited by freedom and voluntarily returned somewhere I’d spent most of my life trying to escape.
But less than two months later, I’m in my second week of business, and it feels like I’m really supposed to be here. I’ve come back to my home town and I’m seeing it with completely new eyes. Although it’s fair to say we’ve both changed a lot over the last 9 years!
Rather than the old school of railway enthusiasts and nuclear families who used to descend on Blaenau in the summer, the town now appeals more to backpackers and adventurers. I’ve been amazed that in my first two weeks I’ve had customers from Switzerland, Mexico, Uruguay, USA and Australia! But my favourite customers are the half Ecuadorian children who come in for sweets and water and speak to me in a mix of Spanish and Welsh!
I really feel like Caffi Kiki is a culmination of everything I’ve been doing over the last few years. Working in mountain resorts, teaching and working with children, cooking… And most importantly, the interminable hours I’ve wasted away in coffee shops around the world can now be looked back on as a solid investment. It’s safe to say I’ve done my market research!
Anyway, this post isn’t to say that I’m abandoning my writing, I was actually hoping that being a bit more settled and (hopefully) having a steady income would allow me to concentrate on my writing a bit more. (Don’t say it.) So the plan is Kiki’s Cafe 2.0…I’ll be merging the blog and the cafe, writing about the yummy healthy food that I’m making, and the exciting youth projects that will hopefully come into fruition in the near future! I’m really excited to start getting involved in the community, organising charity events and other exciting projects, which I will reveal in good time…
I’ll also be writing some local guides, because after all the places I’ve been, I’ve realised that North Wales is actually one of the most beautiful places in the world. Don’t worry, I’ll probably still bother you all with nostalgia fuelled accounts of trips that I enjoyed too much to write about at the time! So for now, carry on enjoying my travel stories from the comfort of your screen, or even better, pop in and swap some over a ‘panad’!