I’ve been back in the UK for just over three months now, and I’m still met with incredulous looks when I tell people that this was a conscious life decision. “But why?” They ask. Why would I come back here?
Well, not that this glorious British summer that we’re having wasn’t worth coming back for in itself, something weird happened over this last year. It was a slow, insidious process, but I think I grew up. I didn’t realise what was happening at first, but hanging washing to dry on electrical wires on my scorching hot roof in the caribbean wind started to frustrate me, and then six months later, trying to dry my underwear clipped to the bindings of my snowboard propped up against a borrowed electrical heater was the final straw.
The dirty haired hippies and ski bums that I used to think were the coolest started to bore me, and the people I would envy in hostel conversations were the ones who had interesting jobs to go home to. I found myself cornering the girl at the beach party who had a copy-writing job with Nike (turns out she just knew someone who got her the job) and yawning at yet another hot Aussie who had quit his job to travel the world. I started to crave the little comforts in life that everyone takes for granted. A wardrobe, a hairdryer, water that wasn’t infested with worms.
While I’ve always chased this nomad life, being (physically at least) stable in Colombia for ten months showed me that I was ready to put down some roots. Even though my dream of making a living from my writing on the road was starting to become a reality, I realised that I wanted more. I also realised that I had too much animosity towards the selfie-stick wielding millennial travel-blogger to enthusiastically join their ranks.
Kiki’s Cafe started as a way for me to document my travels and to showcase my work. The name came from my obsession with cafe culture, and the desire to reflect certain elements of this on my blog: sharing recipes, stories and a sense of community. I never had a conscious intention of opening a cafe, 13 year old, snobby Kiki used to tell customers at her mum’s cafe that she would do something far more important with her life. But when the opportunity arose, I realised that it had been something I’ve been gravitating towards for the last few years.
I’ve never been the type of traveller to take a coffee flask or a packed lunch, even if it’s wildly beyond my means I always considered eating out to be an integral part of the experience. And now I’m excited to be able to offer that experience to other travellers, and more importantly, to locals. Part of my vision with Caffi Kiki is to bring food from all over the world back to my little Welsh hometown. For people who are itching to get out there and taste the world to have a little preview, under my roof of maps.
I want my physical cafe to bring together all the elements that I was striving for with my blog, to build a community around eating healthily, sharing tastes from around the world, and keeping up some kind of cultural exchange. I’m planning on hosting different theme nights, language clubs and sporting events. And taking over the world, obviously.
In all seriousness, putting roots down has been harder than I ever imagined, and karma has got me back for years of insta-bragging, I can barely scroll through my feed without wanting to jump on a plane. Luckily for me, work has drained me of the energy to do even that. While I’ve got huge ambitions for the business, I’ve realised that it takes more hours than I can physically stay awake for just to do the bare minimum. I may have finally got that wardrobe, but my clothes are locked in a chair-floor-washing-machine cycle, and drying my hair feels like more of a luxury than ever.
The biggest irony, however, is that I actually thought going home and starting a business would bring me stability! I can say with more confidence now than ever that I have no idea what the next three months will bring!