Am I crazy? I ask myself this question a lot and I keep getting the same answer… but I’ll let you decide.
Here I am, sitting in a youth hostel in the middle of Serbia. What exactly is a youth hostel doing in a small Serbian farming village, you might ask? Fazekas Róbert, the town’s mayor, told us there’s an accommodation need for visitors coming to Stara Moravica for events like the Harvest Festival (which was a few weeks ago, and amazing; one of the most magical days I’ve had in a long time) – and here we are.
We didn’t plan on staying here for a few months. This might not be a surprising revelation, but sometimes things just don’t work out the way you envisage. However, I’m clear that things always work out exactly how they’re supposed to.
When we bought our Serbian farmhouse – or as Will and I like to call it, our country villa – we thought it would be the perfect place to get away from the buzz of Budapest; a place for the dogs to run free in the walled garden. It’s a beautiful home that reminds me of a Tuscan villa, constructed by a famous builder who introduced the Neo-Renaissance style to the area, and with architecture similar to that of the famous Stara Moravica post office.
We were so blinded by its beauty when we decided to purchase the house (which had been vacant 10 years), we convinced ourselves that all we’d need to do is put in a bathroom and we’d be good to go. I even asked, “Do we need a bathroom?” I mean, indoor plumbing is a fairly recent invention people had to live without since the beginning of time… but I couldn’t enroll Will in pottying al fresco 🙂
So off we went to the races. The only thing holding us back from our “very quick” renovation job was the popular TV show, House Hunters International, we worked with in Budapest was considering doing a spin-off show. After some back and forth, they decided that shooting an episode in a rural village where the mode of transportation is still horse and carriage would be perfect. So we left Budapest for Serbia, and Róbert was gracious enough to offer us a place to stay during the renovations (the hostel).
Has anyone else’s renovation project ever gone past the initial deadline?! To be fair, a big part of the reason our timeline changed is because there was a little more work to be done than we had originally thought. With a house that had sat empty for 10 years, there was more to do than just a bathroom… like, a complete overhaul.
So a few months later and we’re still not in our house. But, here’s the lesson…
After our hot plate blew a fuse for the umteenth time (yes, we’re cooking on a hot plate) and I was certain it was gone for good, I wanted to go home. I wanted our beautiful home in North Carolina that overlooks the mountains and features all the Energy Star efficient appliances; with a real stove and as much hot water as my heart desired. I wanted to walk out my front door and see our Range Rover sitting in the driveway. I want, I want, I want.
The gift of being out of the water you normally swim in is you get to see how murky that water really is. You can’t actually see what’s truly important, because of your blurred vision.
So I stopped and asked myself, when is enough going to be enough? I mean, how many houses does a couple really need? A gorgeous mountain home, a carriage house in Atlanta, a flat in Budapest city, and a villa in rural Serbia is enough, right? When is it time to get off the hamster wheel?
I asked the students of my new school this week an important question, “What are your dreams?” Most of them answered to have a good job, to get married, and to be able provide for their families. That’s it. There was no “I want to make a boat load of cash.”
We as entrepreneurs can learn a lot from a change of location and perspective. I’m not saying you need to pack up and buy a house in Serbia… I promise – it’s right under your nose. Take a drive to a different part of town, talk to a child whose family is living on the edge of poverty, or just stop and ask yourself, “When is enough, enough?”
You might just find that what you already have is MORE than enough. Really!
I love your post! Now with a family to support adjusting to live within a budget isn’t easy for me, but I also know we have everything we need and shifting the mindset is all that is needed to get from “suffering” to a great life.
Thanks, Drew. I hope you and your family are well! Exactly; what most of us have is for sure more than enough 🙂
I’m still waiting to get on the hamster wheel. If one of you is going to leave a space vacant, just whistle. You know how to whistle, don’t you? Just pucker up your lips and blow! That’s a true sentiment, too. However, you’re right, Drew. The basics of existence, the respect of others, and love in our lives-those are our needs. Not to mention good health.
Yes, Kate. You can take my space on the wheel!