Sunday, September 27, 2015

Barista of Cities

We don't have problems that are unique. They may feel unique because they are the kind of things we don't talk about, so we feel alone. What they really are is a unique combination of different problems that other people face too. Flavours are subtle, but you can recognise them in the stories of others. The more willing we are to share stories, the more we can learn.

I was super chuffed to bump into my old headmaster when I was in Sydney earlier in the year. He is a Barista of Schools. He travels around looking for good ideas to bring back to Westville. To always be learning. To think how they could apply to the unique combination of issues that make up the school they are trying to create. Gemma is studying libraries around Europe and the US, becoming a Barista of Space. Brett is a Barista of Taboos trying to scratch at some of the more uncomfortable conversations to create healing. Scott Alexander and Tim Urban are two of my favourite Baristas of Ideas.

One of my favourite Storytelling Baristas from 'Black & White' in Christchurch, New Zealand

A great Barista is effectively a storyteller. In the same way someone who has a deep knowledge of cheese, wine, chocolate, food, religion, art, music or any of the stuff of life can weave a tale that makes you want to experience something new. Ideally they can take your story into account. They can listen and then suggest something you might like to try. Something close to what you know you enjoy, but that may tweak your tastebuds. Challenge them in a way that helps you expand your tongue.

As part of my research into happiness and learning, I try relocate where I do my writing. Relocating helps nudge the way I look at the world. I am based in London. I love London. It is global megacity that attracts people from all over the world and I can never tire of it. I love walking around and discovering new bits. Because it is always evolving, I will never finish learning about London. But International Cities are great in that you learn about how different flavours combine in different ways. London is my base brew, but by moving around to other cities I am able to recognise some of the subtler flavours by seeing them in full force.

I relocate more than travel because most of our travel is ridiculously tiring as we pack experiences in, not to mention expensive. As a digital nomad, as long as I have my lap top and wifi, I am good to go and can write from anywhere. I don't try do to many things, and normally avoid stuff if it is expensive, preferring shared spaces. Of course, everything in moderation including moderation, so if I build up enough bus days there is space for treats. Mostly, I just look for flavours.

Sugarloaf and Table 

The great thing about falling in love with Cities is it doesn't build walls, it breaks them. Loving Table Mountain means you likely have a taste for Sugarloaf Mountain in Rio. Whatever piece of home makes up the bits you love, they are likely to exist elsewhere to. To make home richer with memories when you taste it. I believe we think in connections, and loving something that is shared provides a natural path to discovery. Without a connection, life is just a dark, bitter liquid that other people seem fond of, but means nothing to you.

Connections lie in stories. Life lies in connections.
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