Starting three years ago Father's Day began to have a whole new meaning to me. And it is now a weekend that brings back feelings of intense...emotion. In a really good way.
Three years ago, on June 17th to be exact, I boarded a plane to Medellín, where I would meet up with Uncle Bob, my dad's identical twin brother.
At that point in time I couldn't remember the last time I had seen him. It had been several years. We kept in touch mostly over the phone or email.
The reason we were traveling together is because I really wanted (needed) to get away and go somewhere off the beaten path. When I called my uncle several months prior to ask where his next trip would take him he said Colombia.
I booked my ticket and the plan was to simply enjoy some vacation time, practice my Spanish and learn a bit about my uncle's business (he is a writer, economist, precious metals expert, investor and was the youngest fighter pilot in the Vietnam War... to name a few).
He also flew under the Eiffel Tower. No, seriously.
I touched down in Medellín, tried to remember Spanish again, and spotted Uncle Bob outside of customs--with his turquoise belt buckle and military green, monogrammed Tumi backpack.
Yep, definitely my dad's identical twin brother.
We spent the next week visiting junior mining companies out in the countryside, traveling to Bogotá to visit Montserrate and the Gold Museum and talking. We talked about me and my career aspirations, about investing, about cacao (I spent 6 months living in Honduras as a volunteer consultant in the cacao industry the year prior), about the world economy and most interesting to me, about entrepreneurship.
Throughout the course of the trip and our conversations Bob made me think about my life in a completely different way. He taught me that I have 100% control over what I do, who I marry, how I make money and where I live. And that living in Colombia and doing something on my own would be a great idea.
I remember him saying something along the lines of, "Why the hell not? You're young, you don't have kids, you don't have a mortgage, and you're not married. If it doesn't work out, at least you tried it."
That trip forever changed the course of my life.
Unlce Bob, who I now refer to Dad 2.0, challenged me to take control of my career and my life, to step away from the so-called corporate ball and chain and to do something really spectacular.
Four months later I resigned from my consulting job in Chicago, sold all my furniture and moved to Colombia. Since that moment in time, even though Azulina was still a year away from existence, I for the first time in my life felt like I was on the right path, doing something that made me feel alive.
There is no chance on Earth I would have EVER done it had it not been for my uncle's persistence. He gave me the confidence I needed.
Bob. Happy Father's Day. Thank you for pushing me off the cliff (with a parachute).
Have a wonderful weekend, dads.
Con Mucho Amor,
Founder, Azulina Ceramics