After moving to five different areas across suburban Athens and changing at least ten schools before even turning 16, feeling new and alone was part of life.
Till 16, no plans for the future me, didn’t speak any other language than Greek and I could barely swim. Heavily dyslectic and diagnosed with ADHD.
It was August 1998 when my buddies, Zack 16, Damian 21 and Stamatis 26 told me about their plans for traveling in to the US that very summer. In fact twelve days later. I was eager to take the plunge and jump in to this adventure. So, I begged them to join (kind of). I somehow had my friend/mother agree and my distant father pay for it just to leave him alone for asking.
It was then, when my life and ambitions changed forever. I understood how many things I would like to do and I realise for the very first time that there are places else-where that are more suitable to my own personality.
Ten years later, and after having tried the life in the US without success to settle (Bad timing, I was just living blocks away from the World Trade Centre on the September 11/2011). And after opening and closing more than eight businesses in Greece, I moved to Reading, England just to be with my love of my life. After spending a summer in Cardiff, Wales, refining my insufficient English, I was there, at Reading Central Rail Station. I had four and half hours in my disposal to find a home for the next three years of my life. As long as my partner was about to study. It was a familiar, weird; disorienting but exciting feeling. The very same as my first day in one of the numerous schools I attended throughout my life.
Three years down the road and after a good set of experiences I was heading to a new career, in film. I was EXTREMELY lucky to find my self out of nowhere managing a production of a feature Bollywood film for a full 15 days. With 212 crew members and a budget of 1.1M USD just for the extend of my duties.
Things took off, and I was offered a year contract to lead the production management for the Arabian Vision an initiative to get closer the Arab countries by popular culture. Regulated by the European Broadcast Union and funded by Arab benefactors.
For once more, I was experiencing my very first day. To a new culture and place in Beirut, Lebanon.
Coming closer to now days and while my work at Beirut was coming to an end (and) so my relationship back in the UK. With no further adieu I packed and moved back to where I was coming from, Athens, Greece.
Feeling over-confident, and having left all the bad this country brings along with the good for almost four years, I went stupiditly BIG. I rented a newly build three bedroom apartment in the outskirts of Athens, throwed in around 15000USD just to make it feel “home” and payed monthly four times what I would have gone for.
Being extremely lucky and again out of nowhere (very contradicting opposed to the terms the Greek society was running at that moment) In no time I was directing and producing low end commercial for top-end companies. It was an exciting and well promising opportunity, but then the Greek economic crisis hit my prospecting dreams with a nock out. Businesses tried to cut as much as possible in an unconventional and stressed manner, virtually any professional became gritty and hard to trust. At the time I was doing commercials back to back, I literally slept at the office in 2011’s New Year’s Eve. But my money wasn’t coming in. There were postponed like everyone’s else. To a point I was fed up and forced my self to draw a line of distance and say no more till I get paid. (Well, that’s not all to it that made me stop, but that’s a whole different story.)
So, I was in Greece, full of financial commitments due to my chosen lifestyle and jobless! Hooray! What a stupid man? Well? Sort off…
I was fed up, and closed to my self. I had to push my self to find new clients and get more work but I felt kind of hopeless and everyone seemed in the same position due to the new economic measures. So, instead of doing that, I took a year off from everything and lunched a personal experiment involving sport development which took a relative good exposure in the US’s online community (Around 54000 people where looking closely the project for a period of nine months, but again that’s a whole different story.).
I had too many expenses to sustain my self for a whole year with out working as I was fulfilling my personal project. And then what? What I would do If wont be able to live up to a good standard of leaving?
I came up with a plan, I found a very old property in a very nice area with very little rent compared to anything else on the market. I spent around 18000USD making it a liveable place and agreed to a twelve year lease with no increase! And the chance to leave with no penalty after the pass of two years.
It was a costly investment. If I was about to stay for more than six years would have been a smart move but if less, simply stupid and expensive. But, at least even if things would have gone worse I would still be living in a nice area in a lovely refurbished apartment for a price I could afford no matter the economy’s bad days.
So, here we are, a year after my personal project has ended and a year after looking for streams of income to build my future.
But, it’s disappointing, even after extensive efforts and after have been praised for projects I have been involved. Applaud from the business world through conventions and startUp events, with mentors from Google, Microsoft and local ventures boosting up my confidence, it’s the culture I can’t stand.
It’s very self centred and gritty (on average and with strong exceptions). Not clear and not caring. Superficial and fundamentally inefficient in the work environment.
I’ve been working with foreign companies for quite sometime now, and had the chance to travel as a camera operator and photographer for the past year and it feels good. It’s clear, provokes efficiency and productivity. And that’s part of me.
I tried to fit in. In my own country, in my “own” environment. Both socially and professionally. But it’s unbearable.
I gave it a good thought for nine months, I straggled and even made self assessment charts to help me out with my decisions on my next move.
My decision has come to a realisation. I’m now in the
process of moving to London (Moved in on the 3rd of Oct!!!). Where my most friends are, my business can potentially thrive, the economy and tax system it’s not as fragile as Greece’s and way easier to understand. Where I can ride my bike and walk looking ahead and not down, trying to avoid the little hazards in a chaotic “sidewalk”.
I have now sold my car and most of my processions and I’m ready to let go my long term investment in safety that my current low-rent beautiful suburban studio poses. And once more I’m ready for my next first day..