Last week, (while Andy & I were in Mexico escaping New York’s Bitter cold), I received a nice email from Mike, asking me to to participate in Gogobot’s Dream Getaway Challenge as a ‘Green Tribe’ member. It inspired me to write this:
Over twenty years ago, I moved to New York City without knowing anyone there. It was both frightening and exhilarating. Having my own apartment (albeit a small noisy studio) was the perfect place to start over after my divorce (and a huge change from my large house in the suburbs). I went to design school and landed a dream job as design director for a top name designer (after crashing a very fancy party; introducing myself as ‘Looking for a job’ when asked ‘who I was’). I traveled first class to many places, including Japan and South Africa. My life was a combination of “Sex and the City” and ‘The Devil wears Prada’…Story-Book-Exciting (and exhausting at times).
Wonderful, glamorous, and yet, there was something missing. I had a longing for something that I could not put my finger on. One day, I remember thinking, “I live in a concrete jungle and NEED to go to a real jungle. I HAVE to see a monkey!” Everyone thought
I was crazy, this was years before Costa Rica was a destination. I finally convinced a former lover (who lives in California) to meet me in Florida and off we went on an Eco Adventure. Carl spoke a bit of spanish, and had no fear of driving a jeep to remote areas of a country with horrendous dirt roads. We flew on a tiny plane to the Eco Lodge Lapa Rios where we slept in a jungle bungalow, swam in the ocean, hiked along a river to climb a spectacular waterfall (without any gear). I saw giant butterflies, scarlet macaws, toucans…and monkeys! I felt incredibly alive and loved being so close to wildlife.
I have since traveled in eco-fashion (somewhat of an oxymoron) to the Yucatan Peninsula for yoga (before it was the ‘Riviera Maya’), Oaxaca, Puerto Escondido and other more remote places in Mexico, Peru, Alaska and lots of many other places where nature usurps nurture (at least in the pampering sense).
I founded VITAL DESIGN as an Eco-Design Firm in 1997 (pre-the-green-mania) because I truly believe honoring our natural world is the healthiest – and happiest – way to live. At that time, not many people understood ‘green design’ and I was told numerous times to abandon my lofty ideals, but it’s impossible for me not to connect the dots in order to create a healthier (holistic) home. I am glad I persevered because I now have fantastic, kind, conscious clients who ‘get it’.
I still adore New York City with all of its wonderfully diverse aspects. My apartment is one block from Central Park – ‘my backyard’ (and my salvation) for many years.
I now spend most of my time upstate in the Western Catskills, where I live with my boyfriend on a two thousand acre gilded age estate (coincidentally designed by Olmsted). A lot of my friends think I am crazy to live on a mountain so isolated, but for me it is heaven to be surrounded by this much wildlife, breathe pure air, drink mountain spring water and see the stars at night ..(the things I would go ECO-Trekking for!).
I truly am ‘Blissed out in the boonies with my Catskill Rascal’, and encourage everyone to follow their dream, take a chance and …walk on the wild side.
(Which is much easier to do these days, with loads of information on the internet, and Uber-Cool-Travel-Sites like Gogobot.)
~ Happy Home Blessings ~ Cheryl