When I started working in an office as a graphic designer, I pretty much immediately hated it. At first, I thought it was because I was doing the wrong kind of design, then I thought it was because I didn’t like the hours I worked, and then I for sure thought it was because I wanted to be in charge. For me, it wasn’t about telling people what to do, it was about having creative control. Using my skills to come up with exciting ideas, and looks, instead of realizing other peoples concepts. Especially when I didn’t agree with other peoples ideas, that was the worst. Creating art you don’t like right from the beginning, terrible. So I thought for sure, once I made it to Art Director, I would be happy. Leading a team to create exciting ideas.
So then I made it to Art Director. Success! Except it wasn’t nearly as fun as I thought. Making a coffee while it was still pitch black outside. Digging my car out from under the snow, (a 13 year old VW Bug I call Fred) and then pleading with Fred to start. Staring at the bumper in front of me as I slowly made my way to the office, while drinking my now cold coffee. Once I got to the office though, it would all be worth it, right? It was ok for a while, but the routine schedule, the daily boring paper work, sitting in an office and day dreaming about the recipes I could be creating for this blog. It all started to feel very draining. And why doesn’t this office have any vegan donuts!? I want vegan donuts.
Some people enjoy routines and security, and there is nothing wrong with that, but I finally realized that I am not one of those people. I would rather take a risk and have something fail, then to feel safe with my whole week planned in advance for me. I love not knowing where the week is going to take me, and instead just going with the flow. Having the freedom to work when I feel like working, even if it is in the middle of the night, and to not work when I don’t feel like working, even if it is 11am on a Monday. Admit it, who wants to work on Monday mornings?
I made my way home the other night, feeling creatively drained, bored, uninspired and tired after a day of work. I slumped on the couch with a glass of wine, feeling a little depressed, when Andrew came home. “I need a vacation”, he said. “somewhere hot”. Me too. So I went online and booked a trip to the small island in Mexico called Isla Mujeres, in two weeks time. And then I quit my job.
It was a little bit impromptu, but it was a long time coming. It was a little bit terrifying, and a lot exciting. I feel like the world of opportunity has opened up and I am finally going to chase my dream. Working hard has never been an issue for me, but working hard at the wrong thing definitely is.
So what in the world am I going to do now? A little of option A and a little of option B.
Option A. My dream job. Aka turning It Doesn’t Taste Like Chicken into my full time gig! A mountain of work, a huge learning curve, and all very scary. Is it possible? I certainly hope so! Wish me luck, cause it’s not like I am going to avoid paper work with this plan… I started this blog to have my own creative outlet, a fun project I could pursue when I wasn’t at the office. It has become so much more for me. Not only do I love making and photographing recipes, but I am amazed by all the wonderful people I have met, been inspired by, and continue to meet. The vegan community is amazing, and I feel so lucky that It Doesn’t Taste Like Chicken has been so warmly received.
Option B. Freelancing. I’m a graphic artist, illustrator, designer as well as other art thingies, and I hope to work freelance for any amazing company or amazing people who want to hire me. If you happen to be an amazing company or amazing person who is looking to hire an artsy type, feel free to check out my portfolio and contact me with your project. Wink wink.
I’m going to make sure my home office has vegan donuts any time I want.
My final two weeks came and went, I cleaned out my office and said my goodbyes. As I left the building for the last time, I felt wave of excitement and hope for the next chapter of my career. I celebrated with a friend over a very delicious old fashioned (my favourite cocktail), packed my bags, and then Andrew and I headed to Isla Mujeres.
We had never gone to this part of Mexico before, but wanted something small, relaxing and most importantly, hot! Goodbye white powdery snow, hello white powdery sand. This island was recommended by friends and it was a fantastic stay. The locals are wonderful, and the food and culture are great. There is a lot to do if you are the doing type, but you can easily relax the day away on a sandy beach or swinging in a hammock if you are the relaxing type. I read the book Eating Animals by Jonathan Safran Foer, and I highly recommend it.
As the island is so small there are not a lot of cars, and one of the best ways to get around is to rent a golf cart, which is not only convenient, but super fun!
I found a fabulous new restaurant called Lola Valentina that has a vegan brunch menu! Um, yes please. This sweet potato and plantain burrito was actually one of my favourite things ever. I will definitely be making my own version of this at some point! If you ever travel to Isla, make sure to say hi to Lola for me.
Pretty much every meal at any restaurant comes with a selection of salsas. They always warn you about the salsa picante (spicy), but I don’t know if Andrew and I have some seriously high heat tolerance, or if the regular restaurant visitors are particularly sensitive to hot sauce, but we never found the salsas that spicy and I always loved dressing up my tacos with all the different options.
To get to the island you have to take a 20 minute ferry. Of course Andrew insisted we sit in the scary front part, so here I am clutching for dear life after the ferry crew had to strap me into this life vest. Ok, it actually wasn’t scary at all and I am a big wimp. So if you take one of these smaller ferrys, go to the front, it’s a lot more fun, and I even saw dolphins for a brief moment.
The island has amazing views everywhere. There are some parts of the island that are so thin, you can see ocean on both sides. This tower I found is a little confusing, Waterworld? Not sure this looks like a safe place to relax…
We went for a snorkeling tour with the awesome guys at Sea Hawk. Somehow we managed to luck out and the tour was just for Andrew and I. We passed other tours that had 20 or more people with them. We saw some gorgeous fishes, including parrot fish, which are insanely cool looking and multiple barracudas, one which was 5 feet long which was pretty alarming! (Note: snorkeling hair).
There are a ton of murals and graffiti everywhere which makes it great for photo ops. Even if Andrew is trying to make fun of girly photo jumps.
After seeing so many beautiful murals I was happy to encounter the person responsible. Loved this mural he was working on, and the message he is sharing.
Turquoise is my most favourite colour, so I had to catch a moment of Andrew walking by this amazing distressed wall.
Although this island is usually very calm, we didn’t realize that in Mexico, Easter is one of the biggest holidays of the year and everyone gets a full two weeks off of work. So this time the island was hopping with tourists, a lot of them came for just the day from Cancun. There was a lot of people watching to be had.
Like three adorable local kids drinking these crazy looking pink slushies in a bags.
The locals tend to get around on scooters, even if you are family of four, only one scooter is needed. We met a nice American couple who had built a house on the island to retire to. Apparently the kids wearing helmets is pretty new and some of the helmets have been provided by people like this couple who have come to live on the island and can’t stand the sight of kids not wearing helmets. Luckily the locals are receptive and kids wear helmets now. Now as for the baby…
There are a lot of great restaurants, and surprisingly most of them either had vegan options on the menu, or knew how to accommodate. If all else failed, vegetable fajitas all around! I love this vintage looking scene for the restaurants being restocked in the mornings.
I didn’t see a ton of wildlife on the island. There are a lot of fish, but other than that it’s mostly iguanas and birds. This iguana lost it’s tail, which happens if a predator catches him, the iguana can detach it’s tail in order to escape. They will grow a new tail eventually. Oh crazy nature.
Now I am back at home. It feels crazy that I don’t have to go back to work, and I feel a little lost at the moment, but I am looking so very forward to commit as much time as possible to It Doesn’t Taste Like Chicken and continue to make many scrumptious vegan recipes.