The alarm goes off at 0530. Old habits die hard. I am a little less responsive now that I don’t have to deal with traffic and office hours, but I was still out of bed by 0540. The start to a perfect day.
There is no sun yet. Early December doesn’t offer that luxury. I have coffee to look forward to though, which is usually enough to get me moving. As I shuffle to the espresso machine I turn on only the lights needed to keep me from crashing into walls and doorways; my aim is to keep the family undisturbed in their slumber. It is only fair to them, and honestly, these early mornings, with a little chill in the air and blissfully quiet, are sacred periods of reflection, and even productivity, that I try to hold onto as long as possible.
With the coffee machine now heating, I grab a glass of water to start the morning ritual. Stepping on the scale next, I confirm that I am consistent with my weight and then it is plank time. To me, the plank is the best exercise to get the day started – it stimulates the whole body, especially the core, and is a measurable way to gauge the state of body and mind.
With the plank done, and with my plank time and my weight recorded, a set of modified yoga Sun Salutations gets the kinks out before those pesky pushups consume my attention. I may do more exercises, or maybe not, but these staple exercises are never missed.
The espresso machine now registers, respectively, 200 and 254 degrees Fahrenheit on the two boilers. Nothing else is given attention until that perfect Americano is ready. This really gets the day started. Getting that first coffee ready usually takes a few minutes in order to properly dial in the grind to get that perfect espresso shot. Regardless, the day has now started.
The family wakes. This next hour I can’t control. With coffee in hand and stretching done, I can side-step the chaos. I do my part, but this tempest will follow it’s own path. I won’t fight it; it’s not worth it.
By 0730 we are all out the door. To work for my wife, and to school for the kids.
I step out into that brisk cold. I take a deep breath through the nose, and my nostrils momentarily cling together. Perfect.
I start the van. It’s an old vintage VW camper. 1969. Mostly original. Except I have converted it into a mobile coffee shop. It’s a Monday so it’s off to the city to set up shop. Traffic is a nightmare; it always is. No drama though. The day has been perfect so far and my musical playlist is giving me Norah Jones, who is reminding me to Take the Long Way Home. I will not ignore that sage advice.
With the van parked I start brewing up coffee and laying out the cupcakes I picked up along the way. Daylight blankets the skyline now, but the clouds and morning vapour are more pronounced than usual as a result of the cold on this particularly chilling winter morning. That crisp air on the face and tickling the throat are invigorating. I love having seasons. Winter may be my favourite.
The day goes well enough. My usual customers bless me with their business and I get the chance to meet some new ones. I make some money and sell out of this days cupcake and coffee offerings. There were even a few slow periods that allowed me to strum on the guitar. One couple comes by and are amazed that I have managed to keep this almost 50-year-old van working. These are sturdy and reliable machines. It was great to make some new friends.
With the days product gone, I start thinking about heading home. However, such a beautiful day cannot go to waste. A quick walk through the streets to clear the head and then I fire up the van to start my journey towards home. I’m in no rush. I remember that I am going to take the long way home and I decide today that this means benefiting from Ottawa’s beautiful Green Belt, which wraps itself around the city center and divides urban from rural. Today I decide I’ll park and walk. I’ll carry some bird seed with me to entice the Chickadees to perch on outstretched hands. That brings back childhood memories, and a new warmth fills me.
I meet the kids at home and chat briefly about their days. I’ll pour myself a beer while I pull together some dinner. Today, as with many days, I will enjoy a Velocipede from one of my favourite local brewers, Bicycle Craft Beer. We’ll sit as a family for dinner and my wife will expertly draw out more details from the kids day then I ever could.
It’s a Monday, so there is nothing planned for the evening, but later in the week I will be hosting some friends for a winter fire pit and this I will look forward to with anticipation and delight. These days I am trying to get to bed earlier and so it will be a quiet night, but as I always have a book on the go, I will slowly slip into slumber as my books dips onto my chest. Lights out. Another perfect day.
So … this day did not happen. Not as detailed here anyway. I get pieces of this day everyday, but the day where all these things converge to make such a perfect scene. Well, that is my Dream, and getting there is my journey.
You will note that I have oriented now on a mobile coffee company. This isn’t new, rather it is newly reconsidered. I am looking for a VW van and have started compiling the volumes of regulations, licensing requirements and modified business modelling to realize this scenario.
I was recently introduced to a version of this mobile model that has vastly inspired me and for which I will try emulate. If you want to read about another amazing journey, I urge you to check out Carabiner Coffee and the inspiring tale it provides. What Erik is doing is remarkable.
I am not sure where my efforts will end, nor what they will manifest as, but I can reassure you that my Dream is alive and well. Only the trajectory changes as I try to find an entry point and some traction. This approach, the same as the one I have been on towards a full brick & mortar coffeehouse, requires landing a location. Considering this concept only opens up more options, and a little less risk; and something that I, and those I have consulted thus far, think is a very natural fit and feel for me.
I am currently in negotiations on a van. Not the first in recent weeks, perhaps not the last; time will tell.
I don’t know where this will all end, but I am enjoying the journey. Thanks for following along.