I am the first Villager @ the Village on Sewanee Creek. I found some rural Tennessee Mountain Land in early 2006 and came here to find peace and more meaning, a confident lifestyle. I had enjoyed a great career, but I was ready to re-invent myself.
For about 30 years I roamed the world, establishing some of America’s best known retail brands. From Bangkok to Beijing, Tokyo to Tel Aviv, Manila to Mexico City. I was International President of Dunkin’ Donuts, Baskin Robbins and Papa John’s and developed 7-Eleven, Blockbuster and IHOP. I ran operations with over 2,600 stores in over 60 countries.
I paid my dues and was well paid in return. The money was good, but the most valuable pay I received was in experience, not the corporate kind. My travels made it possible to observe life and cultures from the board room to the kitchen prep room. I trained black guys in Apartheid South Africa and Indian serfs in Kuwait to make Pizza in the mid 80’s. I ate “exotic” meats in primitive villages outside Manila and Seoul that might make you gag. I also dined at the some of finest restaurants in Tokyo, Paris, Dubai and São Paulo, sometimes with billionaires.
In the end, I confirmed the truth that possessions will own you. Freedom is in you. Henry David Thoreau was right. I searched for my own Walden’s Pond and launched myself into an advanced self-education course, majoring in true economy. I wanted to become self-sufficient. I wanted to live deliberately, in control of my life, making a difference for others.
Thankfully, I was blessed with a patient, understanding and supportive wife and children who were also ready for change. We purchased about 750 acres on Tennessee’s Cumberland Plateau, downsized our house from 5,000 to 1,400 square feet and began learning how to really live, applying what I had learned in my world travels and climbing a steep new learning curve.
This BLOG chronicles some of my thoughts and experiences in the rural wilderness of Tennessee. I have come to love my new life. It has not been easy. Just as I launched into building my ideal community the real estate market cratered followed a year later by the whole economy. But ironically, the deeper the recession, the more people were interested in what we are doing. They are the cream of America. Strong willed, independent, accomplished freedom lovers. Yet they are not hippies, hermits or vigilantes. They just want to live a vibrant life with others who care and can enrich their lives with diverse perspectives and talents.
My friendships are deeper. I am healthier and stronger. My family is closer and wiser. We work hard. We strive for self-sufficiency in water, food and energy. We experiment a lot and constantly discover how little we know. And we have fun.