Kevin Fahrni is living his big dream of kiteboarding around the world for one year. I found his story very inspiring so I interviewed him. I asked him about how did he make his big dream happen and when does he feel truly alive.
Kevin Fahrni is a 26 years old watchmaker from Switzerland that moved to Florida after finishing his apprenticeship. He enjoyed working in a watchmaking company and was progressing well in his career. As he moved to Florida, for the first time at the beach he saw people kiteboarding and knew: “That’s what I want to do”. So he started becoming one of these people checking the wind forecast every day, not to miss the next chance to get on the water and kiteboard.
At some point, he felt that something was missing in his life. “Even if I had fun with my job, at some point I knew quite well what I was doing and I realized that I needed a new challenge.” That’s when the dream of going kiteboarding for one year around the world started to build in his mind. He saw this videos online of people traveling the world and going to this exciting places and just asked himself: “Why not me? Why do I not do it as well?”.
So he did. He followed his passion for kiteboarding, left the life he build behind and started a new adventure. But not everything happened in the moment he asked himself: “Why not me?”. It took him two years of preparation and hard work. First, he started to add details to the dream, finding out the best spots where to go and dreaming of when to go where. The dream started to become really exciting.
But he had the financial challenge of finding a way to make it happen. He reflected on what did he really care about – for example spending a maximum of time kiteboarding – and made a budget of his expenses. Then he started saving while working and looking for ideas for gaining additional funds. He asked himself: “Who could sponsor me?” Then he took some courage, prepared well and pitched his dream to the CEO of his watchmaking company, Ulysse Nardin.
Would you have dear to walk in the office of your CEO to do that? What was the chance of success? It may have appeared as a mission impossible, someone else may not even have tried worried of what his boss may think. But Kevin tried and succeeded. He may have been lucky, very smart or have had a great timing. Maybe his passion for kiteboarding permeated the room during his presentation and the sparks in his eyes were more convincing than any slideshow. Maybe all of it was truth and it just had to happen.
The dream of Kevin did not just happen like that. He observed his environment, he did hear and listen to his inner voice and then follow it. “I just did it.”, in his words. I had the impression that Kevin did hear his inner voice and once he started listening to it, the path to making his dream happen became clear by itself. He kept listening and following this inner guidance, not caring too much about fears and conventions. Through this inner voice, he may also have found the strength and patience to persevere, despite all the challenges faced over his two years of preparation and training.
“I did put a lot of commitment behind it. Having a dream is something, but if there is not the will behind it to do it, it will not happen. It’s funny because often people don’t realize this. Especially when I post something on my Instagram or my Facebook accounts sometimes people say “Oh, Kevin you have this dream life. It’s fantastic.” It’s truth, it is fantastic and I’m so happy that I can do these things. And if I could do everything again I would totally do it again. But people don’t see the whole picture, they don’t see that there were also a lot of sacrifices behind it. Like this two years during which I was planning on doing this trip, there were a lot of things I did not really allow myself to do in order to put money on the side or also to train for the trip.”
When I asked Kevin what are the moments that make him feel really happy he sad: “ I’m extremely happy, every time I get on the water with my kiteboard. In the last 10 months, I have been so spoiled, as I was almost on the water every day. But for me, it’s really the moment when I hit the water that is magic. It’s when my brain just shuts off and there are just the elements and myself. Yes, there are also friends that are on the water with you. When I’m on the water I just disconnect from everything, I’m just able to focus on kiting, and become very happy. You just kiteboard, try new things, new tricks. And when I can land a new trick properly I just have this pure feeling of happiness.”
I also asked when does he feel, that what he’s doing is meaningful. “I think life is meaningful to you when you do what you love. When I go home, I hear a lot of people telling my that they are not happy with their job and with their life. If you don’t feel happy about your life, you don’t have a sense of meaning. I feel I have a sense of meaning when I do what I love and what’s truly good for me. That’s when I really feel ALIVE. Right now for example, while living my dream, I feel that I’m really living. This was not the case all the time before when I was working in the office. Yes, there were always good moments, but then this feeling of having a meaning somehow went away. It’s different now. I’m so happy about what I do and I feel that my life is meaningful.”
I wondered if having a sense of meaning and feeling happy is related to listening to the own inner voice. For Kevin it is “A lot of people in life tell you what they want to do, but then they don’t really take the chance to do it. Because as a person you always are kind of thinking of what can go wrong and a lot of time that keeps you away from things you really enjoy to do. Sometimes you just need to put this negative inner voice on the side and just say, now I’m doing what I want to do, and just let’s see what happens.
Often we are thought, that we need to find a good job to be happy and that we need to save for the retirement to be safe. But I think that sometimes you just need to be adventurous and stop listening to what people tell you around you. Like back in Switzerland people are just asking me, “What are you going to do after this?”, and I just don’t know and I don’t care. At the moment I’m living my passion, I’m so happy. I have a few opportunities for the future, I don’t know which one to chose yet. But I don’t really care too much, I just try to live in the present.
When you listen to yourself in a sense you need to be a bit selfish. It’s your life, you own it and nobody can decide for you what you need to do and what needs to happen in your life. You make your own story, it’s your own book. The book is empty, there are a lot of white pages and is just up to you, to build your life now, just by doing it. You listen to yourself, choose the path you want, go left, right, try to take the good decision. Write down your story. Be the writer of your life.”
How do you make your bid dream happen?
- Start dreaming
- Make a plan and commit to it
- Be bold and patient
- Listen to yourself (and not to your neighbors)
- Change the plan and keep following the dream
- Keep doing what makes you feel truly alive = LIVE YOUR DREAM
Here is the full wave-noisy interview we had at the beach in Cape Town.