Blog : About bíku

The boy is back in town

The boy is back in town

Contemplating my journey back to London tomorrow – I have been in Panama now for just over two months – I am not looking forward to the change in temperature! I do love the fact that I can live here (Panama) and just wear shorts and flip flops all year long come rain or shine (except on a bus journey from the City to Bocas (del Toro)).

A tourist in my home

I must say, even though I was born here and lived here until I was 18 years old, I do feel like a tourist at times. If I really think about it I have pretty much lived most of my adult life out of Panama, which to me sounds (and feels) a bit weird. A lot has changed since I last spent a significant amount of time in my home country.

The heat. The heat is something you have to adapt to. It can get crazy hot in the City. Once you get to Bocas you can feel the cool breeze coming from the sea. I love Panama but I love being in Bocas. I guess it’s where I find my peace and also being there with the people, the local community and family, reminds me of why we are doing this.

Cherish moments

It’s true what they say and it might sound cliché but you don’t know what you have until it’s gone. And it has taken me over 20 years to realize this, but it also made realize that you must cherish moments, life, family, friends, and make the most of any situation. Life is too damn short – you’re here today, gone tomorrow.

Being in Panama these past months, I’ve also seen how politics is involved in most things here, well, I guess that’s the same everywhere, but it feels very heavy here. It’s truly ‘who you know’ and not ‘what you know’. You have to combine the ‘know-who’ with the ‘know-how’. And because of this, a lot that should get done doesn’t get done – a tale that’s true in a number of places around the world. Sometimes it frustrates me as you can see what needs to be done, but that doesn’t always take priority on the political agenda. This makes me feel even more strongly that if we want change, a lot of that has to come from us, and the business community can play a big part in this – especially a social business.

But for all these things, there is no other place like Panama on the planet. The place, the people, the culture is unique. You have to truly immerse yourself in it and you will then fall in love with what I believe to be a little piece of paradise on Earth.

Until the next time, #liveslow! And I guess we all will, with Christmas and the holiday season coming up!

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Chasing the dream

Chasing the dream

Well well well…

I guess the time of talking is over and the time of doing is now. I am going back to Panama in a few days (three days and counting!) to seek investment for bíku. In all honesty, I am nervous as hell, I guess because I want this to work – not just for me and my partner but for the local community in Bocas del Toro, and for my family. I am excited to be going back home to do this. It feels right to be on this journey.
I remember a speech that Steve Jobs did some years ago. He said you can’t connect the dots looking forward, you can only connect the dots looking backwards. I now understand what he meant by that. I needed to go through my life journey to get to this point, but don’t get me wrong, I believe this is just the beginning!

Last day in the ‘office’

As I write this blog I am preparing to go in for my last day of work at Ace Hotel. I can’t believe that I have been there for four years; how time flies. It has taught me a lot, of what to do and what not to do in the hospitality industry.
So, before I keep blabbing on, whatever it is that you are dreaming of,  don’t let anything or anyone stop you. BE UNSTOPPABLE…and that’s how I am feeling right now.
Let’s do this.
Remember, sign up to our mailing list to be part of the bíku family, find out more about our journey and also get the best offers on our treehouse holidays when our crowdfund goes live in spring next year. Join the journey – there’s a tropical island, a treehouse and chocolate waiting for you!
Until the next time, #liveslow!
I love you Tiyanna, Declan and Coco.
How does your garden grow?

How does your garden grow?

The humble pineapple. Well…actually, the pineapple is probably one of the least humble fruits out there! It has quite a regal ‘flare’, perched there atop its leafy coronet. I’m ashamed to say that it wasn’t until a trip to Panama last year that I found out how a pineapple grows. Can you believe that? When I saw it, I was amazed – much to the astonishment of Ariel who – growing up – saw pineapples in their natural environment on a daily basis.

In the last few blogs we’ve been writing about inspiration and looking at who inspires us. Rather than who, the question now is what inspires us?

The answer to this is simple…nature.

Inspired by nature

The bíku project is inspired by nature, through and through. From the treehouse designs to how the retreat will function as whole. It will be off grid – running on solar power and using water catchment systems. In addition, we will grow the majority of the food for the guest restaurant.

We have already been on an amazing journey with bíku, and we’re only just beginning. The project is giving us a new way of looking at and working with – and within – the world. It’s really only through an understanding of how the world – and nature – around us works that we can build anything within it – such as bíku! And the only true way to understand how the world around us works, is to notice it!!! To stop, take a breath from the craziness of modern-day living and take in your surroundings – the nature, the landscape. And this is part of our ‘living slow’ philosophy (or philoslothy!!). Read our recent blog on being philoslothical.

Once your take a closer look, you see that nature is much more than a random collection of pretty cool things. It is a fascinating, intricate, interconnected process. We want to draw from the naturally occurring systems and patterns that exist in nature, specifically in Bocas del Toro, and see which of them we can apply to the bíku retreat design.

While we may look, we don’t always see! I have looked at you in the supermarket many a time Mr Pineapple, but it was only when I got to Bocas del Toro that I saw you. Haha.

Until next time. #liveslow

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Inspired by social business

Inspired by social business

This week we’ve posted a few things on social media about projects and people that inspire us. Inspiration and being inspired keeps us pursuing our dream. It pushes us forward and it keeps us going on those really tough days when we question and doubt ourselves and wonder what the hell we’re doing!!

Face your fears

Whenever we tell people about our bíku project, their initial reaction is wow – that’s so exciting, and so cool. Of course we love this reaction because what we’re trying to achieve is exciting (to us), it is amazing and we love it. But, sometimes, doing something different is terrifying! Every day we need to push ourselves to make sure that we reach our goal. There are no personal trainers organising our routine or our daily plans, no one shouting at us when we feel like giving up. We have to do this ourselves – which at times can be really tough. Having people and projects to inspire us is even more important at these low points. They remind us that doing the impossible, is possible!

Ariel faces another fear…his fear of frogs. And with Bocas del Toro full of these amazing guys – poison dart frogs – he’s going to have to get over his fear, fast!

Who inspires us?

So – who are our main inspirations? Well, some are closer to home, including friends and family, and others are world renowned. For me, Muhammad Yunus is a huge inspiration for our biku project and on a personal level. I’m not sure how Yunus would describe himself. By education he is an economist, but I think he was one of if not the very first, true social entrepreneur. He was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for founding and his work with Grameen Bank, which was and remains a pioneer in providing microfinance for the poor. For all you creatives and social business…ers of the future, the Grameen Creative Lab is a great way to keep up to date with anything social business related!

Yunus has dedicated his life to helping people break out of poverty, and has always kept principles of sustainability at the core of his work. Looking at what Yunus has achieved, at what Grameen has achieved, it just seems impossible. A glance at the ‘Grameen Family’ section of the Yunus Centre website shows the magnitude of this man’s work. If you want to know more about Yunus and how Grameen began, I would strongly recommend that you read Yunus’s book, ‘Building Social Business: The New Kind of Capitalism that Serves Humanity’s Most Pressing Needs’.

From being inspired to inspiring others

We’re inspired every day – often by people who are working on personal, creative projects or in the community. They are driven by passion rather than a desire for recognition. We try to surround ourselves with people who are inspiring, people who don’t settle for the status quo – you know who you are! We can only hope that one day we can inspire others. That would be an honour.

#liveslow!

Being philoslothical

Being philoslothical

Welcome to the first of our weekly Wednesday blogs! What can you expect from these posts? Well, they will be a place where you can find out more about us, about the inspiration behind the bíku project, and our thoughts and comments on issues close to our and bíku’s heart. And what better place to start than to look at the philosophy, or should we say philoslothy (does that work?), behind bíku and what we are trying to achieve.

This first post is a short introduction to one of bíku’s guiding principles: being philoslothical! So what does this mean? Well, being philoslothical is really a way of life, a way of life that we’d like to share with our guests when they come to stay with us at bíku, and something that hopefully can find its place – even if only in a small way – in our guests’ everyday living, after their break with us.

What does it mean?

Being philoslothical will mean different things to different people, but at its core and to us it means:

  • Being a responsible traveller: respecting the local culture, customs and natural environment
  • Pausing for thought (as the native Bocas del Toro sloths do! In fact, they don’t do much more than pausing for thought)
  • Thinking about how your actions affect others and your surroundings
  • Enjoying every moment
  • Natural luxury
  • Living slow! (Bocas … and sloth style)

It’s pretty simple, but these are things that are so easy to forget in our ‘tweeting, twerking’, modern-day world. As they say, ‘it’s the simple things’ … (I never know the end of that saying…can someone help?).

Told you it was a short one! Until next week.

Follow us on Instagram and Twitter – @bikupanama – and let us know what #beingphiloslothical means to you.

#liveslow all you treetop living lovers.