29 Mar 2024
The Unexpected Happened When I Went All-In On #SupportLocal
Much has been written about the reasons to #SupportLocal: helping small businesses, jobs for neighbors, keeping money in the community. 100% legit.

Little has been said about how it changes you. So I was unprepared for the unexpected.

1. Inertia 

PC: Karolina Grabowska

PC: Karolina Grabowska

Despite all good intentions, old habits die hard. Amazon is so easy and very, very good at what they do.

But like learning to ride a bike, well, you know how that story goes.

2. A Whole New World!

Who knew? Hiding in plain sight! It's incredible.

For many years I wanted efficiency and consistency. 1-clicks. Grande chais. No need for variety. Except, it really is the spice of life.

My biggest unexpected discovery: coffee! Not the big green Seattle-based one but lots of little ones. I found them all over my neighborhood and in every city I visited.

Jeanne Ng & Ernest Shih, Café Kopi, Kailua HI

Jeanne Ng & Ernest Shih, Café Kopi, Kailua HI

Besides the coffee, I'm drawn to their different vibes – cool, hip, cozy, zen, industrial, retro, eclectic, green, homey, vintage, farmhouse, neighborly, feminine, bookish, military, progressive, rebellious, welcoming, and weird (thanks Austin!).

Then there's the culture – Black, Mexican, Colombian, Paraguayan, Cuban, Korean, Chinese, Vietnamese, Filipino, Tunisian, Yemini, Palestinian, Jordanian and many more on my list to try.

The best part are the moms, pops, dudes and queens who run the show. I see many of these owners when I visit, working the espresso machine, chatting up customers, creating experiences. When I hear regulars call out their name on the way out the door, that's when I know I've found the real deal!

2. Throwing It Way Back

I discovered something else.

A respect for places that've been around a long time. Staying power. Family-owned. Multi-generational.

I think it's about authenticity, genuineness. About doing things the right way. Purpose. Integrity. Community.

Tre Tapp, Chicken Hut, Durham NC since 1957

Tre Tapp, Chicken Hut, Durham NC since 1957

So my new bucket list is to visit these places and feel the magic that makes them work. Here's some I'd go back to again and again:

3. “Partly-In" Is Good Enough

Finally, going “All-In" was a nice idea but no longer a goal.

Sometimes things like price and convenience do matter. Yet I know paying (a little) more isn’t going to bankrupt me, and waiting (a little) longer won’t lose me any sleep.

My wish with Karmalize is that you make your own discoveries, and find there’s a ton more out there worth living for!