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Andy B and his big heart

Ziemlich am Anfang meiner Zeit im Chateau Fougerette stand ich eines Abends in der Küche und kam mit Andy ins Gespräch. Eine der ersten Fragen unter den Volontären ist meistens die, wie man auf das Schloss aufmerksam wurde und wie lange man vor hat, hier zu bleiben. Ich schilderte Andy, wie es dazu kam, dass ich mir eine einjährige Auszeit gönne und die ersten zwei Monate hier auf Fougerette verbringen möchte. Er erzählte mir, dass er nach einem Jobverlust in der Schweiz ebenfalls ein einjähriges Timeout angetreten ist und dass dieses nun schon drei Jahre lang andauert. Meine Neugier war geweckt und ich wollte es genauer wissen. Ich habe ihn gebeten, seine nicht ganz alltägliche Geschichte in seiner Muttersprache aufzuschreiben. Here we go…

P1020291 Andy B dressed for fancy dinner

„Hello. I’m Andrew, also known by many as Andy B

After losing my job with a large Swiss bank in the recent financial crisis, I decided to take a year out to resolve a small health issue. I started cycling again and yoga, which I now love and it’s part of my life. My health returned rapidly and I found myself enjoying my time out so much, doing so many things I so enjoy doing, that this has currently extended to over 3 years. I’ve renovated my houses, taught snowboarding, restored old bicycles, volunteered with a film festival, an animal rescue centre, and been involved in the renovation of a castle where I met Barbara at Chateau Fougerette. She asked how and why I’d taken such a career break and I found it very easy to explain …….. it’s all about going with what your heart is telling you and doing some of the things you really enjoy doing. Of course reality is a factor and I thought losing a very good salary would be hard to deal with but somehow I’ve found a way.


Andy B and Flo bought a Solex at the „Brocki“ in Etang sur Arroux

10 years earlier I took exactly a year out to become a snowboard instructor and live for a winter season in the mountains, a dream that I had always had burning inside me. One evening it came to me in a bar in Amsterdam, whilst snowing outside, either I do it and kill this yearning within, or forget about it and throw it out forever. I couldn’t do that so I made the decision there and then that I would do it. This was one of the best feelings I have ever had, and such a huge relief.


Andy B painting the Balustrade


The very next winter I was in France and having breakfast every morning on a balcony overlooking the snow covered Alps. The professional IT world could live without me for now. Upon my return to that world, interviewers were so impressed by what I’d done, asking all about it, that I realised it can only make you stronger and more resourceful … and happier.

This experience made my current situation far easier to not only accept but embrace and use this opportunity to kill a few more dreams … or feed them and go with them.


Andy B preparing the Balustrade for painting

I don’t know yet when I will return to the corporate world again, but I do know that I’ve learnt so much and grown so much in this time that I can only recommend it to anyone thinking of taking a career break to recharge, start their own idea, renovate your house, go trekking in The Andes, become a ski instructor or whatever that dream is within you that you keep locking it in the cellar as you ‘don’t have enough time or money to do’.

Good luck and don’t be afraid to take a step out of the rat race, or a new path in life, if it pleases your heart.“

Andy B


Goodbye Andy B, we`ll miss you and your big heart in Fougerette!


Ich danke Andy B herzlich für die Bereitschaft, seine Geschichte auf Papier zu bringen und sie für diese Bloggeschichte zur Verfügung zu stellen. Schade nur, dass er bereits abreisen musste. Auf ihn wartet jedoch eine weitere spannende Aufgabe als Chaffeur beim Zürcher Filmfestival. Gute Fahrt, Andy B!


*** ende ***

©Text: Barbara Sorino (Einleitung) und Andrew Ballard (englischer Text)

©Fotos: Barbara Sorino

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