Living the Dream: Nicolás Bori, Off the Beaten Path
When Nicolás Bori graduated from college, he felt lucky to have secured a good job with a good salary that allowed him to afford most of what he wanted to buy. Like most people, he measured success in terms of salary size. Yet despite this success, Nicolás felt something was missing. While those around him seemed happy spending their salaries on clothes, gadgets, and nights out, he realized that he had been happier as a broke university student.
Nicolás missed having time for the people and the activities he loved, and he began to question the mainstream model of success. Soon after, he quit his job and embarked on a trip across Africa with his girlfriend. Their mission was to cross the entire continent from south to north by truck, with the hope of disconnecting from western culture and acquiring new perspectives. For Nicolás, this journey was his quest to find a new path toward happiness.
What does “the good life” mean to you, and how did you come to this vision?
I’m not sure if I have a solid definition of what the “good life” means to me yet. I do know that I now have some sort of “north”: a vague direction in which I feel I should be heading. I have always found it more useful to have a north than a precise destination. As you walk your path and your destination varies, you learn.
The “good life” for me includes a change in the pace of life. I feel that society in general moves way too fast, without any real reason. We just try to get faster, better, doing more just for the sake of it, and we lose sight of the goals that matter. I feel that a “good life” is one that gives you time to appreciate what you have, instead of always scrambling to get more. The good life is about having time to share with others as well. I think that what I want the most in my life is time, that commodity that we think we have so much of and so easily trade for things that we quickly forget about.
For me, the good life also includes being closer to nature. In nature, I feel a complete sense of peace and balance that quickly disappears when I enter a big city. I was born and raised in Buenos Aires, but somehow I feel I don't belong in such a place. Any big city has an element of anonymity between people that makes them less tolerant or patient towards each other. So, definitely a smaller place with a sense of community and good access to nature would be part of my good life.
What’s the one thing you enjoy most about your lifestyle?
After I returned back to Argentina, I decided to give myself the best gift possible: the chance of a fresh start. I had always wanted to go to film school, but always felt it was not a safe choice. Now, at 29 years old, I enrolled in film school and am starting a new career path about which I feel deeply passionate.
The fact that my interests are now aligned 100% with my day-to-day life provides me the greatest satisfaction of all. When what you do and what you believe in is not aligned, it is only a matter of time until you start feeling badly about it. I think that when that happens you need to be able to recognize the situation, and take action to set your life in balance again.
Is there anything at all about your life these days that you really wish you could change or improve?
I still don’t have the access to nature I would like. Buenos Aires is not the greatest place for an outdoors enthusiast, but it is temporary while I finish school. And, then, I will be hopefully moving to a place that fits better the “good life” I have set for myself.
The other thing I would like to change is my use of media in general; in particular, my use of social media networks. While I am not a heavy user of social media, when I add up all the time that I am on, I feel it is a pity that I have not invested that time in real relationships and interactions. I am trying to reduce my use of it more and more, though.
Tell us a little about the work that you do.
At the moment, I am full time student in film school. This has been a dream of mine for such a long time, and I am happy I finally found the courage to try.
I am also working on a travel documentary series about my recent experiences. The series documents my journey across Africa. On the journey, we learned so many valuable lessons that I wished somebody had shared with me in those moments of doubts back in my office days.
Describe some ways in which you are involved in your community.
Since I have only recently returned to Argentina after a 7 year absence, I am still finding my way around. I have started talking with an NGO that helps street kids and does soup runs for homeless people. I hope I can use my developing film skills to have a greater impact on their work.
For many, your lifestyle is considered “outside the mainstream.” Does this present any challenges, and, if so, how do you deal with them?
My life definitely took a detour “outside the mainstream” the moment I quit my job to go “aimlessly” looking for personal answers in Africa. But, since I have returned and started film school, I would say that my path is not so outside the mainstream at the moment. But the key is that my mind has remained “outside the mainstream.” And once you have seen alternatives, you keep thinking about them.
Please describe any new skills or hobbies that you’re really excited about or that you would love to learn if you had the time and resources.
Filmmaking! I am absolutely in love with it. And I always have been. To be more precise, I particularly have enjoyed learning about script-writing. I have always enjoyed writing stories or finding the best ways to tell them to friends. Creating something from scratch is something I love. Now my interest in story-telling, writing, and filmmaking are all converging into script-writing.
What is the best piece of advice you have ever received?
There is an Alan Watts speech that resonated so much with me in the months prior to leaving my job. Watts compared life to music, meaning that both should be enjoyed while they last. If you spend your life constantly chasing after the next goal—good grades, a good university, a good job, a big promotion, the top position—you will come to realize that you have spent your life running toward some elusive “ultimate reward” that would make all the efforts and sacrifices (including time and relationships) worth it. Life is a gift and it is meant to be enjoyed while we have it. Don’t give it away for a few shiny possessions.
This message was reinforced for me when a friend and colleague lost his life in a skiing accident. He was about my age, and his death made me realize how little we know about the time we have left. We all make plans and delay our dreams for some vague future, yet there’s no guarantee. Rather than measure my life in terms of how much wealth I accumulate before I die, I now measure my life in terms of how many dreams I can accomplish on my journey. I feel that this is a much better way to spend my time.
Read more interviews in our Living the Dream Series.