“What if we are not that different after all? Discover feelings of the world through our lens”. Ronak Ahmadloo, co-founder of YouKanRok.com
Ronak Ahmadloo was born in Iran shortly after the Islamic revolution and emigrated to Belgium at a young age with her family. Even though she always dreamed of creativity and travel, her family culture encouraged her to follow a traditional study and career path. Her life was good, but for years, she couldn’t recognise herself anymore in her corporate day job- until she was ready to do something about it. Luckily, her husband and she were on the same page on that matter.
What is your project about and how does/could/will it add value to others?
“For us, ‘Doing something about it’ translated into quitting our day jobs and setting up our own company. My husband is a photographer, and I am a business engineer who likes to write – we didn’t yet know what we wanted to/could do together, but we knew it was going to be our own thing. Then we set off and travelled for a while to figure things out- slowly so that we could get to know each place and to learn from its people.
Our experiences during this time, as individuals and as a family, are definitively shaping us. For us, a defining element of travelling has been the people that we meet. So, we decided to document all of this, firstly for our son to see when he grows up, but also to share with anyone in the world who would be interested.
Documenting our encounters has translated into asking people we meet 3 simple, yet fundamental questions: What makes you happy? Angry? Sad? This process makes us all stop and think about the essentials in life, but it also teaches us about one another. We believe that showing the differences and similarities on these topics around the world can result in more awareness and empathy, which will ultimately make us all grow.”
How have your talents and passions informed your choice to pursue this project?
“I am not sure. A university friend of mine told me a while ago that it was certainly the skills and talents that I had learned and developed during my studies and my career that made me confident enough to take on such a project. School and work certainly sharpened some talents, but they also dimmed others. They gave me the tools to be able to travel the world: organisation, languages, money, etc. But it was really my passions about traveling and creating that finally nudged me over the edge and led me to pursue this project. I guess it really is a mix of both worlds.”
How do/will you obtain personal and/or professional well-being from this? How is it a good match between your talents, your passions and meaningful opportunities to add value to others?
“On a personal level, this project will allow me to know myself and my family better, to explore other ways of living, and define better how I/we want to lead our life.
On a professional level, many have told me that this would create a gap in my career. I disagree. This is a time that I am taking for creation and learning, in order to better align my passions and talents, and to find my purpose. If I ever do go back to the corporate world, I believe it will have added immensely to my drive and my sense of “thinking outside the box”. And if don’t, it will mean that I have been able to create another way of working sustainably.
I also believe that we are not alone in the reflexion we are going through about life in general. We hope that our personal experience can inspire others to pursue their own passions. We also hope that the questions we ask will make people think (both those who answer and those who watch), open up more to others, and maybe even relate to each other better.”
What are the 3 key benefits that you obtained from OrientaEuro’s coaching?
“1. Believing in myself and our project.
2. Shaping my project.
3. Accepting that success does not come in only one shape.”
In which ways does your professional well-being affect your general well-being?
“It is very much linked. I had always believed I could separate my personal and professional lives, but that is a complete illusion. All of the frustration and anger that I build up at work directly spill out into my marriage, my relationship with my son and with those close to me in general. What’s more, it creates a contradiction within me that puts me out of balance. This had been the case for many years and it was time to make a change.”
How would you define “success” on this project? At the moment, what are the biggest challenges/needs for your project to “succeed”?
“Our first goal when we started travelling was to get to know ourselves and define how we wanted to live better. But we also want to genuinely share our experience and inspire others to overcome their fear about projects outside the normal path and just give it a try.
Then, we definitively want to pass something on to our son about these travels (aside from the day to day adventure). So, creating a full documentary about the people we meet around the world and the 3 questions would be another success.
We also believe that this documentary would be beneficial for a larger audience to see. It makes you reflect on your own life, learn about others, and hopefully build up empathy and compassion for them too. We want to find a way to show it to as many people as possible.
One challenge, at the moment, is communication. In order to share our project with a large audience, we need to make people aware of it. For example, getting media coverage, in any form (but mainly digital) would of course help. The next challenge is skills: we are learning as we go forward about making videos, writing websites, blogging, etc. What we produce is not perfect, and we appreciate any feedback and suggestions. Of course, at some point, there will be a financial challenge. We won’t be able to sustain ourselves forever without making any income (which we are not, at the moment – we are financing our travels with our savings). If there is enough interest in our project and we decide to go on for longer, we should consider sponsoring/crowdfunding campaigns.”
Is there any way people could support your project? (donations, ideas, contacts, press, whatever… just say, you never know!)
“We could definitively use help with communication: following and sharing our social media, media coverage, word of mouth.
Any help in the form of skills would also be more than welcome: feedback, suggestions, etc…
And finally, if you are interested in our project and would like to help us keep going financially, don’t hesitate to get in touch.”
If potential partners / clients / suppliers want to know more about you and your project, where could they read more or get in contact with you?
Here is our email address: YouKanRok@gmail.com
See our presentation video here: https://youtu.be/2lnEo0n4E_I
See our latest video on the 3 questions: https://youtu.be/2lnEo0n4E_I
Any other comments that you’d like to add?
“Deciding to leave our regular life behind, at least for a while, was a very scary decision, but it was an inevitable one for us. Starting to travel, and letting go of our old habits was, and still is, very hard – we had to cheer ourselves on so that we didn’t quit during the first weeks. Thankfully we didn’t, we pulled through, and now the experience that we are living, discovering people and different ways of living is priceless. This is the biggest treasure that we get from our travels. And when we see/hear that others are touched by it, it means the world to us.”