Preston Hegel - XO

Where are you from and what brings you to New Zealand?
I’m from the beautiful Asheville North Carolina. I came to New Zealand because a Facebook Quiz entitled “what country in the world best fits your personality” told me I ‘belonged’ here. Fortunately, what started as a waste of time quiz really peaked my curiosity having made the resolve to travel the world only 2 months before. I did the research, and fell in love with New Zealand through reading endless travel blogs and investigating the cities and way of life. I applied for my visa that week and started selling my things.

What have you seen or experienced in Christchurch that makes it the place where you want to live?
There was a shift in people’s tone when they talked about Christchurch. The excitement of what Christchurch used to be, came with a humble tone, “But then the earthquakes came.” And you can hear people’s tone lift when they talk about all the New things that the People are doing. I definitely experience this as I settle in here.

Tell us a bit about what your are passionate about?
I resolved early on to make doing things I enjoy my priority, that just comes first and brings me happiness. I surround myself with people who do the same, and learn from them: how they manage life and manage their affairs/time etc. I learn from others how they balance providing for themselves and doing whatever it is they enjoy. I often find that if you're doing something that makes you happy, there’s a possibility you can make money doing it. I volunteered at a gym, became a gym coach. Worked with horses. Photographed weddings. Bartended. Dropped out of my entrepreneurship studies to start my own business consulting with small businesses to implicate real purpose and happiness into their practice. These were all things I really wanted to do and the jobs landed in my lap.

What drew you to XCHC?
What drew me to XCHC besides the concept and purpose and the beautiful people that work here, was that it is very Alive. People are talking. Residents are talking with each other, the barista with her customers, Camia introduced herself to me within minutes of my starry-eyed wonder through the space. When she shared with me the purpose of the space, her excitement was contagious, I sensed the happiness and balance, and PRIDE of this space. It’s what I heard about, that tone, it’s what I came here and was looking for, so I offered to be a volunteer without hesitation, and here I am.

What is your creative edge and where do you hope to grow?
It’s exciting to see someone’s smile and face light up; especially while exploring their creative self. I enjoy contributing to that sometimes fearful process. In that journey of overcoming fear, my creative edge is tuning in to their journey and their fears, while becoming a guide and support. To see someone flourish in their own unique creative way produces a deep satisfaction and makes me feel like I personally accomplished something that day. XCHC is where this happens every day, here there is a solid Foundation to build and discover Synchronicity. Timing. Aligning. Tuning in and Zoning out. Connecting. Creating. “Where do I hope to grow?” I’m surrendering and am now allowing myself to just Grow. As long as we are Growing in life and in our creative self, who knows where it will take us :) I can’t wait to see what comes next!

- XCHC 02.05.2016