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  • Writer's pictureAlizée CCM

7 Years Is A Full Cycle | KAILU Ep 12 | Sustainability Documentary China | Alizée CCM

7 Years Is A Full Cycle

Hi everone, 

This is it! KAILU, The Open Road is finally out in the wild; how crazy...

I wanted to take the time here to talk about the journey and close out this chapter, but first of all...

I wanted to thank you for being a witness to my first documentary. 

In the first episode, I shared about my 7-year journey in sustainability and China and what made me decide to pursue the KAILU project.

I was 22 when I started my little sustainability company in China, very idealistic and driven, I wished to change how people see sustainability. 

In my opinion, the whole industry got such a bad rap. Who was in charge of the marketing department? 

The story we are told is so effin boring and life-less…

I remember vividly being adamant that the story we were gonna tell had to be different; it had to be inspiring, authentic, human-focused, cool, diverse, … you know, all the good words. 

We did achieve that… up to a certain extent, but my business was not centered on the stories of others. 

And it had to…

As for many, 2020 had been a turning point. 

I remember crying on my bathroom floor, broke, after trying to save our business for almost a year, but nothing worked, 

praying for change and a direction…

Then I asked myself one question: what is the one thing I want to do? What do I really want to do? What would I do for free every day?

I was transported to my early childhood, when all I wanted to do was be outside, on the way to a destination far away, discovering life, meeting people, learning different ways of living, …

So I moved toward that dream, and I kid you not. In December 2020, I had no idea how I would pay rent in January. But projects came in through different avenues than my previous business, like and I feel carried by life throughout my entire journey. I never lacked anything to make the project happen and to live my last year in China. 

I took it as a sign. 

The journey was not as I expected. Initially, I thought, it was going to be very facts focused, like I was going to show sustainability industry - dry information - 

but it became a personal journey. 

With every encounter, the message was the same: it’s about the person, it’s about their dreams, their visions, … 

this is the good stuff. 

So the KAILU journey was really about that, showing others, showing their authenticity, share their story, and why I find them so cool. 

Now, of course, this project was a one-woman show, there are many things I’d do differently, but I am proud of the journey.

And I’d do it again in a heartbeat…

In December 2021, I was on the precipice of leaving China when my friend Katherine asked me how long I stayed in China, and I said 7 years.

Ah, a full cycle,” she almost whispered. It had me thinking. What had I learned these last 7 years? What were the challenges and the rewards? What am I bringing with me? What am I leaving behind?

As I left China, I let go of the version of myself in my tumultuous twenties, the belief that I have to prove something to others, and all the layers of myself that don’t serve my growth. 

It’s fair to say I will bring more than I’ll leave behind. 

I owe China my self-confidence, the knowledge that I can do anything I want, and how to foster strong long-term relationships. 

Through my hardships, risks, and downfalls, I taught myself discipline, perseverance, patience, and grace.

The latter is the most difficult one, I find. It requires compassion to have grace for yourself when you feel like you don’t live up to the expectations of those you love, admire, and even fear. 

But grace brings you ease, and really, that’s what we need in times like these.

Most importantly, I have brought my four-legged friend, who has taught me a whole other level of love. 

But I suppose that’s the lesson I need to deepen in my next cycle.

The three words I have inked on my skin, “adventure,” “to serve something higher,” and “to rise,” have been guiding mantras on this journey so far.

And while a part of me will always live in the mountains of Sichuan, roam the streets of Shanghai, and drive on the country roads of Yunnan, it’s time to blaze new paths elsewhere.

开路, Kāilù. Let’s go.

Thanks for journeying with us :-)

Watch the episode on YouTube here!

KAILU, The Open Road.

A cross-country journey to meet the Chinese Changemakers in sustainability.

Roadtripping in China


Watch it here: The KAILU Docu Series


Sustainability Documentary China


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