I still wanted to add my two cents.
Last week, this story was deservingly featured here in the States:
Thanks to one man's dedication and love, the beauty and wonder of an island in the Seychelles will be around for years to come...
According to the Daily Mail, Brendon Grimshaw bought Moyenne Island, off the north coast of Mahe, Seychelles, in the early 1960s...
At the time, he was a successful newspaper editor in Africa who was itching to start a new life. It took nine years for him to take the jump but finally, in 1973, the journalist from Dewsbury, England, moved to his new island with nothing but a dream.
Grimshaw has lived there ever since. When he first arrived at Moyenne, the island -- abandoned for over 50 years -- was overgrown with shrubbery so dense that coconuts could not fall to the ground.
Together with a Seychellois named Rene Lafortune, Grimshaw tirelessly worked to transform the island. Over the last 39 years, Grimshaw, now 86, and Lafortune planted 16,000 trees by hand -- including 700 mahogany trees that have grown to reach 60-70 feet in height -- and have built 4.8 kilometers of nature paths...
Lafortune died in 2007, leaving Grimshaw to care for the island alone.
According to Joseph Johnson Cami, director of a documentary about Grimshaw called 'A Grain of Sand,' while Lafortune occasionally lived on the island when the two were working on it, Grimshaw has been the only permanent inhabitant of Moyenne and has virtually been living alone for four decades.
...the nature lover has also attracted about 2,000 new birds to the island which he helps care for. He is also the loving caretaker of 120 giant tortoises.
Almost hunted to total extinction in the early 1900s, the giant tortoise -- though indigenous to the Seychelles -- continues to be at risk on most of the other islands, the Daily Mail reports. Grimshaw's island now also holds more than two thirds of all endemic plants to the Seychelles...
In the comments section of the linked article, I saw several readers discussing how they were envious of Grimshaw and that they would do what he did in a heartbeat.
I think these folks are devaluing the extraordinary effort and dedication that is Grimshaw's life.
He left everything that was familiar to him and focused on one goal: creating beauty that was for anyone to experience.
For over 14,000 days he awoke and spent hours dirtying his hands--clearing and planting one small area of island at a time.
He worked and worked and worked.
No immediate access to NFL, NBA, or professional sports.
Bugs, bugs, and lots more bugs.
Limited face-to-face contact with loved ones and friends.
No Starbucks, Panera, or Poppa Johns.
Just sweat and dedication.
And I assume, regular doubts about what he was doing and whether it was worth the sacrifice.
Though news readers envisioning Grimshaw sunning himself on the white sand with a breath-taking view of the ocean is appealing, the reality is much different.
It is easy to miss his sacrifice and hard-work--exemplified in what is now this island.
Not everyone could do what Grimshaw has done.
No need to devalue the effort.
A journey of a thousand miles does begin with a single step.
Or a single tree planted in this instance.