There are no foreign lands. It is the traveler only who is foreign. ~Robert Louis Stevenson
One week from now I will be 4500 miles from home in a country few from the USA have had the opportunity to visit, a country known for cheese, craftsmanship, and beautiiful mountain scenery. One week from now I will be 7 time zones into the future, I will have been in that time zone for 4 days so my body will have had time to adjust to the shock of waking up in a morning which is still night in my home land. One week from I will be in Switzerland sitting at a table with Germans, Indians, Italians, Swiss, a Catalan, and Americans dancing in a conversational ballet during which we navigate the nuances of cultures bearing little resemblence to our own, a dance which, when performed well, makes use of the unique strengths of people raised continents apart. One week from now, I will be with a team of 30 people planning the future of our product, envisioning a world in which we build upon the relationships we have developed over the past 7 years, relationships I expect to grow deeper over the next 7 years, relationships which are critical to the success of our company, relationships which add flavor to my life creating a product that will be used around the world.
I am forever amazed at the technology we use that allows us to have real time meetings with people half way across the globe with delays so small it seems we are talking to a person sitting across the desk. I am amazed how technology has flattened the earth and I am able to interact with diverse people from around the globe as easy as if they were my neighbor living a few blocks away on a tree lined street in my suburb. I am amazed at the fact that all the technology in the world pales when compared to face to face time when it comes to deepening relationships. I am forever amazed at technology that allows me to board a plane in Chicago and set foot in Central Europe less than 10 hours after takeoff and on that flight I can select a movie to watch on a screen embedded in the back of the seat in front of me.
I am grateful that I have the opportunity to know people from these cultures. I am grateful that I can count as friends people from countries my parents never had the opportunity to explore, in countries relatively few have the means to visit, in countries which were, in my childhood, pastel colored, two dimensional objects on a map in a land existing solely in my feeble imagination. I am grateful for the spice of life that is the people we meet on the journey from birth to death, people that add color and texture to a canvas that would be black, white, and shades of grey were it not for the personalities we encounter, the laughs we laugh with others, the obstacles we overcome, the lives we touch, the meals we share during which we are blessed with intimate glimpses into each other’s lives, into the living history that makes each of us a unique vessel, an imperfect vessel carrying the adventure of our lives.
I am grateful that I will be in another world just one week from now.