This is likely the most difficult piece I’ve ever written, because it is so intimate and personal. Since childhood, I have struggled with my identity, seeking to find a place in the world. As the son of a mixed couple, raised in northern Europe in the 1970s and 1980s, I never managed to fit in. By the time I reached my twenties, I understood that not fitting in could be a blessing. Now in my forties and having lived in communities around the world, I know that identity is subject to change and diversity makes us stronger. There are majorities and minorities in every sphere of our lives. We may look, sound or feel different, but we all belong to the same species. Increasingly, the world is evolving and starting to look more like me: mixed and adaptable.
As a seasoned communications professional, I believe in the power of ideas to change the world. Yet, I am often reminded of the limitations of my field, as every day brings a new cautionary tale of hype and hubris. No lesson is more timely than Britain’s exit, or “Brexit,” from the European Union. As Prime Minister Theresa May seeks to convince her party and the nation that she is delivering the European divorce that she promised at the beginning of her term, she is struggling to live up to her own spin. This is a classic tale of tactics winning out over strategy.
One of the lessons you learn very quickly when you travel is how little you actually know about the world. No matter how much you’ve read or how many travel shows you’ve watched, or how well-traveled you are, life on the road is a humbling reminder of one’s place in relation to the world. We are small specks or blips on the radar of life. Our past doesn’t matter as much as our present or our future. Life has to be lived in the moment, as every problem is new and every decision is significant. Since our return, we have been peppered with questions about our experience, so I thought I should share our key insights.