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.
After spending a couple of decades in the communications industry, I have to confess that I sometimes still struggle to explain what I do for a living. Luckily, setting up my own consulting firm has forced me to find an easy way to summarize it. Communications isn’t rocket science; it’s the science and art of engaging with people.
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.