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Posts Tagged ‘travel’

As I get ready to start 4 weeks of travel; I am reminded of how we are perceived differently in differently in different parts of the country and the world. I am headed off to St. Louis for one week, then to Europe for three weeks. It still strikes me as odd, or would a better word be curious, any way, it still strikes me that way, that an ocean or a 1 hour flight can have such dramatic changes in how one sees thinks.

I have never been to St. Louis, so I anticipate some oddities from how we (I) see things in Michigan, My world view and my national view will be different.   Coming from an industrial state, where cars are made and the union in strong, I see things differently. Now granted, I see things differently in Michigan than a lot of Michiganders do. But that is for another blog. We, as Michiganders see things differently; our world view is colored by our experience. We have an automotive view point, one that stems from years of living off the automobile. But as of late that world view has been challenged. Our way of life hangs in the balance and we are being called to change our view, not only in how Michigan operates, but also how we, as Michiganders operate.

With the automobile industry in such a mess, and oil prices high, we need to revamp our economy. Yes the nation is in a tight stop as a whole, but Michigan is even tighter. We have been feeling the pinch for over a year, I would even stay two years. But that’s not even it. It’s more than the industries that needs to be revamped; I feel the whole collective mind of Michigan needs to be reset. As a Midwestern state, we are to be the conservative collective thought of the nation, but looking at Michigan politics and policies, I would say we have left that behind. Some how it got lost and we are having a hard time finding it again.

But I still hold dear that ideal, one of simple Midwestern thought. And I have to say I bring it with me when I travel. So it always lends itself to a little bewilderment on my part.

Each time I travel overseas I am always taken-a-back at the liberal mind. No matter how many times I go, I never really get use to it. Now in fairness to me, I try hard to be open minded, and I try not to get in to conversations about all that. That’s not why I am there, but sometimes I just can’t avoid it. Case and point, I was in Australia during the whole “Florida can’t count” thing. And each morning I was greeted with a knock on my door, and the manager of the hotel asking me “Have you Americans learned to count yet”. Yes it was funny and fun, the first few days, but I was there one month, and it happened every day, without fail.

This time around I will be in Germany on voting day. I really am not sure what to expect, but I do know one thing, they, the German people, love Obama. So I have a feeling that I will hear something, no matter who wins. This will be a test of my resolve; of how long will I be able to keep it all in. If I was a betting man, not long at all.

I may have a Midwestern point of view, but I do not have the Midwestern tolerance. I am passionate and head strong. I speak my mind and all too often let it all out.

Now once again, I do try to avoid this when I travel. It is part of my improving myself. I need to learn to stop, listen and just nod, not to speak. But that is hard for me, ask any of my family or friends, they will be more than happy to tell you that. I am sure each has a story about my passion and head strongness.

It is on my mind, and an area I need improvement in, but entering a country during an election in the USA is like placing a drug addict in the middle of a crack house and saying “Don’t”. Chances are they will, and chances are I will.

I will try hard not to, I will fight it to the best of my ability, but knowing myself, I will only be able to do that for a few seconds, my goal, to get that to a few minutes. Small baby steps, that’s the way to do it.

 

Paul

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My day job takes me all over the world; I have traveled to7 different countries over the past 11 years and have enjoyed the ability to make friends in places I never thought I would. I have good friends in Brazil, UK, Sweden and Germany. Friends that I will chat with via email or visit when I get the change to fly there, one such change is coming up, I will be heading off for a 3 week trip to the UK, Germany and Sweden this November. Along with all the work I have to do why I am there, I will also get a chance to visit with my friends. It’s always nice to sit and talk to good friends over dinner and a glass of wine.

The chance to chat with friends is one that I rarely pass up, I love to sit and just “shot the breeze”, it allows for the conversation to take on a natural organic flow. Creating an atmosphere of family, there is something worm and comforting about that, each time I travel overseas to work, I always make an effort to make time for conversations.

Conversation is the corner stone of any relationship; it is where true friendship and love are forged and where they can also be dismantled. It is in conversation that we discover the truth of the person, not always what they say, but how they say it, or how they react to it. Conversation is the alpha and omega of relationship; it is the center and outer rings of complex situations.

For example, take the current political session, each candidate is involved in a conversation with America. Each is trying to create the groundwork for a more personal relationship with you. We, as Americans rarely vote on issues, we vote on how we “see” the candidate. We look for moments of connectivity, moments that define them to us. We base our vote on the conversation they had with us.

We can also us our faith life as an example. Many people attend Services; they invest themselves in the process by volunteering their time. They allow the conversation of the church they attend to penetrate themselves. They like what they hear, or they feel safe in the situation.

The traversed can be said also, for both examples. Many people will not vote for one candidate, not because they don’t agree with the issues, but because the candidate “feels” wrong to them. Or a person my not volunteer because they do not feel they are with family, they do not feel safe.  

A conversation is the cornerstone, the foundation that must be laid if we want to build upon any relationship, be it personal or professional. Without a strong conversation the whole social structure you have worked to create will crumble. Without a strong foundation to build upon your work is in vain.

We have seen this throughout history, week foundations in negotiations results in a breakdown of talks, failed relationships results in wars and so on. We have also seen strong relationships built because of conversations that were honest and solid. Wars have been obverted and allies made. Conversations are the key.

In today’s outlook on the world, conversations have been reduced to sound bites and text messaging. We have allowed technology to form us instead of us forming it. We see it in the news, where important information is reduced to a 30 second sound bite, or tragedy is given a catch phrase and logo. We experience with our youth, where text messaging has replaced true conversations. I have watched as two teens argued via text messages, there have been news reports of Hollywood stars breaking up via a text message (of course it was in a 30 second sound bite). We are losing the art of conversation; we are creating cornerstones out of fluff rather than solid materials. We see it in the inability of our youth to carry on conversations without the use of their phones.

Some will argue that text messaging is the new “writing Letters”, I would argue that it is not. With a text messaging your message is abbreviated, both in words and in depth. We have a generation who have taken the art of conversation and reduced it to communication with no true feelings.

Sure I email my friends and even have IM sessions with them, but when it comes to building a relationship with them, when it is truly important, I want to have a conversation. I want to sit with them, face to face, to forge a bond that is strong for years to come.

So I am looking forward to this trip overseas, I am looking forward to adding to the foundation of the friendships I have forged, the foundation built upon good food, good wine and great conversations.

Paul

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Home

This is not my home, but I like it!

 

I’m home! Yes I love vacations, I love spending time with family and friends. And I did just that, but as much as I love to travel, I love coming home even more.

Maybe that’s why I love to travel; maybe I love it so much because I love coming home even more. Home is where comfort is, home is where I can relax, and just be, home just is. We all know when we enter home, we walk in and we feel it. We just know that we are home.

 

 

 

Well that’s how I feel, that’s how I know I am home, I can just feel it, my body relaxes my mind rest and my heart is happy.

 

Now this doesn’t mean that I don’t enjoy vacations, because I do, I love to travel and to be on vacation. Yes my mind relaxes, my heart is happy and I can just be. But its different, it’s not bad, just different.

 

 When my mom was still alive, and I need to feel safe I would go to her house, where ever it was, and I was home, I was safe. It didn’t matter where she lived the location was not home, but rather the feeling was.

 

It’s the same now, yes I love the house I have, I have decorated the way I like, and all my “stuff” is in it, but that’s not home, home is a feeling I get when I enter through the door. It’s the sigh my body gives; it’s the sights and smells, the memories and the flow. Home is more then brick and wood with windows and doors; home is a state of being.

 

My vacation was fun; I spent time with family and friends and was at home in Michigan. As I stated in previous blog, Michigan is my home, and yes I feel safe and secure here, and yes I love her, but Michigan is also home to many others, but my house, my home is just mine, its safe for me, and its mine.

 

Paul

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