Our Home Away From Home

Tuscany
I will always remember this dreamy and wonderful week in Tuscany. Many more photos and stories about our time here to share. This place truly felt like home and I will miss it very much. Thank you Adriana and Riccardo for your warm and sincere kindness and hospitality. Our family will cherish these memories of Villa Dei Tramonti.

Balance? My Grand Bargain With the Travel Gods

Pool Time

A lot of people ask me, “How do you do this or how can you do this?” The questions are never exactly the same. Some are asking about the craziness of traveling with a 3 and 5 year old and they ask how I can possibly work in this environment. Others are asking what kind of business I have that has given me this freedom.

The simple answer is…balance. As I’m learning, sometimes the hard way, it can often be virtually impossible to achieve. At times, not having balance (for brief periods of time) can create a larger balance in life that we can use to grow from.

Traveling for me is not just about seeing new and exciting places. It is hopefully part of a journey through personal growth. There are challenges I face on the road and many times in a moment, things can be crazy. These experiences, failures and struggles actually create the flavor of this trip. Sometimes I actually look back upon these moments with fondness.

Ok, so that’s how I look at the bigger picture. Now, how do I do it on a daily basis? Fortunately or not, I can operate my business with a wifi connection and occasionally an Internet phone. My work involves the financial markets and rarely does it ever completely shut down. Even those few times when it does, I am constantly planning and strategizing for what is coming next.

I share this with you because this is one of my battles in finding balance. When markets are volatile, I work more. When they are relatively calm, I try to work less. I aim to choose a number of hours in each day that I will focus on work and stick to that. I am creating my own balance and life has a way of creating its own. Sometimes that combination doesn’t match up.

As I’m writing this, I have chicken pox. Yes, chicken pox. I’m 44 years old and figured I’d made it this far without getting it so I was probably safe. My two children got vaccinated before we left and I was supposed to get one. With time running out and a million other things to do I didn’t get it done. To make matters worse I’m at a beautiful villa in Italy and my mother in law just came out for a family vacation. Talk about throwing my balance straight to hell.

As I’m sitting here on another painful and sleepless night trying not to scratch, I find myself thinking about all of this. I have always tried to control my environment and now I’m learning to let go. It’s impossible but I’ve always been stubbornly up to impossible challenges. The trick is to find the very thin line of balance between all the competing things in your day.

Find enough time for your kids, your wife, your work and also enjoy the simple things. Appreciate the failures in their own way. I know it’s much harder than it sounds. This is my journey. Whether I come close to understanding and embracing this concept will be a key measure in determining if this trip is personally successful.

This is my grand bargain. Do what I can. Understand and accept the things I can’t do anything about and be wise enough not to get the two mixed up.

Best,

Dana
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My Superheroes

My Superheroes
The streets of Venice are now safe. My little Avengers are running the streets, eating pizza and gelato, and taking in all of the unique and very special magic that is…Venezia. This city is one of my favorite places on Earth. I hope you all experience this beauty one day and if you already have, do it again.  It is unlike anything else.

The Titanic

titanic
A couple of months ago, the boys and I visited the Titanic Museum in Belfast, Ireland. We stood on the grounds where the grand and luxurious ship was built at Harland & Wolff’s shipyard. The Titanic Belfast is located 100 yards in front of where Titanic’s hull was launched; to its right is the drawing office where she was designed and to the left is the River Lagan where she first set sail.

On April 10,1912, passengers boarded the ship in Southampton, England and departed for it’s maiden voyage at noon. The first stop was Cherbourg, France and then the last stop was Queenstown, Ireland. April 11, 1912 at 1:30pm, the Titanic left Queenstown and headed across the Atlantic for New York. As we stood at the docks, we imagined ourselves waving goodbye to the passengers and in that moment, more than ever before, I wished I could go back in time and warn them of what was to come.

The Launchship design

The tragic story of the Titanic has always touched me deeply. I can’t tell you how many times I watched the movie just to be closer to the story and the deceased. There are certain things in my life that I have such deep connections with. I often wonder if I was somehow associated to these in past lives. The Titanic is one of those things for me.

I talked to the boys about the Titanic before we went to the museum which made them interested every step of the way. We spent a few hours there and took in everything we possibly could. They asked a hundred questions and I could feel their compassion as they imagined what really happened a hundred years ago. They couldn’t wait to watch the movie to learn more.

If you recall, the film is over 3 hours long, and my 3 and 5 year old watched the whole thing, with barely a blink. They ask to watch it often when we have a place with a dvd player. What amazes me most is not only that they are now very familiar with an important event in history but, the fact that they have such heavy hearts about the incident. I can’t believe the depth in their eyes as they imagine the lives lost and wish they could have saved them or prevented such a tragedy.

We have discussions about going back in time so we can warn them of what lies ahead. They want to instruct the captain to slow down in order to avoid the iceberg. Aston, my 3 year old says this each time we talk about it, “Mommy, if we go back in time to warn them, they may think we are crazy and the Master of Arms will lock us up in the “bad guy” chambers. We may not get off the ship in time if we do that. I really wish we could prevent the Titanic from sinking though. Somehow.” Pierce often wants to re-enact the story in order to understand it all better and tries to come up with ways we can go back and warn them as well.

The day after we visited the museum, we sailed across the Irish Sea to Scotland on a very large ferry. It was interesting to witness that fear was not present in either of them. It was just the opposite actually. They told me and continue to tell me that today things would be different. There would be enough life boats on board to save everyone and communication technology is so much better today so we would get help in time.

Titanic 2

Lastly, I want to share a very special thing that happened to me which relates to the Titanic. It was in 2007 on the evening of the Oscars when the film won more awards than any other had up to that date. I was home, sick with the flu, watching the show. I received a call from a Director friend of mine about half way through the program. He knew how much I loved the movie and the story and he told me to get dressed and to get to Beverly Hills. I jumped up, put on a black dress and pulled it together. I met him and he led me through a path covered in white tents. We entered one of them and he walked me up to a table and said, “Enjoy yourself.” I was standing in the middle of the Titanic Oscar party and I was seated at the Titanic cast table. I was astonished.

It was a wonderful and dreamy evening. I spent a lot of time talking to James Horner about his perfectly and beautifully scored music. I thought he would be tired of receiving such praise because I imagined he heard it all day long from so many. On the contrary, I realize now that a creative person must never tire of compliments when his accomplishment is driven by pure love and passion. It’s just validation to the creator when their art resonates deeply with others.

As I always say, walking through and experiencing history and this world is so fascinating and educational. We are all learning and growing so much each day. I suppose these are the lessons. I don’t shelter my boys. We have a very open, honest and straightforward way of communicating. I believe communication is the most important tool and foundation within any and every relationship. I tell them about the world and they ask a lot of questions. I feel their hearts and souls as they walk through this life each day. They are sensitive, strong and wise little men. I learn so much about life from them. I am so thankful we were given each other.

We sent a lot of love and peace down to the ocean floor while at the museum. They have an interactive space which shows all of the footage from the Titanic in it’s final and current resting place. Oh, the wonder and awe in my children’s eyes as they witnessed this and tried to make sense of it all. Here’s to the Titanic and the 1,502 souls lost.

The wreck of the Titanic remains on the seabed, split in two and gradually disintegrating at a depth of 12,415 feet

The wreck of the Titanic remains on the seabed, split in two and gradually disintegrating at a depth of 12,415 feet

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