The Best Part

flotgbestpart

This is a new song, dedicated to my wife, from my upcoming album. Without her, this journey never would have happened. This is for being the most incredible person I know.

She wakes everything in me
Things I’ve never seen
A lightness that’s never been
Seeing the cracks in my shell
She has sealed my hollowed self

And so she is
The Sun that burns away the night
And so she is
The moon that illuminates what’s right
And so she is
A lake so calm and still
And so she is
A current so strong she pulls you at will

Like a winter storm she comes
To clear out the debris
Like a summer wind she comes
To bask in a gentle breeze
She’s always been the one who sees
The strength in those of need
I call her the deepest ocean I’ve ever seen
I call her the highest mountain I’ll never reach
I call her the best part of me

Dana.

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Building Blocks

BoysOz

A beautiful and insightful post from Dana…

Recently I had dinner with a friend who visited us in Japan. He has traveled extensively and has been an inspiration on this journey. In the middle of catching up on things, he casually mentioned, “You know your family has lived a hundred lifetimes.”

I thought about that statement a lot over the following days. It made me think about what we’ve done over the last 9 and a half months and what we’ve learned as individuals and as a family. I know my friend meant that we’ve seen more places than most people ever do but as I was thinking about his statement, I realized it was so much more.

To me, a hundred lifetimes is not so much about seeing 5 continents, 30 countries or traveling on countless airlines, trains, boats and automobiles. It is the bonding of who you were before with every memory and experience (good and bad). It is remembering moments on the trip that should be insignificant, but are not. It is about seeing the life changing experiences through the eyes of our children. It is about conquering fears, letting go and building something new. It is about walking a path that you never thought you would. It is about learning more about yourself than in a thousand years at home.

As we go through the last few months of our journey, I think about home and how we will all be very different when we return. This experience is still sinking in and I have a feeling it will continue to do so long after we’ve returned. It will redefine what home truly is and our understanding of what is truly important. For me, it is about taking time with my family and appreciating the small details I used to take for granted. What is the benefit of a hundred lifetimes? To me, the first 99 create the building blocks for how you will live your best life possible.

Best,

Dana

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Learning Through My Children

Boys KohLanta
“Once the indigestion has passed, the real answers will come to you.

There is nothing in the path of life that we don’t already know before we start.

Nothing important is learned; it is simply remembered.”

I was reading a book by one of my favorite writers, Carlos Ruiz Zafon, and this quote resonated with me. It obviously has very broad meaning but I applied it to what my family is experiencing on this journey. It’s now been 8 months since we started out.This trip has been like a good bottle of wine that has gotten better with a bit of age and perhaps a little reflection. What seemed to have no framework (other than a list of countries to explore) at the beginning, has now morphed into a full fledged adventure. It keeps surprising and developing with it’s litany of events that range from sheer frustration to moments of near perfection. All in all, this was to be expected. What was not, is how this journey is making my enlightenment and my children’s go hand in hand.

Children are much wiser than we give them credit for. They have an innate sense of life. This may be why babies and young children are revered so much in many emerging nations. I can remember my own very young childhood, when I had a much clearer understanding of basic values like love, compassion and true happiness than I ever had as an adult. Seeing my children on this adventure all day, every day, has reawakened these feelings in me. It has given me a new understanding and a new appreciation for life.

We have now been to over 15 countries on this trip and I can tell you, people are the same in their core values. Yes, they have different languages, cultures, traditions, religions etc. but they all share the same love for children and family. You can believe this in your heart but experiencing it daily really hammers it home.

When we started out, I wanted to teach my children about different cultures and hoped they would gain something from the trip, maybe just that they liked traveling and would want to continue doing it when they got older. This trip for me, has been a metaphor of life in the above quote. Now that we are 8 months in, I am remembering things long forgotten. My childlike appreciation of life had been destroyed long ago. My children on the other hand have always known this. This time they are the teachers and I am the student.

Now, we are in Asia and we have seen both extreme poverty and wealth. What doesn’t change between the economic classes is their love for children and in most cases, their kindness to strangers. When people see our children, they are overwhelmed with joy. This is universal and does not differentiate by age or sex. It is a pleasure to witness and it makes me remember these simple emotions from long ago.

So far this journey has taught me many things but nothing more precious than the value of childhood joy. Moving forward, the trick will be to hold on to these memories and never forget again.

Best,

Dana
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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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