For those of us with a nomadic existence, whether global or otherwise, finding “home” can often be challenging. Whether this characteristic comes from experiences that separate us from our clan, whether our clan is itself nomadic or whether we are just free spirits, the concept of home is often quite different. Cliché expressions like “home is where the heart is” translated into many languages, not simply for use in rhyme.
Every year my extended family gather in the place of our forefathers to reconnect. All airs are set aside, we leave business cards, blackberries (in theory), elevator pitches (many entrepreneurs in the bunch), suits and often watches for the time. When surrounded by people who have known you through every milestone from walking to first blemish to first kiss to graduation and first job to marriage, parenthood and life’s unfortunate dramas, there is little room for pretending. There is something freeing about just “being” and not having to be “on”. I have never lived in this place for more than two months at a stretch, but it is the only place that I have consistently returned to throughout life. It is “home” to me.
The extension of this experience has been that no matter where I am in the world, I meet people that are connected to this home. It provides the base we need to feel free to live a nomadic existence. Many of my family work and live around the globe. I believe that is because of this foundation that I have understood the true meaning and value of knowledge sharing through a network. I love having the opportunity to find ways to connect people with the answers they need and the answers to the people that will find them useful. It is as if it was a seed planted in me as a child in this place. Following the tradition of my ancestors who were involved in the China Trade, American Railroads and telephones, connecting cultures and places seems second nature. It is when I am home that I feel this connection the most.
The philosophy of our family was defined by one of our ancestors, Ralph Waldo Emerson:
To laugh often and much;
to win the respect of intelligent people
and the affection of children;
to earn the appreciation of honest critics
and endure the betrayal of false friends;
to appreciate beauty;
to find the best in others;
to leave the world a bit better whether by a healthy child,
a garden patch, or a redeemed social condition;
to know even one life has breathed easier because you lived.
This is to have succeeded.