I have been bust with many things over the past few months, not the least with the launch of the Down Under and Beyond podcast. I am very happy with the results of the first 9 episodes. Over these first installments I have felt my way through, just trying to find my groove and set a firm direction. I actually think that it will continue to be a work in progress as find new and better ways to present the content. The content itself is evolving as I find new people and stories that inspire.
I continue to contemplate more focus on learning and applying my cross cultural skills. With every client I come away with a new perspective, however small it may be. I know that I am always the one that is facilitating each session, but I try to communicate to the participants that they also provide me with additional learning as I listen to their stories, their fears and hopes for the new adventures they are undertaking in their new life as an expat.
I am extremely happy to announce that I have begun the official learning curve that will allow me to launch my very first podcast. It is the final step in the preparation, and one that will ensure it is a quality sounding production, even if the mug on the end of the microphone stuffs it up every now and again.
I guess it is also a great time to let the cat out of the bag as to just exactly what the the whole concept will be for the podcast. I am very pleased to share with you that the focus will be on Australian travel, although it will also include features and information on other country destinations in the region. In consideration of taking on this challenge, I was encouraged by others with whom I sought counsel to really explore my motivations. After much deliberation, I discovered that it had the potential to match three of my passions in life:
- The love of travel and all that it can provide. From simply “seeing the sights” right through to the rich experiences that can be derived in experiencing another culture and discovering new ways of living.
- The pride I have in the country of my birth. I simply want to share the great what I love about the people, places and culture that Australia has. It provides vast opportunities to experience a wide array of contrasts through its landscapes, not to mention the wildlife.
- The desire to encourage and inspire people to expand their travel horizons. hardly a day goes by that when I engage in conversation with strangers that they tell me that to visit Australia would be a dream come true. However many of them immediately launch into a myriad of reasons why they can’t see themselves actually doing it, one of which is the sheer distance. Well, yes its far off, but there are plenty of other things in life that we pursue that seem so distant when we head out toward them, we can hardly know what it would feel like to arrive. But wow, when we get there, how great does it feel.
Eventually this site will redirect over to a new domain that will host not only this blog, but also the podcast episodes, show notes and other resources related to the community that I hope to build around a common message. There will be multiple opportunities for you to provide your feedback and even travel experiences of your own. If you feel so inclined, I would even love to interview you on the show to share those experiences and what they have meant to you.
In the meantime, stay tuned for more updates as we get closer to the show launch, which should take place very close to the middle of December.
I have always a pretty positive person. I can say with conviction that it really doesn’t take long for me to see the bright side of things even in the midst of what some people might consider despair. I recognize that this is the result of a mixture of things that might be a little more than I have tome to list here.
I know that one benefit of this mindset is that I am always open to encouraging content. I read a lot of crime and mystery books when I was a kid, and I remember that pretty much in every case the protagonists would find themselves in difficult and seemingly impossible situations. However, through tenacity and clear minded thinking they were always able to overcome such obstacles. I see a definite parallel in the kinds of resources I draw on these days. There is a vast array of content that is chock full of real life stories of bravery and triumph over difficult odds.
In a time where everything can be found online, I fully stand by the title of this post. How can one possibly pass through life without taking time to feed their minds with the any one or more of the encouraging content that is at your fingertips? You can even search for it according to your particular passion. Name any walk of life, and I bet you can find someone that has faced similar obstacles to you and in that you will be inspired to lift yourself up and have the life you were meant to live, or at least consider the possibility.
Another important aspect is to always be aware of the attitude of those around you. I know this has been done to death, but I have not been immune to forgetting how important this is. Even more critical is being astute in selecting those you may consider entering into business partnerships with. I personally had a friend once who was also a business partner. It came to pass that at some stage he needed help in a business that I already knew a lot about, and at the time I was looking for a new project. We kind of fell in together. I should have known very early from his words and actions that it may not have been a good investment of my time or money. My idea was that I saw an opportunity to build on the success that had come along in the line of business. I threw myself into it, trying to develop new ideas and use encouragement and mentoring to hire, develop, and manage staff. He went about his day in a fog of mistrust of those we worked with, even his own wife. Conversations where filled with gossip and derision of pretty much everyone he knew, including friends.
It was a constant battle to try and instill a sense of direction in anyway, shape or form. In an attempt to transition into larger, more sustainable opportunities, I introduced him to others in my network. It wasn’t long before they were one by one refusing to continue doing business with him. This was another sign I should have heeded. In the end, we parted as business partners, but sadly, also as friends. I found it was unsustainable for me to feed his neediness at the expense of shining a light down my own personal path. In the scheme of things I am grateful for this experience. It allowed me to firmly plant a stake in the ground and be firm but fair in considering those I do life with.
Now it may not be for everyone, but I myself have found in my consumption of encouraging content that I want to share the same encouragement with others. I am in the early stages of developing my platform in this regard, and the online world provides a great vehicle for this. A large part of this will be the podcast project I am working on. Based around a travel theme related to Australia and it’s neighbors, I will also be filling it with a good amount of inspiration for the very idea and reason for travel itself. In this I get to engage two of my passions in the one format.
Along the way I will be looking for more and more opportunities to also engage in communities that I know will enhance all my efforts, but more importantly perhaps allow me the chance to reciprocate and be an active participant. Through it all I want anyone reading this to share your thoughts and provide your stories. Never doubt that you have the chance to touch someone in a significant way yourself. We all have different ways of relating to things we see.
Of course, meeting and marrying a native of Poland was always going to bring me to this country. From my very first trip there it has captivated me through it’s architecture, culture, traditions and (at times troubled) history. From my Australian orientated lens, it has at times been mind boggling to wrap my brain around the long timeline of events that have shaped this land and its people. Early on I committed myself to learning to speak the language (OK even if my first motivations were to impress a girl!) I searched and found books on the country. From coffee table picture books through to novels such as “Poland” by James A. Michener. I sat inquisitively in the presence of my wife’s family and friends, eager to learn how they thought and acted in their daily lives. This was no more valuable when it was with her parents. Both old enough to remember the very darkest of days, when much of their time was devoted with simply trying to stay alive. But they always expressed joy and thankfulness for what they had.Many observe the people of Poland from the outside and consider them a little cold and unfriendly. In the world of cross cultural training, this is analogous to the coconut. The somewhat hard exterior, once cracked, exposes a warmth and generosity that is genuine and heartfelt.
So there will be more on this subject in the future, but for now, I can only say that you should if you are fortunate enough to travel, take time to at least add a short visit to some part of Poland and just see what I mean. I can recommend many places, some on the usual tourist trek, others not so mainstream, that will leave you with a lasting impression of this beautiful country.
A few weeks ago, a fellow Australian contacted me with a question; he’s thinking about retiring and fancies moving a bit closer to the rest of the world. How should he choose where to live?
I pondered. Budapest, Paris and Istanbul are the only places I really chose, without any particular push from study, work or life. And those were relatively spontaneous decisions. But sifting through what I’ve learnt from moving around so much, I realised I do have some general thoughts
There are a couple of things I won’t get into. The first is cost of living, it’s important, but it’s also utterly dependent on your fabulous wealth or lack thereof. If you want a comparison, just visit one of the many sites – I like Expatistan – and research the city of your dreams. And I won’t discuss hot vs. cold, ocean vs. mountains and other personal preferences. Pour over…
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