A Digital Nomad Defines Home

I had an interesting revelation during my last trip.  I discovered the term home has lost its traditional definition for me.

Please don’t misunderstand me – Yes I grew up outside of Boston and that will always be where I come from and since it is where I grew up and the bulk of my family still lives, I absolutely still consider it home (don’t take this the wrong way Dad).

Boston Garden

What I have discovered is that the more I travel the more I consider the globe to be my home.  It is not the house I was raised in, it is not the town I grew up in; home is no longer a place but a feeling.

Home is Familiar

No matter where I am, there are always a few familiar things like chain stores and restaurants across the globe.  Because I often repeat travel locations, I find there are familiar faces to each location and now, because I am connected with the digital nomad community, I am likely to find a familiar face in an unfamiliar location. This provides a sense of belonging and in a way a feeling of home.

Although primary languages may be different depending on where I am, it seems that in a global society multiple languages and dialects are more common in any location than to hear only one language.  I can be in Boston, San Francisco or Rome and I hear multiple languages, so hearing different languages just feels normal to me now; the unfamiliar has become familiar.

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3 Carry-On’s And A Dog

It’s no secret my life needs currently fit into three carry-on suitcases. I’m not trying to promote simplicity or minimalism, it is a lifestyle of convenience for me at this time.  I simply don’t want to lug a whole bunch of stuff around the world with me and there are few tangible items that have great importance to me.  It is the memories and experiences that I treasure and these take up much less space in my luggage!

Home As A Reflection

Most people have a more permanent home than I and in the course of their lives they create one that reflects their values and things they hold precious.  Designing and decorating to create a space that provides comfort, respite and safety for all that is important in their lives.  They collect items to remind them of travels and happy occasions, mementos of events and their history.

I guess I’m different in this way (surprise!). Although I love when my screen saver on my computer scrolls through my photo collection and fond memories pass by, the pictures on my wall are mostly the art of any given landlord I have.  I don’t keep my memories on my wall, I have them in my mind and they are as portable as I am.

So as much as I no longer have a home in the traditional sense, I have a home that is as vast as the globe. I am able to move about the world in a way that is both exciting, like seeing people and places you remember and miss, and comforting, like being in an old familiar space.

Almost all of us have had several locations which we have called home over the course of time, be it a family home that moves, a college dorm or your first apartment.  I encourage you to take a few minutes to think about what made these home for you. I wonder if I am not alone in feeling like home has less to do with the place than the feeling created within?

Once you have your definition, I encourage you to think about how you might carry that with you throughout your journey.

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10 Life Lessons Learned on the Rink

True happiness

I’m a hockey mom. I loved watching my son play the game because of the sheer joy I saw on his face even through the cage on his mask and the mouth guard in his smile. I also loved the lessons he, and I, learned throughout his 14 years on the ice.

1. With practice and desire one can become really good!
My son started playing hockey at age 4. I remember him struggling to cross the ice without falling down pushing a milk crate to keep him steady. He worked on just standing up without falling over for a really long time and was he was determined! Later, in his teens, I went ice skating with him on Boston’s Frog Pond and he was holding me up while skating backwards to help me across the ice. He is pretty amazing on skates and I was looking everywhere for a milk crate!

2. Don’t let physical limitations fool you into thinking you can’t do something.
My son had pretty severe asthma as a child and spent many days in the hospital trying to overcome attacks on his little body. Most people would have let this type of condition prevent activity, but with medical consent and guidance he went on to play ice hockey. I wasn’t going to let his limitation prevent him from living the life he wanted, we adjusted accordingly and kept on top and in front of his condition. We can let our limitations restrict us or make us more resourceful.

3. When you get checked (even from behind) get up and get moving, the game is still going on!
Some people from these hockey days might remember hearing this woman in the stands yelling, “Get up! This is not ice dancing!” Yah, that was me, he was a defenseman. It’s nearly impossible to defend the net from your butt! This lesson was really important to me when my mother died. I couldn’t help the team (my family) if I was on my butt, I had to get up, life was still going. I had an important job to do so I geared up and got back in the game.

This isn't ice dancing

This isn’t ice dancing

4. Sometimes there will be an unfair play.
OK, life is not fair – move on. I could have tried to teach my son this lesson by telling him that things in life may happen that are not “fair” but I didn’t have to, hockey did it for me. When a bad play is made during a game people get upset, but the game moves on. You can’t sit around complaining (unless it’s soccer ☺) you’ll get a delay of game penalty! Sticks down – the ice is melting!

5. Prepare for the game you are in.
There are times you will have formidable opponents and times you will have easy ones either way the game is the same. If you prepare for the opponent and not the game there is a chance you have miscalculated. If you always prepare for the game you should be ready no matter which opponent shows up to play.

6. Wear good protection!
Yes, hockey can be a dangerous sport, but have you seen the pads that go on before a game? Whatever the game you’re in, prepare. You may get bumped and bruised but with good padding you’re a bit protected. In life he has taken off the pads, but certainly has a thick skin because after all, this isn’t ice dancing!

7. Authority figures sometimes make a bad call.
Yes there are bad calls made, by coaches or by referees. Sometimes that makes or breaks the game (sorry Seahawks) but you can only be responsible for how you play. No matter what the referee sees, calls or doesn’t call, you are responsible for playing the game with integrity and heart. Stay focused on what you control and how you play.

8. One person does not lose the game.
One game my son got off the ice and he was mad at the coaches for keeping a bad goalie in the net. I quickly reminded him this was a team sport and that if everyone had done their job properly no one would have been able to get past five players to get a shot off. Most losses in life are also the responsibility of multiple parties, it is often not the result or effort of only one party.

9. Sometimes you will lose and you will survive and be better for it.
I remember a particularly hard loss my son had. It was a playoff game and he played his little heart out! I know that day he left EVERYTHING on the ice and I was so proud of his efforts. It was a great game but they lost. My son came out of the locker room in a bit of a hurry and when we got to the car he just sobbed. That was my son’s first heartbreak and he learned that sometimes you can put all your efforts out there and things just won’t go your way. By the afternoon he was able to talk about the game and remember a few good plays and a few really awful plays. He became a better player and probably person from that loss.

10. When you have felt the disappointment of losing, you become a better winner.
I have such a problem with society trying to protect our children from losing! When my son was very young his team was getting just slaughtered on the ice. By the close of the first period the score was something like 8-0. So as they came out on the ice for the second period and the goals continued to pile up, the score never changed. When talking to my son after about such a tough loss he said the coaches told the players the scoreboard got stuck. I let him know that it had not gotten stuck they stopped it and that his team got schmucked 22-0 (or something like that). I reminded him that the other team just played better this time and they deserved every goal. I also pointed out how the other team handled their win – they did not gloat at such a huge score and that was what good sportsmanship was about. He never forgot that game and remains a bit humble when he wins in anything knowing what it feels like on the other end. In life clearly there are wins and losses but it’s how you handle each that determines your character.

I required both of my children to play sports growing up for the experiences they would gain and the lessons they would learn. I believe there is so much about life to be learned in a sports setting that is grasped best when it plays out on the field, court, rink, etc.

I think for all that my children learned in their sports, I also gained valuable insight. The life lessons are there for all of us, the players and the parent.

Play on!
-E

Play On!

Play On!

Superheroes Among Us

On April 15, 2013, at approximately 2:50 pm two bombs were detonated at the finishing area of the Boston Marathon. People who were present described what they witnessed as if it were a scene out of a movie. Hundreds of people were maimed and lay in the streets calling out for help. Superman did not arrive, nor did Batman, or Robin or Wonderwoman…the bystanders rushed in to help the victims.

It is said that among the smoke and confusion no one looked to the sky for a superhero, they didn’t have to; ordinary citizens became superheroes that day. As the days have passed, we have watched closely and lovingly as the survivors mourn the loss of their family members, and those who were hospitalized begin to heal and leave the hospitals. We watch those who have lost limbs, or suffered grave injuries learn to walk all over again or develop methods to live their lives differently now. These people are revealing they are superheroes.

I have the absolute pleasure of living in Boston. Since that tragic Monday afternoon I have witnessed innumerable tributes to those injured, and activities to promote healing for all. It is clear to me that all who were affected by the cowardly act of senseless violence were not present on Boylston Street. The outpouring of support from all over the world speaks to the fact that all who were wounded that day did not bleed. People everywhere were deeply affected by this event and many wish to help the healing.

Not too long ago, I heard about three more superheroes from the UK; Kate Treleaven, Danny Bent and Jamie Hay. These three individuals from the UK have organized an event called One Run For Boston (onerunforboston.org). This is an epic relay with more than 1,000 ordinary citizens across the US running approximately 3,000 miles in 300+ segments. This is the largest superhero gathering I’ve ever had the honor to witness! Each day since June 7, 2013, at any moment of any day until June 30, 2013, there will be someone, or group of people, running their heart out to support the victims of the Boston Marathon tragedy.

I get misty-eyed with each post I read knowing full well how much these people are giving to right the wrong that was done that day; to overcome evil with such overwhelming love. My heart is filled with joy and hope by the superheroes I’ve come to know on this journey. It is amazing to find that there are so many of these individuals who simply are walking among us.

I know Superman is a fictional character, but I know that those who wish evil on ordinary citizens in Gotham City and beyond are unfortunately real. May we never need to call upon them, but have the comfort of knowing we are part of an amazing community filled with ordinary people who, when needed, have the capability to be superheroes.

Peace
reveal your superhero

A Bright Day

I sit here in my home office on a bright sunny day. There are news crews outside my window where days before police officers lined the streets with comrades in arms from SWAT, US Marshall, State Police, ATF and FBI (and probably others, I lost track). The suspected bombers of the Boston Marathon had a shoot out with officers a couple of nights ago, and subsequently the final bombing suspect was captured in my neighbor’s boat the following day.

Suffice it to say, it has been one heck of a week when a wonderful traditional day of triumph and accomplishment in Boston turned to devastation, sadness and fear. A show of solidarity and community has been received from across the world to our little city with intention to overcome evil and fear that was inflicted on us, and felt across the US. There has been a tremendous outpouring of love and support to all the victims, many of whom are runners, were left without legs – the most devastating injury a runner could have received. There is a steadfast commitment to those affected by this tragedy that they will not be alone as they struggle to regain their “footing.”

Upon the capture of the suspect, our “shelter in place” order, was lifted and we were allowed out of our house. My daughter and I immediately went outside to thank all of the officers as they left their positions. It was heartwarming the number of people for whom this is just their job, to put their lives on the line for those they do not know. As we thanked the various officers, they thanked us back, for I guess just staying out of their way so they could do their job – trust me, there was no way I was going to interfere! The officers smiled and told us, “You can have your neighborhood back now. Sleep well tonight”.

I sit here on this beautiful day, which is very reminiscent of Monday, April 15, trying to make sense of this all and find some direction to heal the devastation I feel and embrace the healing being sent to all of us in Boston. I watch as neighbors bring coffee and breakfast to the officers standing guard as the crime scene, which is my neighborhood, is still being processed. I watch all the videos I can of the tributes being held across the state honoring the victims of this tragedy, the first responders and the officials that kept this disaster from becoming worse. I am so encouraged by the London Marathon being raced today.

I am just sad, and waiting for the sadness to pass so I may rejoice in all the good that has come from this terrible course of events. This is truly a week I will never forget, try as I might. I hope when the news crews leave, and the attention to my neighborhood dulls I will be left with a great sense of what truly happened this week. A community was touched by a terrible event and a world came out to say we are One Boston, we are Boston Strong and no one will stand in our way of living our lives as we wish and deserve. Terror will come and go, but love will result.

I have never been more proud to be from Boston as I have been this week. We may win sports competitions, but that each one of us has responded to this tragedy with love is what truly makes us a city of champions. We have a long road before us, longer than 26.2, but I know we will never forget these people healing and will continue to be by their side every step of the way. Pray for our healing, there is much before us. Time for me to go for a run.

Peace