Greetings from Zürich, Switzerland. I’m writing this from a Starbucks by the lake because it’s the only place with free fast wifi. It’s warm, the sun is shining, people are sprawled out on the grass near the water having picnics, drinking wine, listening to music, and seemingly just soaking up the day.
I think I‘ve developed a bit of a crush on this city. It’s so clean and orderly here. Everyone is friendly and helpful. The old is beautifully juxtaposed to the new. In many ways I know exactly where I am, but at the same time, I feel lost.
Over the last several days I met some amazing people at The Zurich Workshop. I listened and I learned. I even presented on blogging, marketing, and influence. But for me, it was a very humbling experience. Listening to the other presentations felt a little bit like I was trying on different lives. I could sit there and imagine myself in the speaker’s shoes for about thirty minutes and just dream how different and removed their personal journeys and careers seemed from mine. Hearing their stories filled me with new ideas and aspirations.
The phrase, “You never know what you don’t know.” is perfectly relevant here. Your universe is only as big as your awareness and your reality will ever only be as wild as your imagination. My big takeaway from this trip and the conference has been this idea of epistemological humility. It’s so easy to get hung up and to settle on what we already know. It takes courage and energy to push beyond and explore the unknown. Learning is not a digestion process, it’s an awakening.
Of course, it sounds super cliché to write how traveling to foreign places opens up your mind; obviously. But I don’t mean it in a touristy way, because I feel more like an ancient explorer. I came here without an agenda or list of experiences to check off. Mentally I’m not taking sun on a cruise ship, I’m on a galleon and I’ve just seen new land over foreign horizons.
As the sun sets and people begin filling the seats at the quaint clothed tables in the pristine piazzas, I find that for the first time in a long time, my heart is filled with a calming sense of hope. This cafe, that lake, these people, this city, it’s all filled with an infectious energy. I needed to be reminded that places like this are real, that there are all sorts of lives out there, and that it’s not only important, but our obligation to keep moving; because that’s life, life is always in motion, and we’re nothing but explorers standing on the deck of a ship, staring off into the horizon.