Some of you may know that I recently took a break to travel to Europe. Since my Dad passed away last year I’ve had a really difficult time working my way through my grief. One of the goals I set after he died was to travel more. And I realized that it’s been about 10 years or more since I really took a proper rest. Needless to say I was SO excited when my work presented an opportunity for me to travel to France and deliver a keynote session for Capgemini.
Of course I had to say yes! And I had to make the most of the opportunity. So I blocked off my calendar for an entire month (yes, really!), left my laptop at home (GASP!) and set off.
First stop: Iceland.
Iceland is the home of my ancestors. It’s where half of my family (mother’s side) originated, how I got the name Signý, and I have many family members still living there today. While my Icelandic is rusty (this is an extreme understatement, and I make it with my tongue planted firmly in my cheek – last time I spoke it fluently I was 5), it was such a comfort being back in the bosom of my family.
Here are some of my highlights and biggest lessons learned while in Iceland:
- It’s important for me to spend time with family and reconnect again with my ancestry. There’s a feeling of belonging there that opens my heart and reminds me of who I am.
- It was such a joy to spend time with my “sister-cousins”. The experience of doing the regular daily things with people I’ve known my whole life is a soothing balm to someone who has not only recently lost their father, but who lives and works alone. Isolation is too easy a trap to fall into as a global working entrepreneur. I know I have to put effort into being a part of a community (and it seem everyone I talk to feels the same). The effort is richly rewarded.
- There are mountains to climb everywhere we go. It’s about choosing to climb them and choosing the right company to keep along the road. In Vancouver it’s the Grouse Grind, in Reykjavik it’s Mount Esja. In Edinburgh it’s Arthur’s Seat – we’ll get to that in a later blog post.
- I’ve never watched soccer in my life. I’ve never cared about European football. But just like I do with Canadian Hockey (don’t pay attention all year and only care about the Olympics), I came to care very deeply about Icelandic football, as I, after my European tour, came home and got to watch regular old Icelanders turn into heroes right before my very eyes. I remember what it is to be a Viking, with a goal in sight, and the heart to pursue it.
Over the next month or so, I’ll be posting more highlights from the rest of my Europe trip, and of course sharing the biggest lessons I learned. Stay tuned. Up next: France!
Ok, over to you:
What is a life lesson you’ve learned while traveling abroad? Please share your comments below!