On our kitchen counter - in an alcove beside the window with a plant on top - sits an old, single-speaker radio with the dial tuned to WNYC. That same radio has sat tuned to Public Radio on all our kitchen counters since we shared our first basement apartment in Washington, DC seventeen years ago. I suppose you might call us NPR junkies.
Last month Saskia and I went to a WNYC event where we met Tanzina Vega, Laura Walker, Brooke Gladstone and others whose voices we have come to know well. The station’s tagline is The story behind the headlines; at this event we heard directly from the journalists what that phrase meant to them. They each said that digging deeper and bringing the uncovered to light was an essential task.
That night’s experience stayed with us for days after. The notion of uncovering the hidden story resonated with us on both a personal and professional level. Saskia sometimes jokingly refers to herself as a “bead ambassador” and considers her knack for discovering the hidden beauty in a pile of beads essential to her art. In the same way, our life has led us to follow the path less trodden and find the joy in discovering something new.
Twelve years ago we sold everything we owned and left for Asia with shaved heads, hiking backpacks and round the world tickets with no fixed dates. Our plan was to pass through Korea, head down the Chinese coast, and wind our way through Southeast Asia over six months. Instead, we turned West and began an overland journey through Tibet, Nepal and India in what would become a year on the road.
We didn’t see it at the time, but looking back we realize how our life’s path took a decisive turn over those months. Rather than proceed as we had planned, we began to pay attention in a different way. We made it a point to talk with anyone and everyone we met - especially those who seemed the most different from us. At one point, I befriended a British businessman who took us to his meetings with the Chinese government. Saskia apprenticed with a Tibetan market vendor, who sparked her love of turquoise. We prayed with nuns, played drinking games with Vietnamese restaurateurs and spent a week with a milkman in New Zealand. We saw our assumptions challenged, made a myriad new connections and revelled again and again in the joy of discovery. Most importantly, it was on that trip that Saskia first saw herself as an artist.
Somehow, that night with pubic radio reminded us of the values we hold dear: honest human connection, the joy of discovery and an appreciation of the hidden beauty that lies just beyond the facade of daily interactions.
Moving forward in life and business, we want to become more intentional in keeping our core values present. Walking through life, it’s too easy to forget your “why” and just keep plodding ahead on the same set path. From time to time you need to stop, look around and ask, “Where am I going?”
As our journey continues, we will keep returning to this theme and we hope you’ll stick around. You can subscribe to our blog by adding our feed to your favorite RSS reader of choice (I like Feedly); following our events on Facebook and Instagram; or just comment and tell us your own stories of connection, discovery and beauty. We believe that the best stories are the ones we share, and we look forward to sharing more with each of you.