Why am I going on a World Tour?
Five years ago I left Denmark and moved to New York City with my wife and seven suitcases. It was my biggest dream that became a reality. And not just a pale reality, struggling to live up to a vivid fantasy. For me, the reality I have found here in New York is much more rich and amazing than any dreams I had before moving here. But how can that be? How can the challenging and often messy reality in a loud and dirty metropolis ever win over a glittery dream? For me the answer is in friendships. In these past five years I have met people who feel like soul mates from another lifetime. I have found and built communities where I feel like I belong, in ways I never knew existed. I have gone from living within a tiny country and occasionally traveling for vacation, to having a perspective on the world*, which is simply anchored in three abbreviations: LGA, JFK and EWR.
“You have found your people” as my friend Dev would say:
I have had amazing experiences in Latin America. In Mexico City I felt instantly at ease, I loved the architecture and found the people incredible. In São Paulo I was taken in and accepted by strangers, who became friends. And in Buenos Aires I have found soul mates like no other place I have ever been. Another aspect of life in New York is that here I meet people who come from everywhere. And people who go everywhere. So I find myself in a place where the people I care about are scattered all over the world.
During these past five years I have also learned and developed entirely new skills. Most significantly I have combined my earlier teaching and facilitation work, with personal reflection and visual thinking. The result is what I call Think Clearly. My own hodgepodge of ideas, methods, habits and practices that I do in my notebooks. It’s how I access my own mind. My creative side and my analytical side. It’s how I process emotions. Conflict. Frustration. With a good pen and a bit of time I can almost always shift my feelings around and turn obstacles into learning opportunity. It’s what keeps me sane. It’s what allows me to be extremely focused and effective. It’s what allows me to be both creative and structured. I can no longer imagine how I would live without this.
But Think Clearly is not just adding value to my own life. Through my newsletter it reaches thousands of people. And over the years I have taught many groups of people the basics of how I do it. Entrepreneurs in Washington, DC. Designers at Pratt. Dreamers and Doers in Lisbon. Just short sessions, often only scratching the surface. Obviously I want to do more. I want to share what I have learned. I want others to not just read my newsletter but to learn how they can do the same. How they can get the benefits I am getting.
Two years ago I ran a two pilot courses here in NYC, with a small group of hand picked people. But before I got around to scaling it up, I fell into the most amazing opportunity with Hyper Island, where I have been doing learning design and facilitation for the past years. This work took me all over the world and it’s been a wild ride. But now it’s time for me to get back to Think Clearly for a bit, so I have switched to freelancing with Hyper Island, which means I still do the courses but I have more free time for my own work. And so now the time has come to take my Think Clearly class to the world.
My plan is simple: I’ve made a list of cities where I have a lot of friends and people I really care about. For each city I will find a local partner who will help me find a space and other practical matters. And then I will run a crowd funding campaign, either Kickstarter or Tilt, to sell tickets. It will likely cost around $350 for the full day session. If the minimum number of seats (8) is met, the class happens. If not, I might try another date. The class will be capped at 20 participants to keep it intimate.
Will this work? I don’t know. There is a skeptical part of me who says it’s not that easy. People won’t buy a 1 day class just because they like my newsletter. People won’t buy a class via Kickstarter. It’s not going to work. And maybe that side of me it right. But in my heart I know, that given the opportunity to live the life I want, to travel around the world and see my beloved friends, and to share perhaps the most valuable skill I have with people I truly care about, I would be a damned fool if I didn’t at least make an attempt.
*I am of course well aware that I don’t see the whole world. That any perspective I have of the world from NYC or even the US at large, is distorted and skewed.