My plane landed in Sydney, Australia, at 6:30 a.m. last Tuesday, exactly 18 hours in the future from my present and where I spent the next five and a half days.
Half of that time was spent at a new conference called the Recruiters' Hub Conference (RHUB) where I was invited to speak about marketing to HR and talent communities, while the other half spent exploring greater Sydney and the Blue Mountains. From the Three Sisters to Echo Point to Flat Rock to Featherdale Wildlife Park to Watson's Bay to the Opera house to Circular Quay to the Sydney Harbor Bridge to Hyde Park -- the scenes went from picture books to visceral experience for me.
I underestimated how transformative this trip would actually become for me, although I'm not sure we can ever estimate how transformative anything will be until we're transformed. My professional and personal life were about to become further elevated and integrated than ever before, what Jason Seiden calls being Profersonal.
To be immersed with a people not too dissimilar from my own, except of course the accent and Australian and English expressions like "right" and "fair enough" and "crikey".
To be around "brilliant" HR and recruitment professionals, agencies, tech suppliers and thought leaders alike who share the trends and challenges we do -- the growing contingent workforce, the complexity of government regulations, aligning corporate recruiting with recruiting agencies, recruiting technology innovation and efficiencies, and all things social including recruiting, marketing and PR.
To be moved and schooled by others while finding my voice when presenting. To connect and become friends with others who've also become comfortable their own skin, and who each day grow to like it more and more.
My Blue Mountains tour guide Paul was overheard paying homage to the show Lost, hence the quote up top. (He really looked like the character Desmond.) He was just one of many amazing people and connections I made during my brief time travel.
The time travel lifeline remained intact, however. Seeing and talking with the Mama and the B-hive on Skype sustained me with love while away, as well as being able to check on my dad and mom.
The transformative crescendo came all at once my last evening in Sydney as I sat in the greatest of company, surrounded by locals and tourists eating and drinking and enjoying each other's company at the Opera Bar as the lights of the harbor came on at dusk. Fireworks from an event at Hyde Park lit up behind us. Once the colors faded an unknown constellation shimmered in the early evening.
"Look, there's the Southern Cross! You wanted to see it!"
In that moment, I remembered many things all at once: man-handling old ghosts while growing comfortable with my own skin, meeting my wife on the beach, Beatrice's birth and Bryce's birth, my dad surviving radiation treatments and my mom just surviving, and meeting new amazing friends.
I saw the other side, Brother; I saw the future.
And I can't wait to do it all over again.
"When you see the Southern Cross
For the first time,
You understand now
Why you came this way.
'Cause the truth you might be runnin' from
Is so small.
But it's as big as the promise
The promise of a comin' day."
--Crosby, Stills and Nash