United State of Mind

I’m well and truly back from the USA. The jet lag has passed, the laundry is done and I’m rapidly back to speaking English English not American English (pants, chips, taxis – you get the picture). And a few things remain powerfully uppermost in my mind about the trip.

The Flag

Stars and Stripes

The Stars and Stripes is everywhere. To me it represents a powerful symbol for integrating the difference without losing it. I like seeing the national flag about the place, and I hope the UK continues it’s renewed interest in flags beyond the Jubilee celebrations and particularly the Olympics and Paralympics. I’m stuck on the whole republic/monarchy thing. I’m not a fan of the royal family per se, and nor do I want President Blair/Brown/Cameron/Clegg or whoever for that matter. But the flag can and should be about the people, and I think it was great to see it flying everywhere here through our sporting summer. Long may that continue – fly your flag.

The Welcome

Being on the road is great fun, and at the same time being away from your family sucks. Being made to feel so very welcome by so many people (and the pic above could have been soooooo much bigger), was fantastic. It felt so natural and it meant so much.

The Enthusiasm

People warned me about this. Those Americans – they’re so bloody enthusiastic! Actually it was said in a good way but I was left flying over to the US wondering how this enthusiasm thing would play out. What I experienced was probably closer to willingness, being more open to possibilities. As with everything you find a balance that hopefully suits you and I am an optimist by nature, but I’ve come back from America thinking even more determinedly about the yes than the no.

Video Diary

Because we like to take thing in in different ways I’m closing this post with a visual summary of my experience. I hope you’ll take a look, it clocks in at around 30 seconds so it’s not your usual post trip slideshow bonanza. And it has a rocking soundtrack.

Hot off the Press

I’m very excited to find out that in April 2013 I’m off to Louisiana to take part in their annual state HR conference. More on this soon.

Buenos Dias – A Social Holiday

We read a lot of stuff about how important it is to switch off when you go on holiday. Well this year I decided balls to that, and though my location in Southern Spain only offered 3G iPhone access which curtailed my blogging activity, I stayed online. And I had a blast – and judging by the feedback and interaction from friends on facebook, instagram and twitter – there was some useful fun being had.

I confess I did answer two or three emails – brief responses were being respectfully requested from a company who have this week become a new client. I can live with that. And the vast majority of our time away was spent sight seeing, splashing, sunning and swigging. It was very much a dip in dip out approach to the online world.

Now I’m back home I am posting the results of my 2012 holiday postcards here over the next few days and I’d also like to share a couple of fun tools I’ve been introduced to as well.

A few weeks back Laurie Ruettimann shared Flipagram with us. It’s a simple slideshow app which packages up your instagram holiday, or indeed any other kind of pics nicely. Here’s my first attempt at playing with it with some holiday pics, and I can see how you could use this tool for sharing stuff at conferences, from work projects etc.

Something else I found which I like the look of is Printstagram. This little beauty creates prints and sticker books and other cool stuff from your instagram photos. A pack of 250 stickers costs ten bucks plus twelve bucks shipping from US to UK. I’ve ordered a sticker book based on our Spanish adventures, can’t wait to see the results – I’m already thinking of lots of possible ways to develop this idea for promotions, thank yous and other stuff besides.

So can you go on holiday, remain digitally connected and have a proper break? Well for sure we had a great time and came back feeling refreshed, and we had a lot of fun with the online world in a way that perhaps you only can when you’re on holiday. Thanks to everyone who *liked* our beer of the day and other offerings :), see you for more in 2013.