Holiday letter 2016!

Konnichi-wa (Japanese) ~ Jambo (Kiswahili) ~ An yeong haseyo (Korean) ~ Bon bini (Papiamento!) ~ Hola (Spanish, from Spain to Cuba to Ecuador) ~ Tere (Estonia) ~ Ciao (Italian) ~ Grüß gott (Austrian German) ~ هتاف للترحيب (Arabic) ~ Halló (Icelandic) ~ Hej (Danish) ~ Hei (Finnish) ~ Hallo (Norwegian, Dutch, Flemish) ~ Bonjour (Quebec) ~ Hello (US, Canada, UK, Singapore) once again!

Ever since we’ve been together — 9½ years  — each year has seemed epic and extraordinary in its own way. Like we couldn’t possibly outdo the last one. Yet, somehow, each circumnavigation of the globe goes deeper, stretches us further, and expands our horizons. 2016 was no exception. We’ll be quite pleased if 2017 is even a fraction as exciting.

(For those of you reading our annual holiday update for the first time, some standard caveats: no pressure to read this missive. We create it out of joy, love, and to keep family and friends updated. It comes from April’s mother’s tradition, which April inherited some 20+ years ago. Over the decades, it has also been an enormous source of connection with others. Think of it as part journal, part travelogue, and part love letter for Dear Ones… and the world.)

Okay, ready for this year? Here we go!

TL;DR version: We’ve continued to fall head over heels for Portland and have wholeheartedly, unabashedly shifted our center of gravity there. April worked in 21 countries on five continents — all wonderful, though probably a few too many miles logged (see map). Jerry continues with all things Relationship Economy and has a new, awesome role in Stumptown (one of Portland’s many nicknames) as well. We took our first family globetrotting trip to Ecuador, with nieces Ella and Amelia, Allison and Stefan (April’s sister and brother-in-law). Plus we had unique opportunities to explore Cuba (in the spring) and Japan (in the fall) together. We are grateful beyond words for what life has thrown our way — notwithstanding global tumult and occasional thorns in our sides — and are doing all we can to keep our health, perspective, adventure-seeking souls and love of new ideas and a brighter future intact.

A recap of April’s travels this year. This is what 200K miles looks like. Oy.
Full version: 2016 got off to a relatively slow start. We battled winter colds and the like, though Portland’s rain never seemed as bad as people say. (We find that non-Portlanders worry, and locals don’t notice.) April went to New York to deliver a keynote on new business models and the energy sector — such a fun new audience — and then did a quick turn-around to Singapore, where she advised the Prime Minister’s Office, Centre for Strategic Futures (a futurist think tank in government!) and a dozen-ish other agencies on all things sharing economy. It was a whirlwind week, including some 15 presentations. She barely slept but loved it. “Singapore Inc.” definitely earns its reputation for efficiency and hard work!

 As April was flying one way across the Pacific, Jerry was heading the other way, back to Sydney to continue his work with Suncorp. There he and his client team wallpapered more meeting rooms with Post-Its and diagrams, planning ways to implement the ideas they generated in previous visits. By this time, everyone was familiar with both “jazz hands” to indicate agreement in meetings (see caricature of that below) and the Nerdfighteria gang signs, which are basically double “live long and prosper” hands. This gang won’t mug anyone, but just might change the world.

Jerry, Ivan, Gina, Brett, Will

Back in the States, April went to Palm Springs (for a keynote to city leaders) and Toronto (for a design-led policy innovation workshop), and then settled in for her longest stretch “at home” all year: four weeks! Portland coziness, endless coffee on drizzly afternoons, and lots of time doing yoga (plus working, of course, from the comfort of home). We took a delightful long weekend getaway to Astoria and the northern Oregon coast, with its spectacular and calming scenery, and decided (again) that we’ve landed in the most precious place on earth.

Click the image to see the full panorama

Heading into spring, Jerry flew to Colombia for the first time, to give a keynote speech at the Global Entrepreneurship Congress in Medellín, which you may remember had been the world’s murder capital a decade earlier. Once they’d dealt with the narcos, the city’s rebuilders were brilliant, including the poorest barrios in their development plans, creating a city its citizens can be proud of again. Jerry also discovered that Uber was already in Colombia’s dozen largest cities, with stress and strikes happening everywhere. Not the transport introduction one would hope for, but not unusual for Uber.

Meanwhile, April hopped down to San Francisco to prepare our home there for long-term rental. (While we are shifting our center of gravity to Portland, we’re not completely untethering ourselves from the Bay Area. Consider it an expansion of our root system.) We are thrilled to have a lovely German couple as tenants — he works at Facebook, she’s a writer, and they just had a baby girl! Home affairs in order, April then went to Charlotte, North Carolina to connect with university students and community leaders about the sharing economy and economic development. Charlotte isn’t a city she’d explored before, and she loved being there in dogwood season.

That basically gets us through Q1. It was pretty mellow, all things considered. (In retrospect, we really like mellow.) Thankfully it also gave us energy reserves that we would need in the coming months…

Cuba

At the beginning of April, we headed out on one of our year’s highlights: Cuba. We had long wanted to visit. When Jerry saw an email that a conference he’d spoken at twice before,  Applied Brilliance, was going to be held in Havana next, he wrote the organizer, who kindly invited us both to speak at the event. AB’s tagline is “transforming ideas into events that serve people” (sign us up!) and 2016’s theme was Resilience + Revival. Though we had to go through the traditional bureaucratic route to get our visas, etc., we were lucky to arrive just two weeks after Obama’s historic visit —  and catch up with some of April’s college friends in Tampa en route.

Arrival in Havana was cinematic: it was, truly, as though we’d landed in a movie set from the 1950s. Vintage convertible Chevys, quiet streets (the Embargo means Cuba doesn’t have many cars, so traffic jams are nonexistent), sun-kissed breezes and people chatting in doorsteps. All of our accommodation was in homestays, as hotels are sparse and homesharing is a nationally sanctioned activity. We spent our first five days with Paco y Reina, grandparents with a flat overlooking the entrance to Havana Harbor and a view of the entire Malecón, Havana’s famous waterfront esplanade. They shared stories of life there as generations of family, friends and guests descended every morning for breakfast.

View from our first Havana homestay
At Fusterville

Applied Brilliance gave us a unique opportunity to see inside Cuba as well. It was structured as a gathering to share experiences and insights about entrepreneurship and art with local Cubans. While it’s still difficult to access certain parts of Cuba — the government, for example — we got a taste of the country going far beyond any tourist guide. We learned about being a Millennial in Cuba from the 20-something founder of Cuba’s first citizen journalism platform, attended an art exhibit in Havana’s Chinatown, strolled endlessly lazy streets, and visited Fusterville, a village-sized artistic homage in the style of Barcelona’s Antoni Gaudí. It was hard to believe that technically this was a business trip.

Havana twilight view from our second homestay
Viñales karst hills

Once Applied Brilliance wrapped up, we took an additional several days to explore the western flank of Cuba. We took a half-day bus to Viñales, in the heart of Cuba’s agricultural heartland and a massive UNESCO Heritage Site. Imagine tobacco fields in the middle of a karst valley, peppered with horses and small terra-cotta-topped homes. We enjoyed a fabulous day hike through this landscape, learned how to roll Cuban cigars, and worried about how an impending tourism wave may crush the region. We also had what ranks as probably the worst meal we’ve ever had traveling together; it became a running joke. (You can see a collection of photos and videos from the trip here; April wrote up some of her reflections on Cuba and the sharing economy here.)

Us in Viñales

We really didn’t want to leave Cuba, though we were excited about what awaited us at home. For April it meant a return trip to Singapore with the Jobbatical team, followed by a back-to-back trip to Vienna, Austria to connect with YGL friends over innovation, a Viennese Philharmonic concert and hike in the Lainzer Tiergarten. For Jerry, it meant the annual Ten Year Forecast with the Institute for the Future, this time held in Oakland, in a Masonic temple. As usual, this meant much work and merriment with his IFTF “frolleagues,” and then plenty of time facilitating the event.

We regrouped briefly at home in early May, marveled at Portland springtime, and enjoyed it while we could. (It’s incredibly comforting to find a place that allows you to truly feel like your best self. Note: spend more time there!) April then departed on her first (of five) multi-country work trips of the year. Beginning with a week in Amsterdam for global Sharing City convenings and a trip down memory lane, followed by a long weekend in Toronto for the B&R 50th hiking-and-biking family reunion gala, a few days in Madrid for a keynote and city explorations, London for meetings, and finally Reykjavik for sharing economy pathfinding work. Iceland did not disappoint at midsummer: the sky never got dark, the people are among the most inspiring and multi-talented anywhere, and the hospitality was warm and welcoming. The country is grappling with some very serious tradeoffs between tourism growth and economic recovery, but if anyone is up for the challenges, the Vikings are.

While April was globetrotting, Jerry was creating media, experimenting with screencasts (screen recordings with his voiceover) about the Relationship Economy themes he’s developed for years. For example, you can watch a short series of videos embedded in a Prezi (imagine a zoomable white board) here, on the topic of how we “consumerized” our world and what that means (turn the volume up, go full screen and let the videos play; then hit the right-arrow key on your keyboard to advance to the next section).

Ecuador

We were also looking forward to our second travel highlight of the year: a family trip to Ecuador with Ella, Amelia, Allison and Stefan. For several months prior, we had been co-planning it via calls, emails and collective brainstorming. Ella and Amelia are now old enough to be interested in things like finding the best flight deals and off-the-beaten-track adventures. Ecuador did not disappoint!

We began in Quito, where we got our high-altitude legs, walked around the old town and ate our first humitas y pochoclo. From there, a gorgeous drive down the “String of Pearls” (endearing name for a chain of volcanoes, of which Ecuador has dozens) through patchwork-quilt mountain scenery to the village of Chugchilán and the Black Sheep Inn. April had stayed at this eco-lodge years ago, when only a dirt road ran through town, and had fallen in love with the region. We spent several days hiking through nearby hills, cloud forests, canyons and páramos (windswept steppes). We hiked along the Quilotoa Crater and nearly got blown off its lip. In the evenings we feasted on local vegetarian cuisine and played music by the fire. Other than the occasional dog chasing us on the trail, highly recommended!

On the rim of the Quilotoa volcano

From the highlands we continued down the spine of the country, overnighting in the sleepy town of Riobamba (which turned out to be a favorite, not least thanks to having this entire boutique hotel to ourselves — with an equally charming host) and pushing onwards to Cuenca, Ecuador’s arts and culture capital. We gulped churches and cobblestone streets, and enjoyed a fun Airbnb home complete with pool table and jacuzzi. We also stumbled upon the otherworldly Museo de Arte Prohibido (Museum of Prohibited Art) which was featuring a tattoo conference. Not your everyday exhibitions…

From the south we headed west, through the gorgeous Cajas National Park and descended 10,000 feet — in one morning, in a van, going downhill forever — to Guayaquil, Ecuador’s second largest city and port. Until recently, Guayaquil was a place to be avoided: crime-infested and downright scary. It’s still not a tourist magnet, but it provided an interesting contrast (and excellent seafood) for one night. Our last push was north along the coast, to the tiny village of Olón, where we lay on the beach and ate copious amounts of ceviche straight from the sea. We also visited Isla de la Plata — aka “poor man’s Galapagos” — where we saw blue footed boobies, watched wonderful humpback whales up close and personal, and snorkeled amongst schools of tropical fish.

From Olón we hightailed it back to Guayaquil, flew back to Quito, hopped in a bus to the northern market town of Otavalo for its famed market, and called it a trip. Not without adventure until the last minute, though: an earthquake at 9pm the night before we flew home, and April being yanked from her flight and put through police paces as if she were a drug smuggler. Thankfully we were safe and everything checked out, but after that, boy was it time to go home. :o

We’re halfway through 2016 now. Hurray!

After returning from South America, to be honest, we kind of just wanted to hide for a while and do nothing. Thankfully this was the second (and last) multi-week respite we had in Portland. Several weeks of Stumptown summertime, sunshine, roses and beer. We took a getaway to Bend, eastern Oregon’s outdoors mecca, which was beautiful and fun (where else can you surf in the local river?) but way too hot.

It may seem like we travel too much to actually work, but nothing could be further from reality. Truth be told, we work a ton, definitely more than we ought to. The downside of working for oneself is that there’s no boss to tell you that your calendar is crazy. But truth also be told that we both truly love what we do and are immensely grateful for the flexibility that our professional independence provides. So we’re going to put those benefits to use every chance we get.

For the past couple of years, we’ve collaborated opportunistically: we are both advisors to Trov, we’ve delivered co-keynotes, co-led workshops and co-written op-eds. But there was nowhere to easily find “us.” In July, we changed that: welcome to our duo professional website! (We still have our individual portfolios and websites, of course — Jerry here and April here.) Though we haven’t yet marketed ourselves much, mainly because we’re busy, but it feels great to hang out this shingle. Let’s see where it leads. :)

Heading into late summer, Jerry attended a small but very interesting conference on alternative education called AERO that took place in Portland, then he went to work moving his Mom from the Bay Area up to the Portland area. Jerry’s experience from too many lifetime moves served him well, as boxes got packed, stacked and reopened and everything shifted north.

Unfortunately, Jerry’s Suncorp project got derailed, slowly. A CEO change and major corporate reorganization took months to settle and reshaped the group Jerry had been helping. Then a tough claims year put Suncorp in austerity mode, closing outside collaborations like Jerry’s. This was sad all around, because things there were just getting interesting. In the meantime, Jerry had been meeting locals in Portland in search of a similar collaborative vibe closer to home. This quest paid off, as you’ll see shortly.

In August April continued to advise on a documentary film project on the Future of Work (to be released in 2017), took quick trips to Boston and San Francisco for the film, and made her maiden voyage to Aruba to advise the tourism authority on new business models, the sharing economy and future of travel. She loved getting a taste of the island, learning a few words of Papiamento, the incredibly warm welcome — and she’s pretty sure she was the only foreigner not on vacation there.

We greeted the arrival of fall with a combination of joy (cooler temperatures) and seriousness (girding ourselves for an intense few months ahead). Jerry attended a geeky conference he loves in Woods Hole, on Cape Cod, then went to a brand-new event a friend produced in Austin. They were different as night and day, but all fed his curiosity and appetite to meet new people. April departed on Labor Day weekend and, practically speaking, didn’t resurface until Christmas.

Helsinki Chapel of Silence

Her first whistlestop work tour included Oslo, Copenhagen, Brussels (the EU is pressing on collaborative economy policy discussions more than the US) and a return visit to Aruba to deliver a keynote for World Tourism Day (on-island twice in two months; what luck!). She went home for four days, then departed again for Europe: Venice, Italy for another conference; Helsinki, Finland (where she was captivated by the Chapel of Silence); Tallinn, Estonia (which remains one of her favorite cities in the world); a Copenhagen redux; and back to London. She then flew to Montreal, where she gave a keynote to hundreds of lawyers and insurance brokers from around the world (super interesting: welcome to risk management in the new economy) and stayed a couple extra days, during which she ran around Mont Royal, walked herself silly and fell in love with the Quebecois. While April was chasing time zones, Jerry was much more sane, holding down the Portland front and attending two local events run by the same group, all having to do with diversity and inclusion.

We would’ve called it a year after all this, but Q4 — and all its global madness — beckoned, as did a trip we’d been looking forward to all year: the annual YGL (Young Global Leaders) Summit, which this year was held in Japan. We could not have been more impressed, inspired by and grateful for both the Summit and the entire country. YGL is now indelibly marked in our hearts, minds and family-of-choice.

We had the opportunity to experience both traditional and future-forward Japan: the country is at once rooted (impossibly, it seems sometimes) in its cultural norms and expectations, and yet embracing new technologies at warp speed. Put these tensions together, add significant population decline (from 127M people today, to an expected 65M in 2080 — yes, half the size) and you get some fascinating results… like the only place we’ve found in the world that is excited for automation to replace humans on the job.

Japan

Our trip began in Tokyo, where we arrived a couple days early to get over jetlag and explore the city. We skipped major tourist sites like the Imperial Palace — beautiful as it is — and headed to lesser-known neighborhoods full of charm and history: Kagurazaka, with a funky ramen shop open only from midnight to 3am; Yanaka, with its artists galleries tucked behind impossibly narrow alleyways; Ueno Park, with families strolling its wide promenades. And a huge highlight: the Tsukiji Fish Market, the largest in the world, where tuna is auctioned off at 3am (if you arrive at 4am, you’ve missed it) and lines are around the block at 6am for the best fresh, raw fish breakfast of your life.

The YGL Summit was part professional development, part diving deeper into Japan, and part family reunion. We participated in learning journeys on topics ranging from nuclear energy in the wake of Fukushima (with the head of Japan’s energy regulator) to traditional tea ceremony, aikido and virtual reality at Japan’s Googleplex. We heard from inspiring YGL friends on fighting fear and xenophobia, civic innovation, and creatively tackling gender bias. The gathering was capped off with the greatest honor April could imagine: being chosen by her fellow YGLs to give the graduation speech as they become YGL Alumni — no one can bring themselves to say “old!”

Nara’s famous for tame deer

We added an extra week post-Summit to explore other parts of Japan, particularly those with less concrete and more fresh air. Our first stop was Nara, Japan’s capital back in the 8th century and today a haven for temple-seekers, nature lovers and deer (a deer park covers most of town). We traveled by bullet train, of course — an experience in itself — and stayed in a retro 1950s house complete with tatami mats, antique furniture fand stacks of manga (thanks Airbnb). We went for a lovely jog through nearby hills and parks, marveling at temples and dodging deer en route. April did her first Japanese handstand and ate enough mochi to make any Japanese grandmother proud, while Jerry ate his weight in okonomiyaki.

From Nara it was a quick hop north to Kyoto and temple heaven. We strolled the Philosopher’s Path, visited the stunning Arashiyama Bamboo Grove, lost count of the torii at Fushimi Inari-taisha and marveled at all manner of food (some of it still wiggling) at the Nishiki Market. By this point we were thoroughly smitten with the country, its unique combination of simplicity + elegance + efficiency, and even imagining what it would be like to live there for a year or so, but left wishing most of all to return and visit other regions first. You can see Jerry’s favorite photos and videos from the trip here.

Back to Portland, where autumn was in full force and the days gradually getting shorter and wetter. Our yearning for Japan was quickly sated when — two days after coming home, missing our daily dose of wabi-sabi — we returned to Portland’s Japanese Garden, just up the street. It may not be full of geisha, but it’s the best we’ve seen outside of Japan, and within walking distance! Jerry settled in for a long stretch of work and deep thinking, including preparing and giving a keynote talk for a tech conference in Tempe. That talk had little to do with Jerry’s recent thinking and required him to “reinstall” his ways of thinking from 20 years ago, which he found really fun to do. The event was private, so the talk isn’t online.

Meanwhile, April tried not to get over jetlag… as less than one week later, she went back over the Pacific on her penultimate work marathon. First stop: Seoul, South Korea for their annual Sharing City festival (she’s on Seoul’s Sharing City advisory board). She also visited community-led sharing economy companies, ate meals including 28 (!) different banchan (side dishes), and found herself in the middle of peaceful protests against the country’s President.

…which brings us to Election Day in the US, with its surprises.

Before leaving for Korea, April had voted by mail and, along with countless others, awoke on November 8 (in Seoul) expecting to make history for women that day. Back in 2008, April had been in Kenya and experienced the euphoria of Obama’s win first-hand. Ironically, this year she opted to take a tour of the North Korean DMZ (demilitarized zone) that day. It was eerie, and little did she know how things would descend from there. As the election results came out, South Koreans were not only aghast, but bona fide fearful of what this could mean for Korean relations. She made her way south to the town of Gyeong-jo, known for being an “open-air city-museum” for all its cultural sites outdoors, and talked with as many locals as she could. It didn’t solve anything, but it did comfort — and there was a silver lining in being buffered from the intensity of emotions in the US then.

For months before the election, Jerry had been tracking the trends, tactics and terminology of the many campaigns, as they all narrowed down to Hillary vs. Trump. Two days before the election, he published this video about his perspective on the strange and twisty campaign (that’s a long video, so hold off unless you’re really into it). When he realized that Trump had won, he was shocked but not surprised, and set out to figure out who predicted his win correctly, and who offered useful insights on what had happened. That process really shook his cobwebs away, and provoked him to create a series of shorter videos piecing together what happened. They look like this:

We still haven’t recovered from the election and thoughts of the upcoming inauguration, to say nothing of disconcerting global trends. Given that topsy-turvy context, we’re focused on identifying and harnessing the light that wasn’t visible before. (In the spirit of: the system cracked. It broke. Cracks are how the light gets in… ) Our work, midwifing new ideas and imagining new futures, has never felt more important. We plan to consistently, peacefully stay true to our values and protest when appropriate. If you are involved in such efforts too, please let us know, as we’d love to better connect these dots with others.

Speaking of which, from Korea, April continued westward to Dubai for the inaugural World Economic Forum Global Futures Council (GFC) summit. She was selected to join the GFC on the Future of Mobility (which includes travel :)), a huge honor. She’d never really visited Dubai either, so that was an extra bonus. After three days of non-stop meetings and views of the Burj Al-Arab next door, she went really westward — one of the longest single days of travel in her life — and, four flights and 28 hours later, landed in Aspen, Colorado. Three days of wonderful discussions at the Aspen Institute, two days CrossFitting with her Italian sister Jessica (who conveniently lives in Aspen) and April returned to Portland exhausted, happy, and wishing she could crawl into bed for days.

But not quite yet. “Only” three more trips and then that can happen… does globetrotting finally sound more exotic than it actually is?

We enjoyed Thanksgiving in Portland with Jerry’s Mother and started to set our sights on 2017. Jerry had one of the best Decembers we can remember. First, IFTF brought him in on an interesting project creating a foresight course for a major client, which meant diving deep into mixed reality, cognitive computing and more, and finding ways of making these topic comprehensible and memorable.

Then he knocked on the door at Ziba Design. Ziba is an elegant design firm (five blocks from our place!) that over its 32 years has expanded from industrial products like Microsoft’s ergonomic keyboard, portable Bluetooth speakers, lightweight camp stoves and squirtable ketchup bottles to bank lobbies, business processes and corporate identity. Just as they were looking for big ideas to expand into, Jerry came into their conversation and rapidly found great chemistry with the team, and even better that his 20 years of ideas about trust and the Relationship Economy had landed on fertile soil again. He starts 2017 there part-time as their Strategy Director, with a charter to help Ziba and its potential clients think bigger, then act on the new ideas that result.

His part-time role at Ziba allows Jerry to continue other client work, as well as running REX, the think-and-do tank he started in 2010. It was a quiet but solid year for REX, with the thesis becoming increasingly relevant until it was almost painfully so with Trump’s election. Consider for a moment that Trump represents the apex (or nadir?) of consumer culture: a flashy reality TV billionaire used modern social media to hack everyone and gain control of what is arguably still the most powerful nation on Earth. That happened, plus we had some great REXy guests and conversations about innovative community health care in the Netherlands, taming Artificial Intelligence, Cuba, Japan, Greece, biomimicry and dealing with fake news in the post-truth era.

While Jerry was clicking into Portland’s thriving design scene, April left for her final business trip of the year, and one of her most-anticipated: Africa. For several years she has been keen to bridge sharing-economy principles with emerging markets and sustainable development, drawing on her previous career-chapters and expertise, and she’s finally getting her chance(s). This first installment was pretty basic but enabled a clearer sense of potential and direction. More to come in the new year. From Nairobi it was back to Copenhagen one final time (very hyggelig in winter), a quick sprint through London, and finally… home.

We spent Christmas in Atlanta with April’s Italian family for the first time, combining the holidays with — most joyfully — Nonna’s (Italian grandmother’s) 90th birthday celebrations and — most unfortunately — bouts of stomach flu. This holiday letter is our first attempt at anything requiring cognition since recovery. To strike the right note for 2017, we inaugurated the year with a midnight run around the Willamette River.

Looking farther into 2017, we are full of hope, dreams and a few reality checks. Jerry plans to bring his ideas to Ziba and head into the world with them, in a quest for clients who think strategically and are willing to see differently. (If you’re curious or know someone who might be, please contact him.) This may sound strange, but Jerry sees Trump’s breaking things (which has unfortunately only just begun) as an unprecedented moment to rethink and reinvent the way we all do things. Our collective interventions are now more necessary than ever, if Trump’s words are to be taken seriously at all.

As Jerry ramps up, April hopes most of all to slow down, travel less and play more. Take fewer engagements, but take them deeper. Do more public speaking and expand her speaking repertoire. Dive into blockchain? Write a book? Much is up for consideration… which feels like the greatest gift of all.

Whereabouts-wise, we know we’ll be in Boston (February), Argentina (March), Boulder + Mexico + Thailand (April), and April will be back in Africa at some point, but other than that it’s all about Stumptown. About Portland: April’s become a huge fan of Yoyoyogi, a lovely yoga studio that’s close by, and we have two new occupants in our flat. One is Alexa, the other we call Gigi, but really they’re an Amazon Echo and a Google Home device. They’re pretty amazing to have around.

If you find yourself in the Pacific NW, please let us know! That’s also a perfect segue to use this as an opportunity for an address book update, as we haven’t been very proactive on that front:

April Rinne & Jerry Michalski
1420 NW Lovejoy Street #515
Portland OR 97209-2745

The year ahead and beyond looks daunting, uncharted and unknown. The last thing we should even fathom doing is putting our heads in the sand or pretending a miracle will happen. Rather, let’s take Jo Cox’s (fellow YGL and UK MP, tragically murdered this summer) words to heart: “We are far more united and have far more in common with each other than things that divide us.”

With love, joy and gratitude for each of you, for life itself, and for the amazing world we live in,

April & Jerry

14 thoughts on “Holiday letter 2016!”

  1. Always lovely to get your Christmas letters. Love it ❤️
    Also to see that we are so many globetrotters outthere doing good stuff ❤️
    Love you both

  2. April and Jerry – Happy new year!! You pack a lot of punch and energy, quite amazing and so inspiring! Thank you!
    While you are on the Pacific NW in Trumpland, I don’t see the other part of the Pacific NorthWest (SouthWest for us) on your schedule – Vancouver.. and some islands that you have not discovered yet, especially Mayne island but also its neighbours..
    PS – in the same spirit, created Vision20 this year (continuing in 2017) to see to bring long-term position vision to the global system and reshape the G20 summit accordingly (http://iar.ubc.ca/vision-20-international-summit-on-global-governances-new-frontiers/)
    Chinese TV made a public documentary about it: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OTU5SAcDBgg

  3. April and Jerry- it is always a much anticipated pleasure to curl up and read your Christmas letter and hear more about the truly awesome ways that you both make this world a better place. So happy to reconnect in person this year as well!!
    Laura (and Hugh and the boys)

  4. You two are SUCH an inspiration in every way – as a couple, as humans, as heart-centered change agents… thanking the universe for bringing you two to Portland! Looking forward to seeing what kinds of magic 2017 brings your way! xoxo

  5. Wonderful to visit with you through your amazing narrative, 2016.
    Thanks for including us. So glad you are enjoying Portland. I’ll be there for the women’s march 1/21. Great city!
    If you get 2 hours South, please visit with us again.
    Bryna and John

  6. Wow wow wow. What a ride, right? Thank you so much for sharing your expeditions (called life). April, it’s such a pleasure to know you. And Jerry, somehow I have the feeling we will meet one day. Hope to come to the US some time this year, so hopefully then. Live life! Love, Harmen

  7. Dear April and Jerry,

    Thanks for your creative journal. I liked your analysis of Trump so much, I created a link on my own blog to your YouTube versions.

    All the best to the two of you!

    Warm Regards, Martin

  8. Dear April and Jerry: Reading your annual newsletter is a welcome boost to star the new year with expanded horizons and charged with that special energy that comes from all the fun and good stuff you do. Keep us posted shall your travels bring you to Paris. Bonne année/ Feliz año from Gloriana, Ignacio and Henry!

  9. So loved “catching up” on your year, and wising you both the best of love and adventure in the year ahead! I look forward to crossing paths, and hopefully visiting your pad in Portland. :-)

    Big hugs to you both! xoxox

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