When you travel, you learn.
It’s really that simple. My business is an amplification of that truth. Travel was never a big part of my family life growing up. You can try to psychoanalyze me to help explain why I’ve co-founded Localeur, but it goes deeper than that. We had one family vacation that I can remember as a youth; a spring break trip four hours down the highway from Greenville to Myrtle Beach. It was a great one, though. I still remember the ocean breeze and the blue-colored rented condo. I also remember being in a U-Haul when we moved from Texas to South Carolina when I was seven. MC Hammer and Bell Biv Devoe playing on the radio. I remember saving up my money from my grass-cutting business to pay for my 8th grade Beta Club trip to Washington, D.C. I remember seeing a veteran cry in front of the Vietnam Memorial, a friend he’d loss. I remember the halls of the Capitol. That feeling carried me to our nation’s capitol after I graduated from college to chase that memory.
But I moved back from D.C. to Austin in 2009 because I realized that in order to create something that I could truly call my own and truly leave my mark on the world, I was going to have to live somewhere I felt truly at home. Austin’s flare for friendliness, creativity and entrepreneurial spirit is hard to match. I realize this every time I take a flight – more than 100 in the last three years – and arrive home in Austin. I realize over and over again that when you travel, you represent something. You take something with you. You represent yourself, your experiences, your knowledge, and also your hometown. You take it all with you like a badge.
And I realized that while I wanted to see the world – Toronto and Tokyo, Lake Tahoe and Lake Como, London and Los Angeles – I wanted to do it as someone who represented a place known for friendliness, creativity, entrepreneurship and local more than I wanted to represent a place known for influence, history and power. But to each his or her own. There is merit in all cities and towns, and we each have our own weights and balances for place like we have unique fingerprints. When you travel, you learn. I’ve known that since my youth. As an adult, I’ve learned you also learn when you realize where and why you’ve found a place to call home.
When I was really young, I used to love the idea of one-day being one of those self-made success stories. We're all naive in youth, I suppose. As an adult, I've realized that while I can attempt to write my own story, it's still going to be one full of many others characters, contributors, guest appearances, and roles I did not fully anticipate. Being self-made would be a rather lonely place that I thankfully left many many years ago.
When you're the only Millennial or one of few minorities - ethnic or otherwise - in a room, at the office, on a board, etc. I think you can't afford to play the role of sitting back and waiting for the group to make decisions. Progress and forward-thinking doesn't work like that.