By Scott Hyatt
Every New Yorker must get out of the city every 3 or 4 months or he risks going crazy. The insanity of Manhattan, high octane and eternal energy can break down the body quickly if you don’t take a break from it.
Last weekend, I decided to escape to Kiev, Ukraine. Yup – half-way around the world to escape my thoughts. Most New Yorkers go to the Hamptons in the summer, but in the winter, our choices become more limited. If you have traveled all over the US – like me -, LA, Miami and Vegas aren’t as alluring.
I left JFK on a Thursday night and was back to work on Monday. It was a short trip, but filled with interesting stories to share over future cocktails. Here are a few of the lessons I learned along the way.
Intuition is sharpened when you don’t know the language.
When verbal skills are taken away, the mind must use other subconscious measures to survive. It’s amazing how much you can communicate and understand when you eliminate words. I knew what others were telling me without gestures when I didn’t anticipate a form of communication was pending.
Women in Ukraine love their high heels.
There can be ice on the street but don’t take away their heels. One woman showed me the bruise on her knee after she slipped on ice and ended up in the hospital. She blamed the ice, not the heels.
The mirror is not reality.
God may have punished Ukrainians with little sunshine and horrible weather but he gave them the most beautiful women in the world to overcompensate for their long suffering. It’s not fair but a beautiful face will always enlighten any room. I don’t think this beauty is appreciated on its local environment.
Everyone has power in the world but most people don’t recognize it.
Women, teenagers, artists, businessmen, etc. They all want what the other possesses. Men want the women who want the businessmen who know they need the artists to maintain their influence. And the artists are usually just teenagers making it all up in the moment. Power exists when you embrace your position in the world.
When you leave any city, it’s a simpler life but that doesn’t mean they are less happy.
I traveled outside of Kiev and saw a couple in their 30s share a soda over stories. It was an authentic moment without producers yet it moved me unlike any coke commercial. Years ago I wrote how Spaniards sleep away their days but they never lack and you can argue, they have a better existence than Americans. It was reinforced in Ukraine. That being said, I’m not ready to sell my co-op and move to that simpler life.
Money makes everything more complicated. Power is insecurity without a skill. Security exists with a foundation.
Learning is forgetting, which leads to relearning. That is good news for you if this is your first time around the block. Odds are the guy ahead of you already learned it but forgot it over beers. Perhaps he still knows it but complacency has set in. Either way, the playing field is leveled every season if you are brave enough to walk on the field and strong enough to play.
Drinks are strong in Kiev. They could probably improve their productivity if they watered down those drinks.
Business has an acronym BRICS, which says the next global growth will take place in Brazil Russia India China and South Africa. Ukraine doesn’t have the economy size of Russia but from a capitalist’s point of view, this is a country with low fruit. Everyone – men and women – take pride in their appearance. It’s the perfect consumer market. They want to buy. The challenge is they don’t have the money yet.
A middle class is needed for any economy to grow.
I met a PHD scientist who claimed she ranked in the top 10 in her country yet she didn’t make enough money to survive. She detailed her job and duties at work. My curious mind researched it. Was she making it up? Turns out, GM outsources American jobs to Ukraine and this woman is a benefactor. Or is she? She doesn’t have the salary to survive. Capitalism told her move to where the market is. But she loves her country and her people. Leaving home is never easy, no matter how many times you do it.
There is a story in the bible about the Tower of Babel when languages were introduced to slow down the progress of man. I can see why that story has value today. International minds have more power when they are combined. I become a better student in other countries and it gives me an edge when I return home. If I understood their language, my edge would be even stronger.
So many people are afraid to live and they make excuses for it. We must experience mortality on a personal level for us to embrace and appreciate life. Our hours are timed and you don’t know when the alarm will sound. If you understand that, suddenly their is a push to do it now.
The best artists learn how to connect on a deeper level with strangers.
When strangers meet us, they assume we are free with our hearts and engaging at our roots. It’s not like that. We connect but when we say goodbye, it hurts on an equal deeper level. Hemingway supposedly ignored his family to pursue the passion of life with strangers. Comfort and security does not inspire aspiring artists. Real artists or writers know they must leave their comfort zone to find a new muse. But what happens when that muse is discovered? At what point does that muse lead to security?
A muse is usually a lover but a lover is not always a muse.
I’ve met many strangers in my life on various voyages. We connect on such a deep level but then we must say goodbye forever. Why cant these connections happen in my neighborhood?
When my business becomes a commercial airline in motion, I am going to hire a local translator to accompany me overseas. Somehow, I feel like that luxury cheats me of living.
Life really isn’t difficult. The mind is very powerful when it is determined. It’s easy when you say yes I am doing it.
Chemistry between a man and woman still complexes me. I haven’t solved that one yet. I guess the day I resolve it is the day I get married.