I’ve already been back in Berlin for two weeks and it’s irrefuteably a city of change.
Germany’s Indian summer is showing signs of finally coming to an end.
Christmas market stalls and festive snacks are surfacing, the one-twelth of a year I missed has offered some domestic surprises among friends, and those who have decided to tackle a Berlin winter are settling down.
The soaring numbers of refugees seeking asylum here, the first wave of whom arrived as I left, are also staring down the cold months in a new land. Maybe one offering more security than what they left behind, but perhaps not quite what they might have imagined along their journey.
However, I can trace one of the biggest personal changes back to the end of my Baltic trip.
After a week of five degree Celsius (maximum) temperatures in Tallinn, I headed south to the likewise chilly city of Riga, where I had arranged to meet a couple of lovely Latvian ladies, Solvita and Ieva.
While I met a lot of fantastic people on my trip, speaking with these two was particularly exciting.
Solvita is the co-founder of a social enterprise employing struggling pensioners to create design rugs from textile waste, and Ieva is one of the skilled senior weavers involved.
I spoke with the two on behalf of MIT Press‘ new online publication, Innovation Stories. It was an inspiring interaction, one of those that illustrates the potent ability of travel to open your mind, and also an opportunity to share an example of what is possible for those determined to improve livelihoods through social business.
You can read the resulting article here.
Now that I have my new visa and am no longer working myself stupid to tick the boxes for this, I’m itching to engage further with such projects.
To that end, last week included my first days among the innovators of Berlin’s Impact Hub coworking space, several visits to Tempelhof Airport for the seventh Global Social Business Summit, the Corporate Social Responsibility installment of Sustainability Drinks, and interviewing for another article.
This week has the potential to be another mind-bending seven days — and to say I’m looking forward to it is not enough. This is palpable time of change, and I can’t wait to explore the possibilities.
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What will you get? Missives about topics ranging from social entrepreneurship to responsible travel, climate innovation, travel journalism, and chance occurrences crossing my mind or path.