In my last two posts I’ve talked about the first ever partnership between World to the Wise cultural tours and Journey Arts Collective, where we took a group of thirteen creatives from the Nashville area to experience some of the magic of Western Europe. Not only did we have the privilege of introducing them to some of the world’s greatest art and a couple of world class cities, but thanks to the leadership of Journey leader Brett Mabury, they were also led on a pilgrimage of sorts.
Brett and I were introduced by a mutual friend some time in early 2015. He had been wanting to take creatives to Europe for years, and the mutual friend happened to know that’s something my wife Becky and I do with World to the Wise. Brett and I began meeting together, and to his credit, he took a chance and asked Becky and me to help him put together a hopefully unforgettable experience for a dozen artists.
Brett is from Perth, Western Australia, where I happen to have lived for four years as a child. He is married to Keren, who is half Belgian and half Danish and grew up in Paris. The two met in Paris when Brett was studying music there on a fellowship.
Upon our arrival in Paris, our first destination, each traveler was presented with a spiral-bound booklet Brett had personalized for each one, printing on the inside front page the sentence each person had written as their goal and expectation for this trip. The book contained a number of meditations Brett had put together, each one designed to be read at specific locations throughout our 12-day journey. Imagine the impact of sitting in a place of great artistic and historical significance, reading thoughts that both challenge and quiet your soul. Brett’s thoughtful reflections included some of the history of each site we visited, and he used that as a springboard for taking the creative person to a place of introspection.
We were also intentional on this particular trip to connect this group of creatives with those of similar ilk in the cities we visited. In Paris, we drew not only on Brett’s and my contacts, but also on those of my old friend Jim Beise, a creative catalyst who spent over a dozen years investing in creatives in Paris. We also had an unforgettable evening with creatives in our old stomping grounds of Lausanne, Switzerland. And we were treated to an outdoor concert on the Piazza San Lorenzo in Florence, where our friend Giorgio Ammirabile was featured directing and singing in front of his gospel choir. Not to mention the magic of the Tuscan countryside, where we stayed five nights, which is in itself a respite for the soul with its vineyards, olive orchards and gentle hills.
The result of all these experiences? Fifteen creatives (including Becky and myself) who came back not only having feasted on more beauty than can be described — sometimes in unsuspecting places — but also grew closer together than they ever expected, not to mention a greater and deeper sense of purpose.
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