I hope you had a great 2022. It was a big year here - wedding, grandkid, new job, new horse, another Camino, and lots more. If you are interested, here is a recap with pictures.
After 9 years together in a Sweden-USA long distance relationship, Tina and I finally got married in April. To avoid complications of a wedding during a pandemic with family and friends on both sides of the Atlantic Ocean, we eloped. We seemed to have surprised everyone and nobody at the same time.
The ceremony was in Stockholm in the beautiful and iconic Stadhus (City Hall), which is where the Nobel Prize award dinner is held every year. If you are ever in Stockholm on a Saturday morning and need some good cheer, drop by the city hall to see happy couples coming out after their own 10 minute wedding ceremonies.
Since we met on the Camino de Santiago pilgrimage hiking trail in Spain, Tina and I decided to hike it again for our honeymoon. The morning after the wedding, we flew to Spain and hiked for 100 km (60 miles) over 5 days from Santiago de Compostela to Finestera, which many Camino pilgrims thought was the end of the world before 1492.
We told other Camino hikers we met that along the way that we planned to be at the beach in Finestera at the end of our hike for an informal beach wedding ceremony at sunset. Several new pilgrim friends showed up to celebrate with us. A police officer and his teacher fiancé from Germany. A teacher from Canada working in Vietnam. A young Canadian kid hiking around Europe to figure out what what he wants to do when he is done hiking. It was a typical “Camino family.” We met a Spanish couple with a guitar on the beach and they joined and provided music. It was perfect.
The next day was Easter and we met a fellow Camino author friend of mine - Johnnie - in Santiago de Compostela. He lives there and invited us for the Easter luncheon he hosts every year. Everyone there had some connection to the Camino. As a surprise, they made it a wedding celebration for us, complete with the “Camino Honeymoon” original artwork they commissioned.
Johnnie also arranged for us to get a wedding blessing from a Jesuit priest. Because he was off duty and we weren’t Jesuits, the blessing the priest shared was an old Jewish one and it was beautiful and perfect.
After that, we flew to Malaga, Spain for a few more days of non-hiking honeymoon vacation before heading back home to Sweden.
FIRST FULL YEAR LIVING IN SWEDEN
2022 was my first full year as a full time resident of Sweden. I sold my house and cars and donated/sold all my household stuff in Indianapolis in December 2021. I packed up what I could carry or ship and moved to join Tina in Karlstad, Sweden.
After a full year of classroom instruction in Swedish For Immigrants, I passed the national test from the 3D to the 3C level in Swedish in March. It was like taking the SAT or GMAT in Swedish. It was hard but I squeaked by. If there is going to be a standard language level to get a permanent residency in Sweden, that is what it is supposed to be.
Since I ended my formal class, I have been taking DuoLingo to keep working on my Swedish. After all the time and hard work, I am proud to say that I now can speak Swedish like a 3 year old with a weird accent.
We enjoyed spending time with family on both sides of the ocean this year.
Tina and I went to the US for a couple of weeks in the summer. It was Tina’s first time to the US since before COVID in 2019. It was great to see my parents, family, and friends.
Our big news back in Sweden for Tina and me was becoming grandparents and meeting our perfect grandson. We get to see him all the time since we live in the same town.
We also enjoyed celebrating other big life events in the family in Sweden like a first house, a 90th birthday, and a nursing school graduation.
RECONNECTING WITH FRIENDS
I went back to Philadelphia in November for my 25th Wharton MBA class reunion that had been delayed by a year due to COVID. It was worth the wait. The school redid the structure and had several classes meet at the same time during the school year, which meant we were there while classes were in session. It was great to see the next generation of students there.
While at Penn, the current student leaders of the grad student government hosted me for a lunch and gave me a tour of the grad student center. I was the president of the grad student government at Penn while I was a student so it was great to see the student government doing well and the grad student center we lobbied for built and thriving.
It was great to meet with a few friends who passed through Sweden this year, including my college roommate Mark, a Wharton classmate named Rob doing a cross Europe driving adventure, and a friend Dan who was in town for a performing gig.
Grandpa-hood also gave me a chance to reconnect with my old DC friend Rod in a new way by subscribing to his company’s learning toy company for babies called Lovevery. I remember when he told me about this business idea, and not it is a global company. I very highly recommendLovevery.com (and I am not paid in any way to say that - we just love the toys.)
BIG SPORTS YEAR
The year started with the first Bengal’s Super Bowl appearance in 33 years for me and other long suffering Bengals fans. Watching games from 6 time zones ahead in Sweden made the logistics interesting.
While the Bengals came up one play short, the hometown hockey team in Sweden (Färjestad) made it all the way to win the Swedish hockey championship. We have season tickets and I use the spare seat as an excuse to take out Swedish language classmates, football teammates, and other new friends.
I also got into horse racing in Sweden by investing with friends in a new colt (named Magellan) that was born this spring. Magellan will hopefully be winning his first harness racing championship in 2024.
This summer I took the job as the General Manager of the Carlstad Crusaders, the American football club in Karlstad that has won several championships in Sweden and Europe. (American football is surprisingly big across Europe.) I got involved with the club first as a fan, then as a friend of the coaches and players from the US. When I moved to Sweden permanently, the club asked me to be part of the club more formally as Asst GM last year and GM this year. The season runs from mid April to mid July and we are opening our brand new stadium this season.
Tina and I both picked up paddle boarding as a hobby this summer. The longest river in Sweden (which is made of nice clean water that starts as glaciers up north) is just 100 steps outside our door.
Finally, I ran my first race since COVID - an annual half marathon (13.1 miles / 21 km) that ends just outside our home in Karlstad. I beat my goal of doing it at sub 10 minute miles, which was much faster than my pace in my 2019 marathon in Indy, which was my first big race.
RETURN OF LIVE ENTERTAINMENT
2022 was the year that live entertainment started to return after COVID. Tina and I caught The Rolling Stones in Stockholm, Jesus Christ Superstarin Karlstad, All Sang show at Skansen in Stockholm, and the Titanic musical at Karlstad Opera House. I caught Jethro Tull at the Karlstad CCC and Pixies at Grona Lund in Stockholm without Tina. And we always enjoy seeing our favorite rock star friend Pia and her band perform live in Sweden whenever we can.
I still run my executive coaching practice via my Indianapolis-based LLC company - DiscoveredLOGIC.com. The only difference clients notice by me being in Sweden is I like to meet before lunch their time.
I was pleasantly surprised to be named one of the Top 15 executive coaches in Indianapolis this summer by Influence Digest. an independent website. (Thank you for all the client referrals and please keep them coming!) My experience as a marketing executive at CapitalOne and as the COO of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has helped me become the #1 executive coach for clients who work in financial services. (You can Google “best executive coach in financial services” to see for yourself.)
2023 will also mark my 10th anniversary as a corporate trainer on the thoughtLEADERS team. Over the years, I have led training seminars for clients across the US, Europe, and the Middle East in structured problem solving, structured communications, decision-making, leadership, and more.
I’ve partnered with LinkedIn as one of about a thousand pilot program testers around the world for their newsletterplatforms. My newsletter - History’s Leadership Lessons - shares lessons from history that can help leaders today and has gathered 46,000 subscribers thus far.
LinkedIn also made me a pilot program tester for its live audio platform. I run live audio events there that are like live radio call in programs where you can see the LinkedIn profile of other people listening and even join in the conversation yourself. My next event is “The 10 Elements of Executive Presence* and has over 300 people signed up thus far.
The popularity of my books continues to grow steadily. The Camino Way is now in 976 libraries worldwide (up from 382 in December 2020), and is in every continent except Antarctica, according to WorldCat.org. My first book, Lead Inside the Box is not far behind in library count and is also offered as an online training course.
I'd love to hear how you are and what you have planned for 2023. If you have a moment, please reply with an email or look me up on Facebook or LinkedIn. Here is a link where you can schedule a call with me too if you would like to catch up that way. And please let me know if I can be helpful to you in any way.
Happy New Year and all the best to you in 2023 and beyond! Thank you all for all your friendship and support.