On July 15, in the late afternoon the city of Split, Croatia shut down. Shopkeepers shuttered their windows, posted handwritten signs about the closure, and locked their doors. Monuments and tourist attractions closed or never opened on that Sunday. Some enterprising entrepreneurs still kept to their schedules, but wearing their favorite team gear. Near game time, what felt like the entire city gathered in bars, homes, and open spaces to convene around a TV. The final game of the 2018 World Cup was about to begin, with the Croatian team playing for their place. This scene was repeated across the country, in cities and villages large and small.
The purpose of this isn’t a recap of the game, but rather a snapshot of community created through sport, the value of sport and play, and the facilities that make these stories possible. During our planning, we often miss this aspect of WHY recreation is key in meaningful community development. We clinically assess the data points on health and green space access, which is necessary, but we forget the stories and the community created through pick-up games, simply bringing a ball to park, and riding or walking on a trail.
A piece by Boris Starling passed through my social media feed. A piece which poignantly creates the backstory of this team and young people in this country, and even the country itself. This is a beautiful place with some of the most persevering people I’ve ever encountered. Young men, growing up with war as one of their earliest memories, turned to sport to challenge the status quo, to showcase their talents, and put their country front and center on the world stage.
The community rallied behind these young men, their support was evident during each game after the final game and a second place finish, and when the players returned to their communities. The community was invested in this sport, in the game; it was part of their lifestyle. It was a once in a lifetime experience to be part of the World Cup audience in Croatia and follow their success as a team and growth and development as a country. Sport is something we as humans can rally around, regardless of our political leanings, position in society, and language. Intentional design of our communities to include sport and recreation builds our capacity to set aside differences and celebrate success. Mindfully planning for the intersection of sport and everyday life, allowing business owners, citizens, and elected officials to be part of the story, creates a true community. Simply walk through the cities of Croatia wearing your team gear and you’ll learn this very quickly. Originally posted by Michelle here.
Stephanie, you’re an awesome part of the Behere team! Tell us about yourself…
“Hey, I’m Stephanie James, and am originally from Colorado Springs, CO. I lived in Baltimore for eight years after graduating college. I’m passionate about my family and friends, poetry, singing, traveling the world and helping others do the same.
I am fortunate enough to be a Flexible Lifestyle Manager for Behere. What in the world is that, right? Glad you asked. I help women live, work and travel abroad, by helping create their foundation in cities around the world. In my free time, I love to host and perform at spoken word poetry events. I also like to sing for weddings and business functions. My health is important to me, so I work out often and try to remain conscious about what I’m feeding my body.
How did you start your journey of traveling and working abroad?
I worked for a Fortune 50 company for eight consecutive years and things were great, I was on the fast track for promotion. I was privileged to be promoted four times in eight years. The company leaders said they saw me reaching a national platform in my career. I was also traveling quite a bit; to Greece, Italy, Beijing… exploring some of the world outside the US. My desire to travel became insatiable. I decided to take a leap in 2017 to travel the world for 12 months. My company leaders initially told me that leaving would be career suicide and it wasn’t the best time to go. But sometimes you have to make the harder decisions alone.
I chose the road less traveled and submitted my leave notice. Starting in 2017, I lived in twelve countries for twelve months. I visited a total of eighteen countries in one year. This put my total countries visited at 28! I lived in South America, Europe and Asia for four months each. I’m currently in London, with plans to explore more of Europe and visit Asia again this year.
What was the scariest thing for you when you first booked your trip? What fears were holding you back?
The most difficult part about the journey was the initial leap. I had security at my job, a platform that I built and strong rapport with company leaders and peers. What I learned most from taking this chance, was that there are opportunities everywhere when you’re willing to see them. I learned everyone thinks it’s impossible until it’s done. Now, the company leaders watch my vlogs and follow my journey. They send me encouraging messages about how they wish they did what I did earlier in their careers.
How has travel inspired you and taught you?
Living out of a suitcase and backpack for a year teaches you how little you really need in life. It shows you where the true value of life lies. That’s in relationships built, experiences felt and all the beautiful people, that look different then you, but have so much in common with you, no matter where you go. It teaches you things are not ‘weird’ but ‘different’. That my way is not the right way or even the best way, it’s just one way. I’ve learned how much I love all food :-). I’ve learned there are kind hearted people everywhere you go. And there are negative people no matter where you go. So choose to surround yourself in beauty and those who bring it. I’ve learned family is everything. You can be alone at the Taj Mahal having an amazing time, but you can also be in your dad’s backyard, playing with your little brother, and experience the same joy. I’ve learned everything and every place is what you make it. I haven’t been to a place yet that I didn’t like and I don’t plan on finding one.
I think everyone should live abroad at some point in their lives. It doesn’t have to be long term or as extensive as myself. But to experience the world, is to experience something bigger than you and appreciate all the things in life we take for granted.
You started your own project when traveling. Tell us about it…
I’ve had the opportunity to perform in almost every country I’ve visited. I have many artist friends who would love to indulge in international performing as well. I created an international platform for artists called, The Artists Connection (TAC). It helps to “bridge borders for artists worldwide.” I have artists participating from all over the world and it grows every day. If you are an artist or lover of the arts, join the connection at taconnection.com and follow us on Instagram @taconnection.
Lastly, I am an international poet, singer and host. If you’re interested in seeing the vlogs from my journey and hearing some of my poetry connect with me justavesselpoetry.com and on Instagram @justavessel22.
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We had a blast at our ladies coworking event in Bali!
After visiting many co-working spaces around the world, we know there’s a need for female-only spaces. With all these fantastic, female-only coworking spaces popping up around the world, there are still very few in Asia. After Behere co-founder, Meesen Brown, entered one-too-many male dominated spaces, she knew she needed to create more spaces for women to connect.
Somewhere for them to meet, chat and share tips and experiences. But most importantly, a space for women to feel comfortable, in a beautiful setting that encourages creativity and inspiration. And that, is how our idea for women’s coworking events was born.
This past week, we co-hosted a ladies brunch and coworking event in Canggu, Bali in collaboration with Bucketlist Bombshells. The event was free for all ladies to attend and we were thrilled by the response.
There was so many great conversations, inspiring stories and meaningful connections made. Over 30 women came to brunch, do some coworking and meet with other likeminded, driven women, exploring the world with some serious entrepreneurial instincts. The ladies shared their experiences traveling, what prompted them to take the leap to start working remotely while traveling and for many, how they started their own businesses to do so.
Here’s some more awesome snaps from our photographer at the event!
Special thanks to our cohost, Cassie, from Bucketlist Bombshells, who helped made this event possible.
AND shout out to all the lovely ladies who attended. We’re super excited to continue hosting events like these around the world and were, yet again, thrilled by the response. We know the need for these events, meet-ups and connections with female communities is an important part of what we’re doing and we can’t wait for more to come. Stay tuned!