Google Summerfest

Summerfest turned out to be perfectly named.  Even though it was the last day of August it felt like high summer in the Netherlands.  And the annual ‘learn-a-thon’ that Google organises for their people here, felt like a real festival with participants customising their own day at the various experience tents.   Street Wisdom was delighted to be taking part  – I think we had the best looking tent too!.   The only slight issue was – no streets.   The festival was held 60km outside Amsterdam in a lovely but very rural setting.   No problem for Google who magicked up a fleet of bicycles so we could pedal to the nearby town. And so the first Street Wisdom on two wheels began!

IMG_3156This picture shows us doing a tune up by a synchronous street sign which translates as “Situation Changing”.  So true! If you participated and are reading this, please leave us a comment about your experience.

Meanwhile, I want to tell you about a wonderful stranger I met while I was leading the event.  Sesay Alpha (picture below) had been observing watchfully from a bench and when the Googlers went off on their quest he introduced himself.   A birthday accident in Sierra Leone many years before had severely damaged his spine.  It awoke him to plight of other badly injured people in Africa and he helped set up AfricaSurgery.nl to find them the support they desperately need. IMG_3177 But what about Sesay’s own health? Doctors told him he would never walk again but after a decade in a wheel chair he took a closer look at the drugs he was being prescribed, set them aside decided to try to walk.   His first scary attempt took him to that bench.  Now he walks 14km every day.  It’s an inspiring story.  And where did he research the drugs that were keeping him off his feet?  Google, of course.

7 thoughts on “Google Summerfest

  1. As one of the participants of this session, I have to say I really enjoyed it. I have tried mindfulness already a few times, but I find it hard to slow down and sit still. Street wisdom was a new way for me to find perspective but in a more active way. Yet with the benefit of feeling completely calm and serene after.

  2. The session with David was truly inspiring. Like Sabrina (comment above), I find it hard to slow down, but this… This opens a new, or actually existing but unseen reality to me…
    Even to an end where strangers voluntarily start helping out. A little recap: Buying a bottle of water in the nearby Albert Heijn with the exact amount of money I had on me (€ 1,10) I hadn’t thought of “statiegeld” or “deposit” of about € 0,15. As I turned around to return the bottle to the shelve, my successor in the queue offered me very kindly to include it in his groceries so he could pay for the deficit. I got to keep my water which I could then happily share with some of my colleagues 🙂

    • Niels,
      Sorry I didnt reply immediately but I love your story and really enjoyed when you told it to me first time. It’s over a month now. What are your reflections? Do cool things still keep happening.

  3. Multiday leadership trails in beautiful and remote locations are great for reconnecting with yourself. However, the nature of the street allows for that same magic. Slow down, wander, wander some more…and connect with your yourself through your everyday surroundings. The street is a powerful place.

    This session with David was amongst the best reviewed items of our Google Summer Fest!

    • Marcel. Thanks so much for your comment. We’re delighted the Googlers got so much from Street Wisdom. It was a joy working with you. And remember, there are lots and lots of streets out there – and unlimited inspiration!

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