Global Child Dubai: “The Power of Connection” Blog 1 Dinner with Friends

December 8, 2020. by

I’ve been thinking a lot about connection since I’ve returned from beautiful Dubai. After we wrapped filming the show, I decided to stay for three days simply to connect with friends who resided in Dubai and others who were visiting. Life has taught me and if we don’t take time to nurture our friendships… just like any living thing, they can die or they can thrive. It really depends on how we take care of them and how much love and time we invest into them.

    The night after we wrapped, we had a fantastic dinner at a place called the Flamingo Room. I thought about who I wanted there… and I realized that not only did I want to strengthen my connection to these particular friends. In a way, I felt that Dubai was doing the same on a global scale. Creating a nation where people from every country, background, faith and culture could come and thrive, with not only tolerance, but also harmony amongst them… was a a beautiful thing. A mentor of mine says that we should never focus on growth, we should focus first on being healthy… because healthy things always grow. Dubai, has been growing, because the acceptance of each other’s differences, the enterprising spirit and the share commitment to succeed has really helped this country propel itself into the future by inviting the entire world to join them on the journey.

 

I’ve been thinking a lot I’ve returned from beautiful Dubai. After we wrapped filming the show, I decided to stay for three days simply to connect with friends who resided in Dubai and others who were visiting. Life has taught me that we are only as rich as the quality of our relationships and if we don’t take time to nurture our friendships… just like any living thing, they can die or they can thrive. It really depends on how we take care of them and how much love and time we invest into them.

    The night after we wrapped, we had a fantastic dinner at a place called the Flamingo Room. I thought about who I wanted there… and I realized that not only did I want to strengthen my connection to these particular friends. In a way, I felt that Dubai was doing the same on a global scale. Creating a nation where people from every country, background, faith and culture could come and thrive, with not only tolerance, but also harmony amongst them… was a a beautiful thing. A mentor of mine says that we should never focus on growth, we should focus first on being healthy… because healthy things always grow. Dubai, has been growing, because the acceptance of each other’s differences, the enterprising spirit and the share commitment to succeed has really helped this country propel itself into the future by inviting the entire world to join them on the journey.

    As I looked at the group of friends I’d gathered together, I saw most of the planet represented. The best thing, is that it simply happened organically… when you travel for a living, you end up making friends across different cultures, races and religions. Social media now allows us to keep in touch, but it will never replace looking a friend in the eye, sharing a hug, a laugh and a great meal. Before me, I had Eric and Vlada, a wonderful Russian couple who actually hosted me in my very first Global Child episode one… “Russia: The Dare of Dreaming”. Back then, about three years ago, we ran around with a selfie stick and a few cameras, Eric hosted me for almost ten days and Vlada who is a PR expert set up some great moments for us both on and behind the camera. I’ll forever be grateful to friends like them who enabled me to give birth to what has now grown into one of the top travel shows in the world… I guess because we always tried to make healthy content that would bring light and love to everyone involved, both those who participated and those who would take the time to see it. To my right, I had my new friend Margot, a French architect genius who designed and is overseeing the first sustainable city in Ghana for 35,000 people. She’s twenty six. Seated next to me was Gabby… my amazing co host from Minnesota who had never been outside the North America before and who, like me, had just finished the most intense and fun filming week of our lives. Last but certainly not least, was my new friend Mohammed who we met on the airplane. Emirates had been kind enough to fly us in business class (best flight experience of my life, I must admit). Mohammed befriended Gabby and myself and I thought it would be great to invite a true local to join us… and he did! He also happens to work for Emirates and he regaled us with great stories of Dubai from a local’s perspective.

 

     Truly, we are all connected… even before birth we are connected to our parents and after birth we become intrinsically connected with the global family of humanity. If you think about it, connection is the source of most things in life and without it, even survival, especially at a young age, is impossible. As I headed to Dubai with my team of friends to create what would surely become one of the most memorable episodes we’d ever created with Global Child, I got to connect with Gabby for the first time in person. Connection needs trust, because when we connect to another being there is a world of possibilities that instantly exists within that connection. How we treat those we connect with, taking the time to listen, to care for each other and to try to understand them will always lead us to create stronger connections.

    As I finished the dinner, Gabby brought a Global Child Jacket that was still in the bag. Immediately, I knew who it was for. I laughed at the little coincidences in life that lets us know that when we ask God for direction, He truly does direct our steps. I’d ordered that jacket weeks prior not knowing who I would give it to… but a little voice inside me told me to get it and make it a “L” or large. I had no idea that Eric and Vlada would be visiting Dubai at exactly the same time I was weeks later. Yet, here I was… with my brother Eric who I hadn’t seen in a year, but who I cared for deeply. It was my pleasure to gift him that Global Child Jacket; it was as if Christmas had come for him early and if fit him perfectly. “You look so handsome!” Said Vlada and kisser her now Fiancee. Whenever I film an episode, I always love to bring gifts, because in there is an ancient proverb that says: “The world of the generous gets larger and larger.” Also, a Pastor named Rick Warren, author of The Purpose Driven Life, says: “You can give without loving, but you can’t love without giving.” It’s true! Generosity strengthens connection.

    Dubai showed me that when we create space in our lives for those who might be different for us to feel welcome, understood and accepted… there will be a healthy mix of views, opinions and learning that comes from interacting from those who might have different perspectives than ourselves, but who will always have the same exact value as people. The true power of connection in our lives is love. Love nurtures connection, between mother and child, between friends, between nations and even amongst the entire human race. Love is a choice. The next time we have an area of our life where we want to grow or if we ever feel alone or that we would like more or different friends… just remember, love is always needed around where you are. This digital world, with all the challenges that life brings, can become an isolated place. It us up to you and I to harness the power of connection. Perhaps we don’t all get to travel for a living, but we can always gather a few people around a table, invite them to a meal and share stories. The power of connection is something we are all born with… it’s time to use it for good and remember as a global community, that our primary objective should always be to love one another. Dubai welcomed me with open arms… and now I feel connected to that land. I’ve had many conversations in the last few weeks about Dubai and now I get to speak highly of that people, the moments and the culture that welcomes everyone. I don’t know where you are from, who you are or where and even when you are reading this… but I hope that I can paint a smile on your face as I tell you that you are welcome in my life, on this journey and that it’s a privilege that you took some time to listen to some of these thoughts with me. Now, we are connected.

By Augusto Valverde

Dec 8 2020