This week I traveled to the US for the first time since the pandemic hit. I started with a trip San Diego and had no sun, just clouds, which is not what I expected or wanted, but I had great company and really good discussions at the Morrow Summit 2022
After San Diego I traveled to Des Moines, Iowa, a place that feels like home to me ever since I spent a year here in 89/90. Yes, that’s a long time ago and yes, I managed to be as far away as possible when the event of a lifetime happened and the border to East Germany, which was 10 km away from my hometown, was torn down. Great timing! Anyhow, Des Moines really is a wonderful place and obviously I still have the line from Field of Dreams in my head, as the movie came to the theaters in the summer when I arrived. Shoeless Joe Jackson, played by Ray Liotta, asked Ray Kinsella (Kevin Costner): “Is this Heaven?” and Ray replied. “no, it’s Iowa!” - and this is just so wonderful. Also, the other line from that movie has been important for my professional life: “if you build it, they will come!” - which doesn’t always just happen, which countless founders have had to experience in the early days of their startup and that’s why God invented digital marketing. Go watch the movie if you haven’t seen it.
So I’m kind of on a trip down memory lane here in Des Moines. It’s so amazing to be back with my American family. I still very much remember what it was like for me 33 years ago when I first met the family and my four new American siblings. It took me about 30 minutes to turn into an obnoxious teenage son and make fun of everyone in the room. Yes, I have changed a lot since then. I usually have a longer grace period nowadays… Anyhow, ever since that exchange year Iowa has a special place in my heart and I always love returning here. It’s much more than just a fly-over state and amazingly friendly people live here and to this day you don’t have to lock your house or your cars. Which continues to amaze me even after 33 years of first experiencing an unlocked house in a big city, only to find out that this is normal here. And I am beyond grateful that I got to meet this wonderful family 33 years ago that took me into their house and let me into their hearts and that we made it possible to keep a great relationship going over all the decades and visit each other every couple of years. And I cried on the flight home after my exchange year, fearing I would never see them again. Boy, was I wrong.