Train in Paris - May 15, 2010

With each connection that I make, the world grows smaller. Life becomes a game of six degrees. Few - if any - players in this game know that they are involved, but some see glimpses of it.

Nothing reminds me of this more than when I brought Visual Public Relations to Europe in 2010. Life becomes a series of beautifully alienating events once you've made the choice to spend a year on a new continent, companionless but for creativity and ambition. Ignoring how deeply you lose yourself in the humbling experience of being the stranger in a strange land, something always finds a way to pull you back home.

Erie’s culture and people will find you even if you cross an ocean; I went to the same grade school as Pat Monahan who, now finds himself as the frontman of Grammy Award-winning band Train. We may not have been buddies, or hung out regularly, but Pat was winning the game of six degrees, with a one degree lead. As if he was vying for the position of reigning champ, he appeared in Europe during my one year stay.

While bouncing from Germany to France and enjoying my experience of foreign solitude, I noticed the apparitions of Erie continually appearing in the form of posters for the European branch of Train’s 2010 tour, bringing a certain homey comfort to my European experience; coffee shops would show Train videos, train stations displayed Train posters, and music stores sold Train music.

As he was touring with Train and his music in Europe, I was touring with Higherglyphics and my art.

These small interactions remind us of both the quality and quantity of culture packed into our city. In a world of billions, we always find a piece of home that comes from a city of thousands, through zero degrees of separation.

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