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Still alive

Posted 8 October 2008 - The Hague (NL):

Another message to prove that I am still alive. Lots of think going on but far from everything is worth reporting about. I am still working on a series of articles (just finished #2 out of 27) and the photo exhibition in Luxembourg (status: waiting for print proof of panel #1: Ireland).

Businesswise, lots of things going on, trying to learn lots and quickly, preparing all sorts of things, including a trip to London, Paris, Barcelona and Brussels starting tomorrow. Hope to have some time to post new photo stuff while away.

Below photo datums back from last Sunday, painting Sanne`s new apartment as CCWO - Chief Ceiling Whitening Officer. This is the rest of the crew:

(© The Hague - NL, October 2008)
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Flight experience

Posted 9 October 2008 - London (UK):

I like it when things are typical for a country. One of the things that is typical for (many) countries in Europe is the national airline company, its colours and logo. I like it when I arrive in Sweden and see lots of SAS planes, in South Africa with lots of South African Airways, Air Lingus in Ireland, and obviously, KLM in The Netherlands. This is what I saw at Schiphol this morning, just before boarding my (BMI ;)) flight to Heathrow... where I was treated to an ocean of British Airways aircraft.

The flight itself was very nice, just like the ride to the airport. Highly stereotypical views of low clouds hanging over meadows and sheep, but nonetheless very beautiful. Same for the views after take off: all of the Dutch southern coastline. The UK sky was clear as well, which gave me a wonderful view and a timely landing at LHR.

(© Schiphol - NL, October 2008)
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A Photographer`s Room

Posted 10 October 2008 - London (UK):

This is the room where I slept last night. It`s usually occupied by Dutch-photographer-living-in-London Sipke Visser, even though Sipke himself was not at home during my stay. Coincidentally, he is staying over in the Netherlands for a couple of days but that didn`t keep him from instructing his housemate to allow me in..

What else is happening in London? Paid a visit to the Innocent drinks `workplace` which was as interesting as it was inspiring. The best way to find out is to go there yourself and have a look. Other meetings: one company that invented a new solution for online recruiting, then meeting up with Sinéad last night, Nathaniel and Kate today. Plan for tonight: get myself transported to Paris by night bus. Quite an adventure..

(© London - UK, October 2008)
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Sleepless across the Channel

Posted 11 October 2008 - Paris (FR):

Taking a night bus from London to Paris is not a very nice experience. It involves lots of strange-looking people of unspecified trustworthiness, it is the best guarantee for an almost-sleepless night and it`s not even cheap. The good thing is that it takes you to Paris, which was the purpose of the adventure. I arrived at 6 in the morning at the always welcoming bus station of Galliéni, Porte de Bagnolet. Right in the middle of urban no-where.

Thanks to metro line nr 3, I quickly made my way to the hotel to catch some sleep before collecting Sanne from Gare du Nord at 11h30. And that`s how a pleasant, sunny and relaxing weekend in Paris started.

(© Paris - FR, October 2008)
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Weekend à Paris

Posted 12 October 2008 - Paris (FR):

More relaxation in Paris.. .. .. Yesterday was a nice day for walking around and having dinner with import-Parisians Magali and Pauline (because originally from Toulouse). Today has been nice to: lots of sun again and plenty of beautiful places to visit.

(© Paris - FR, October 2008)
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Peaceful and quiet

Posted 13 October 2008 - Barcelona (ES):

And another `relaxed` photograph: a handful of people enjoying peace and quietness at the Père Lachaise cemetery. While posting this photo, I already got my butt moved to Barcelona for a couple of productive working days.

(© Paris - FR, October 2008)
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Helicopter view

Posted 14 October 2008 - Barcelona (ES):

Pleasant temperatures, lots of thoughts, but otherwise no news..

(© Barcelona - ES, October 2008)
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Beautiful label

Posted 15 october 2008 - Barcelona (ES):

Lots happening, nothing to tell. Just one thing: I just love the design of this label for sparkling water.

(© Barcelona - ES, October 2008)
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Ca de neuf!

Posted 20 October 2008 - Amsterdam (NL):

I`m back in The Netherlands after two weeks that alternated between relaxation and hard work. I plan to consolidatum this rhythm for the coming weeks, which means that I might skip some daily postings every now and then.

Alors, quoi de neuf? The two days I spent in Brussels turned out to be very useful. I met up with the editor`s team of Indigo, a European newspaper whose management team I recently joined. We had a couple of productive brain storm sessions about the contents of the upcoming three releases in 2009. Being in Brussel also allowed me to meet up with some friends: Peter from Slovenia who works for The New Federalist, Fredrik with whom I worked in Poland in 2002 and Melissa who was a classmate of Bas when he studied in Poland in 2004. Also made some new friends, which is always pleasant.

Being back on Saturday allowed me to go and play tennis on Sunday. Together with Bas, did some bricolage in Sanne`s apartment on Sunday, then had dinner together and so that`s how the weekend ended.

Today is Monday and the schedule for next week looks well-filled. Briefly met up with a famous Dutch cartoonist in Amsterdam today and will meet again on Wednesday. Two meetings tomorrow: one in Utrecht and one in Nijmegen. No clearly defined plans for Thursday and Friday yet. I just know that the evenings will be packed with compiling additional countries for the Luxembourg exhibition.

Below photo is the result of a photo shoot I did a few weeks ago. Four writers who will join the Crossing Border festival and write about how they experience it. The festival itself is taking place between 18 and 22 November. I may also be involved during those days, depending on their needs and my availability. That`s all for now.

(© October 2008)
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Small adaptations to the PhotoLog

Posted 29 October 2008 - The Hague (NL):

Good news for loyal! The RSS feed has been updatumd and now also includes the headlines of each article.

If you have not yet fed DailyPhoto to your feed reader, please refer to the DailyPhoto RSS.

Second change of the day: Entries without photos which relieves me of posting a photo along with every single post. I`ve been working on quite many parallel projects during the last couple of weeks. Interesting ones, but they do take attention, time and focus away from photography. I do have interesting thoughts and news to share and will tell more about those tomorrow.

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Financial crisis

Posted 30 November 2008 - The Hague (NL):

Hello and welcome to photoless post number 2. I noticed how I have not yet written anything about the financial crisis, even though I have been keeping quite a close look at what`s happening out there.

So far, I have not been touched by it. I hardly have any savings left since I came back from the Us Europeans trip. I have so far refused to save up money for a pension, I do not own any immobile property and I am not very attached to money. I may not be winning anything, I am not losing anything either. That puts me in a comfortable position to assume the observer role in the whole story.

What I see is a correction for many senseless things that happened in recent years. People spending too much money on useless stuff, putting faith in financial independence and seeing the possession of money as a goal in itself. I hope that this crisis will show people that even the value of money is only relative. Money can only temporarily replace the necessity for people to feed themselves, to keep themselves busy in a useful way and to rely on each other. In the same way internet cannot replace real life. Both money and the online world are means to an end, but neither of them is a purpose in itself.

All of that leads me to think that the lifestyle in rich countries will change quite a bit during coming years. People will hopefully be reinforced to re-assess their behaviour to see which parts make sense and which ones have become redundent or even counterproductive. People will put less trust in authorities, instituations and fundamental assumptions that have deliberately fooled them. Banks (speculating with savings), governments (speculating with savings) and churches (speculating with savings and not living by the rules they themselves set for others) but also market monopolies (mobile phone companies), hierarchical office structures (9-to-5 mentality) and people who do not deliver on their promises.

It`s back to basics, back to comprehensible ideas that do not cost more than they are worth, fewer endless traffic jams, back to locally grown products, back to sense and simplicity, as Philips Electronics like to put it. Altogether, more consciousness about the values that do matter in life. Tremendous opportunities wait ahead for anybody who is flexible enough to give up the idea that money is a solution to everything. Which may sound strange from somebody who works with investment funds, but so be it. It`s all a matter of balance, and that`s exactly what summarises today`s situation in the world: the quest for a new balance.

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Modus operandi: fast forward

Posted 31 October 2008 - The Hague (NL):

It`s been three months since I returned from my traveling year, and two months since I officially resumed work. Time for a quick review of how things have developed.

I was happy to get back home and I am still happy about being home. I still oftentimes get asked about whether it takes a lot of effort to get used to the change of rhythm: from switching locations every two days to living in one place again, from traveling to working, from being on my own to being back into a fully familiar environment. The answer is simple: yes it has been very easy to adapt. It didn`t even feel like adapting to be honest. Maybe mere flexibility has been one of the greatest learning experiences during the one year trip. I can live and work wherever I am, which singles out the question of where I want to live and work. For now, The Netherlands still seems a quite alright place for that.. And if I want to get out, I can. And I will: next week to Barcelona and to Paris again in about three weeks time.

My way of working is quite different from what I was used to before leaving. And also different from standard ideas about working. I don`t have any office anymore, nor do I have real colleagues, fixed working hours or a fixed working place. I spent most of my time at home, in cafés or at other people`s offices. I read lots, meet up with lots of interesting people and generate lots of ideas. I feel privileged for working in a way that will be much more common in the future. Take a look at this piece of film about new working philosophies to see what I mean.

Let me sum up my basic activities at the moment:

* Scout for interesting ideas through Funds for Fun: for which I spent most of my time reading stuff, meeting people and attending events;

* Writing articles about each of the European countries: under commission of a Dutch website, which I will mention on this blog as soon as the articles start appearing online. A nice way to keep my insights into all the national cultures at a decent level;

* Helping pan-European magazine Indigo advance with their ambition: being part of their management team, joining brain storm sessions and see how we can increase the impact of this magazine. It`s also a nice way of meeting plenty of international people and attending international conferences;

* Making progress on the Us Europeans photo exhibition: making slow progress with this as it is a tremendous job to put together all the photographs I took during my trip;

* Helping Sanne with her new house: project to be completed by next weekend;

* Creating a network of independent workers like myself: and hooking them up so that they can meet in a cafés and work in `parallel mode`. Will explain what that means in upcoming posts.

Allowing this message to come to an end, I would like to share below photo with you. It datums back from the weekend in Paris, a couple of weeks ago. As I was taking photos from the terrace you see on the righthand side, one of the clients of the café decided to photograph me back. Result below, I received it in my mailbox today. Amazing how easy and nice it is to chat with unknowns and stay in touch afterwards.

(© Paris - FR, October 2008)
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