Travel and illness

So you’ve planned a trip and organized fun activities within that trip…except, oh wait, you’re first hit with cancelled trains, then hit with food poisoning – opps, and essentially lose three days of traveling time.

Time for a serious reality check.

What I’m learning this time is that my plans might’ve been a little bit too ambitious, trying to cram too many cities all in at once is not a smart idea – thinking back, last year, spending a week in each city was much more feasible from a multitude of perspectives, not only would I get to experience the city in a self paced way, I also got to relax. Thinking back, given the time I’m giving myself this year and the a list of things on the bucket list, it’s not exactly a surprise why I’d fallen ill.

Improper rest = busted immune system.

Which is why I might reconsider Amsterdam. While yes, I would like to party all night during New Years, I’m also sane enough to admit that I’m nowhere near that level of health where I could just squander it then recover with two very good nights of 12 hours sleep…I might as well end up having a quiet one this year and just sleep into 2016…

Travel Fatigue: when you go too far too fast

“Why am I so tired.”

I asked my reflection in the mirror the other morning. It was half past nine and I knew I had to get out the door and get to breakfast at the hotel before it closed at 10am and that would open up a new day of crossing things off the list.

Then I realized, that’s not fun. Travel is supposed to be fun isn’t it? And fun means setting your pace and doing things your way. There’s a reason why I had decided to make this trip – to relax and gather some thoughts. Then I realized, I’ve only been on this continent for a week and already I’ve been in France, Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Belgium and now Germany… okay so that average out to almost a country a day – that’s much faster than the traveling I’m used to – for example, I only did 4 cities in the time of a month last year and that was very well executed in my opinion. I got my rest and I got to see things. So this is definitely something to take into consideration for traveling next time round, and of course, to figure out the travel pace you’d prefer.

I do have to say this year was a little rushed. Prior to making the trip, I thought I had an idea of what’s going to happen – except then plans change – especially when you make plans months in advance and you factor in seeing people as a part of your plan as well, then your plan becomes highly variable and improvising becomes key.

Now, I’m just glad I’m here in Berlin for a couple more days and that’ll give me time to rest up, explore the city other than it’s museums, but the party side of things. There are two parties I’m looking into happening on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day here in the city. So that’s that. Have a very Merry Christmas!

Berlin: feeling quite at home

“This city really vibes with me.”

Or whatever the cool kids are saying these days. The excitement to see this city again happened long before I boarded the plane. Sorry to say, but for me Belgium wasn’t that impressive in my opinion (hence I’m skipping blogging about it altogether, other than the tidbit about beware of delays and inefficiencies…) so anyways, Germany on the other hand is clearly the opposite. Not after five minutes my plane landed and I had walked to the luggage belt, my luggage was already there and not to mention I was ready to get my Berlin pass and get out of there.

All of which took less than 10 minutes.

I also realized I remembered the city better than I thought.

Perhaps it’s because I’ve been here already that I feel well settled into the atmosphere with a side of what I already know what to expect, what I want to see, what I want to shoot.

And here’s just a picture of that, boys crossing the street by taking up the entire street ūüėČ #BerlinVibes

I can’t believe I’m still awake after 36 hours and 3 countries later…

“Do you feel like going out clubbing?”

“Nah. It’s my last night here, I think I”m good. Still need to pack…”

Five beers later.

“Should we check out the other gay bar?”

Five songs and cigarettes later.

I was home and cleaning and packing then by six fifteen I was dragging my suitcase to Oslo Sentralstasjon to get on my train to Gothenburg –¬†Hvor sp√¶ndende (how exciting) – then an overtly hot 4 hour train ride later, I was in Gothenburg, Sweden. Originally, I had planned to checkout the city there, and had I slept I definitely would’ve, however, since I was twenty four + four (wow, which makes 28 hours) without sleep, I was less than enthusiastic to use the 2 hours I had there wisely. I drank a cup of coffee and managed to almost break the mug by dropping it…

Needless to say, I’m just all kinds of graceful today – and all kinds of fast in processing information.

I’m saying that I won’t do this again – no, I actually foresee this happening at another time soonish, like when I head to another party city and meet up with friends – but for the next two days, my plans are just catching up on sleep and try and not get sick because of lack of sleep and actually do some much necessary work. Traveling is also making me realize how little time – despite that I’ve been up a total of 36+ hours now – it dragged on, still, it’s not a lot of time to squeeze in the dedication needed for the results.

So, as soon as I get on that plane I’m waiting on, it’s snooze until landing – fingerscrossed the hotel beds are comfortable as well.

Oslo – impressions part ii

First things first, I talked about my initial impressions¬†of Oslo Norway and after day two of museum going and Friday night beer drinking with Norwegians, I promised myself¬†I’m definitely coming back.

Yes. Oslo, the city that is not on most people’s top priority list, should be bumped up a few spots at least in my opinion. Oslo is not only home to mighty ships built centuries ago, the Fram, Kontiki, but it’s also home to two major artists – namely Edvard Munch and Gustav Vigeland. As an art buff, I got way too excited when I saw some of the works I’ve only read about up close and personal – did I come close to tears? Maybe.

I won’t spoil the rest.

The point is seeing the works in person and marvel, so I’ll leave that to you when you visit.

The other half of the day included meeting up with a friend, and doing one of those things Scandinavians do very well – beer drinking – yes – so then I went to eat traditional Norwegian food with my Norwegian friend, then went bar hopping at three different locations and surprisingly, Oslo had a lot to offer – from local craft beers to foreign exports – not to mention the throwback style music really got my friend and I reminiscing. And of course, after a few beers, I started to blurt out random words of the Danish and Swedish variety…and might’ve picked up some Norwegian curse words as well. All in all, Oslo was surprisingly fun (unlike what my friends whom had visited had said) but then again, I realize this also comes down to knowing the right people who are up and willing to have the same type of fun as you have in mind.

OSLO – first impressions

Perhaps it’s because I’ve already been to Sweden and Denmark, after a full first day in Oslo, I have to say that Oslo ranks high on quintessential things Scandinavian – Oslo, the impression I’ve gotten, was that the city is a quiet one. With an urban population under 1 million, there’s little wonder why.

I caught the rush hour traffic commute with the normal commuters around eight in the morning and found that, Norwegian metro trains were full, but not congested like the ones I’m used to…perhaps it’s because they run on a much higher frequency with more lines and services that connects one part of the city to another. And when one reaches above ground, the foot traffic is also sparse.

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As seen here, a street in Downtown Oslo, around 9am. Oh and here’s another thing, the sun doesn’t rise until after 9am here, and sets around 3pm.

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Another quintessential Scandinavian thing I found about Oslo is that one does not have to venture far to see nature. In fact, a bus ride couple stops from the Central Station will get you to places that feels barely disturbed by human presence.

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You know you’re in Scandinavia when you…

I could go on and on about Scandinavia, but just few of the essentials are that the temperature must permit formation of snowflakes – yes, when I arrived in Oslo, Norway today, it was snowing. Another must have is that everything seems like a contradiction – the cities are always futuristic with shadows of the old, a lot of historical sights unchanged from decades past mixed in with newer, more modern architecture. I haven’t done much exploring yet as I arrived after sunset and hence the shots taken were night shots and therefore B&W made more sense in post processing.

I decided to take my DSLR everywhere…including work.

If you’re going to invest in a camera that’s worth a pretty penny, then you better find ways to acquaint yourself with your newfound creative tool. With my current work schedule it’s impossible to find time to go out for creative shoots, so what I ended up doing was…taking my new camera to work. And during lunch breaks, I’d walk around outside and take on new perspectives for mundane things.

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Like this vine here on the wall, what is it doing being so green in the middle of December?

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Or, which bird will eventually fly away with the bread? And how come the crows don’t seem so interested in crossing the parking lines?

And the most fun part is of course looking through the photos and editing them when I get home. The image quality of the Canon70D is pretty much flawless in my (albeit humble and beginner’s) opinion. I’m completely satisfied with the 18-135 mm kit lens that came with the Canon70D and also the 50mm 1.8 I purchased thereafter. I can see a lengthy relationship here forming with my new creative sidekick for years to come.

 

Keeping up the good work one step at a time.

First you dream it, then you build it.

That’s something I believe in, deeply. Especially now that my goals are clear cut and while I admit there’s resistance – both internal and external – I also know that more than half of the fun is in the struggle and the eventual achievement of these personal goals.

The worst case scenario would be having time pass and nothing happen.

The best case scenario would be being where I want to be in life, geographically, physically and mentally. However, this won’t be my ‘new year resolution’ as I believe I’ve already started this ongoing journey. From first discovery to formulating the ideas in daydreams which I tried to talk myself out of due to ‘difficulties’ and ‘realistic expectations’ – but then I realized. Life doesn’t have to be ‘realistic’ there’s no guarantee if life would pan out even if you played by society’s recommended¬†‘guidelines’. So I’m doing the opposite. I’m going about it my way. And I’m going to make it happen.