Why you must try new things

Old friends, new connections.

I’m here sitting at a café on the last day of my stay here in Berlin. Time passed way too fast here, and you could say this is because I’m having too much fun, but I can also say, after visiting this particular city on 4 particular occasions already, things are way less interesting than the first few times.

There are so many things I’ve seen in the city, and I’ve begun to remember the streets and where everything is. Suddenly, it’s not so interesting anymore. But that is not to say, this city has more charm than others.

And that’s when you need to get out there and seek out new experiences.

Or else, I realized. Any city would be boring.

Berlin is a nice city to be. It is very vibrant. It isn’t like North America where everything are so distant and far and those distances must be conquered by personal cars. Over here, one could easily hop on the many modes of transportation, the U-Bahn (underground), S-Bahn (train), or one of the trams and busses – you’ll get to where you need to be in around 20 minutes or so.

I’ve been lucky enough to stay in the vibrant Center of Berlin, where walking home at 2AM in the morning and you’d still people out on the streets drinking their beers and smoking.

There’s life here that you wouldn’t experience elsewhere.

With that said, through my friends I’ve also met many new connections here, many of whom are incredibly intelligent and inspirational. I’m also incredibly surprised how well I was able to resolve some personal issues as well, rather than focusing on what I can’t change at the moment, I’m gearing myself up for the moment and what could be done.

What can I say. Overall, this trip was therapeutic and productive in its own way. A nice city break.


What does it mean to have a goal ?

“Don’t waste time.”

“Don’t stop until you get there.”

“Ignore everything else.”

These three things are what I’m gearing up to when I return home mid-June. I already know there are a billion things I must deal with when I get back, and I know that while I’d rather not, it is necessary.

I know full well that if I don’t deal with what’s really bothering me back home then I’d never have the chance to move forward fully and that is true with every other problem.

One cannot flee from what is bothering them if the bother follows after.

It is necessary to deal with the current, put that in the past and then never look back again.

If the premise is not met, then the chapter is half written – unfinished.

Therefore the gap, even when the chapter is finished, will come back and haunt you.

The only way to prevent this from happening is go back and put an end to the storyline that no longer serves the overall story but wastes ink all the same.

Go back and close that chapter.

So you can be fully prepared to start a new one.

Having a goal meaning have a vision, a purpose, and not stopping, until you are satisfied with the outcome.

How I unconsciously quit Instagram (for now).

It was the other day, when I was rushing through my day, I realized, something wasn’t popping up on the top of my phone. No notifications other than emails? That’s odd. Then I realized. I had logged out of Instagram that one night and haven’t gone back on since.

Then life went on.


It’s true that social media has grown exponentially in the past ten years, and now we have all forms of it, Facebook, Tumblr, Twitter, Instagram, SnapChat, Vine etc. you name it – it’s like a never ending share-athon of ideas and information. There’s of course entertainment value to be had from Social Media, but increasingly, there’s a pressure for young people, or even professionals to keep up with the ‘Social Media’ game.

“Are you on SnapChat? Twitter?”

Say no and expect a look of disappointment from the person who’d just asked you the question, and feel a sense of FOMO – am I missing something out by not being on those platforms?

Cue to downloading the app and trying it out for yourself, then spending hours on it.

But the point is, I fail to keep up either way.

Instagram is one of my favourite apps – it is always highly inspirational to see what my favourite photographers are doing on that app and highly inspirational to see sights from all over the world – however, now, that I am not traveling – I have 0 new content to contribute and 0 inspirations – rather than sobbing over a case of FOMO, I logged out to focus on the present – which currently requires more time and energy than I have to expend.

Between your professional life and your personal life, there is now a third ‘life’.

Your ‘social media life’, your ‘digital footprint’, ‘virtual persona’ – does it really reflect who you are as a person? Somewhat. But that’s a topic for another time. Currently, I only have time for ‘professional life’ anything personal is kept to a minimum and anything virtual is virtually nonexistent.


The only way to make things happen is to…

Work for it.

It’s no trick, no gimmick.

If you want to make things happen, or just simply get better, gain more experience in some field you’re interested in, simply jump in and start working on it. While it’s great that most of us has this idea where we want to be, and what to do, reality often falls short of imagination especially in a field you’re not exactly familiar with.

I’m writing this post after a photoshoot around the city with a friend. It all started with an idea, then it rolled into, okay let’s go take some pictures for her project. And so there it went, the first shoot with a model which took half a day and the post processing took me deep into the night.

Of course, I ran into technical issues while on the shoot. Photography, at least when we look at a finished product, we think, oh nice picture. However, the process is way more complicated than that. And yesterday, I only had my camera, a subject, and a city backdrop – that’s it.

I had to get creative, I had to improvise.

But in the end, after a day’s work that melted into the night – it really didn’t feel like work at all. And because I ran into difficulties, I have better appreciation of photography and I’m curious than ever to how to resolve those issues to become better as a hobbyist photographer – how to produce a better looking image.

So how do you make things happen?

  1. Ask for it – if you want to do something, ask for it, even if you have to ask 1,000 people and only 3 says yes, that’s your start.
  2. Prepare for it – I did location scouting the day before, and went to look at accessories in store to prepare for the shoot, of course recharge your camera and clean your equipment is crucial, since no camera, no memory card, means no result.
  3. Work for it – this is, if not the most crucial part. No one can make you into ‘anything’ if you don’t want it for yourself. In my experience, when I’m extremely interested in something, that’s when I don’t cut corners or smart ass my way out of it…(and when I smart ass my way out of things, that’s when I know I’m only putting in 25% of effort, and getting 50% of the results…it works with some things, but all in all, it’s mostly a waste of time and I try to limit the tasks where I only put in 25% of effort…because that’s not a way to live life.)

So there you have it, some take away points of life, from a photoshoot!


Things I would’ve done differently on my trip, if I were to do it again.

And so to beat the PTBS (post travel blues syndrome) I went looking through footage I took in Europe and from it, I can see why I did not collect enough useable footage, despite having accumulated around 50 GB worth of material (that’s quite a lot of pictures/video footage). The first thing I noticed was that, I was perhaps too ambitious with my 3-4 days / city plan, especially if that 3-4 days / city plan was a free flowing type of plan that had 0 pre-thought and pre-planning to it. My 3-4 days / city plans were also interrupted with other ‘fun’ activities, like hanging out with friends in cafes and bars, going to events and club type of activities – these activities while fun, compressed actual shooting time even further. And looking through the photos, I concluded:

  1. Time spent in a city
  2. Pre-planning
  3. Weather conditions/Environment/how you improvise
  4. Collaborative efforts

Are all factors to consider when you visit a city for creative endeavors.

Cologne, a hidden gem waiting to be explored

“Why did I take so long to visit this city, silly me.” was the thought that popped into my head when I stepped out of the Cologne Hauptbahnof and immediately into the shadow of the Cologne Dom. The Gothic architectural wonder built in 1248…

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(Cologne Cathedral. January 2. 2016. They built this in 1248? That’s 768 years ago!!! And this city has 2000 years of history??? How??????)

Oh yeah, so I stood in awe of the wonder that was the Gothic architecture for a whole while and of course I couldn’t capture the entire building for lack of proper photographic equipment. Nevertheless, my day began there and was quickly filled with hiding away from the rain, trying to check into my hostel before actual check-in time, having a few misunderstandings, meeting up with friends and laughing until I started wheezing. Yes. It was all good fun and of course as I walked around the city for the 4th time today, I was greeted by this sight.


While it’s always a pleasure to see something in picture. There’s more to a place than a 2 dimensional picture. The Cologne Cathedral is one of those things I would bump up the travel list for its sheer grandeur. I was delightfully captivated and really a part of me still can’t believe I was fortunate enough to have seen it in person.

New day, new city!

Before the break of dawn today I was dragging my suitcase across the sleepy city of Utrecht and towards Utrecht Centraal destination Cologne, Germany. While this is more of an impulsive move than anything, I did always want to see the 2000 year old city of Cologne (which just happens to be Germany’s oldest city).

So off I go, 7:02 I set off on ICE International – what I noticed was that going somewhere by train was incredibly simple and fast, some thirty minutes later, I’d crossed over into Germany and by 9:12 I was in the city of Cologne.

Not only that, I’ve also noticed the public transportation system involving trains are so much more efficient, user friendly, and well thought out. For example, 6:30 am in Utrecht Centraal, a lot of the grab and go cafes are open and the fare offered there were much nicer compared to the choices that’d be available if it was North America.

Overall, I’m plenty impressed with how things work on this side of the world and needless to say, before even exploring this city I can say I will definitely come back another time, another season to see it again in another light.

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.


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.


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.