CouchSurfing (CS) in Venice

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I wanted to say thanks for a fantastic 2013! To celebrate the start of 2014, I got to spend some time with some amazing people from the CS community in Venice. A strong and so friendly bunch!

Highlights of the night for me: 

– Random dancing in the group
– Everyone sharing champagne, when I was in need of a corkscrew.  
– Help with the corkscrew problem. Result = open bottle 🙂 
– More random smiles and general joy! 

Keep in mind that until meeting these people, they where complete strangers to me and I to them. CS attracts some pretty amazing people and I got to see several of these! 

Below a picture of high CS spirit! 

Best wishes for 2014, 
Christian  CS White Venice

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World record ticked of the list.

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World record

Iron Sky Part 3 – On stage producer

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The producer walks on to the stage at a third applause following the one at the movie ending and the one at the credits ending. He is introduced and asked to explaining the initial idea and process for the movie. As all good Finnish ideas, it seemed that this emerged six years ago in a sauna. I imagine like this:

After completion of Starwreck. The scene is a whole film crew sweating.]
Dude, what is next?
I do not know?
How about nazis? From the moon?
Ehm… hmm… Ahh… Not bad!

We where introduced to the thought process of the producers and their fears. What was the most interesting was the part about the fans. They knew they needed a lot of money, but where not sure how to get their hands on to this. So they ingeniously devised a system where fans could take ownership in the movie by investing in it. Profits from the movie will then be shared back to the fans. Nevertheless, the fans were not in any position to fund all the millions required. So the producers also had to go out and ask for further funding from different funds. It turned out that the fans where an asset in this process, as the major interest from fans to invest in the movie where received positive by the funds. Furthermore, these fans also spread the word online and the producers were able to map out the fans interested in the movie, which also was a convincing fact. The mapping of the fans also played a role in the distribution stage. Distributers where not completely convinced by the script and would like to see the movie before buying in. In particular the German distributors, where Nazi themes remain controversial. The fan mappings and interest where a convincing fact for these companies.

It is a known fact by entrepreneurs that banks will indulge with your requirements of funds if you can present a batch of committed buyers or orders. This is actually what I expect happened here. The fans have contributed so much into this project, that it materialised and this convinced people who need to sell tickets that someone would buy these. The concept is interesting and is supported practical examples of online case from kiva.org, rockethub.com or kickstart.com. My curiosity is considering whether we could be moving towards an economy we demand fuels innovation and creation. We could see huge blockbusters produced on the basis of national or worldwide demand, not because a Hollywood firm decided for the production. It may endanger some of the more artistic and low-budget movies, but perhaps these will be able to serve a more localised demand and revel amongst local support and funding. The failure rates and movie flop list may also decrease. Decisions will no longer be made by a handful of “supposed” experts, but directly by the end consumer. Success will benefit the investors. Since they partly are the fans, these will get new funds for further investments. We would see the funds move towards the movies you and me would actually like to go and see. It may even go as fare that a ban of online file sharing services and increased copyright protection might not be necessary anymore. Afterall you need to be a sensible fan/investor and protect your interests, right?

Round, round and round…

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Postmasters I find my self caught spinning in circles and not entirely satisfied with my situation. Preparing for a world trip is a tedious task and takes up a lot of time. Not the task themselves, but the waiting time in between is long. For instance, vaccinations are done in less than 15 minutes at the doctors, but besides being expensive they also need incubation time, which is months! Dentist appointments, cancelling phones, RTW tickets, etc, etc, etc.

So to sum up I am left with plenty of idle time. Time which I have spent partly on travelling, as procrastinating. Travelling is always rewarding, and I got around quite a lot. All the way to Istanbul. I was preparing for a visit in Iran, but a few events made this visit a slightly more risky than I would like. So I have felt the need to postpone Iran until Denmark is back on the neutral list. Another country that seems to be off limits for Danish people these days is India, which also is an immense regret. In the end, I thought it better just fly over those two countries and straight to east Asia.

This presented me with another problem. Buy tickets on the way or get a RTW ticket. RTW deals are available at some discount, but requires you to stick to a certain schedule. If you just want 4 flights connecting 4 continents and make the continental crossing by bus or train you better bring the bulky wallet. I might have picked some unconventional destinations, but found that I could get the trip cheaper checking on my own. So quick decision fell on mobility instead of knowing. The things you know becomes rather trivial quite fast. Not knowing might be fearsome and scary, but also rewarding and exciting.

With plenty of time to spend and not wanting to plan the fun out of the trip, I am stuck with procrastinating. Procrastinating meaning a lot of entertainment from online gaming with brothers to movies and browsing the web. I have even made it so far as typing “I am bored” into a google search more than once. On the plus side, I have had time to talk to friends and family. Creativity have also flourished, and a few projects were joined. Postcrossing and ItStartsWithUs are two of the fascinating projects I joined. The first is exchange of postcards with people from all over the world, where you create a profile and start exchanging postcards with people. ItStartsWithUs is a slightly different project, where a crowd of people volunteers for small missions of joy. In particular I like the mission called Love Bomb. If you have a friend, whom life has dealt shitty cards. You can propose your friend for a Love Bomb. You friend will then receive a massive wave of encouragement to keep the spirit up and see it through. I sincerely advice that you will check out these projects, because they both can drop you magic on an average day.

For this weekend, I am set on hitching for Berlin to spend some time with friends and catch one particular movie at the Berlinale. It is called Iron Sky and is a spoof production from Finland. I have followed it for a little while now and what fascinates me is that it is a crowdsourced production. This meaning a certain part of the funds have come from committed fans who wanted to see this movie made. The trailer is yet not online, but you can find the presentation for the Berlinale here.

For those whom are still reading I would like to ask whether you have projects you are committed too? What are these projects and why did you join or become part of it?

Oh and last note. A friend of mine send me this photo he edited. The little self loating person inside of me says: “well done!”.
me in Amsterdam.

New Features on the site!

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People who have meet me, may have realized I am a little entrepreneur and from time to time come up with these crazy ideas. That is why I thought about collecting some of the ones I think are if not good at least decent! You can find them here.

Most of the ideas have been derived from discussions or from people I have meet. They may exist in some countries and not in others, but to my knowledge I have not stumbled upon them yet. Therefore, I may have risked inventing the spoon twice, as you say. For that, I can only apologise with my limited knowledge.

If you have ideas of your own, that you do not dare to publish, feel free to pitch it below, anonymously. You can also suggest improvement or tell why the idea will never work. If you are going to test the idea for yourself, please let me know. I would love to hear, watch or experience it taking shape.

Last but not least a friend was asking for a subscription button on this site. You should be able to find this to your right? Just type in your e-mail and you will get posts like these delivered instantly to your inbox.

One last thing. As I will be during travel Marathon from Berlin to Istanbul in December, you will be able to receive postcards from me during this. If you want a postcard and still have not shared you address with me, then better hurry up unless you want a postcard from Istanbul! Take care and enjoy the last of your Monday.

 

Finished And Above The Bar

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So, recently I attended my graduation ceremony along with my peers. It was a glorious rainy day in Dublin, where everything left outside more than a few seconds would get soaked! Though the weather was not giving any joy, there where plenty of smiles on all faces while we were lining up, in alphabetical order, for the ceremony of awarding us our degrees. Most of us were collecting a master and a few part-timers their diplomas.

About a week and half before, I was given a heads up for the ceremony. Apparently I did decently on my overall performance. So good, that I got the highest academic performance in my category and was to be awarded a prize for my performance. It goes without saying my parents were beaming with joy when I told them! I, on the other hand, was somewhat detached. I had never been the best before and was strangely unfamiliar with the feeling. I did not tell anyone I was going to get a prize, but waited for the information to be leaked at the graduation ceremony.

Me and the president of GCD

Following that came what I can only describe as a wave of congratulations, for both me and my parents. It was a terrific feeling, but then again I hardly did anything different then I would have done. I was told it was hard work though when recalling the time I did recognise difficult situations, but do not remember them as hard work. If this is due to having passed these barriers, so that I now consider them smaller obstacles than they were, I do not know.

Anyway, after the celebrations in Dublin I got celebrated at home where my story got tipped to a local newspaper. I got a call from a journalist who wanted to bring the story for the local area. Before I knew it, I had given an interview and had made arrangements for a minor photoshoot for the article. After the article had been published, my parents and I got another round of congratulations. However, one person’s commendation in particular caught my attention.

It was my grandmother who besides being proud also mentioned that she thought it was about time with a success story in the news. Asking to the exact context, she explained that she was getting slightly annoyed by how often unhappy or unsuccessful (read gangs, drugs, drinking, theft and violence) youths where mentioned. I know my grandmother is old fashioned and, therefore, tends to exaggerate things from time to time, so the past seems more rosy than it perhaps was. However, it might also just be me who stopped paying attention to these things, which I think is particularly disturbing as a fact.

Now that I had my master, I went on to the road. I hitched from Denmark down to Berlin where I am going to spend an entire weeks time visiting friends I met in Düsseldorf, Paris, Dublin and the city itself. Then I have to make my way to Istanbul where I booked a flight for the 22nd of December to Hamburg, so I can make it back home for Christmas. The 27th I will be flying to Oslo for two nights before going to Dublin to celebrate New Years with more friends. What follows in January is yet to be known, but I am sure I will figure it out soon enough.

Limbus and Good times

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Suki Yaki

I find myself relocated in Denmark as I am writing this. My master is now finished, and everything that remains is the final graduation ceremony which will take place Friday next week in Dublin, Ireland. This will be the end of an era as a student and the beginning of… I do not now what this is the beginning of, but I am curious to find out.

Since the last time, I completed my Viva, which was my oral defence of my thesis. If you are interested, you can find the presentation here. I actually did it in power point as well, because that was the rules in the guidelines told me too! You can this here. I was concerned about using a new software and in particular some software that was so different from standard PP-slides. In the end, it turned out to be a great “gamble” and was even suggested that Prezi would be included in the guidelines for future reference. So in the end I not only got a “well done” for my Viva, but also altered the guidelines for future students. Even though it was a small and probably even insignificant change it still felt great. We should not forget to celebrate the smaller victories in life!

So what now, I asked my self? After celebrating with Suki-Yaki (see the picture), I was left with an interllegtual hunger to saturate. So I filled it up with a short trip to see friends and family in Ulm, Munich and Copenhagen. Along the way, I picked up a few books to read, if you want you can check the out here. Besides that, I have started freelancing part-time, currently I am doing phone interviews at a pretty decent rate per hour. I have also stated sending out applications for certain jobs, mainly related to industries or companies I would like to work within. However, this is only to keep me busy while figuring out where I will travel. Currently I am spending much time looking at the interail map and dreaming of trips to go upon. For the time being it is causing me great annoyance that I will be limited to an amount of trips or amount of time I can travel, if I go inter-railing!

Did you know that the European train-network was originally designed for troop transports during war time? Also, did you know that during WWII Russian soldiers where navigating through the help of train tracks? You can find pretty amazing things to know about trains!

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