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

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.

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!

The impact of people!

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Yesterday I was going to Düsseldorf and my train was leaving at 11.27 am.

I pre-ordered a ticket via phone and only had to pick it up from the ticket-counter before I left. The nice lady on the phone told me to switch in the normal places and how much time I had, etc, etc. Of I went without my looking at my ticket and got off 3 stations later on the border station (Padborg), which is literally a dead-end, but also my normal switch. I walk across the platform and see no train waiting – thinking the train is delayed I look at the announcement screen seeing no train is scheduled. At this moment I turn and see the train I got off continue south to Germany!

At this moment I feel like banging my head against something, but no time I got a train to catch right? So I run across the platform and across the traintrack-crossing (that is how remote it is!) to the front of train station. I see a taxi and run over, waving at him. I get nothing and am left in front of the car looking stupid through the windows. Then I realize he is a sleep! “Wake up” I mumble while knocking on the window. He looks like a drowsy koala and opens the back of his trunk – “I need to catch a train in Flensburg” I tell him “just missed it here, because I am stupid!”. He nods and agrees, off we go. After a ride with interesting stories about taxi-economies, retirement and how saving sucks; I get off in Flensburg only to realize I missed with 5 mins and am 25€ lighter in my pocket…

So I have to get a train 30 mins later, which leaves me time for coffee and finding a spot for banging my head. On the train I get to Neumünster and switch to a new train. Just before Writs we are told someone attempted to off their life in front of the train I missed in Flensburg. They already have buses waiting, but with +300 people and only one bus everyone is pissed. The suits gets into the few taxies available and the rest starts complaining. I notice that a lot of cars is passing by in front of the station, so I sit down and make a sign for the next station (Elmshorn). After noticing the direction of the taxies I pull out a smile and thumb. In less than 5 minutes and some odd looks from the people in front of the train station waiting for the bus, I catch a ride for a DB-worker and he goes all the way to Hamburg. Yeah!

After a nice ride talking about travelling, people, train-suicides and wind-catamaraning, I am dropped of at an S-bahn station. I get a ride with S-3 and arrive to Hamburg Hbf 30 mins before my train to Düsseldorf leaves. I arrive in Düsseldorf just 3 hours delayed and many experiences richer 🙂

Road Fork

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What should I do when this internship finishes? What should I do when my masters are done? Should I look into a Phd? Should I accept the current job offer? Should I travel and see the world? Should I start my own business?

Those are some of the questions taking up space in my mind at the moment. Though I am still 1+ month away from the masters. I have just finished my internship at trivago (www.trivago.dk) and was fortunate enough to be offered 1 year contract for an internship. Though the position was interesting to pursue I declined. This bring me back to Denmark where rest of September will be spend on finishing my master dissertation.

I have been looking into further studying (IT or language) and will probably continue to look into it while I finish my masters. In the end I am pretty sure that I will travel for some time and maybe even shift continents. Oddly enough I seem to be having a fear about shifting the continents, but not the country. So my plan will be to head for Istanbul and see if I dear to step over the Bosporus, but first the master.

Writing you final master project is not easy – you need to decide on a qualitative or quantitative study, where upon you need to justify whether this model will provide valid data and 100 other limitations. The most difficult part is to be above the Bachelors level and restrain yourself from going all the way to Phd. The first because it will not fulfil the requirements and the later because you just do not have the time nor resources.

As I battle on with my thesis and dream about which road I will walk down – I wanted to enquire what you would do when you finish? Will you find a nice little cottage, with your dream girl and start your career? Will you throw all this over your back, strap on a backpack, and walk off into the wild?

Source: http://www.milesjcarter.co.uk/photos/

And so he, the VikingR, went to Düsseldorf

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Those of you whom read my previous post will know I was battling hard with some of the other opportunities I got in from the internship-seeds I planted. You will also know that I was pondering about bolting what I had already chosen for something better. And – I did it.

I jumped on the train and went to this interview in Düsseldorf. You know just to look, but not touch? Now I ended up having my hands all over this place. I am also still in touch with my previous internship and working on remote from Düsseldorf.

Besides that I started my thesis and must say that the science of academia is a peculiar one. Not much what is written and researched is reviewed, read or commented on by peers. From time to time you come across academic “trolls” or “flamers”. These creatures are not like the average guy you meet on the online forums and discussions. These have put serious thought into it. They have thought so long and consistently, that it almost sounds plausible what they are arguing.

Another interesting field I have been going into in connection with my studies is that of semantics and the meaning we put into different things. Think about Nuclear power. What are you thoughts? Pretty much a no go, right? Then take this into consideration: for every 1 human life ended by nuclear power, the same amount of power in coal costs 4.000 human lifes. How did that resonate and change you semantics of nuclear power?

Also I was reading the post of Anabella about “What college is really about”. How I would have loved to sit in on that debate she had. I find it awesome that she can agree on disagreeing, that is some strength for the future. That is probably a much better skill then anything she learned about marketing or what would you say?

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