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Vagablond

About the blog

On the way - through life and around the world - this blog consists of Vagablonds stories, thoughts and ideas.
The blog is divided into categories: 365 consist of everyday stories, updates, current travel experiences and the like. OUT & ABOUT gives you a glimpse of Vagablonds mind. VOYAGER involves anything travel-related; memoirs, advice, impressions.. The supersmart BLOND informs and the love for food category EAT explains itself.. QUOTES - a collection of Vagablonds faves.

Feel free to click around, read, make comments or give feedback. Enjoy travelling - enjoy life!

MENTAL PROGRAMMING

OUT & ABOUT Posted on 2011-10-25 20:59:16

The world is full of confrontations between people, groups
and nations who think, feel and act differently. At the same time, these
people, you and I, groups and nations; we are exposed to common problems that
demand cooperation for solution. Economic, environmental, natural, technological
and political developments or problems do not stop at national or regional
borders. Coping with the threats of volatile currencies, an EU crisis,
organized crime, poverty, terrorism, floods, pollution, AIDS, nuclear warfare
threats and so on, demands cooperation from leaders of many countries. Jintao,
Merkel, Zarkozy, Obama, Patil and Medvedev and their groups of followers, their
ways of thinking, how they feel, what they value and how they act: How to deal
with all these differences? How are we supposed to ever find mutual
understanding on a global level?

What I value as respectful, as important and essential in
business relations is most likely not the same values my Russian or Chinese
colleague hold. I am programmed to value what the people who have raised me and
the people I have grown up with see as important and valuable. If I would have
been born in the Middle East or in South-America I would have a mindset today
completely different of the one I have. I see myself as a “European” thinker,
or, more correctly, “Northern-European”. This is where I live and where I feel
accepted, my mindset and perception is common and m neighbours and friends
think, feel and act alike. Of course there are varieties among us, but in
general we can divide perception and values into geographical areas.

I call it mental programming. The sources of one´s mental
programs lie within the social environments in which one grew up and collected
one´s life experience. The programming starts within one´s family. Further the
neighbourhood, the school, the youth groups, the student environment, the work
place and the living community affects our programming. I guess a more
customary term for such mental programming is CULTURE. I have read that in the
study of social anthropology “culture” is a catchword for all patterns of
thinking, feeling and acting. I refer not only to the activities supposed to
refine the mind, but also ordinary activities and habits – such as eating,
greeting, showing or not showing feelings, keeping a certain physical distance
from others, making love or as simple as it may sound; the maintenance of body
hygiene. Culture consists of the unwritten rules of the social game. Culture is
learned. It derives from one´s social environment and not our genes. Human
nature and our individual personalities are other aspects – human nature being a
universal level inherited in our genes. Because we all feel anger, joy,
sadness, shame… However, how we express these feelings and how we obtain
these are closely linked to our culture. The personality on the other hand is
unique. Partly inherited, partly learned.

Extremely fascinating!

…and currently a topic I work with every day. This time I
am confronted with these exciting differences in a business situation and not on
a personal level. I have friends with all over the world and I have different
ways to act and communicate with my friends. Nevertheless, I love and respect
them all alike. In international business – cultural differences are challenging and a topic that leaders and employees have to cope with. Resistance? Not a solution.

I try to understand, I try to communicate cross-cultural.How to shape a sentence so that the receiver perceives the message I wish to communicate?

It is challenging and from time to time frustrating.

The
cultures or people involved in this specific case are mainly Northern-Europeans, nevertheless the
perception of certain actions of the past are very different.

I hope the communication flow
will contribute to clarification and not confusion – as it previously has been
proved was the case.

Challenging challenging but very very interesting. More to come..

Vagablond – out&about



OSLO

OUT & ABOUT Posted on 2011-07-27 10:56:25

And as all of us, I ask myself the question WHY?

What drives a human being to such evil?

Has this man no soul? No brain? No conscience? No heart?

Apparently not.

Newspaper DN wrote yesterday he “suffers” from a
superhero-syndrome. He had goals he needed to achieve, he wanted to rescue his
nation and his actions were classified with different values – killing gave
highest points. It is MADNESS. I have no words.

Yet I feel nothing towards this man. I despise his actions
and whatever he believes in, and I hope the people that will have to work and try
to understand and even defend him receive sufficient support.

As bizarre it may sound – I am relieved the perpetrator is a
white man.

It proves for those that may have been in doubt that this
action is just as Christian as terrorism is Muslim – there is no connection. No
religion encourages evil.

My thoughts are with my people. With Norway – a country in
grief.

Being such a small country, it warms me and gives me
strength to witness the mutual support and unity. There is no person that
should feel alone – there is room for all of us in this country. We all have a
place in the society and I sincerely hope and believe we all dig deeper into
ourselves and our surroundings after this tragedy.

We cannot change what happened; we suffer from a loss, a big
wound.

The past will however affect our future, let us not feel
hate but make this wound heal by being good to each other. Let the wound heal
into a scar that we carry with us into the future, a scar that has moved us,
maybe changed us and that will remind us..

I wish my readers and all other people in grief comfort and
peace.

“If you want to make the world a better place, take a look
at yourself and make a change.”

Vagablond – out&about



Friends with travellers syndrome

OUT & ABOUT Posted on 2011-05-07 03:45:48

I cannot believe my last week is about to begin. Time IS
flying and it will be weird to leave this amazing city and some of the people I
have met.

However – Buenos Aires has now become very known to me, and
I again search for change. The restlessness has returned to my doorstep – some
would say I am impatient (read: parents) – whatever version you prefer; I have
a syndrome and unless I am researching, planning, organizing, in love, scheduling
or just actually doing something, I get restless. I am diagnosed with the
so-called and self named travel syndrome. It can be in the shape of mind
travelling or physical travelling, doesn´t matter, they are usually both
present. Well, let’s just say that boredom and I don’t come along very well.

So, what´s up next?

As always, I cannot leave one place without having a plan
for a next. I already know that I will be in Lebanon by the end of the month,
reunited with fantastic people. And after that? Well, it all depends on
everything, doesn´t it smiley

What I wanted to blog today or just shout out loud is a THANK YOU – to all my friends and to my
family. Who accept me as I am (with my diagnosis)

You might believe the traveller syndrome is to my benefit
only? Well, think again. There are some drawbacks. Not to mention travel fever,
jet-lags, contagious diarrhea and worse, it’s the restlessness and the feeling
that in the end affects not just the ones “left behind”, but also and mainly
the traveller him– or in this case, herself.

First of all, to the female travellers’ disadvantage, is the
fact that she lives out of a bag. I miss having my large closet and a wide
selection of clothes, shoes, bags, underwear, make-up, perfumes and jewellery! I
confess: In 2009 I travelled through whole Central-America with my black
high-heels in my bag – and I used them one time only – the last night, New
Years Eve in Mexico, just for the sake of having used them. (And, I confess
again: I had two dresses with me, so that I would have something to choose from
on New Year’s Eve.) I did not bring stilettos and fancy dresses this time – the
extra weight simply doesn’t justify it. But gosh I miss dressing up! (Girls;
when I return, we have to have a girls night out where Comfort is not invited
and stays at home!)

Second, the traveller shares everything with nobody. Sad,
isn’t it? All the memories are inside the travellers´ head, and when you return
or along the way you can tell as much as you want, show all your pictures and
read your diary out loud, none of your friends or family were actually there with
you. As Einstein said; “the only thing that multiplies when shared is happiness”.

Third; the traveller is not a tourist. This can be perceived
both an advantage and a disadvantage – I leave that one up to you to decide for
yourself. Leave a comment if you dare.

Fourth; the absence of family and friends. Obviously, you
make friends along the way, but what distinguishes a travelling friendship from
what I would define a real friendship, is the friendships´ life cycle. A
traveller’s friendship experiences introduction and reaches maturity and death
sometimes within just an hour or two. What else is really left – you don´t have
the time to become friends. And, most likely you don´t even want to because a
long-distance friend means high maintenance costs. (Hey – that goes for more
than just friends too!)

As with any relationship, a friendship must be nurtured. (So
thanks Mr Zuckerberg – you made my world somewhat easier) Family is luckily
more independent from nurture – as family is family and it always will be – no
matter where you are or what you do. You are born into a family, you bond and
they, most likely, accept you just as you are from day 1. I however believe
that the level of nurturing is mirrored in the level of happiness and respect
within the family.

Friends are your
family by choice – but, there is a but (!), the choice is made by two. A
friendship will never last if one part is giving more or taking more than the
other, the “balance”, the “give&take” or the “yingyang” is fundamental. I
guess the same recipe goes for any relationship. It shouldn´t be a winner and a
looser, but two winners only. If you feel you are “the looser”, you give and
give, confront your friend with it or give it up. I have learned some lessons
here, and I still am studying the field of confronting uncomfortable
situations. Never fun, but such a relief afterwards!

Without care-taking, a friendship will not survive the
years. You know, show interest in the other person’s life, be sure to be
updated on what is happening and moving around and inside the other person, be
honestly rude whenever giving feedback and if it is a girl-girl friendship, the
nurturing process usually involves a yearly (non-domestic) shared consumption
of approx 50 litres of lattés or cappuccinos accompanied with gossip, analysis
of hes´ and plan-making.

At the end of the day, it all comes down to a few things,
and we of course all know what distinguishes our friends from our no-friends.

I am lucky to have a handful of friends with whom I can just
pick up the thread wherever we´ve left it when we meet again; whether it is in
Norway, in France (or currently Abu Dhabi to be more precise), in Korea or on
Skype. We have the ability to “freeze” the relationship and unfreeze it
whenever we reconnect. Just as with family. No need for further explanation –
we accept eachother just as we are.

In Norway we have this saying “Out of sight, out of mind” and this reflects
my point very well – because it distinguishes my friends from my “friends”.
Although we are out of sight, my friends are on my mind and with me. And I know
I am with you. And I look forward to whenever it is we arrive at the moment
when we “unfreeze” again.

Vagablond –
out&about


By the way; according to Facebook I have 313 friends. This
means I would have the time to spend one whole day with each of my friends
within a year and a second whole day with 52 of them. So, Mr Zuckerberg, if you
please solve the time-dilemma too, I would appreciate it very much.



WAVES

OUT & ABOUT Posted on 2011-04-10 18:37:49

Waves fascinate me – I can stare at waves and let them have my mind drift away for hours.

I remember living in Barcelona and some days when I needed to just drift away or escape reality, the beach was my place. At sunrise or sunset – empty – when you have it all for yourself; the breeze, the sky, the sand, the waves…

Peaceful.

The dynamics of the waves calm me. They fill me with energy, with new spirit. Waves destroy, they take silly thoughts and carry them far beyond the horizon – to the place where they vanish. The waves touch my feet and drain my soul from bad. It disappears.

Emptiness.

The silence lets my mind travel. The sound of water. The sound of a calm breeze. The spectacular view. Where sky hits water. Where winds play. Where the sun touches earth, resting on the horizon.

Then they grow, filled with powerful, new, good energy that hits the beach, hits my feet. New strength which the waves bring from somewhere out there, waves hitting the beach, touching my feet and replacing the recent created spaces of emptiness with freshness, with new strength and

happiness.

Recent and current waves have hit many. They have accumulated over long time and have grown into immense sizes. Latent powers, found beyond our Earth’s surface or within us. They are gigantic and extremely powerful and nothing like the waves I usually have in mind. And they hit hard. Very hard.

Japan. Waves of disaster.

Egypt. Syria. Madrid. Waves of unrest.

Libya. Côte d´Ivoire. Waves of war.

Waves destroy.

Waves drain.

Waves leave emptiness.

Waves replace.

Waves create.

My thoughts to all – I wish you find happiness in the end, too.

Vagablond – out&about



Exist and observe

OUT & ABOUT Posted on 2011-03-21 01:15:48

Sitting on a corner café where French meets Laprida where my order is about to be prepared by a young mozo. Waiting for a tonic water and today´s special and whilst I do so, I simply just exist and observe.

There are large maple trees along Laprida which stretch some metres above the high roof tops. It seems the trees are in fashion as they are dressed in bark in camouflage style – just like the army printed tank top I looked at the other day. The branches from each side of the Avenue reach out to viceversa branches, as if the trees were holding hands. It creates an image of a green ceiling whereas the leaves only allow a few rays to pass through. I wonder if it would be possible to cross from one roof top to the other on the branches. I will not investigate the thought in depth as my tonic water is served.

Icecubes in a hurry, upwards. Dancing in my glass, tickled by the sparkles.

The avenue is picturesque, like a B&W 1900-photograph of any Parisienne street with a corner café. Small balconies. Beautiful buildings.

A sip, lovely. Very refreshing although bitter. An old lady is dressed for a rendezvous or so, red lips and her finest handbag. Hair is curled. Some lipstick spotted on the cheek, but who cares. She feels beautiful, hence she is beautiful.

Today´s special. Looks delicious. Some pepper please.

A young couple in love. They have to stop to wait for the blue car to pass. So much in love, every moment is a kiss moment. Car passes. Not finished kissing. Another two cars pass by the time they decide to cross the street.

An elderly man sits down at the neighbour table. A large newspaper. Libya. He will probably have a coffee with the cigar he´s smoking.

Delicious, must be some garlic in the pesto.

A taxi is passing slowly. The driver is patrolling the streets for customers. Most likely he has cleaned his work space today, it is shining and so is he. Proud of his work although no customers in sight.

A lady walks her old dog on the opposite side of the avenue. Oh so tired he is. Must have been a long walk this Sunday.

It is Sunday and people are happy. Weekends are a blessing.

I will have an espresso, please.

Boca is playing tonight. Important match. Father and son are dressed in their supporter outfits. He must be at least 4 years of age, the boy. Traditions are important.

Flip flop flip flop. Surfer dude passing. Longboards are in and he has his under his right arm. Flip flop flip flop, surfer dude gone.

Oooops. Delivery guy on scooter in a rush. A car honks.

Hot. Strong. Black. Delicious this espresso.

A family forgets about Monday morning stress with nursery, school, work and homework. It is Sunday and they look forward to their evening together. Youngest one is asleep in the trolley, Mum and Dad hold hands and the middle one has a balloon. Probably McDonalds. The kids are happy. Cinema next?

Espresso gone.

Cigar-man leaves.

The bill please.

A man with a flower bouquet coming. Some lady will in short feel appreciated and he will receive a smile, maybe a kiss, maybe more. The man already smiles. I smile. He notices and nodds. Oh yes, she is one lucky woman.

Bill arrives.

I leave a 2 peso tip and the table for two chitchatting friends to continue, to exist and observe, at this corner café where French meets Laprida.

Wish you all a good Sunday evening.

Vagablond – out&about



Left or right?

OUT & ABOUT Posted on 2011-02-24 21:14:43

Some people feel extremely free and powerful once they have no plan where they will be in, let´s say, everything between 5 weeks to 5 months.

Most of us know whereabout we`ll be the next 5 weeks or months. Some of us even know where we will be next years (at least where we intend to be). Luckily we do not know the future, but we know that everything we do today accumulates into the future. Both positively and negatively

If it is a study we undertake, we will in future be able to use it professionally and we grow on it, in knowledge and in experience. The more we study, the more knowledgeable we become – and the more we have to repay. The same goes for food! What I eat today has an affect on what I have to do in future/tomorrow. If I want to break even – I eat so and so. If I want to gain, I eat more. And this accummulates. If I eat lots over time, I enjoy it very much, but the price is high.

Did you end up being where you´d imagined yourself to be 5 years ago? 10 years ago? Where will you be and what are you doing in 5 years? In 10 years?

What you chose to do or in what you invested is what you have today. With luck or without. With intention or by coincidence?

Because we live, we make plans. Without a plan, the living doesn´t make much sense. Let me explain:

Waking up in the morning without a plan? Yes. Lovely, it means a day off! For a week? Oh yes, holiday, excellent! For ever? Never.

I have arrived to the point where I need plan. Again. Some people take on immediate stress once they have no plans – they are not in control of what will happen. If it is for the upcoming weekend or the next couple of weeks or the summer vacation. The size or depth of the plan is irrelevant – what matters is the level of control and ability to direct.

Being in a mental or physical state of “crossroads” I always feel extremely free and filled with the opportunity to open whatever door I want. In the beginning EVERYTHING is possible and impossible is nothing. This time I ended up in Argentina. Main reason: Spanish.

Once I`ve had this “freedom” for a while, I feel pressured. Pressured to find out what I want. Is this something that evolves from inside of me? Do all people have this need to know – to control? Is it a human drive to be in control of your own direction?

Yes. I certainly believe it is. However, being in our 20-ies these days is not easy. HA – you spoiled girl some might say, and yes, I am spoiled. Spoiled with opportunities my parents generation never had and many people worldwide don´t have. But this luxury problem is still a problem and sometimes it seems it was easier a few decades ago. People expected you to start working somewhere and be loyal to the company till the day you´d retire.

Today expectations are high – not concrete. There is nothing specified, nothing planned for us “want-it-all”-generation. We should decide for ourselves – and expectations are that we decide correctly and wisely and make the most of it.

Being in the mid 20´s demands a lot of research, thinking and investigating. The access to information is so easy and the amount of information we can collect is larger than whatever library could ever accommodate. In the past, a person could choose among 2-5 universities. Today a prosperous student can choose among all the universities that exist – which makes the desicion-making process quite more complex.

As we have so many opportunities, we tend to get undesicive. And I must be one of the worst-case scenarios. One day I am convinced I will become a psychologist, the next day I get depressed about the thought listening to people with problems all day long and wish to become a freelance writer – just take care of myself and don´t bother too much about others. The day passes and again the “angel” on my right shoulder tells me I must engage in other people´s lives! I have the capacity and ability to help someone! Then again – I just want to be rich – why bothering about someone elses health or problems when I can enter a huge consulting firm and make my way all up to the top? And then I feel depressed knowing I would be one of a thousand in a large corporation – have my own desk and all the benefits I desire – but spending all my days in an office where I cannot breath. AND SO IT GOES ON AND ON AND ON…

Luckily I have a vision – I just don´t know how to realize it. Yet. I do indeed want to help people, to participate for the better in someones lives (maybe this is what women have in them and why we become mums?), I wish to be wealthy and I wish to be flexible in terms of indoor/outdoor and movement. Suggestions anyone?

How do other people think?

Are you in your 20´s, making desicions and meeting crossroads? Have you yet decided?

It must be an extreme relief to know exactly what you want. Then you simply have to follow all the steps towards that particular goal. If it is to become a bilingual bellydancer, you simply start that language course and move to an Arabe country to practice those moves.

I have a distant vision – which might be realized in 10 years or so. I need to collect experience and depending on factors such as whether I still have the motivation and guts, whether I have the means and support. And a trigger..

Nah. I will just marry rich.

Vagablond – out&about

PS: doing freelance translations at the moment, language triangle Norwegian-German-English.



AF 418

OUT & ABOUT Posted on 2011-02-19 00:51:30

I arrived a humid and hot Buenos Aires yesterday around noon, local time. The flight turned out to become a movie marathon as I hadn´t seen any of the movies offered

Apropos flight;

At the gate before takeoff I saw two extremely handsome men and I was thinking “hopefully they will not be seated next to me, that be too embarrassing” (Why? I had just gotten ready for the 14hour flight dressed in a halfways-pyjama look, with a bag full of books and a bag with sweets from my mum and a face without makeup and my hairstyle similar to how I make it when I want to clean my house. AH – not to forget the big, woollen socks my sister knitted me for christmas!)

The two men were wearing stylish slim suits and did not have to worry about hairstyles as they were almost bold – by choice of course, they were young.

In the plane no one was seated next to me and I felt extremely happy I got 3-seats by myself. The plane was full! And I had the only 3-seats for myself! BIG SMILE!

Till Emanuel – the gay chief steward came – with two extremely handsome men, telling them with his deepest apologies they had to be seated here – next to me. (I hope the apologies were because of the fact it was economy class, not because of me; where I sat, with no makeup, eating a chocolate and reading my book looking like a nerd with my glasses, woollen socks and somewhat special hairstyle.)

They sat down, smelled delicious and discussed things in Dutch. They were served drinks and magazines while the rest of us economy travellers were sweating and feeling less valuable.

Just before we taxed out to the runway, Emanuel returned with good news. Guys had got seats in first-class after all, as someone else didn´t show up. Furthermore he thanked them they travelled with Air France and he was excited to serve them for the entire flight. Bla bla.. The guys went and for a minute I was sad, but then relieved as I had a 3-seats for myself again. Till that old lady came and made herself comfortable…

At the airport I was picked up by Lucas – a stereotype bohemian Argentine – as I imagine them to be. No, not the countryside gaucho cowboy stereotype, but the city porteño stereotype; tall, dark, with ponytail and good looking. He brought me to the address I had – to Raquel, a mid 50s lady, married to Juan Carlos – looks like the king of Spain too – they have 3 adult daughters and a lovely colonial style house in the area Recoleta. High ceilings and wooden floors – the house is nice. I will stay here for a month – catching up with Spanish grammar from Monday onwards.

Vagablond – out&about



VISIONS

OUT & ABOUT Posted on 2011-02-11 12:22:35

Sitting on the terrace with my computer and a pile of books about Argentina- enjoying the sunshine and a cup of delicious coffee!

The mind is travelling – and as always I need a plan for what I will do next – after this trip. If the plan is realized or not – doesn´t really matter – the important thing is to have a plan.

So – what to do next?

Current plan is “to take it as it comes”. If I get a job offer – I will consider it. If I don´t, I will continue searching. But, the backhandplan is important. The rough draft.

I´ve learned plans always change along the way – so you have to be openminded to changes and let things evolve as you go. Last couple of days I´ve invested in health psychology research. Field of psychology fascinates me – I touched some topics during my studies, such as business psychology, organizational behaviour and change/motivation management. Wouldn´t it be interesting to convert these subjects into a more personal level – regarding nutrition, sports and health? All put into a setting that involves travel and rehabilitation? Oh yes – I now let you have a peek at my vision.

However, a good friend of mine tells me you shouldn´t share plans as they occur, because they might not happen after all and people get expectations to your plans and start nagging about it – is it then better not to share and not have anyone tell you “So, what happened with that plan about…..?” Or “Why did you not stick to the idea you had…?”

I believe it is ok to change plans. Important is that we steer in a direction, towards a vision we have or an ultimate goal. I often get to hear “..but, weren´t you supposed to …?”

I have a direction and I have still a LONG way to go. But then again, what should I do of I had “arrived” already? Just function? Earn money, spend money.

No- I still need movement – intellectually and physically.

What direction are you going? Have you yet realized some parts of yourself?

Feel free to respond in any language:)

I will go make myself another cup of coffe.

Vagablond – out&about