favorite places and spaces

Maybe not traveling is not a realistic resolution for me. Maybe I can constrain myself to the thirty countries that I’ve been?

img src=unusualtraveler

1. Not visiting Gabon to swim with surfing hippos

2. Not visiting Pakistan to drive the Karakoram Highway (see above)

3. Not visiting Spain to see The Alhambra

4. Not visiting Denmark to walk the Aarhus Art Museum

5. Not visiting Sweden to stay at the Nordic Watercolor Museum

So where will I go?

5. Will visit Italy to stay at the Geisler Hut

4. Will visit Japan to walk the Kumano Kodo

3. Will visit China to check out design spaces in Shanghai (see below)

2. Will visit US to eat BBQ at Hemingway South Carolina

1. Will visit Canada to hike Newfoundland

img src=enroute

salar de uyuni

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In 2012, the uyuni trip was postponed. In retrospect, it was a good outcome because Jerusalem better reflected my mood at that time.

In 2015, it finally happened: “our driver asked why I’m always running away from the vehicle. To get a different perspective, I said.” After the lights of Copacabana and the heights of La Paz, I found myself literally on the beaten path.

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Walking away from the salt hotel at sunrise, I’m surrounded by the tracks of tourist trucks. Walking away from the tracks, I see a mirage on the horizon.

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Walking towards the horizon, it’s a plastic bottle? And after two years, I’m still struggling with how to respond to it. Let’s suppose the likely impossible scenario that one finds a plastic bottle in the dry garden of Ryoan-ji. How should one respond to it? Does a plastic bottle have buddha nature or not?

P.S. Mum + Dad playing tourists

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sacred valley

Finally uploaded all my Sacred Valley pictures from Peru. Before the trip, I had seen the photo above and I looked forward to this view as we drove into the Sacred Valley at night. The next morning, as we climbed towards Chinchero, I finally realized that this is the view from the plateau and the mountains are much bigger than at first glance. As if I’m standing on the edge of the Grand Canyon looking up at the Alps.

img src=Tomas Spangler (above)

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Many travellers come here to capture images of the locals. I’m always impressed by the kids. Just like I was in Mexico and Guatemala.

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We stayed @ El Albergue Farm in Ollantay. From the restaurant, we see all the trains to Machu Picchu passing through.

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A few times a day, buses from Cusco race through the narrow lanes to drop off passengers heading to Machu Picchu. Thankfully, this guy is directing traffic.

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Walking up the geometric terraces early in the morning, we only encountered one other traveler. Originally from Peru, he moved to the US many years ago and this is his first time in the area.

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On the way back from Chinchero, we visited the salt evaporation ponds of Maras and the amphitheater terraces of Moray. I think of ancient steps moving up these floating staircases. I think of how these human structures seem to recognize that nature is gloriously unfathomable. As if reminding me to live happily in a world I don’t understand. This is why I travel.

P.S. A couple more pictures from my dad from Cusco


img src=Walk to Saksaywaman


img src=Flight into Cuzco

mosel part ii

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I have uploaded all my photos from the mosel valley, home of the steepest vineyards in Europe.

River view @ Haus Burgfrieden (our train was delayed! delayed train in Germany, how is this possible, we asked the owner; this train is always delayed, says the owner)

Hirschgulasch mit Pfifferlingen @ Dazert (there are many German words for beef, he says) (my filet mit Senfrahmsauce was delicious as well)

Cheese for Dinner @ Alte Gutschanke

Pickled Cherry Dessert @ Gaststatte Noss

Bicycle rental @ Schalt Werk (we got regular bike but ebike only EUR 20 per day)

Riesling tasting @ Stephan Treis and Franzen (picture above from Neef)

Interesting semi sweet red wine @ Peter Mentges

Lye roll @ Diewald supermarket

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newfoundland

Okay. I will be traveling during my year of traveling without traveling. Mum + Dad are doing a three week road trip and I will be joining them for one week in Newfoundland in June.

Perhaps I have achieved my goal without achieving my goal. Looking back, the bestest things from 2016 are all here and now.

3. Buying zester
2. Looking forward to teeth cleaning while Planet Earth watching
1. Realizing that I enjoy weight training

img src=canadiannaturephotographer

Gateway Ridge 64° 43′ 00.0″ S

I was having my birthday dinner at Tutti Matti and we have all been working for almost fifteen years so we start to talk about the meaning of leadership. I’ve always assumed that my friends who run their own companies would have stronger opinions on this but maybe I’m the most opinionated person at the table, as usual.

Other than being excellent at what they do (because how can people who do not do an excellent job expect others to do an excellent job), I think a leader needs to consistently and authentically bring enthusiasm to The Process, not just The Purpose. Whether we work in tech or insurance or whatever, there are days when work feels like walking in a snow storm with limited visibility of The Purpose. The seed of success resides in the quality of doing, The Process is not magic (to sort of quote Eames).

To consistently and authentically bring enthusiasm to The Process, we have to enjoy The Process and, for me, connecting my work to the idea of exploration brings joy. Here are some examples.

Example A: Running the deal model and finding a better than expected return is like that time on the Bolivian Altiplano when I looked for a less windy place to go to the bathroom and then looked up and realized I also had a nice view.

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Figure A: View from Bathroom Shelter

Example B: Being asked to provide detailed analysis while we are waiting for detailed information is like planning a journey through Antarctica. In Antarctic winter. That patch of unavailable information could be a sledging route.

Wikipedia: Gateway Ridge is a serrated rock ridge situated southeast of Mount Rennie on Anvers Island, in the Palmer Archipelago off the northwestern coast of the Antarctic Peninsula. The name originated because the snow col at the northern end of the ridge provides the only sledging route between Hooper Glacier and William Glacier.

Maybe we are all at that age where we start to question ourselves. Maybe this is a good thing. But if we can find joy and share it with others, then life is more than alright.

If you came this way,
Taking the route you would be likely to take
From the place you would be likely to come from,
If you came this way in may time, you would find the hedges
White again, in May, with voluptuary sweetness.
It would be the same at the end of the journey,
If you came at night like a broken king,
If you came by day not knowing what you came for,
It would be the same, when you leave the rough road
And turn behind the pig-sty to the dull facade
And the tombstone. And what you thought you came for
Is only a shell, a husk of meaning
From which the purpose breaks only when it is fulfilled
If at all. Either you had no purpose
Or the purpose is beyond the end you figured
And is altered in fulfilment. There are other places
Which also are the world’s end, some at the sea jaws,
Or over a dark lake, in a desert or a city–
But this is the nearest, in place and time,
Now and HERE (to sort of quote T. S. Eliot)

img src=Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution

grateful (COUNT=1311)

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1. Perhaps because I used to be one of those people that want to live in different places, I always wonder how different I would be if I lived elsewhere. Although living in Paris was a dream of mine, I’m not sure I would be particularly different in Paris. One place that really feels like it would make me different is New Orleans. I can’t help but constantly look up at the spanish moss and the constant looking up makes me feel dizzy and surreal. This morning, he says: Can you get more muffaletta spread? Please and thank you.

2. After my intriguing encounter with birthday cake tea, I’ve been wanting to visit David’s Tea. For his birthday, I got earl grey rooibos + la la lemon black tea.

3. Until he moved in, I never owned a zester. Yes, it was a lot of work. Now that I have encountered a zester, I need a really good one and was presented with six options at William Sonoma.


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4. Overdosed on dark choco cereal and now in love with overnight oat

5. Just now in the elevator

Stranger: Grated parmesan? Really?
Me: If it weren’t grated, my husband would eat it all