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Preparing the mind …

The one thing I’ve learned about life is that every change needs preparations. It’s not about making lists over things needed doing. It’s about preparing the mind and the thoughts for the change. Let’s say you decide to run New York marathon, in order to make it happen you will have give yourself the time to train your body for that physical challenge. Right? Right!

It’s the same technique you have to use when it comes to your mind. You have to work out, try new thoughts, think them again, challenge the thoughts in action, stumble, get up and try again. It’s hard work, but I believe it’s rewarding in the sense of inner peace. Let’s get back on that.

My preparations probably started when I was teenager. The thought of exploring what was on the other side has always intrigued me. At 18 I found myself a position as au pair in the Netherlands. I remember telling my mother about it in excitement. Her response to me was I don’t think you should go because I don’t think you will cope. I wasn’t sure if my mother was wright, mothers are not always right, but her comment made me hesitate and question my ability. So I didn’t go to The Netherlands, I didn’t try bein au pair, I didn’t go traveling. But I left home.

So with that upbringing it took me 40 years of working out my brain to get where I am today. Trust me, there are no shortcuts. I stopped reading those books about how to help myself ages ago. And if you really want to read any of those choose one, read that one and forget about the rest. Then proceed to training your thoughts, every single day, and follow it up with tiny exercises. At first the new will feel odd but give it a good couple of weeks practicing the same thought and then look back. You’ll see the change and you’ll be proud of yourself. Be proud of yourself.

Over the years I’ve challenged myself in a lot of different ways. It has never been about showing off or proving anything to someone else. It has always been about me. Me, my curiosity, overcoming my own fears, challenging my abilities, my strengths and above all my weaknesses.

I attended a webinar today, listening to Anna Åberg, a Swedish digital nomad and guru. Even though she has succeeded and has nothing to prove to anybody she talked about those inner fears. Yes, we all have them. Wether we are at the top or on our way there. The most important thing is not to let those fears restrain you from trying.

Not trying is a failure. Trying and not making it leaves you with one more experience.

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Precious pieces …

Yesterday I took a day off from planing and preparing. The temperature has decreased dramatically the past few days from flip flop weather to boots and mittens weather. But it’s beautiful outside with all these autumnish colours. So I took a stroll and ended up at the Museum of Gothenburg. One can spend hours here getting to know about the history of the city but also the present and what is planned for its future.

I’m on my way out when I see the text Precious Pieces. There are also small pieces of paper on which people has written down their own precious pieces. My body, my friends, my cat …

Makes me happy that most people think of their family, friends and pets as their most precious things. When we travel we tend to bring things that will remind us of the people who can’t be with us. In the 19th century when Sweden famished people left for USA. One of Swedens national poets wrote about it and in one of his books describes how a woman brought seeds from an apple tree. That was her precious pieces.

I am extremely lucky to be privileged with things like education, health care, parental leave and a lot of other things. Today I am also privileged with being able to stay in touch with the people dearest to me because of technology. I love technology.

Apart from the obvious ways of staying in touch through social media I recently found the app FireChat. What’s unique about FireChat is that it also works when there is no Internet connection or cellular phone coverage.

Technology will help me stay in touch with Mine Precious Pieces.

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How to carry my belongings …

As I told you before I decided to travel light. The main goal for this year is not about buying souvenirs to bring home or struggling when moving from one place to another with carrying my things. So I’m going to travel light.

That means one bag. The one I already have is a 32 litres wheeled backpack from Eagle Creec. It’s a genius bag. Weighs 1.2 kg, easy to convert from backpack to wheeled bag and I’m convinced one can pack at least 50 litres. This is a magical bag. I’ve had it for two almost years and it’s the best ever suitcase/bag/backpack I’ve ever had. Eagle Creec also has a double bag, a removable daypack strapped to the front for day-tripping. Looks handy but I think I’ll be fine with the one I have. I have to confess I’m a sucker for practical gadgets and could easily spend a fortune on them.

In addition to that one I’ll bring a TrustBag. It’s a gym-bag in appearance, but very safe and practical when traveling. Look at the video and you’ll never ever want to bring another handy-sized bag when traveling. The material can resist cuts, ripping and abrasion, the inner bag is waterproof and made out of RFID-blocking material so that passport and credit cards can’t be scanned. You don’t want your id and credit cards scanned. The only thing they have missed, in my opinion, is something to prevent the bag to be easily taken of when carried. So I’ll probably keep the two straps together at the front with a snaplink.

The FlipBelt Zipper edition is a smart belt to wear when working out or traveling. The zipper edition is wider so you can store a passport or a larger smartphone if needed.

I might also bring a light weight, foldable day backpack for day trips and such.

I’ll get back to you with photos in a couple of weeks when I make my first packing tryout.

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Changes …

I had a conversation with a friend wether traveling is a sort of escapism. Well, Yes, it can be. And so can moving, getting a new job, divorcing and a lot of other different life changing acts. When you decide to make a change, when you are planing it, it doesn’t seem to be a big deal. But it is. The difference between planed and unplanned changes is that the ones you plan they sort of develop from a thought into action. You plant a seed, you water the soil and eventually there will grow a plant. You get accustomed to the idea and it doesn’t feel awkward or strange thinking of it.

Changes are good thing. Changes makes us stay alert and awake. Changes gives us new perspectives and challenges our way of thinking of ourselves.

So why am I making his change in my life. And why now.

Because it was the right time for it. Because it fitted into my life. And most of all probably because I have been preparing for it to happen for the past 10 years. I didn’t know I would do this and I didn’t plan for it. But I ques I was ready when the time was right. All the bits and pieces just came to place, aligned in a perfect way.

To me this is pretty much how I would define quant in real life. Stephen Hawking will probably never read this blog and therefore I will never find out whether he agrees or not, but I think he would.

Do less planing and be more open minded for what gets in your way. That is one of the wisdoms I’ve acquired through my life so far. With that comes learning to say Yes more often. And trust me, it’s a rewarding life philosophy.

Say yes!

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On my own, never alone …

A couple of years ago I was on a date. That sort of date when you quite soon realise you are not a match but you don’t want to be rude so you stay and try to make that conversation. You start of with how was your day, what do you do in your spare time, any hobbies, traveling … Yes, I love traveling. Where have you been and who did you go with. That’s when I reply Well, I mostly travel on my own. The guy gives me a shake on his head, as in disgust, and says he is too much of the social type to travel alone.

There is a clear distinction between traveling on my own and traveling alone.

When traveling you are alone at times. Wether you travel together with somebody or on you own. Of course you are. That’s how life works. Sometimes you are alone. Unless you are in a relationship and your kids are 1, 2 and 4, then you always wish you could have some alone time. Some times you are alone but you get over it.

When traveling on your own you’re more ‘available’. Easier to get in contact with. Easier to get to know other travelers and locals. And you don’t have to argue with your co-traveler about where to go next or where to have your next meal. No outbursts, no shouting, no drama.

On the other hand you are the only one to look after yourself, the only one to watch your back, the only one to find your way.

There are always pros and cons. As with everything we do in life.

I’ve traveled 35 countries and I’ve never been alone unless I wanted to. That’s for sure. Is that because I’m the most sociable person on earth? Deep down inside I’m a social introvert that has discovered that people around the world in general are being very friendly. People are friendly and nice and open minded. No matter if you speak their language or not. If you start out in a polite way, being genuinely kind in your appearance then they will treat you the same way. And then you’ll never be alone.

You are never alone.