Vincent's Random Year

Vincent in Brazil

True story! How about an executive summary style account of my travel? After Argentina I…

  • Went on the other/ Brazilian side of the Iguazu falls
  • Visited primary school buddy Christoph in Curitiba
  • Had some final Job interviews/ negotiations for the Global CMO role at Rocket Internet over Skype
  • Decided to fly to New York to meet up with my now girlfriend Nicole ♥♥♥, via Rio
  • Went to Rio: Street party, Jesus the redeemer, Bossa Nova, beaches, etc.
  • Saw captain Jack Sparrow at the Ipanema beach (in the video)

Click here for High Definition.

Should I stay or should I go?

Torn between wanting to stay in Sydney which has become my home for 3 months, after a non-stop traveling binge through Europe, Africa and South East Asia, missing “home home” in Europe and an increasing "Lust for Wander", I decided to fly to Argentina.

I used flow charts and visual scenario analyses, decision making models with weighted scores and the like to help me decide. I ended up cancelling all 10 open job interviews, but at the end of the day, the decision was “easy”, cause I also had to catch a date ;-)

And we all know that is a … True story :-)

Argentina was simple: Steaks, good red, water falls and tango.

Watch in HD by clicking here

"Australia"

…okay, granted, a somewhat spartan choice for a title. However, I have come a little out of practice with my random year blog posts due to well, something they call work. Damn it, what have I done? (and yes, luckily undone again!).

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(view on Sydney’s Skyline)


Since, we are living in the age of short attention spans, I will omit all the writing and move to pictures and sound (which by the way, also have been adjusted to average attention spans, if you have noticed (i.e. all my videos are around 3 min long per country)).

Without further ado, one of my favorite videos/ parts of my trip, not only cause I have found something like a mini home there with all the friends I made and “re-made” from a decade ago, but also due to a life changing event that is meeting up with Nicole for the first time in 3D :-)

And of course THAT IS, a true story!

Click here to watch (best in HD)

USA…

A Moment of Thailand

Burma - pretty cool stuff… True story.

A Tribute to Randomness

„Randomness means different things in various fields. Commonly, it means lack of pattern or predictability in events“ – Mr Wikipedia.

Times have changed. Outstanding world class bloggers such as myself, are using Wikipedia to quote. But, when I read the above, I gotta say, it does reflect what my random year has been like so to this date. No real pattern, and really a bare minimum of planning. From idea to decision was 1 day, and to execution less 2 weeks. Places like Buenos Aires, Rio, Thailand or Burma weren’t on the plan. In fact, the only things that were on the list were Kenya and Vietnam. True Story.

I like randomness. At business school, they called me “The Random One” or “Vinsanity Randomanity” (a mixture of insanity and randomness) due my random nature at that time. And, I guess I am still living up to my reputation.

A reason why I like randomness is that I truly believe it enhances your ability to think laterally. We think in certain schemes and patterns and maybe those neural pathways are strengthened to the extent that it might cripple creativity and out of the box solutions. Perhaps, that is not a good thing. Randomness can help to jump out of those pre-made patterns and over/ reused neural pathways and perhaps come up with better solutions.

Just a thought – granted, a random one, but that is nothing in comparison to what is about to follow:  some of my favourite random video clips that I came across on my travels or before. Without further ado….and that IS true randomness…

1) Movie: The Movie:

2) Little Britain USA - Take Off Your Clothes:

3) The Horribly Slow Murderer with the Extremely Inefficient Weapon:

4) Dude Where’s My Car (And Then?):


Yes…True Story.

Oh and this:

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Business in Africa – a simple title

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(Fred and I after a meeting with a bank in Kenya - Micro Finance Division)

In each place, as much as I was able to, I was trying to learn a little bit about the current state of the economy but more importantly the conduct of business, i.e. a more micro level view.

Kenya was interesting. It, and many other countries in Africa, have shown interesting development, and business is picking up very fast. My notes on this topic are nearly like 10 months old and I have forgotten a lot, but my interest and excitement for the country have remained.

I learned and witnessed that entrepreneurial activity has become stronger over the last years and growth is immense. Some of the big factors behind it being a economically rising middle class that has been able to acquire wealth due to increasing (in relative terms) political stability. Internationalisation is fostered and strengthened and the country is making use of its comparative advantages – the resources that it has.

Furthermore, one thing that still got stuck in my head in a conversation with my friend/ bro Fred from business school who has been conducting business in Africa is:

“Dude, you should really consider the dream in Africa, cause when you do business here, you are literally changing the world”.

Big words, but true words, too. Business, though frowned upon by some people, is good. In Kenya, business means creating a platform for people to get what they need, want, to create jobs and stimulate economic growth and at the end of the day fight property in an effective manner.

Some of my favourite industry’s I have looked into were Land/ Real estate, Technology/ Mobile and Social business, such as renewable energy. Though I have worked in various non-for profit projects before, I did underestimate how much I would like being part in a social business environment. Research has shown lots pro social business when it comes to sustainability – as opposed to the donation model. But I am no expert – only on randomness, hence I will end this here.

True Story.  

“And all the Bitches”

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While I am sitting on my 20 hour bus trip from Buenos Aires to the Iguazu Falls (this was written on the 21th of April 2013), my mind wanders to a message I, by accident, read a couple of days ago. It stems from a very dear friend who I have known for many, many years, and who I highly respect. He’s a brilliant yet humble man, and who from time to time, I ask for advice.  

One such time was during my quarter life crisis, perhaps at 24 or 25. I intent to live 100 years , and hence quarter life crisis is a legit term (Though many know after, for example, the Saigon-Broken-Jaw Incident: I am, in fact, immortal. True story).

I told him, let’s call him Mysterious-Ü, about the “So What?” and “Now What?” in life. He understood the questions. His response… For the longest time, we were drilled to do well in school, go to uni, get into that  prestigious business school and grab the dreaded yet fancy management consulting job. But then what, so what? He went on about a book we both have read: “Mastery: The Keys to Success and Long-Term Fulfillment” by George Leonard, and how much of life’s mission is about getting better, about never ending improvement, about being our best we can be, etc. etc. etc.

I highly recommend this book, by the way, and despite the fact I don’t disagree with what my dear friend wrote years ago, I love the recent response to the similar/ nonchalant question “What are we supposed to achieve again? Please remind me?” almost a decade later:

“We’re supposed to achieve, a lot of fun at work, work that actually makes an impact where its being done, a ton of money.

…And all the bitches. ALL.

Easy right? “

 

"And all the bitches. ALL" Lol.

Despite the fact, that I know it was only a semi-serious conversation, and if my friend was invited as keynote speaker to an important event, he probably would have crafted a different compositions of words, a slighly more polished tone, and perhaps some more sophisticated substantiation with more solid backing. Also his take on ladies and money are a lot more complex (so are mine by the way!).

But that’s the point…

As we grow older the complex things become a lot easier. When you ask a young man or woman about the meaning of life, it just get’s messy: a long answer.

Ask someone who’s been around the block, the answer might be as simple as “Love”.

And maybe that’s it: All the bitches. ALL. And of course he was only kidding, and so am I. First of all that term does not exist  - only in movies. The right term is ladies :)

Hello Punch line (once again) where are thou? None.

A random line of thoughts, some truth in it, and my appreciation to a long term friendship (and long term friendship in general) that has made my day, just by contrasting the same question but a decade later. True story.

I really like Argentina so far. Looking forward to the Iguazu Falls.

 

Random Fact: The bus is amazing. I got 3 meals, whiskey, champagne, beer, sweets, snacks… etc. And I get to practice my terrible Spanish with my seat neighbour.  

“The Hedonic Treadmill: Applying Positive Psychology Concepts to the Art of Travel”

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The hedonic treadmill refers to the notion that with increasing gains (such as more money), or level of excitement, happiness increases for a little bit only to flatten out back to the initial curve after a while - another shot of increase is required to spike again - and another, and another hence reminding us of a treadmill. This term was coined by Brickman and Campbell in their essay "Hedonic Relativism and Planning the Good Society" in 1971 and has ever since been widely used in the field of positive psychology.

I thought about it, and American philosopher Henry Thoreau in his book “Walden” inspired a solution: Practice poverty. Every now and then, I try to go down to the bare minimum of consumption, or as some people call it “rough it up”, which helps me to appreciate all the little things again (a recipe for true inner wealth) and thus working against the hedonic treadmill. 

Travel does that automatically as you find hidden treasures everywhere as all of a sudden, a warm shower, a functioning power supply or, in the case of Myanmar, a bed to lay down your head on, creates joy.

However, there is another thing that is happening when you travel. After a while, a place becomes less exciting than the one before, cause of all that sensory overload and the law of diminishing returns indicates that you will feel less joy about it- a hedonic treadmill in travel.

I wanted to hit the reset button.

Now my magic pill that I have planned from the beginning was to implement a stopper to it, something like practicing poverty, only that instead of poverty, I introduced some sense of normality. That is what I was looking for in Sydney.

No offense, but Sydney though beautiful was the least exciting of my time, and it was planned just exactly like that. As a result, my anticipation for the location ahead has increased.

I believe that these concepts don’t have to be confined to travel, but can be utilized in our daily lives.

 

What is your personal treadmill? Just a thought…