Posts Tagged travel

Sunday Column (428)

Another week. More travel. It seems as if the weeks just blur into one and I spend two days a week in a different place. I don’t mind, being away for a night, taking the Easyjet ‘bus’ from Gatwick to Europe. A 430 wake up call followed by a quick exercise routine, a meditation session, a shower and a ride to the airport. Then an almost two hour delay due to air traffic control strikes in France – I was on my way to Madrid. Those delays are annoying. Having just endured almost 12 months of conductor strikes on Southern Rail, I have no sympathy with anyone striking whatsoever. I keep saying it over and over again, I am thankful for the opportunities given to me in my life and wouldn’t want to jeopardise them due to strike actions or anything stupid like that. So I have little understanding for someone who would go to their employer and say ‘if you don’t do this, then we strike’. There are enough people out there that would take jobs and make it happen. Something I am missing?

Yes, there is an argument that if we didn’t have the unions, companies would do whatever they wish. They wouldn’t I don’t think. Companies have a keen interest in making their employees happy. To work with them, to empower them, to make work a nice thing to do. Maybe I am wearing some pink glasses here or something, but companies who are ‘abusive’ to their employees will not succeed. I cannot see that happen. Maybe I am listening to too many American podcasts suggesting that we are all in it together. That we can determine our destiny and people around us want to help us. We must be under that anticipation that an employer doesn’t want you to fail and want to do the utmost to make you happy and successful. After all they are spending money on you and your career. Mine does, and I am grateful for it.

Working in different places is critical. I love seeing the local teams, connecting and understanding the local challenges. Each market is unique, each view is different. Listen to their needs. It widens my horizon and gives me a chance to review what we are doing in HQ and whether we can change things, adopt some local practises, to improve things overall and to help moving the company forward. I enjoy that and believe it adds a lot of value to the company. I have another two weeks of travel ahead of me. Speaking at a conference in Germany which is tricky and challenging as it is a new corporate deck with a translation into German. I will master it and actually I am excited about it. Just in case I fly out the night before 😉 Then Sweden. Then I shall have a couple of weeks in the office before a family break over Easter. No flying then. As much as it is nice to travel, it is not glamorous and it does tire you out. At least I keep up my exercise routine and healthy eating (most of the time). Yet this week I felt a bit drained. The weather is to blame I guess?!

Further to travel this week I read an article in the FT about citizenships and Brexit. You can read it in detail yet the main take away for me was that if you lived here for long enough – and that is uninterrupted – you can continue to live here post Brexit. Or it should be fairly easy to get a passport/citizenship. Or you leave. I am not judging whether that is fair or not, but what I am saying is that if you have lived here long enough there is nothing you should fear. So why did I get the citizenship? Because I wanted to ensure I can stay and be with my family, plus I feel more British these days than German anyway. I don’t have plans to leave this country other than with my family and then we all would be foreigners elsewhere, on the same passport. That’s really it. I wanted to do it years ago but didn’t want to spend the money on it. Now I could and did it. The necessity felt slightly bigger of course. Anyway, this should all be done by next week.

If you feel I write too much about work, then please let me know. I just realised I wrote all about Brexit, travel and work without writing about work or family. If that makes sense? I love management studies, and I love work. That’s what I do and I enjoy it. Even my taxi driver said that, if he won the lottery, he would continue working. So would I, there is no way I could sit on my bum long enough doing nothing. I’d go up the walls. So I used the flight delay to catch up on some work, prepare a presentation, write part of this blog and think about life. I also caught up on some sleep mid air and arrived refreshed. Kind of anyway 😃

The remainder of the week was nice. It is nice to see trains running on time most of the time. It makes a huge difference to both my mood and my state of happiness. Plus the Friday ‘pale ale express’ session with the neighbours. Then I took the wife out for a meal on Saturday. Nothing fancy, just a very nice Thai place, a good chat and some ‘us time’. There is never enough of that once you got children. We are getting better in carving date nights out of our schedule, more than we used to. Then again the kids are getting older. Life becomes easier from a logistical point of view. Attitude, tantrums and questions and demands are the same pain as before, just different. Growing up I suppose 😃 Yes, I wouldn’t want it any other way!

I hope all is well with you and yours.
From our little corner of the world, I wish you lots of love and happiness.
Have an amazing week ahead, and please share this blog if you like it.
Volker

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Sunday Column (425)

A funny, mixed week that was. Lots of things going on at work and at home. Discussions, ideas, strategies. My head was spinning most days, days turning into a big blur. After two full packed days in the office where we made a lot of progress, I went off to lovely Milan. In the meantime the team even made more progress. I have the feeling we are winning. I know it is early days, just about a month in, but it seems like we are ‘getting shit done‘. It feels good.

Ever since I helped getting Milan and Madrid off the ground for a company I worked for a few years ago, I love going to Milan (and Madrid). It’s the people, the city, the smell, the taste, the food, the wine, the atmosphere, the alps – and being able to visit my new company’s regional office there and spend some time with the guys, was wonderful. I truly enjoyed the trip, and I found it very useful and fruitful to bring things together, learning a lot too. The team is super advanced and I learned a lot.

The flight was fun. After a rough night with kids waking me up at 3 am and a 5 am pick up by my taxi, I slept through the whole flight. Yet when approaching the airport we pulled up again last minute. Another plane was given priority due to a person falling sick on that plane. Fair enough. So we turned up and around and landed on the second attempt. That was a first for me. Next week I am going to Germany, which in regards to culture will be at the other end of the spectrum to Italy I suppose. I really enjoy those travels again and being part of a bigger international team. Working in international companies is fun, and we have some very smart people in the company.

Anyway, let’s not talk about work every week 😃 I spend most of my time with work, so it is good to get some downtime now and then. Last weekend I got little. Last weekend I was very jet lagged. This weekend I had to go to the Apple Store because my MacBook Air gave up on me, I cannot start it any longer. Maybe I just give it back and trade it against an Apple TV? However it turns out that the repair is probably more costly than it is worth in value, as I don’t really need it anymore. So before I find out next week, I got the new Apple TV and the kids (and I) are happy. New games, new fun. There are not many Apple products left I adore and would like to have. Maybe the new MacBook, the slimmer and nicer one, yet having an Air from work suits me fine. If I have to upgrade my iPad mini, I would potentially get a iPad Pro. Never mind, not for a long time I hope.

The main challenge is to see my boys so little at the moment. Because of travel, late trains home from work, them getting up later etc. And yet, when I do see them they seem to change so quickly. It is difficult to keep up with their development, their latest ideas on toys, their wish list for Christmas (already!), the things they enjoy doing. Although they spend most of their pocket money on toys this weekend, leading into half term. However, every night when I do see them, it is a new miracle of thoughts that are coming out of their head which I enjoy exploring and questioning. One responds nicely, the other one doesn’t like it. They are like chalk and cheese, so different, so differently motivated, it is a joy to see, however painful it can be too.

Balancing their needs and mine. Wondering if I am a good dad, do I do a good job? It is a job or is it fun? What is the desired outcome for the boys? You cannot treat it like a work project. I listened to a lot of podcasts travelling, and one of them was about a chess player. He got involved in chess heavily at the age of 6. Should I push my boys more into that? Anyway, just when you think things are going well, I ended up listening to a podcast of a woman who lost two husbands and had two kids, one from each. At least I think that’s what it was, as I lost track a bit dozing off. But it is a sad podcast about a family with lots of challenges.

Those are the moments I thank the greater universe for the health we have. I remind myself to eat healthier and drink less. To look after myself and the family more. To be a better dad. A better husband. To have more time for things. I am sitting next to someone on the plane who seems to write an academic article. Should I have written a phd after all? Should I have gone into academia? I sometimes wonder but I am very happy with what I do and the progress I am making in my career. So life is good and most people I know are healthy. I am blessed, truly thankful for what I have and hopeful that it stays that way.

It has been a good week. I am content and life feels right. I sorted my citizenship ceremony and look forward to become a full blown Brit. Did I mention there is another 88 GBP fee to attend the ceremony? It really seems as if getting the citizenship is also a money making machine. Never mind, I am almost there.

Have a great week, make sure to give your loved ones a big hug.
Volker

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Sunday Column (382)

Last week started on Sunday when I flew to Germany. I piggy-backed a long overdue trip onto a trip to some clients in Frankfurt. Frankfurt is not only a pain to fly to (Heathrow only), there aren’t that many companies in our industry. It has been 18 months since I have been and stayed one day this time to then train it to Düsseldorf. Germany is very scattered when it comes to big cities and there are important people in each one of them. I guess it keeps it interesting.

A bit of travel is essential to cover ground in Germany. One of the few countries without a centralised city for media, not like Paris/France, Milan/Italy, Madrid/Spain and of course London/UK. My next trip to Germany is Berlin in a few weeks time. That again will be from Gatwick, which is a lot easier. It seems that Easyjet changed their flight plan and doesn’t fly to some cities I need to go to. That means a long taxi drive to Heathrow.

On the note of train travel in Germany: my annual travel card from Hassocks to London, which I renewed this week, costs more than a travel card to use the train all over Germany for a year. On first sight my ticket seems like a rip off. Discussing it with people, it seems that Germany subsidises train travel and given you pay almost double on tax, this explains how it works. Guess every country has its pros and cons.

plane

I seem to hate flying out on a Sunday. It seems like I am cheating on family time but luckily this happens only a couple of times a year. Particularly as I got a good engagement going with the boys, playing chess and doing homework. We had a fantastic weekend.

However the meetings we had were awesome. The industry is very responsive to our solutions and we are pivoting. It is nice to see we offer innovation in a crowded market space and drive business forward. What is not to like?

My Hilton in Dusseldorf was a bit unliked by me. We got to a personal chat with the Operational head and a make good. Actually curious to meet him in person now 😉 He seems very much switched on. Next time. First unhappy Hilton stay so far. That’s a better track record in comparison to IHG. Let’s see how the next three Hilton stays stack up. Being away from home you want to have a good bed and a good service, a good place to stay and most of all, value for money. When staying in a very low frill hotel the other day, it ticked all the boxes. Yet, it didn’t come at the price tag of a Hilton. Same is true when we travel, as a family we go into a Premier Inn for the night. Anyway….I keep you posted, no doubt.

Overall it was a very successful trip. Definitely worth while with some very challenging and good discussions with industry leaders. Just the way I like it.

Work is very interesting at the moment. We are, as a company, innovating a lot around cross device data points. That and us playing in the biggest offline silo, TV, and the most engaging online silo, Social, leads to some interesting developments. It’s going to be exciting over the next few months.

My wife ran another race. I am very proud of her. She managed to hit her anticipated time. She also signed up to more runs. I am a bit afraid I would get addicted if I start signing up to races. Hence I am still refusing to join races but the one in July running a 24 hour relay race over the distance of 10K. Despite my exercises I seem to be putting on weight. Not a lot to be honest but it seems to be creeping up. So this week I have done a few more runs than normal. 30K and 45 minutes Cross Trainer. That resulted in the weight being down again but I was exhausted on Friday.

beard

For the matter of weight I need to look into my diet again. A few client lunches and boozing sessions with lots of finger food and crisps seem to take its toll. That of course is fair enough so I shall try to cut down on those wasted calories of nuts and crisps. Also I am wondering if this high fat diet, having a ham and cheese omelette every morning, is the best idea. I guess I need to do more research. If you look up athletes’s diets they eat ‘normal’ with focus on veggies, carbs prior to events and fruit as well as protein. Yet they never mention chocolate, cashew nuts or crisps as part of their diet 🙂

You only live once I guess 🙂

I am buzzing this week. Overall. The challenge is our bathroom. The tiles just don’t seem to be on there right. Uneven in any of the three directions. The builder keeps trying. I am hopeful we get there in the end. Quite a stressful experience. But for now, it was weekend. Time to chill.

Last but not least I decided to grow a beard this week, then took it off again. I just don’t seem to be able to decide on the right look. And the right itch. The right format of beard. Off again for now….we shall see.

The joys of life. Hope yours is going well.

Best wishes,
Volker

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Sunday Column (370)

I start this blogpost in the air. My second flight of the year. I am in a Fokker, a KLM Cityhopper, from Dusseldorf to Amsterdam. I just spend two great days meeting clients in Germany and now I am heading to another meeting in Amsterdam, flying back on Friday night.

I miss the family. At time of travel I spoke to the wife twice but hadn’t managed to speak to the kids. Busy. When I landed I managed FaceTime at Amsterdam airport. It isn’t easy but they don’t know any different. Also I am not gone for too long. Not that often. We trying really hard to balance life and work. Life really is what we balance. And in the end I managed an earlier flight home, surprising them to be home for dinner.

It is fun and seeing it in any other way doesn’t make sense. Whilst one hotel wasn’t up to the ‘Ballueder standards‘, the ride there was. I managed to catch a Tesla. It was futuristic. It was amazing to sit in that car. That feeling was like being in the future already. Wow. That reminds me that we are still looking at cars. The Skoda Superb was thrown in the mix and surprisingly the Mazda CX-5, a mini SUV, which could kind of be a nice family car. Test drives to follow in a few weeks time. Interesting development, as I didn’t think there were that many cars out there that could host us, as the price level we are looking at.

Skoda-Superb-2016

As always I am working late nights when on the road, exercising early mornings despite my cold. I love pushing boundaries. Over 100K run this month! I am confident that in 2016 things are soaring to the next level. This is true for various aspects of my life. We should finish the house renovation, have a first package holiday with the family, career, fitness, engagement with kids, personal confidence and strengths in multiple ways. Life is awesome.

I want to give more. I want to make more happen. And I will. 2016 is a pivotal point I think. Ask me again in a few months time. Or 2 years from now looking back. Connecting the dots. Contributing to that is village life and us getting more engaged in the local community. My wife is a member of one of the running clubs and we went to their annual party. That was fun, and fascinating to see how popular running and exercising got. Great!

I am grateful. I am appreciative. What you don’t appreciate, depreciates. Tony Robbins. Stop to smell the roses, live the moment, work hard, play hard. You can probably tell I am on fire. But that is it. I am so knackered at the weekends, but I am on fire. Not sure that makes sense but I am pushing boundaries and then rest up for the coming week. Yet, weekends are great. Playing chess with the eldest, cuddles and reading with the little one. We are having lots of fun!

mazdacx5

Last but not least there are two more decisions this week. Firstly, after a non successful 4 weeks but 2 weeks long dry January, there will be more periods of less alcohol. However, I want to worry less about my alcohol consumption and don’t believe, given the statistics, that I have to. Hence I stop counting my alcohol intake. Whilst I always said that if you monitor things, that you can improve on them, I don’t have to improve on it. I had some really interesting chats about it, and I am done with counting alcohol, I don’t need to anymore I believe. It makes me more paranoid than it is helping me to count everything. Similar is true for food calorie intake. I did that for a few monthlong periods but haven’t done it for a while as I am quite aware of what I am eating. So I will stop counting and simplifying life a bit more.

And the second decision is to change my supermarket. I move away from Tesco as we complained about their ongoing quality issues. However, when the delivery truck was 2 hours late we complained properly. Yet when discussing the issues with a customer representative, she only saw the delay of the van as the issue and, despite us mentioning it in emails and in conversations, she was oblivious to everything else we complained about over the last few months. They didn’t see the bigger picture of us changing. Result: I let go. I cannot hold on to Tesco and went back to Ocado. For now anyway 🙂

My best thing this week? Coming home of course. Cuddles from the kids. Being super productive late night and up early in the gym. When I am achieving. When I am disconnecting. Fire and ice. I love those extremes as much as I hate them. And yet I am not complaining.

A lot of thoughts this week were around my chosen life and industry. What do we do and why. And I am happy. I am in a sweet spot I like to believe within our small world.

Then I stop and smell the roses. Say thanks. Meditate on what life is all about and hug my sons.

Have a great week.
Love and Kindness.
Volker

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Sunday Column (359)

What a gloomy Sunday. Saturday was so dark and cold, we put the fire on all day – it is nice and relaxing, calming yet it should be either a bit lighter or a bit colder – this weather just really sits in between autumn and winter. And it is wet. Yet, despite all that my wife did a 10K run today. Well done you!

The week was full of travel, yet it was actually very pleasant. I left the UK Monday evening to go to a conference in Hamburg. Easyjet seems to have a winter schedule, where they fly evenings rather than early mornings. So I got away for three nights. I prefer early morning but hey, all about being organised.

The conference was amazing. Of course it was because I was speaking but really it was because there was a room of people interested in cross device tracking and the break down of silos: offline/online. I do really like what I do. I love my job (and not only saying that), as we are able to connect offline to online marketing, targeted advertising. So this conference went down as a treat, getting to know lots of different view points within the industry.

Tracks conference

I also managed to do a 10K run in the dark. Given it was a bit windy and misty, it was a fun run. I managed to do a personal best with an average of around 4:52 per kilometre which is quite good. Really enjoy pushing myself to get fit for my challenge next year. However, maybe I overdid it a bit doing it that early before the conference. Never mind. It felt awesome at the time.

Then I met lots of interesting people. Old university friends from within the industry, old friends, industry friends who I knew since 2006 and so on. Online and Digital marketing is such a small industry. And everyone knows everyone and knows someone who worked with some mate….

Overall a fantastic week. Yet, again, I was away from the family. Packing my suitcase with lots of German sweets works to get the love from the kids, but the sweets still don’t replace me when I am away. They need and want me to be at home. Finding that balance is still difficult and being able to switch off from work when being home. I am working on it and yet was very happy to be home on Thursday night. I missed them too! And my wife of course.

A new rule sees me to stop being on my phone during the weekends and really engaging with them. We are playing UNO, paw patrol, and mock about.

Friday was another busy day in the office before a well deserved, if I may say so, weekend. At the weekend we met some friends and I got a long overdue sports massage, trying to sort out a sore back thanks to my chiropractor. I was a success. We met friends but due to the weather just sat around really, chatting and catching up whilst the kids were playing.

I am very proud of my wife, I have to say. The 10K now, and her ambition to run a half marathon next year. I love her and she is an inspiration for myself, the boys and many of her friends to get fit, stay healthy and look stunning 🙂 Well done!

That sums up another week. Writing this whilst sitting at the airport waiting for my flight….I don’t mind travelling, as the best part is coming home. At least that is true for non holiday flights 😉

Have a fantastic week,
Volker

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Sunday Column (314)

Is it Friday yet?

The week started with me wanting to order some shoes from Marks. After they apologised for their mistake, I got a voucher I wanted to put towards some new shoes. The order was marked as despatched and I was hoping to get it this week. An email, a call and a few more annoyed days later, no shoes as once of a sudden they were out of stock. After they were sent? Never mind, back in stock in a few weeks time….

Now, the official week started with work in Hamburg. The red eye to Hamburg on Monday morning, meetings, preparation, work, long evenings, a conference, more long hours in the hotel room, abrupt changes, more meetings, networking and so on. You get the picture. Just a normal business trip. Great to connect to the online industry in Germany again, meeting old and familiar faces. It has been a good and successful trip, and that is great. I arrived home rather tired on Wednesday night yet somewhat satisfied with the progress.

Travel is a lot at the moment and probably I am living through the busiest Q1 of my career. Not ever do I remember a quarter being that full on from Monday after Christmas to the end of March. It is a good sign. Recovery of the global crisis, an interest in TV Data and TV Sync. I am very excited about the space I am working in, gladly contributing to the strategy and direction for our product in Europe.

Hamburger Binnenalster

So things are good. The family is good too. Speaking to so many people that week I haven’t seen for a long time; it is good to connect, see what familiar faces are up to and how we can cooperate. It is a small industry, many friends and good camaraderie. I so enjoy the space I am working in and cannot repeat it often enough. This must be better than any other industry. It just has to be. And, I am allowed to be part of it too!

Enough about work, really 😉 Then again I saw the family too little this week. I miss them when I travel and I look forward to a week in London next week. It has been busy but Easter in sight, there is a break to look forward to. My camera lens from my iPhone broke a while ago. I figured something wasn’t right and then remembered my youngest throwing it down the stairs and me dropping it quite a few times. Luckily I am due an upgrade sometime soon…in July 🙁 And there was mother’s day. Hurray!

My weight training, physio and exercise along with my weight loss is going well. If we are connected on Facebook you know that I lost just over a stone (7 kg) since Christmas. How did I do that? I foremost started drinking less. I even managed the conferences and networking in Germany without alcohol as they kindly provide alcohol free beer. Not drinking when travelling is kind of hard but possible. I run 2 times 10K a week. This is to keep fit rather than losing weight. So the key are two things: one is to do weight training 4 times a week and then to eat less overall. No snacking on nuts and chocolate unless you have a bad day. Chocolate is a treat now really. Then no more nuts and seeds during the day but bananas. I eat up to 5 bananas a day. Whilst lunch is normal, yet no bread (another key to weight loss), I eat little at night: cracker-bread/Ryvita with humous, an egg or two, some olives or gherkins. That means I have enough energy during the day, I am not hungry at night and won’t put on weight. With less alcohol consumption one doesn’t have to worry about the amount of food one eats, as there isn’t the need to fill the stomach lining before a night out.

Let me know if you have any questions or need advice. I still need to learn to eat a bit more about food for when I am travelling or I am at conferences, to not fall over 😉 But overall I am doing well and will continue the above routine. It is all about habit and making it work, a bit of will power and consistency. But don’t beat yourself up, something I tend to do and get all fussy about what to eat. Particularly not eating bread is difficult.

Now that’s all for the week. May you have a fantastic week ahead. I am sure I will, only travelling my usual 3 hour commute per day. With Monday being my wfh day, so will be able to catch up of this rather eventful week.

Have a good one.

Cheers,
Volker

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Sunday Column (312)

Two months into the new year. It has been a busy start with an acceleration towards end of Q1. I just came back from a trip just to go on to another, then another, a bigger pitch and an exciting conference plus another trip. Wow, the next few weeks will be busy. Good busy. 

I enjoy the travel, and have written about it at lengths. They are a bit of an escape and an opportunity to carve out disconnected time. Disconnected time you usually don’t take, as I feel like I am constantly connected, 5 am to 8 pm. That is wrong, no question, and I will deal with that over the next few months. It affects my sleep and downtime, however I have big goals for self improvement this year. Losing weight, changing my diet, running up the South Downs are part of a bigger picture. And I started. 9.9K up the South Downs, down to almost 90kg from 95 at Christmas. Dropping chocolate, snacking and disconnecting more often is next. 

The main challenge I have at the moment is tiredness. Whether this is the 5 ams catching up with me or the vivid dreams, the disconnectedness or some other stressful things in the back of my mind, I am not sure. Getting 7 hours of sleep should surely be enough, yet the animated, vivid dreams are what seem to crack me up. No nightmares but processing things way down my past history. I believe there is a certain stress factor with challenging times across my life.

A computer generated image of a chain with a broken link.

What I mean by that is manifold. The above mentioned travel and associated business at work cause a strain of course. Don’t get me wrong, it is good and I enjoy it, but life is coming with some challenges. I have some challenges outside work I don’t want to discuss here, but it never pours, it rains. Life is good though, with those precious moments; and we should never forget that, I get reminded when going to bed and seeing the little ones’ blanket off, when you pull it back over their tiny bodies, hugging them, and enjoying the moment to feel so close to them. To be able to teach them gratitude and to challenge the status quo. To build their own vision yet pursue their dreams, regardless of money. I want to be able to support them to do that. 

Those moment you can perish. Enjoy the hugs, and hug them a bit more. Sharing the love. When you, out of the ordinary, take their warm milk to their bed in the morning. When they wake up and smile at you. The smile saying that, I love you dad, and thanks for me being able to stretch in bed and drink my warm milk whilst waking up. The love you feel. The satisfaction you get from them being able to have some special moments. Small things in life.

And when you set up the first computer profile for your son to use the computer. And you explain him what a profile is. And you ask him to find out about which games he plays in school, and what he likes to do at home on a computer. They are growing up so fast. My parents always said you have to be 12 to use the computer. But things change of course, technology and exposure to it accelerates dramatically. Mad.

The ever accelerating spiral of technology advancements. The connective-ness and strain, faster moving world, pressure to perform, reply to emails quicker and deal with more in shorter time.

That is it for the week. My WordPress doesn’t show me the visual editor, just the html one, so the post might look out of order.

Love and Kindness.

Volker

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Sunday Column (311)

I started my week with some travelling. Frankfurt this time, just in time for “Rosenmontag”, the night of carnival in Germany. Neither my client partner nor I had this on the radar yet we managed to get three great meetings out of it. I also flew with a small airplane from City Airport and enjoyed the more “elite style” flying experience. This wasn’t because it wasn’t Easyjet, I love my Easyjet, but more because it seemed to be more intimate, 2 seats each side of the gangway, closer to the sky somewhat and faster. The City….

Once I arrived in my hotel, I realised the higher standard leads to the hotel being a bit more complicated. The computer system, the room service, the housekeeping…..oh dear, I am just made for simpler things sometimes. That includes simply customer service, like Marks, but that is now all solved too. Just a shame you need to kick a fuss to get attention 🙁

In the hotel, I got all those things for comfort I don’t need, and I miss those simple things I am used to, like decaf instant coffee. Working in start ups for most of my life, being brought up on modest pleasures. Yet it was a great stay for one night and I didn’t end up in a hotel in the red light district, so that’s a bonus. That’s what could happen when you are working with external booking agencies that don’t know the country 😉

Carpe Diem

I enjoy travel, and believe that you should feel comfortable when you stay away from home. It is a burden to you and the family. However, I am still a big advocate of spending a night or two away from the family sometimes. It makes your heart grow fonder as they say, but it also gets you and your partner some ‘me time’. I usually get more work done and write more posts, work on presentations etc. Shutting off the screens when travelling seems to be harder than at home, as you are out of your routine. Your weight bench is replaced by “own resistance” exercises unless you got a gym in the hotel you are staying at. Soon, I am contemplating of taking my running shoes. All depends on the length of the stay.

This week I finished another book on Steve Jobs and Apple. Working off a Mac now on a daily basis for two years, I couldn’t go back to any other system. It just works. I am waiting to upgrade my iPhone as the battery life on mine is appalling, and I am contemplating of replacing my iPad sometime this year to upgrade after about three years. Hmm, we shall see. I used it mainly as a kindle and for mind mapping, then as a laptop replacement at home. I could do all I do there on my laptop but if you are in confined spaces on a plane or train, you end up preferring a smaller device. Decisions decisions.

Whilst this week has been a bit of a roller coaster ride too, I will write a more detailed post about some other developments later this month. All is well, and sometimes we just have to be very grateful for what we have. I have experienced a deeper connection to my loved ones recently and a an urge to spend more quality time with the boys. I feel like time becomes so precious if you start thinking about it.

Overall it was a good week. Work has been busy too. I have been thinking a lot, laughing a lot and continued with my framework of “no drinking days” and exercising despite travelling. Or at least in moderation, and that is a good thing Food wise, I managed to order a kid’s portion without chips to keep off the weight. No need to eat a big meal before bed, is there? Just by being more aware of what you drink and eat, you can keep a healthy and balanced lifestyle without the need to overeat, put on weight and ultimately being unhealthy and unfit.

I also managed my first 9.5K run outside (my calves and shins are still hurting from the hill up to the South Downs) in 54 minutes. For a first time this isn’t too bad. For me, 2015 is about positive change. Better healthy diet, better exercise, outside running, more quality time with the family, more balance at work. I am making progress on most points.

We need to enjoy life, yet in moderation and balancing the good and bad days, without beating ourselves up.

With these thoughts, have a great week.
Volker

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Sunday Column (292)

I start writing this post enjoying yet again the best bacon sandwich at Gatwick airport, at Apostrophe in the South terminal. Maybe not in line with my healthy eating ambitions, it serves as a treat for the 5 am start, the 4.15 am alarm. I will be back here the coming week.

This time it was a bit worse as C was up at night, having nightmares. We have been exposing him to dogs almost on an excessive basis to secure utmost preparation for the arrival of Rosie. I will update on that below. As a parent having to do manipulative work with your five year old is fine yet not if it is forced and needs to be done quickly. Never mind, things will work out at the end. I am actually a bit chuffed that my NLP and personal development work has had such a great impact on my son. A bit of anchoring and positive reinforcement, a role play and his fear of dogs was cured 🙂

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After my trip to Turkey last week, I was in Zurich for a day, and will be going to Milan next week. I enjoy it somewhat but it is tiring and exhausting. I have done little exercise due to some restrictions from the cold. I also got some tape that hopefully will improve my pain when running. Fingers crossed. I did some stationary biking, the weather was far from pleasant this week. On Saturday the changing weather put me in a right pickly mood. Not good and not happy.

I couldn’t even say it was a busy week. Busy enough yet not crazy busy until Friday afternoon of course. I had two solid days in the office being able to catch up on lots of things and almost getting on top of everything – as if that is ever going to happen…..being able to let go and take a step back sometime also helps. Having support at home, someone to fall back on helps too.

Anyway, the highlight was the visit to Rosie, our German Shorthaired Pointer. It was a bit up in the air whether we would get her due to C’s fear of dogs but with my work and his brave effort to face different dogs this week, the breeder was happy. C even jumped on a trampoline with a Vizla this week and totally lost his fear of dogs. We cannot wait for her arrival next weekend which is going to be so good.

I dog proofed the fence and gates this weekend, we went shopping on Amazon and Pets at Home and make sure everything is set for Rosie’s arrival. We cannot wait. The kids are very excited and so are we. Whilst the last few weeks I was wondering how cute a dog could really be, the puppies at 7 weeks are just adorable! Seriously, they are amazing. I got all soft 😉

It was also nice to have my cousin over for the weekend. She is really good with the boys and good to us too. Whilst I was in Zurich myself I didn’t have time to buy chocolate. She did 🙂 Again, this is going against the healthy eating regime but how couldn’t you 😉 Swiss chocolate is heaven. And an extra pair of eyes to watch the kids is nice too.

A mixed bag of feelings this week. Mixed weather. Yet it all worked out at the end. Another two weeks before I have half term off to really work with Rosie. You can just see her loving me already, I even ordered an extra bag of treats 😉

Have a great week yourselves, enjoy what is left of the Indian Summer, rain and winter are slowly taking over.

Cheers
Volker

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Sunday Column (290)

A week that starts off with a headache, a 5K run with lots of muscle pain and a temperature drop of 5-10 degrees is not a good week, or at least not a good start of the week. Whether it was the weekend where I overdid my exercise or the amount of chocolate and sweets I ate at the kids party, I do not know. Yet something triggered a typical Monday which turned out to get worse as the day went on. Of course the week changed to the better and I got used to the rather nice autumn weather and went on another trip. But this weekend, I felt it again – so maybe I just need a break 🙁

This week I went to Paris for a night and a day to visit a few clients. As this gets published I finish packing my things for a trip to Istanbul. I have never been to Istanbul in my life, so I am very excited to go. A few years back I went to Egypt realising that I will see the pyramids. Being on work travel schedules doesn’t mean you are doing some sight seeing. Having said that, I went to Iceland before and my wife was annoyed that I saw Iceland and Egypt/Kairo before she did. Now I also see Istanbul. I am not into travelling as much as my wife, I just do my job, but that’s where we differ I suppose. Maybe that is why I am quite happy staying at home with a dog at the weekend, putting my feet up and enjoying “being home”. Istanbul of course is different. I will report back next week of course.

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What else happened this week? I think there are a few things transport wise worth mentioning. I was on the train towards Gatwick when the train stopped. Then we heard someone got hit by a train. Lucky for us it was behind us and with some delay we managed to get to Gatwick. I did get a bit stressed and was glad I didn’t travel the other direction that night. Bad enough for the person that got hit, it is a bit of pot luck tbh to sometimes make your journey home. At Gatwick I got served an undercooked chicken at Jamie’s Italian. Fancied some superfood salad and ended up with an awful meal. Not great to travel sometimes. The view of course, as of my earlier post, was amazing.

Anyway, things are good overall. One never has enough time for the family it seems and weekends are too short. I caught up with a uni friend and another good friend this week. I have another few people I need to call. I spoke to my granny for her 94th Birthday. I am lucky, all my grandparents reached the age of 90+. Maybe a good omen. None woke up at 5 am to run 10 K, then worked all day and commuted for 3 hours per day. Life seems as if it is in the fast lane at the moment. I like that though.

I know the next few weeks will be busy. I wouldn’t want to have it any other way. I couldn’t to be honest. But I am learning a lot too. Prioritising, time management, letting go. All those passionate topics I am writing about over at tidWOWs. It is as if I am fine tuning a bit.

It is good to know that in a few weeks time, probably around mid December, things will slow down. When the dog and I will be having a cuddle with the boys under the Christmas tree and watch the fire, when we think that we are so grateful for what we have. And, that next year we take more time for each other. And this will repeat for another few years. Why I think that? Because I believe that is how it is. Life is living in extremes, on both ends. And I am truly blessed with it.

Love living!
Volker

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