Posts Tagged travel
I have been in Germany with the family this week. A train to the airport, a “funny” train between terminals, a slightly delayed plane (as a family we haven’t had a travel where the plane was on time yet), an ICE train and a small train before Opa picked is up. 9 hours of travel. The boys loved it, were behaved and the ICE train even had a compartment for families. A luxury journey.
It was my dad’s 70th birthday, an occasion to meet the family, the kids to play and bond with their cousins, and all of them to bond with Oma and Opa. We had a good time. We drank lots of wine as we stayed up late chatting away and catching up. Normal I suppose. We enjoyed it. There is a lot of things happening in the family. My brother is building a house, dad got his first ever smart phone. Lots of great food, home cooked meals, fresh rolls (Brötchen) and lots of play with old childhood toys.
The other occasion of course was Rohan’s 2nd birthday, hence the celebration as birthday twins was for 70+2 birthday So lots of attention was given to our wee one as well.
Up to a few years ago I wrote a lot about Germany and my love hate relationship. I think that has now passed. I moved on. I actually enjoy coming back as I don’t compare Germany any longer to what I have. Yes they have nicer trains, warmer and better insulated houses, higher quality in a few day to day items, but it doesn’t bother me anymore. I am very happy and content with the life I have, and I moved away from trying to be 100% perfect. I like to think so anyway. I feel like I moved on. I found my own purpose.
Despite that I am not sure whether to speak German or English, to feel at home or not. But as opposed to former visits I just embraced things I enjoy. Like the above mentioned rolls and home cooked food that took me back in time. I can let go. I can and actually do enjoy my time in Germany now. The journey back in time becomes a nice journey. I believe that over the last few years I have settled, embraced what I have and was able to let go and focus on the positive things in life. My outlook is positive in all aspects of life and that is what I focus on. Here and Now. Positive!
Also I was able to switch off from work. I relaxed, felt like I was living at home again where everything is taken care of. Hotel Mama with unlimited wine, food and fun. No worries. At the birthday party I met with friends of my parents who have been some kind of mentors for me over the years. Contacts that helped me grow up and understand the world. People who have seen me through all my stages of life but the last 15-20 years. This is difficult to comprehend I found. Those people used to baby-sit me, nurse me, comfort me, teach me or were just there for me. Now they are 70+ enjoying retirement and grandchildren. They of course loved to see our kids and how I got on in life. Whilst my parents keep them updated, it is nice to personally touch base with them. Again, a much more pleasant journey than anticipated. I actually look forward to going back to Germany again.
My dad used to be a teacher. In 1995 he got the chance to build a new school as a principal. As one of the guests pointed out my dad’s career and reputation as a teacher is amazing. He pushed himself to help others, to progress and have more influence. I suppose that is where I got my drive from and my urge to help others, to help develop others. My drive to succeed, take on new projects, seeing them through and coaching younger people to progress in their life. I guess I learned a lot from you, dad, and never realised it before. Maybe you taught me much more than I have ever realised before. I just hope I will be able to be such a good teacher for my two boys also.
On the fun side: I must look like my dad too. Asking Colin who the person on the picture above was, he said “daddy” not hesitating once. Since then he started noticing slight differences and it is “Opa”, however there is a slight resemblance, wouldn’t you think?
It was nice being back home. My wife and I managed a night out, ate some nice Gyros and we showed C the fresh fruit market. The weather was beautiful with snow and cold winds but it limited us in doing too much. So we just spent the right amount of time in Detmold, hoping to go back for longer maybe next year in the summer. The journey back seemed quick with two brave boys pulling through to the end. They fell into bed being absolutely exhausted. C was still recovering from all the input he received by the weekend. We just chilled out.
I went back to work on Thursday. Lots to catch up. Lots to do. Back to the grindstone. I am back in my routine. Kind of anyway. A few pints with the Hassocks crew on Saturday night and “our home cooked” food Friday and Saturday. It is good to be home. It is good to be settled. We are not creating the memories for our boys for them to experience what I did this week. The circle of life I suppose.
A good week comes to a close. Thank you Oma and Opa.
As cheesy as it might sound, it couldn’t be more true. Annoyingly, I wrote this post on my flight back from Madrid this week but WordPress allowed it to be deleted. Hence I need to recap what I was writing. But I was thinking about my job and travelling. Nothing major.
I have been VP International Sales for a year. Hence the recap maybe. Sounds like a great title, however titles are not all that important. The role and responsibility for me is the key to any role. I could be a sales manager for that matter as long as I had enough responsibility and could make enough decisions. Having been the first satellite office for my company and very knowledgable ( ), working in the most advanced market in Europe for RTB, I got the task to help the local Country Managers in Italy and Spain to get off the ground. It is a fantastic and challenging role allowing for much growths and development.
Visiting Madrid shows me that they don’t need me very often. Whilst I can still help and be useful, I am obviously still important in some senior meetings showing face whilst reducing the busy schedule for my CEO. So all good. But the ground work is done I suppose.
However, additionally to travelling the world I also still run the UK office. Quite a challenge and busy life. With the whole travel comes the sacrifice for the family. Don’t get me wrong, I love my job and what I do, but getting up at the crack of dawn to fly to Southern Europe, be away for a night and then back again, arriving usually late at night, can be quite exhausting. Also the boys are missing me. Not that I see them a lot during the week, they just know I am not at home I am happy to make the sacrifice but probably preferred to be away longer and focus more on travel. In return I would have a few days working from home and travel less regularly if that makes sense. Not sure it does.
Enough about my job. After celebrating my friend’s birthday on Monday night, I felt a bit tired on Tuesday. I just can’t have more than two pints on a school night. Age I suppose. My back on a positive note is improving a lot, and once another cold has passed, I will be back in training. I am eager to get stuck into my exercise routine again and loose another few pounds that I then can fill up at Christmas without regret
Looking at my life I am very happy. A good job as described above, a healthy amount of travelling, and reasonable if not in comparison good health. I am on an upward spiral again with my back and soon running routine. Things look good. Changes that I anticipate in the next couple of months are looking bright too. Of course that is all subject to change. But Christmas is around the corner, more time off.
But the joy is my family. Seeing my wife and my dad decorate together whilst I watched the kids with my mum gave me some really good time with the kids. Taking the oldest to school, watching TV, going for walks. Family is where it all comes together. Challenges. Love. Passion. Fear.
I couldn’t do it all without a family. Life would be boring and simple. There weren’t any challenges. Also, getting a night or so away from home every now and then really helps improve my sleep schedule. I had Friday, Monday and Tuesday off. I enjoy the time. Even without proper lie ins and it being hard work to watch my kids all day, just being with them makes me happy.
We then finished the garden this weekend and the downstairs WC is almost finished. I need to find proper before/after pictures and will publish them here soon.
Have a happy week yourself.
It is better to travel well than to arrive. Buddha
I have been travelling a lot lately.
It is about arriving but if you don’t enjoy the ride, the arriving gets painful.
Or in Buddhas words the way I interpret them: enjoy living, as life is not about dying.
Too black and white?
The frequent reader will notice that some weeks I have more to say than others. Normal I guess. This week I startled writing this column on my way back from Milan, one of the three Mexad offices I look after. Every time I take off from Malpensa airport in Milan I forget we are literally on the edge of the alps. Nice views, bumpy and windy starts. I got used to it now. My first trip with my Easyjet plus card, which allows me to speedy board, and it makes my life a lot easier. Thanks boss
I should have done that much earlier. Next week Madrid, a week in London, Milan, Germany…the card already paid for itself in 4 weeks. I love it. But do I really? Speaking to a recruiter this week, and I must stress a recruiter working on our side in Italy, one makes the choice in life whether to travel, progress in a career, and potentially travel more and ultimately don’t see one’s children, or if one wants a 9 to 5 job with lots of time for the kids.
I agree. During the week, thanks to my commute, I hardly ever see the kids. The odd day working from home might mean I see them a bit more that day but catch up on work late into the night. The trade off.
With us moving out of town to provide a better life for the family, we made the conscious decision that life is just like that – in return when I am home, weekends in particular, I have to be 120% home and with the kids. I comply. Happily. Best of both worlds. Trade off. I
I couldn’t do it without the wife though, and 1 night away a week on average three times a month is not too bad. Lots of “me time” too. Now this week has been busy. After last week’s mega event dmexco we hat the ad trading summit hosted by exchangewire this week. A fantastic get together of the industry leaders and a networking second to one. Great content around RTB and data with some good discussions. Unfortunately, or luckily, I had to leave early to see the kids and prepare for my 4 am start to Italy. Tiring weeks with shows and events, so I am glad I missed ad:tech in London vs. the trip to Milan. Priorities.
One more remark re family: Rohan was ill at the weekend and early last week. This means getting up almost every hour at night. That is draining, but of course you do. One does’t have a choice but to help an ill child. Tiring and frustrating as one can comfort but not release any pain, this makes having kids worthwhile. Sounds funny? I feel deep affection and satisfaction to be able to comfort anyone, and being able to help in general. Being able to make a miserable child feel better, particular one’s own, is a VERY good feeling. I love them both very much.
One last word still about Lufthansa. I have been praising Easyjet on twitter for excellent customer service, quick response times for both email but also social media (twitter) responses. I kept including Lufthansa and only after 3 weeks they replied very “stiffly” that if I tweeted my reference number for the email contact, they would let me know which place in the queue I had. It just shows that Lufthansa has no idea how to approach clients in social media. Not only did I only sent them the link to my Lufthansa article for info, I also complained on twitter about their apology email they sent 3 weeks after the strike, offering me £15 off my next booking. Ridiculous and rude! I spend close to £500 on the flights, another £150 unplanned on clothes as they didn’t get the luggage sorted, and they offer me next to no money as compensation. F@ off Lufthansa. If you had offered me £100 plus a miles & more card crediting my last flight on it and sent this as a nice letter, then maybe I would have said “wow they care”. This way I don’t.
Why I get so aggravated about it? Because my understanding and standard for customer service is a lot higher! This wouldn’t happen if I was in charge. Imagine I was to fly 4 times with Lufthansa this month instead of Easyjet….but never mind. Let them do it their way, I will try to avoid them like the plague until of course I have no choice. Even British Airways and I fell out a few years and they managed to get it right at the end. And I love BA for that, great customer service and being a true British airline. However, Easyjet for within Europe is the easiest and most convenient airline for me right now. Enough about this.
The weekend was relaxing. Lots of kids time, hugs and cuddles. I love being a dad. The cat got bitten again and much as a surprise we thinking of welcoming a new addition shortly. More about that in the next few weeks At the same time we are debating to give away one of our cats as she just doesn’t seem to settle.
Sunday I was hungover, worst one for 2 years. Plus I come down with the man flu, whilst it was raining cats and dogs…..
Have a good week,
What should I say. An eventful week has passed. Summing up the last weekend, we went to a Christening. It was a Catholic Christening and I still feel a bit awkward to go to Churches. I guess I have been a bit detached from religion if you don’t count Buddhism as one. Anyway, it was a great event, and a nice get together afterwards. I hope, once we move, that we stay in contact with all those fantastic people we met in Beckenham over the last 8 years.
We also got a new neighbour. I didn’t post about it as I didn’t want to be the first one announcing it. A fantastic occurence if you think about it. Whilst having two kids of my onw it is still a miracle thinking a new human being enters this world. I love it and still get a bit sentimental.
Nevertheless our two are more than enough work. Nothing warms my heart more than coming home from work or travel and getting big hugs, kisses and a play about with the boys. I absolutely love and adore them!
I travelled to Milan this week and got a chance to read more of the Joan Baez biography. Page by page I realise what kind of world she used to live in. Segregation, inequality between races and genders. I actually cried a bit when she described her relationship with Dr. King. Those hippies set out to change the world, not to become super rich. Their motivation was “to make a dent” in the universe, nothing else.
Have you thought about the values you are living for? More money, bigger car or bigger house? It doesn’t work like that. It never will. Attachment and greed will ruin our society. Nothing about earning more money, being more successful but at some point you have to stop and think about it. Are a couple hundred more a month worth the additional hassle you have to put in? I guess it depends which level you are talking about but stop and think about it for a moment. Happiness comes from within not out of your wallet.
Making this impact I described above drives me on. Flying to the international offices and making a difference. I enjoy doing that. Having these 19 hours days collapsing at the end of the day with a satisfactory feeling. This is the dent I am making at the moment. On the exact opposite end I enjoy turning everything off during my flight and just relax. That can work wonders too!
Taking these powernaps at 30,000 ft. I love doing that. The 10 minutes after lunch or on the couch on a Saturday afternoon after the boys woke you up at 5:30 again. I guess I am lucky I can do that
We all followed the Facebook IO on Friday. Isn’t it fascinating that a social media network is worth so much money by the input we all provide. Should we not all have a bit of a share package? After all if we all withdraw our membership Facebook would be worth nothing. Interesting thought, no?
Anyway. Just when I left work on Friday someone stopped me in the street saying “Volker, you remember me? You interviewed me last year.” I didn’t remember him. He thought I was arrogant admitting it and saying he could add me on Linkedin. Crazy. I normally have a good memory but over the last 12 months I met so many people for interviews and business, how could I possibly remember who is who. I guess I was right (arrogant again) to not employ him, as he obviously didn’t make any lasting impression on me.
We spend the weekend on a 3rd birthday party and a school party down in Hassocks. I got some sun and we finished the day with a curry in our local restaurant. We cannot wait to move. Hopefully we finally exchange contracts on Monday. Fingers and toes crossed.
Have a great week.
This week passed very quickly. I was in Germany for the Exchangewire Ad Trading Conference. Those events are exhaustive. Not only do you hang around at the airport, then fly and then go out with folk from the industry, but you also don’t sleep long, don’t sleep well and cannot follow your normal routine. Particularly if you only just started running again
Having said that it was a gorgeous day and a great programme. I enjoy hanging around at those events. I met a few new people from ad server to software developers, and caught up with some friends I haven’t seen for a while. It was fantastic.
Being away is great. Time flies, you get to see new places. But you don’t get to see the family. You hear how the boys are missing you and not understanding that “if daddy is up there” he is in a plane and not in the room upstairs. My oldest was disappointed. On the contrary I have two long weekends coming up which is nice. Next week I am travelling and then probably three times in May before we hopefully move at the beginning of June. Fingers crossed. So the time I spend home is now more and more focused on the boys. We go swimming, play with train tracks and have a laugh with the farting monsters
Before I finish I wanted to mention a great online programme (recommended by a good friend): Early to Rise.
In a video series they describe how to have success in life. And, it shows one bit where they talk about building a network of friends, then to tell your network what you want to achieve, then eventually your dreams come true. Only the ones that really know you can help you to achieve excellence. Your mentors, your friends.
Enough for the day.
Another busy week ahead, going to Madrid. The MIL is coming to town too. Life is harder if you don’t have family close by and you aren’t around every night/morning.
Have a good one folks,
speak next week
I started writing this column whilst having a Saturday night off. Glass of wine, German music, kids in bed and the wife visiting a friend. These evenings are rare. Time to reflect, time to / for myself.
What am I thinking these days? I am thinking a lot to be honest. There are a few things that I anticipate this year. All and foremost our move to a better life. I am getting quite excited thinking that I finally settle down. A bigger house. A better quality of life. All other factors probably stay the same but that is how it is. You never completely change just because you move or change one bit of your life. There are the same illusions you have that every year at New Year’s Eve you give up smoking. Most people never last. Change is within us and not (necessarily) location dependent.
Then we get our new (used) car on Tuesday. A Seat Alhambra. As you know my wife and I insist on rear facing car seats. The Alhambra was the only choice for a comfortable drive and space in the car, whilst keeping the car seats’ third leg on a solid ground. Most other cars (Sharan, S-Max, Galaxy, 2011+ Alhambra) have under floor storage boxes that don’t support the weight of the leg. Anyway, my wife will write an extensive report as a guest post. So any comments should be waiting until the full review is published. However, I think once the kids are out of rear facing car seats we get an XC90 Volvo again. We just loved that car too much.
This week I have been to Milan. I only went for the day. Despite no sleep the night before (thanks kids!) I had a good day. I really look forward travelling more regularly to Spain, Italy and potentially more countries in the future. This will be my job moving forward. Besides Colin loves ham at the moment, so both of those cities offer me the best “take away” for him The perks.
Other than that work is busy. I have found some time to catch up with half the industry about the acquisition. January was a lot busier than anticipated and I look forward to March. Why March? February looks like it will be even busier than January already, so March can only be better, right? Then again there are a few longer trips planned too. Lots of progress to be seen. I like that.
We had a fantastic weekend. We didn’t do much, but given the fact we weren’t house hunting and didn’t have any viewings for our place, we were busy but relaxed. We took some pictures, shopped for some wine and just chilled. Good bonding with Colin and Rohan. Wine: not having a constant stack of wine at home, buying them cheap when on offer, allows me to go and shop different wines. I got some excellent bargains on some French Fitou and Shiraz. So what am I complaining about?!
Guess that is all for this week folks.
Have a good one,
Just in time – had a long and busy day in Milan.
See you at home very shortly, boys.
As a child I never travelled much. Austria or Denmark with my parents, usually by car and we never flew. That was fine then and I have no regrets. I wasn’t jealous of other kids that did fly. Even when I grew up, I never went anywhere. A short trip to Spain and a motor bike trip to Italy and Denmark. But that was about it. Another bike trip around the UK of course. Only when I got married, our honeymoon took us to Thailand, and boy did I love it.This week I went to Madrid for business. Business travel is always a bit different, unless you get to know the locals. My luck was that our Country Manager in Spain is local but since he wasn’t free the night of my stay, I met with another friend who has lived in Spain for over 10 years. Now, I was shown Madrid. I am not talking night clubs but tapas. The little dishes you have whilst having a good chat in one of the local bars. Having a beer, or a glass of wine, a snack. It is fantastic. You find different and very fresh flavours. If you follow me on Foursquare you will see where I have been. Whilst I abandoned the daily use of Foursquare, I still check in at places I like to remember. Like a travel diary if you like. So, I just wanted to say that business travel, tiring as it is, can also be a lot of fun.
Now the strike action of the public sector. Only in Cameron’s Britain did I ever experience strikes, riots and high unemployment rate. I am might be biased as for the first 8 years of me living in the UK Labour was in power, and maybe they messed a lot of things up. But lately I get increasingly annoyed of what is happening. Anyway, arriving back at Gatwick there weren’t any queues, no problem whatsoever. Fantastic.
But enough about travel. Work is very tiring as it is, but very rewarding too. I even went into work on Friday when I had a day off. This time though to show off the family. It was great to just sit there on Friday afternoon and presenting the kiddies. And the wife of course They enjoyed it and I believe my colleagues enjoyed it too. We then went home and did some Christmas shopping on the way.
We also went Christmas shopping in Bromley on Saturday. I believe we decided on a new hifi system so we can dock in our iPods and iPhone(s) as well as USB sticks. Not an easy decisions but as my wife and I are both half deaf, we don’t need a super duper hifi system, LOL.
We also made food plans for Xmas. I cannot wait. I know that after Christmas I want to change a lot of food and drink habits in order to live a lot healthier. We shall see. I have been saying that for years.
Last but not least I am very happy with our fibre optic broadband. I streamed an online movie on Friday night and it was fantastic. Good quality.
Oh, and a quick word about the kids. Every weekend I start enjoying Colin more. It seem as we get along better, communicate better and get to know each other well. Today we went for a long walk (10 km), of which he slept most of it. But even just being out and about with the boys for a walk gives me great satisfaction.
Enjoy December, I think I am slowly getting into the mood for Christmas.