Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Navigate on Trust - it's never too late

You might wonder if the photo below is of my mother ... my grandmother ... or a far-away aunt sitting comfy on the couch in the Netherlands, sending me greetings and love from a personalised-postcard... But nope, none of the above. Because this lady I certainly can add on our list of inspiring people navigating on trust: Dalia, Israeli, Hebrew teacher, backpacker, 69 years old. Dalia is by herself on a 4 month trip through South America. A little while ago Dalia took a trip by herself to India, but now "before I turn 70, and I maybe will have the feeling it maybe is too late I wanted to make this trip to South America. I really hate group travelling, in a herd as one of the sheep, and most of the people of my age are too afraid to take a travel like this on their own, so I decided to do it by myself. The only way to advance is to confront your fears and go" said Dalia. When we met she was just a week in Peru, and slowly continuing her trip to Bolivia, Chile, Argentina and Brasil - on her own, with her backpack, open for adventure. "I don't believe I am 69, and I don't believe I am in South America" she added laughing.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Puerto Chicama, long, longer, longest.

I could do the introduction of this place, and its wave, the long way, but ... let's just keep it short, because with 2.6 kilometers on its best days, you could call this wave not only long, but even the longest wave on earth. One that holds the Guinness World Record for the most manoeuvres on a single ride, 34 to be exact, by local surfer Cristobal Col. And a wave for which your legs, for a change, are more important that your arms ("I couldn't hold it anymore, my legs!" a shoutout I heard from more than one crazily stoked surfer coming out of the water). A wave that to my surprise often still breaks solitary, without crowd, despite its fame - in a country that by some, like by my love Roberto, is called the Australia for the poor. Yes, I am talking about Peru's famous Puerto Malabrigo in Chicama.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Dry land stories: from sand to oasis

After almost 1500 kilometers our road through the Peruvian desert is about to end, after a stop in Peru's capital - Lima - we continue our way into the Peruvian Andes, slowly making our way into Bolivia, Paraguay, up to the warmer waters of Brasil - or at least this is what we think. But, wherever the road may take us, one thing is sure: I've been thinking a lot about sustainability the last months. Inspired on, and alerted by, our little green van - making us aware of our water use by having limited, and our unsustainable travel around the globe with every filling of the tank - I have been open to moving messages and good times ahead. And luckily I found some. Coming from different parts of the world: the Sahara Forest Project and the Indian Forest Man. Messages of action instead of words, messages of people who despite opinions, disbelieves or dis-encouragments of others believed change is possible. The Sahara forest project is a professional and high-scale project that green, ecologically (and magically) turns salt water into sweet, allowing to grow crops in the middle of the Saharan desert sand. Here an inspiring video of what they do, and how they do it. But, a maybe even more inspiring story, is this one in the video below, the story of one individual who from nothing in the middle of nothing, created a forest of national hope.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

An ode to El Verde

After being only a few months on the road again I remember what it was that I missed (and maybe what we all miss): a simple life, a life outside in nature, a life lived within free movement - something that comes with having a house on wheels. Of course sometimes I feel bad about travelling so much in a car, doing harm to the environment, and in my dreams I already have turned El Verde many times into a hybrid car internally solar supported, but - unfortunately - it is not the time for that, yet. And we've got to do what we've got to do, so we cruise along, and I know will repay the damage somehow. The last weeks we have been on some amazing places, parking just in the middle of nowhere or somewhere, getting deeper connected to culture, nature, and a true slow life. The Van Life is one that awakes the spirits - away from screens, to do's, to attends, and appearances, to something that feels more like the true reality and profound. El Verde's small space undressed us from excessive possessions, and his modest 80 km per hour top speed, and the 150 kilometres day driving limit we gave ourselves not only forces us to move slow, but is also slowly shifting our perspectives: the realisation of having more by having less, carefully moving through a real-life slowmotion opening up to detail and the here and now. Something to which, in the end, we maybe are all longing for - our true nature. Mae West once said "everything worth doing is worth doing slowly", and I am starting to grasp the meaning of it. And all that thanks to our Verde.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Sustainable Skyscraper

Even though many cities are working on sustainable developments, some take it a step further than others. Like China, and the UK-based Chetwood architects, who are planning to build the Phoenix Towers in Wuhan. And however I am not totally the skyscraper-city-type, some big big city developments, like this one, make me very happy. The projects key emphasis is on the harmonious combination of 21st century Western technological know-how with Chinese tradition and culture. The result is a one kilometer skyscraper height - the highest in the world - taller than Dubai’s Burj Khalifa, but with many, many extra features. They call them the pollution-cleaning environmental skyscrapers. Their exterior is made of pollution-absorbing coating, and will be the base for vertical gardens, insect hotels, solar panels and wind turbines. The towers will clean the surrounding water and provide neighbouring buildings of power, and are part of a wider green strategy linking Wuhan's lakes environmentally and socially with the regions lake district. That’s what I call a happy city-sight of the future.

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