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.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

About you and me - the Dalai Lama

Do you sometimes also wonder who or what you are doing it all for? Working, racing, running ... questioning if this is really living? Well then listen to this one ... because some people do not only have the gift to see things right, but also to say it just right. Like the Dalai Lama. I have to admit that until only a few years ago, I never really knew anything about the Dalai Lama. I know he was a Buddhist monk, he was famous, and he won a nobel peace price. Often when people told me that they LOVED the Dalai Lama, my eyebrows went up a notch, not really understanding what, how, and why(!?). But as I came on my new path, I found myself slowly, but steadily, diving into his teachings, thoughts, books, movies, and found in him a tremendous inspiration. And without going to much into details, all I can say that I found in him somebody who can say things just right, like this quote. An analyzation about you and me: alarmingly true, scarily well summarised, and right down to the point. One of the many insights that make us wonder ... yes indeed, what the hell are we doing?

Tons of material about and by the Dalai Lama is to be found. For example a great introduction about him, his life and how he was found is the movie Kundun, and the numerous books, co-written by scientist, psychiatrists, philosophers and so on is easy findable online and in book stores, or dozens of online talks. Personally I found the book Art of Happiness a good one to start with.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Preview of stop 2 El Viaje in Ecuador

A short preview of the second stop of El Viaje Ecuador in the coastal village Engabao, where we are visiting and take a peek into the lifes of Swedish-Ecuadorian couple Nadija and Daniel.

Aquí se encuentra el trailer en Español
Hier vind je de Nederlandse preview
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