Thursday, December 31, 2009

Sad stuff?

We've spent another decade!

I'm not quite convinced that we spent it in an optimal and sensible way. I don't mean that we should always be sensible, but I really think that we, the people of the planet that I have now traveled at length, should have achieved more.

Granted, I could also have contributed a lot more than I did. I made some Web pages that I am quite happy with, and I'm sure they put a decent amount of money in the pockets of the shareholders of the company I work for. Also, I made a book that surprisingly many have thanked me for taking the time to write. Many of my photos have also made the world a tiny bit better, through making some people smile and by enlightening others, mainly on Wikipedia.

So that's something. It's enough, at least, to make me look forward to the 2010s! Maybe then we can get more done? Good things, I mean.

A good start in doing so may be to sit down and think some things through thoroughly. I won't be much inspiration for you, I'm afraid, but I've found some people that will! Here are some videos I really think you and your mind will benefit from watching. Enjoy!

(Some videos take some time to get to the point. Bear with them.)

1. It's okay to be weird, and it's okay to be fascinated by weirdness.
Here's a great example of that:

2. Smile to the world, and the world will smile back at you.
This goes in particular for certain people, like the guy in the middle here, wearing yellow:

If you need proof, take a look at this:

3. Consider everything you've learnt in life, and use it before it's too late.
Try to make your wisdom available to others as well. Randy Pausch did. He got pancreatic cancer fairly early in life, but he managed to give a last lecture about life and dreams before he passed away. Watch it:

4. Help those who need it, as much as you can.
This will make both you and others happy. I dare you to not be moved by watching what happened to this guy who struggled with singing the national anthem before the game:

5. Love something or someone.
If you're not already doing this, consider finding someone or something to care more for than anything else. It may end sooner or later, and then it's not much fun, but it will probably be worth the effort anyway. Just make sure you dedicate enough time to do it thoroughly. Here's a cute story with unbearably sad music, about a girl and her dog. Many questions and many answers:

6. Always end with style!
Here's a group of old people singing of joy even though they're going to die fairly soon. And the most beautiful voice comes from the guy that looks the least healthy:
(Backup link:

I wish you all a Happy New Year!


Monday, December 14, 2009

Back to Life - Back to Reality

Yes, I know. It's been awfully quiet here. Although there has been plenty to report from my recent trip to Southern Africa, I simply couldn't find a practical way to keep in touch with you. Partially because I've been moving around a lot, but mainly because the Internet, as you know it, just hasn't found its way yet to those places I visited.

I'm back in Norway now, where I'm currently converting a great many pages of handwritten notes into captions and stories that you may want to read. As usual, the mountain of photos I have to conquer is a mighty one, so this may take a while. I'll enjoy every second of it.

For now, here's a brief summary of how I spent the last four weeks:

I flew to Johannesburg and immediately escaped to Pretoria, only to find that nowadays it's called Tshwane instead. Or maybe not. They haven't quite decided yet. I repeated a long walk from my last visit there, and I think things have improved, security-wise. I didn't shit myself even once this time around. The closest I got to being physically attacked was when the woman at the tourist information office requested "Will you tell me where you're from, please?", and I apparently, quite rude, responded with "No way!".

Moving on, I had some good days in the Drakensberg and Lesotho. I managed to nearly kill myself only once. I went hiking near Sani Pass in dense fog when suddenly and for a few hours I only knew that I was in Africa, but not quite where in Africa. It could have been worse. I could have been surrounded by a blizzard instead of just fog. Incidentally, that's exactly what I got a few days later, when I ventured into a remote part of Lesotho. Heavy snow wasn't exactly what I had expected from Lesotho. Then again, in hindsight I can safely say the same about pretty much everything I did and saw in Lesotho. It's a funny place.

After leaving behind all my warm clothes with the people of Lesotho, who need them a lot more than I did for the rest of my trip, I went back to Johannesburg. There I joined an overland tour to head into Mozambique, another funny place. I slept in a tent in the wilderness. The camp had no electricity, yet the only thing separating me from lions, elephants and whatnots there was a supposedly electrical fence. Hmmm...

We traveled up the coast, the beaches steadily increasing in beauty the further north we went. In Vilanculo I went on an epic journey to mail some postcards. I celebrated having completed that mission by sailing around the Basaruto Islands in a dhow. Surprisingly (to me, anyway), large crocodiles live on those islands. Some natives kept me safely away from those ravenous beasts, and I rewarded them richly for their services. (They now have enough party balloons to last them a decade, I swear.)

On my way back to reality I made a stop in the famous Kruger park in South Africa for a few days of safaris and game drives. Unfortunately I did not find any new species this time around. I did discover a couple of new rivers, though. They both ran with gusto through my tent during a most intense nocturnal thunderstorm.

That's it, although I now see that I left out a couple of highlights. Anyway, I'm still alive, and that's all I really wanted to say.

Oh, and since I've been gone, my photos have found their way into the annual report of the Gumala aboriginals (here), and there's a good chance my iguana photo ends up on an Iceland CD cover in the near future. I'm thrilled, obviously!