Monday, November 12, 2007

New Poll, Perfect workplace?

What are the essential ingredients of a workplace? Is it a peaceful and quiet atmosphere, your colleagues or is it a nice fresh cup of coffee?

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Is it Me?

SUN 8 June 2010:
The beauty of my dreamworld this night made it still a very unpleasant surprise that the reality past the memories of my dreams. Tonight I was back in the house where I grew up. An old house along one of the small canals in Amsterdam. The heavy wooden door, with a small rectangular window on eye height (a few years later it turned out to be the mailbox). On the end of the hall their was a door opening which in my memories was a hole of light. It was the living room behind this door with it’s big windows on the garden side as well on the waterside that formed the light source. The living room I remembered covered with the curly shadows of tree branches and leaves and the twinkling of the diffuse reflection of the water in the canal, I felt at home.

Network a basic need of the DigiNomads life?

SAT 12 June 2010:
Today is like that kind of day that everything seamed to have slowed down. It was a late night yesterday, promised Jake to deliver him the printable pdf this morning so he has enough time to prepare the presentation scheduled for Monday. The film night of Wednesday started to feel less and less appropriate. Although the late hour of yesterday it was an early morning today. I woke up and fall a sleep on the same day and so I felt in all the parts of my body. I got out of my cabin and although I was standing straight up it felt like I was crawling out of bed towards the refreshing room. Some water splashing in my face helped to get my brain worked on acceptable speed. First thing to do was grab a strong coffee at the nearest coffee bar. While walking my legs got straitened out and I was feeling my feet again. Suddenly a slowed down because of the smell of fresh coffee. I entered a satelite GlobSpot named SWITCH, it struck my how crowded it already was. And everyone was al lot more awake than I was, running in and out with his cup of coffee. Time to check my e-mail. On my PDA I already saw there were some documents send to my but I prefer to read them on my laptop. The welcoming ‘pling’ of the WIFI received on my laptop made my somehow finally wake up. And when I checked the time for the first time this morning. I suddenly perfectly understood why it was so crowded already. I forgot to change the time of my old but definitely fashionable watch after my flight of yesterday. I had slept trough my alarm clock. The minutes on my watch made sense but the hours told a different story. The planned meeting would start in about 15 min. Only way to get there in time is to take a cab. The most expensive way to travel but therefore the fastest. My speed went up and I just made it in time. The rest of the day my travel speed only seamed to accelerate in contrary to my brainpower getting slower and slower. At 13:00 it really was powernap time. Speed on zero, brainpower of. Sleep one hour, and get ready for a diner meeting this evening. I woke up at 17:00........
A Spiderweb just next to me. While sitting on a bench in Central Park I saw him busy fixing his new home and source for food gaining. He was a Nomad too. His network of threads kept him alive. Just like me
And again I had to speed up but I still was in a slow mode. Luckily I got saved by a system. A system that ain’t that visible but is always there. I agreed to meet at the central Globspot on Times Square. I took one of the CNT’s (City Network Train) to Time Square. After a few stops I slowly started to fade away in a fluffy dreamland. A beep in my pocket woke me up. Times Square was the next stop my PDA told me. The amazing gadet registered that I fell a sleep and was thoughtful enough to wake me up just in time. Saved by the bell. I walked onto Times Square and suddenly my PDA beeped again. Oh my god Peter had just entered the GlobSpot. If he saw me and Jake together he definitely would get suspicious. And this project should stay out off his reach and Jake didn’t knew that jet and I intended to leave it that way. I send Jake a text massage and made up some stupid excuse, I think it worked, I hope........

Friday, November 9, 2007

How to move?

FRI 11 June 2010:
This morning I went by the headquarters, a huge building in the European Union (EU) quarter. I was again as always surprised by it’s monumentality. Only a few months ago I came in here every day, right now I passed by there like a real Nomad. Collecting new material (to provide myself with information) and leaving some material in exchange for a continuing salary. When I walked outdoors I bumped into a young Indian looking women carrying her suitcase in one hand and a fresh cup of coffee in her other. And of course this cup of coffee landed on her beautiful white blouse. ‘PODVERDOMME, waarom kijkt dat mens dan ook niet uit’ (Duch for: SHIT, why isn’t she paying attention). I immediately apologized in too many sentences. She responded surprisingly short and in perfect Ducth: ‘kan gebeuren’ (can happen). My brain made a anxious jump, never curse in front of a lady. How do you know I’m Dutch I immediately asked her. She answered: ‘for one people from Spain do not say ‘potverdomme’ and otherwise your tag says your name is Niels, not such a Spanish name either. Omad is still a mystery to my but maybe you can explain that to my after you directed my to a dry cleaner. I showed her the dry cleaner in the GlobSpot and took her for a lunch in a small very cosy cafe-restaurant only known by those people whom worked in Bruxelles for a longer period. We had a nice conversation when I suddenly realised that I had to catch my plane to New York this afternoon. I apologized again, again to many sentences. Before I left she asked my where the Berlaymont was. Well that was not such a difficult place to point out the route to. It’s the most iconic building of the EU quarter and visible from almost everywhere, situated along the largest axis (Rue de la Loi 200). I’m sure she found it, I fogot to ask her name............

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Don’t I know you from somewhere?

THU 10 June 2010:
It still feels strange to sleep in the Globspot (DigiNomads sleeping and working place) in Amsterdam a city in which my earliest memories are kept I travel like a stranger in my own city. The first years I stayed with my parents but while I’m now traveling and working at the same time this didn’t seem like such a good idea. This morning I visited my dear mother and father, still living in the house where I grew up. And not only it still looked like that time it still was like that time. A computer was nowhere to be found a mobile phone couldn’t be tracked in this house So plans with my parents always had to be made in advance, while a quick text message isn’t possible. But what ever happened to them would always be reachable and that felt comfortable.
Strangely enough the train trip back to Brussels was rather melancholic. Although I come to Amsterdam a few times a year I had big difficulties saying goodbye this time so I kept watching the city from my window while the train drove out of the city. And suddenly I realized. What had started as an experiment to still keep track of something familiar after the last houses of Amsterdam had faded away, had in the next hour turned in to a way of saying good bey. And to say good bey to something, I thought when the train was moving on, you had to create a internal distance. You had to shift the silent- and diffuse officiousness of the thing you were strained with into a clarity that made clear to you what it meant. And this meant that it had to become something with distinct contours. It had been a month since I had been in Amsterdam. I had the feeling that the train that was moving out of the station left a piece of my behind. A little bit it seamed like I was drifting away onto an open, cold see, on an ice rock that had been loosened because of a small earthquake (based on: Nachttrein naar Lissabon, Pascal Mercier).
Back home I immediately checked my flight of next day to New York. And skyped with a contact over there to check if everything was still in order and still expecting me. I phoned my parents that I was home safe and checked my last e-mail messages. I already did some work in the train but to make up with the time I lost yesterday I worked a little more now.
And before I went to bed I wanted to chat a little bit with my girlfriend so I started my MSN-messenger and got lucky she was online. See was in Mexico right now for some weeks doing a project on housing in slumps. She was going back home on Saturday. So we wouldn’t meet for a long time. She had a big surprise for me she had a ticket booked that made a stop in New York. So she decided to stay in New York for some days.
I didn’t sleep that good for a long time and sunday I would sleep with her next to me.......

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

The Work-rhythme against the Nomads melody?

WED 9 June 2010:
Wednesday, it was already halfway the workweek. The last weekend is still in your memory but you also think about the next already. Although the last couple of months since I do not work on the office anymore my life got a lot more differentiated. I can plan my free time whenever I like. This results in the fact that I spent evenings and sometimes weekends behind my laptop but also quiet gym classes around noon. And while sitting in a nice cafe with a beautiful view on a canal I can state that I like my new life.
This morning for example I used my new freedom on a way that never would have been possible a few months ago. I visited a good friend of me, still living in Amsterdam and played a game of squash with him. His technic had improved a lot since university. I stopped playing afterwards but he continued playing. I had no chance he was dancing on the court and i couldn’t even find a rhythm. Of course we hang out for lunch in a lunchcafe along the Prinsengracht (an Amsterdam Canal) and memories floated in front of my eyes. My appointments followed up in a continues movement. Sometimes changing direction a bit but always based on the basic rhythm of the day and night cycle and the cycle of the workweek. Because although I can schedule my own week from day to day without thinking of the difference about work and weekend days the largest percentage of working people have a sacred weekend. Weekends are therefor the best days to travel. You don't loose valuable time in which you could had have a very important conversation with somebody. But my freedom has enormously enlarged. After a hasty run to make it in time for my appointment this afternoon and a very heavy discussion with one of the artist about his sudden decision not to participate in the project, I was not capable to crawl behind my computer any more. Instead I decided to go to a Dutch new movie with an old friend. It became a late night in which I forgot my worries of the daylight.
The unbreakable rhythmic day of the working man that even can’t be fixed with a cup a soup against the melodious travel of a nomadic worker changes all depending on your mood.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

How to move when I am working?

TUE 13 June 2010:
Yesterday it was my last day in the office again. I returned to Brussels two weeks ago after a monthly visit to New York. And this afternoon I left again to Amsterdam for 2 days in order to talk to some artist who participate in a European wide exhibition of famous artists who live or lived along the Thalys route. At the same time I could meet up with my memories again and visit some friends and family. As many employees I also do not have any personal office anymore in Brussels. I do have a guaranteed office-desk and all needed extra infrastructure in the building. I can reserve a certain spot trough the internet in advance or I can just walk into the building and ask for a place there. There is always an empty spot somewhere in the building. It’s always nice to be back in the office and see what everyone is doing.
Since I travel so much, I now work somewhere else everyday. Most important for the perfect work-spot is a WIFI connection. And although almost everywhere it is possible to connect to a WIFI network, there are still some blank spots, unfortunately. But almost all major cities are covered.
This morning I had the ultimate office experience. I forgot to close my curtains last night, a warm beam of sunlight woke me up and I wanted to taste the air outside. For breakfast I skipped my regular café and instead took of to a local Turkish Supermarket and bought some Turkish bread and fresh humus finished with the best take away coffee in town. With this survival package I headed of to Parc de Bruxelles. There I placed myself on a bench and created my own instant office. Ever seen an office surrounded by trees and covered with leaves. I had never worked in a more comforting atmosphere. I even had a WIFI connection.
I had to pull myself out of this comfort zone to catch my train connection to Paris. The Thalys these days really is a DigiNomads haven. There is WIFI on board and good fresh coffee. So my second instant office of the day emerged right in the there in the train. A long train travel from Brussels to Amsterdam now becomes a productive one. The cabin space miraculously turns in to an office for many people, for others it becomes a bedroom and children use it as a very cool playground.

Monday, November 5, 2007

Is the DigiNomad Homeless?

MON 7 June 2010

On Monday the penetrating sound of my alarm clock pulled me back into the real physical world. Where am I is a question you always ask yourself on the moment you open your eyes or maybe even a split second before that. Usually you know the answer before you asked the question, it’s at home. But sometimes, the day after that beautiful holiday to a warm and inspiring country you get confused. Today it took me al least a few seconds to figure out it was my own cosy bed I woke up in. It was the sound of the Saint Micheals (cathedral in Brussels) that tele-ported me back to Brussels.
So now I was back in place again it was time to get up. With a rather smooth movement swung my body in an upright position and touched the floor with my feet for the first time this day. This earthly contact and my self reflecting, not so charming, image in the mirror made my place in the world seem irrelevant. But in the afternoon I had a meeting at the headquarters about some sponsorship for a huge exhibition in New York next year. So I put on my clothes and slipped into my shoes suddenly remembering the running exercise of yesterday represented by a growing blister. I looked around the room, the only room my and my girlfriends place had. After adopting our nomadic lifestyle we decided to move to a smaller apartment while we didn’t need to live in the space that much. But while we loved the city centre of Brussels because it held so many shared memories we looked for a place right in the heart of the city. I moved here 6 years ago after growing up and studying in Amsterdam to work for the EU. I met my girlfriend and moved in with here after one year. So I can tell I feel at home in this city, although my heimat still is Amsterdam. Because of the little space we have I like to start my days in a quiet café. Something I do everywhere also when I am traveling. This morning I ended up in my favorite café ‘Het warm water’ specialized in day welcoming breakfasts. And always some fresh new papers and not unimportant a WIFI connection.
While walking to the EU quarter I saw a homeless man hiding under a big three trying to create some shelter for himself. I wondered if he despite the lacking of a physical home still felt at home in the same city I felt at home. When I was thinking this and therefore watched in his eyes he spit right next to my leather shoes, I had recently polished, saying: ‘How dare you walking through ‘my city’ with those absurdly expensive shoes made of harmless cows’. I smiled and thought, yes he feels at home, but kept my change from breakfast in my pocket.

One week of a DigiNomad

While I have a presentation this week I won't be able to post that much on my blog, instead I will tell a story of Niels Omad every day and include it with one question.

See next post for the first day

What makes a place 'Home'?

There is a new Poll! What makes a place 'Home'?

Last weeks poll results are:

If you could change your 'normal' nationality bounded passport for a NOMADIC PASSPORT would you (5nov 2007)?

NO, I care to much about my cultural identity

1 (8%)

NO, it's to dangerous. I need the basic protection of at least my home country

2 (16%)

NO, other reasons

1 (8%)

YES, I am a global citizen and have my own identity and culture

4 (33%)

YES, but I need somehow to lower my risklevel and secure my basic protection

3 (25%)

YES, other reasons

1 (8%)

Friday, November 2, 2007

Niels Omad

Let me introduce to you Niels Omad. Niels has been invented last year to personify the DigiNomad. What was he like, what did he do and what were the problems and possibilities of his new lifestyle. In the mean time I am busy finding respondents to tell me about their experiences. This way Niels will not only represent my brainwaves but also a group of real-life people

Well this is Niels, or al least these are his personalia


Surname: Omad

Given Names: Niels

Date of Birth: 29 JUN 1980

Place of Birth: Amsterdam

Residence: Bruxelles

Personal no.: 131725932

Sex: Male

Height: 1,80m

In my thesis there is one whole week of his diary used as leading structure to all the facets of his life. For now I will only tell you the story, how he became a nomad

5 January 2010:

Today was one of those days that kept resonating for a long time inside my head. Not because something very special happened that day but because something happened that gave the opportunity to let special things happen in the future. My girlfriend went to the globe today. Not just for a vacation or a short meeting with some clients over there. No she went there for about 4 months. She had started her own architecture firm 5 years ago and without special effort she got projects all over the world. She already left Bruxelles quite often to discuss with her clients, but always came back after a few days. Now she entered the city she was designing for, the Global City. I couldn’t help it but I was jealous........

28 January 2010:

'I want to live in the same city as my girlfriend'. That's what I told my supervisor this morning hanging over my instant made machine coffee served in a paper cup decorated with 12 stars and the motto " In varietate concordia" (united in diversity). Yes I worked for the EU. ‘But your girlfriend is traveling at the moment, isn’t she’? Two big eyes stared at me. ‘No, she is living in the Global City’ was my response. I already suspected this question and prepared this sentences of course. My task by the EU was to initiate cultural projects. Projects exposing everything that was produced in the habitat of European cultures. For now this were mostly small localized projects about localized artists, organized in localized buildings. My proposal was to make these things mobile, changeable per location and get them outside Europe too. The idea was received with a lot of enthusiasm. I became a Global Citizen today, my Nomadic way of life had started!!!