United Kingdom

A better future

Sometimes, your job just sucks. It’s repetitive, it’s dirty, it’s boring. You feel undervalued and underappreciated, but you stick with it because it provides a living, comfortable or not. Friday and Saturday are easily the best days of the week, where decompressing from the workweek happens in the couch or in alcoholic debauchery. Monday morning, from the recesses of your brain, thoughts of change come bubbling up, yet the morphine towards the end of the workday sedates those thoughts and pushes them back into their dark cave. You know you can do better, you know you’re worth more, but you live on in complacency, unwilling to make the effort of potentially perilous change. (more…)

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I will work until I die

Ah retirement! The rewarding final episode of life, the well-deserved rest after some forty years of hard work, and something many have saved for and look forward to. Retirement age varies across countries, from 62 in France to 67 in Norway, and politicians sometimes argue to raise it because of the pressing cost of an ageing population on the government. Yet that remains a very touchy and controversial topic that is more often than not buried under protests of raspy voices and bony fists, even though it is a very reasonable argument. (more…)

Sweat, mud and 10,000 volts: Tough Mudder

Hundreds of wires were hanging in front of me over the next ten metres, all wrapped in a plastic insulator except for the lower tips. Each wire was charged with 10,000 volts. Although the area was incredibly muddy, Jack and I saw a way to sneak through the wires without getting hit, and both of us were doing quite well. But alas, I was halfway when someone decided to kamikaze his way through and all the wires moved. Getting hit by 10,000 volts is a strange experience. I felt the electric current going through my right leg, but couldn’t pinpoint the exact spot where I was hit. I was hoping I’d give out a manly grunt, but instead yelled like a girl. To be fair, even the muscled dude with the Viking beard  screamed. And the guy that got hit on his bum. That was the worst scream. We all laughed with that one, though. (more…)

Who do you want to be in life?

September is creeping closer, and with it comes the increasing pressure of having to find a job. I’ve been studying for five consecutive years now, and am looking forward to whatever change will come in the next coming months. Yet I’m not quite looking forward to the “job” that seems to be waiting for me, i.e. the corporate job where I would consult, analyse data, sell a product, or look at financial charts. Agreed, good money can be found there, as well as a certain peace of mind, and millions of people are satisfied with their role as a calorie in a chocolate cake. But that’s not how I roll. (more…)

A Chinese bucket list

In less than a month, I will set foot in China. A land so vast it is only surpassed by Russia and Canada in size. A land with an incredibly advanced civilization in a time when Europeans were still rolling around in their own dirt before the Renaissance. China is accredited with inventions that changed the face of our world at that time, such as gunpowder, paper, printing, and the compass. Its empire continues up to this day, and it seems China is again on its way to show its greatness. There is raw power in its buzzing cities, in its deep lakes, in its dark forests, in its tales of strangeness and fantasy. I am going to China at an exciting time, and I want to share this with you. I will keep a video-blog (or vlog, as it is called) to show you the marvel of China. But for now, a bucket list of places I absolutely want to visit: (more…)

Never Mind the Bollocks

Degrees: Pay More, Earn Less

This was the headline of yesterday’s Metro. Between 2007 and 2012, students in the UK have seen their tuition fee rise to an average of £9,000 annually, while their salary upon graduation  has decreased because of an increasingly competitive job market. Apparently, we are “the first generation to have it worse than their parents”. And this is the UK, currently the best economy of entire Europe. Youth unemployment is 60% in Greece, 55% in Spain, 42% in Italy. A Lost Generation. I wrote about this before in the context of Europe, where I gave the option to either remain complacent and indeed become a lost generation, or yell to gain attention from policy makers. Today I offer another option, one that makes the previous two obsolete. (more…)

Imagine unlimited imagination

Stories come in many forms. The biography of a celebrity, the bankruptcy of airplane companies after 9/11, the moment you first saw her, a forest in the Shire. However, not all stories are created equally. The first three examples above are based upon real events that happened. This is different from my last example, as the Shire is a part in the made-up world of Middle-Earth. We are all storytellers to the extent that we can all talk about an event that we went through or that we know about. Yet coming up with something that did not happen is considerably more difficult (even liars base their lie on credible scenarios). It requires something fascinating, something that has brought the human race to where we are now: imagination. (more…)