A week in Morocco

Seven days in Morocco at the end of the year. The buzzing, labyrinthine souks of Marrakech, the thousand faces of the Atlas mountains, and the Sahara.

Oh god, the Sahara.

I guess I never really thought I’d see the Sahara desert. It’s been something of a mystical place to me. A place of stories and imagery and harsh otherworldliness, ingrained in me since childhood by all those old movies and the countless hours reading Tintin.

As always I took too many pictures. I’ve selected a few and put them online. Let me know if you happen to like them.

tintin

Adventures in Asunderland

I was at a crossroads. The path ahead split into three, two leading into unexplored terrain and one returning to where I came from. Without an idea where to go, all I knew was that I desired change. None of the unwalked paths seemed worthy traversing, but my lust for something new pushed me ahead nonetheless.

After almost 8 years, it was time to leave Norway.

There were more reasons than just an urge for new horizons. I had considered moving on from Norway for years, and suddenly there were several factors in life suggesting that now was the time to make the big leap.

The options?

France, in a small but beautiful city with a international studio. A good project, but not the role or the place for me.

Bulgaria, in the capital (Sofia) with another international studio. An interesting project, but this time the role was also appealing. But the city proved, after an onsite interview, to be terrible.

Neither option was the life I wanted. Far from it. Still, they were opportunities, and a change was necessary. Or so I thought.

Somewhere, in the back of my mind, my intuition screamed “no”. But I would have none of that. I tried to analyze the different offers, engaging my intellect to find the optimal decision, in a constant dialog with myself. But I was still at a loss.

Alice, lost in adventures much more wonderous than the ones I ultimately had, sought guidance from the grinning Cheshire Cat.

`Would you tell me, please, which way I ought to go from here?’
`That depends a good deal on where you want to get to,’ said the Cat.
`I don’t much care where–‘ said Alice.
`Then it doesn’t matter which way you go,’ said the Cat.
`–so long as I get SOMEWHERE,’ Alice added as an explanation.
`Oh, you’re sure to do that,’ said the Cat, `if you only walk long enough.’

And so I simply chose one of the paths, ending up in Sofia.

Sofia. The forgotten capital of Europe. Poor, ugly, broken and corrupt – and here I intended to live.

The city is Eastern Europe at its worst. The communist era apartment complexes litter the city as tombs of crumbling concrete, polluting even otherwise nice areas with their towering desperation. The retired begs for your “leva”, much to poor to survive on their tiny pensions. Packs of wild dogs, with or without rabies, scavenges the dirty streets for food and shelter.

I stayed just short of a month. It would have been difficult for me to be happy there, despite the kind nature of the Bulgarian people and the good food. The wealth a western salary provides in Bulgaria doesn’t matter – in Sofia everyone is poor, because whenever you step outside your luxurius home you’re still in Sofia. Returning to Oslo became the only sane option, and this time my choice felt right.

Steve Jobs, in an inspiring speech given to graduate students at Standford University, delivered the following memorable quote:

“Have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.”

A simple idea, yet so difficult to internalize. But it’s true, it’s powerful and it’s important to understand. Sheath your intellect, if only for a moment, and listen to your instinct. Then you will know what path is yours, even if the destination still eludes you.

Perhaps my little adventure in Sofia will become meaningful when observed in the mirror years from now. By then I have hopefully learned to trust my intuition.

Traces of a party

This year, Funcom’s yearly summer party took place on a boat going through the Oslo fjord. I happened to shoot quite a few pictures, and I uploaded the best ones my photo blog. It also have a few shots from the 17th of May, Norway’s crazy national holiday where the entire country dresses in traditional folk clothing.

The park is now open

The blog has been offline for a while. I forgot to renew it, and when it went offline I wasn’t in a hurry to fix it. But now it’s back up, and I’m happy it is.

I’ve already updated the photo blog – I walked around downtown when Obama was here, and took some pictures of the people and the demonstrations. I think the people of Oslo’s message can be summarized in “earn it”, as stated in the picture above.

Yes. Earn it. You have a long way to go to earn that prize, Obama, with two wars on your hands. On a related note, I was thoroughly unimpressed with your performance at the climate conference in Copenhagen. China and the US were apparently the main reasons why the conference’s end result was a very lame document, with hardly any new binding goals.

Earn it. Take some of your brilliant speeches and transform them into action. Earn the trust you have recieved from the western civilization.

The Moscow Subway

The subway of Moscow is unlike any other subway in the world. Almost every station has a different look, and the differences are not subtle – and neither is the architecture. Where else can you visit subway stations that looks like ballrooms, or space ships from a 1960’s movie? If you know me it should be no surprise that I took a lot of pictures of them when I was there last year, and now I’ve finally uploaded them. Have  a look.

New batch of photos

It’s been a while, but I’ve uploaded a batch of photos, taken during last year’s vacation, to my photo blog. I’m really quite happy with some of them, so go on and have a look. Oh, and when I’ve got time I’ll publish some more photos from that summer. I still have a backlog off pictures to sort through and process.