What enables me to work enthusiastically and bring out my maximum on each project is keeping a good work-life balance and making sure that my life-time is filled with things that my work-time is lacking. I consciously take a couple of months between each of my bigger projects to catch up with all those things that the time-pressure of working life is short of.
This is what my rest time needs to involve:
- spending quality time with people important to me,
- spending quality time alone,
- being outside and in nature,
- moving a lot,
- learning something new,
- experiencing new things that will inspire me.
By the end of my off-work time, I'm not only completely recharged, feeling energized, strong and healthy, but I'm starving for creating something again. Because of this, I have the luxury of taking up work projects with excitement and arrive on my first day (though often remotely) with the feeling that I can't wait to do this!
So what do I do to recharge?
Apart from being a mediocre, but enthusiastic marathon runner, my choice of past-time is going on bike adventures, as it ticks all my boxes: moving outside, wild-camping in nature or in strangers' gardens, exploring other people's landscapes and learning how their lives are like, as well as filling up all my senses (one can eat as much as one desires when cycling all day).
These below are my longer adventures that took me across five continents and through many different cultures.
2019 | Cycling Across the Sahara, from Malaga to Dakar
It's always a challenge for two freelancers to schedule free periods together, so it was a real treat to have my work schedule match perfectly with my boyfriend's, just before the summer.
Not long after I finished my eight-month-long project in Sophia Antipolis with Amadeus, I once again flew with my bike to Malaga, but this time, we were heading south! From Spain, after a quick ferry ride across the Mediterranian, I rode my bike to Rabat where my boyfriend was finishing his contract on an engineering project. From here our North-African adventure started. We rode south on the coast, enjoying the cool breeze of the Atlantic as the land became drier and the summer started to heat up around us. During the course of six weeks, we crossed the Sahara Desert through Morocco and the Western Sahara, Mauritania and Senegal, following the route Antoine de Saint-Exupéry has taken countless times in the golden age of aviation.
We arrived in Dakar exhausted but triumphant, willing to admit that cycling through a desert in the summertime was not the greatest of our ideas, but, though dreaming about cool Norwegian fjords, we stuck with it.
2018 | Spring Cycling Home from Malaga, Spain
The spring of 2018 saw multiple well-planned adventures fall to pieces. After the last fiasco, I was left with two injured feet and only a few weeks of holidays remaining. I made the best of this time by taking a cheap flight with my bike to a destination that was just far enough to cycle home from in the time available: Malaga. From here I rode my bike to Budapest, just in time to attend the wedding of my former boss, long-time mentor and now good friend, Tamas Antal.
Europe spoiled me with the most wonderful spring scenery, but the highlight of my trip was sipping cañitas in road-side tapas bars in Spain, where I could use my new Spanish skills to talk with the villagers.
2017 | Growing Younger in Colombia
I was yearning for a trip to South-America ever since I ticked Asia off my list and my heart was set on Colombia. This country fascinated me as much as the Spanish language.
Managing common working hours between Asia and the Americas is challenging, but in 2017, the wonderful team at MOTIF/Alvanon (lead by Cathy Cole), whom I was working with remotely, agreed to let me leave for Colombia. They not only helped me manage our schedules but put up with my slow internet speed.
During my three months in Colombia, I was working part-time on multiple course development projects while exploring different parts of this wonderfully diverse country, before settling down in Medellin for some intensive Spanish courses.
2016 | Christmas Cycle Tour in Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos
2016 was a busy year, with a lot of high-pressure work, so it was wonderful to escape for a few weeks to South-East Asia to visit some of the countries I haven't seen on my way south the previous year.
This trip was a mix of cycling and taking various public transportation with my bike, from tiny dinghies to overcrowded minivans. Skipping all the usual tourist destinations of the region, I made a point of riding through tiny villages in Cambodia, Laos, and Vietnam and enjoyed learning about the lives and habits of people living there.
2015 | Cycling Across Asia - 10000 Km between Budapest and Hong Kong
I've spent most of 2015 on my bike, as I crossed Europe and Central Asia. Escaping the comforts of London office life, now I lived on the road and during the course of the year, I spent almost 300 nights in my tent.
Starting this trip was the best decision of my life, for all the changes it brought along. After 13 months and cycling through 12 countries, I ended up settling in Hong Kong where I picked up my career first with Cathay Pacific, then with Alvanon.