Goa

Traveling Solo

From just after surfing late yesterday afternoon, the Holi celebration before that and then a random yoga poser I saw while walking along the beach afterwards.

Lying here now on a reasonably comfortable bed covered on all sides but one with mosquito net and “Listen Here” by the masterful tenor saxman Eddie Harris resonating from my phone – and low tide waves of the Indian Ocean sweeping gently to shore in the distant background. Things could be worse.
 
I’ve just had an English breakfast. While the full-grain bread wasn’t nearly as toasty as I prefer it, in combination with two fried eggs (sunny side up), a generous serving of baked beans and a full pot of French press coffee, certainly made for yet another sublime breakfast experience. A hotel breakfast without baked beans on the menu gets a star knocked off in my review.
 
All meals are served in this small resort’s beachfront restaurant under a corsage of slightly swaying palm trees. Having a beautiful beach as a backdrop excuses most shortcomings. Not that I’ve experienced any. So far, all my expectations have been either met or exceeded. I’m not totally blown away, I mean, it’s beautiful and everyone is really friendly, but I’ve been around the block a few times and seen some pretty awesome places. So I just dialed in level-headed conjecture as I clicked the “Confirm Booking” button.
 
A sweet Parisian family that I’d first met at the airport and who were also on their way here, sat at the table next to me this morning. They’re living as expatriates in a city of ten million that I can’t recall the name of. I think it was south of Mumbai somewhere. They enjoyed living in India, but had heard that the expat life in Thailand was far better. Somewhat surprisingly, they had never been to the “land of smiles”. Later at dinner, I met another family, this time from Virginia (US) that lived in Delhi. They too had heard the same about how good expat life was in Bangkok.
 
India and Thailand are of course different in many ways – yet have more in common than one might reckon at first glance. For one thing, both certainly love their curries and spicy dishes. And the climates and geography are somewhat similar – at least on parallel latitudes of both countries southern regions.
 
According to what I’ve read on the subject, much of the populace in Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia, Cambodia, Myanmar, and Laos, all belong to a convergence of Indian and Chinese decedents. Which makes perfect sense once you consider all the trading that has been going on across the Bay of Bengal and the Andaman Sea, further south (east) for millennia. Alas, ethnic lineage is one of today’s most sensitive subjects, but intriguing nonetheless. As academic and scientific studies continue to provide evidence that we are all decedents of a common African species, I think talking more openly about lineage is a key to unlocking some of today’s most heated topics, including nationalism, bigotry, and racism.
 
I’ve been to India a few times now and thoroughly enjoy the relaxed atmosphere. Especially here in laid-back Goa – which of course is lightyears from being representative of the wildly diverse Indian subcontinent. But I’ve even enjoyed good vibes in super busy cities like Mumbai and Hyderabad. And once you venture into rural India, everything tends to play out in a fascinating slow-motion pace. There’s just no reason to stress when life is guided by seasons and not dictated by more or less virtual deadlines.
 
Though I do have deadlines, in general, travel writing and travel photography are usually stress-free assignments – unless of course the destination is uninspiring or the schedule is jam-packed with too much to absorb whilst on the go. Which happened a few years ago on tour of Croatia. The organizers had been so ambitious, they’d shoehorned at least a week of often hysterically unorganized events and spontaneous visits into three days. The result? Mutiny! As far as I know, very little was reported from that particular junket. Honestly, press trips are usually over-rated. Solo traveling is the best (and most honest) way to go. Though at times, I confess to missing the camaraderie of colleagues – especially during meals. Eating alone gets boring real fast.

Holi Festival, Batman!

From today’s extremely playful and colorful celebration of the vibrant Spring Festival called Holi. Shot on a Gopro Hero 7 (4k) and an iPhone 7+ (4k/720p). I’ve handed in my clothes to a local laundry shop, but they were dubious about being able to clean all of the colors. Not to fret, I said. Could make for a nice keepsake from an extraordinary day. Read more about Holi here.

coffee in goa

Breakfast Coffee in Goa

I typically find more time to write whilst traveling. Especially when soloing on a long-distance trip. I suppose there is easement and solace in piecing together a description of my experiences on the road.

I woke up this morning to the sound of waves crashing onto the beach thirty or forty feet from my bungalow. As usual, I’d fallen asleep with my Airpods playing the latest podcast episode of “Conan O’Brien Needs a Friend” with the delightful Michelle Obama. I didn’t hear the entire interview, so I’ll finish it up sometime later today.

I usually wake up with one of the two Airpods lodged somewhere between my ribs or nestled in a fold of skin near my shoulder blades.

If the waves and the Airpods that woke me, it was definitely the smell of coffee that got me out of bed. After twenty minutes of Qigong poses, I headed downstairs to the restaurant which is directly below. After a pot of fresh coffee, a plate of baked beans and two fried eggs, I’m now ready to see how the villagers celebrate “Holi” today.

india

Back in Goa for Holi

After a weeklong delay, a short stint in Delhi, I’m now back on schedule and have arrived safely in Goa.

The distance from the chilly, windy and pallid southern Sweden to the balmy and colorful southern India couldn’t be wider.

While it was officially spring in Sweden yesterday, here in Goa today, they will be celebrating “Holi” which is the Hindu festival of colors honoring the triumph of good over evil, increasing the prospect of a favorable harvest as well as improving fertility.

The layered image above is a composition of cows I met heading down the village road yesterday afternoon and a young guy with a lavish hairdo I came across a few minutes later.


Goa Tuk-Tuk

From last year’s visit to south Goa in India. Shot on an old GoPro and an iPhone in the beatiful hills behind Agonda Beach during an afternoon. I remember having stubbed my toe on a piece of wood at the hotel that morning – yet still insisting on going surfing afterwards.

Quartier écolo

Un quartier modèle de Malmö en Suède, qui fonctionne à 100% aux énergies renouvelables. #19h30RTSRTSinfo

Publicerat av RADIO TELEVISION SUISSE (RTS) Måndag 11 februari 2019

TV Interview

From an interview I did for Paris based TV team Story W. They visited in January to produce a story about unique sustainability projects in Malmö – primarily Västra Hamnen and Hyllie. The reportage will be shown on Swiss TV station Radio Television Suisse (RTS) and on a yet to be disclosed (to me anyway) French TV channel as well.

桂林

Gui​lin aka 桂林

Heading east in a while. Not as far east as Guìlín in the southern reaches of China, though. Guìlín which means “Forest of Sweet Osmanthus” because of the abundance of Osmanthus trees in the region, was a magical place, especially the river trip we took down the Li River to the picturesque, laid-back village of Yangshuo – where we incidentally spent a night and drove electric scooters in the midst of the most amazing landscape of karst mountains. A small yet hopefully inspiring collection of images from Guìlín can be enjoyed here.

Ich bin ein Berliner

Ich bin ein Berliner
This post’s headline stems from JFK’s famous Cold War speech back in 1963 during a visit to West Berlin. I’ve been to Berlin a few times. Most recently last spring to check out the art scene and visit Doris and Peter – two friends that have moved there from Malmö.
There’s also been a couple of press trips to Germany that had Berlin on the itinerary. My very first visit was with Charlotte and Elle back in the mid 2000s. I really dig it Berlin and had it not been landlocked, I might even have considered living there for a spell. In addition to Berlin’s eclectic artistic scene, the city is just stoked with historical venues. Having done all that stuff, I can now appreciate just walking around, taking in the atmosphere and capturing the almost always interesting street vibe. More images from Berlin here.
Joakim Lloyd Raboff in Tuscany

Tuscany

Thanks to a friend, wine connoisseur and restauranteur Erik Schneider, I was invited to Tuscany to photograph for a few days in the Val d’Orcia region. The winery Cal d’Orcia, founded and operated by Count Cinzano (one of the family members that make and own the aperitif brand) hosted me for the week. Tuscany is as beautiful as I’d read about – and then some. And a completely different Italy than what I had seen in other regions of the country. Here’s a collection from the visit.

The Blue Mosque in Istanbul, Turkey

Istanbul

Been so busy lately, that I’ve totally forgot about updating the travel section. I’m giving it some attention now and in addition to the South Bronx and Tokyo, Istanbul went up yesterday. Politics aside, Istanbul is absolutely amazing and I’d love to return one day. If for no other reason, then for all the friendly folks I met during the weeklong visit a few years ago. If you look closely, you’ll see a plane taking off behind the Blue Mosque. More from Istanbul here.