Wow it’s been a busy year for me travelling. A few days ago I was in the Flinders Ranges, about 700km north of where I live in Adelaide. This got me thinking about the travel I have been lucky enough to do this year: New Zealand, Germany, Sweden, East Timor, and China. They were all great trips but this post is about some off beat places that I haven’t blogged about yet.
It’s not quite as scary as it looks. Not quite. The adventurous young lady in the picture is Grace, one of my good friends from Atcom. The rest of the walk was tough but worth it with many spectacular views. It’s a 2200m climb to the mountain peaks via some very steep stairs. In fact one stair after another for about 6 hours.
One interesting difference for me was all the people. When I have done similar mountain walks in Australia or the US there are very few people. On Mount Hua there were people everywhere, and little kiosks every 500m where you can buy hot food and cold drinks, and even hotels at the top of the mountain.
I can thoroughly recommend visiting China – the Xian area I visited was great. Xian has lots of wonderful history and was once the capital of China. Compared to Westerners the Chinese take a very long view of history – 1500 years is like yesterday for them as their culture has been continuous for thousands of years. I’m still absorbing exactly what that means to your outlook on the world – I live in a country that is just over 100 years old.
Squatter Life in Berlin
In March I visited Germany to attend Cebit. It was nice to meet some of you there! After Cebit I visited Elektra who lives in a squatter community in Berlin. This is a really different way of living and fascinating for me. Rather than buy or rent homes, they live in modified commercial trailers or trucks. These have been insulated and converted into small, comfortable homes. They use solar power for electricity and small amounts of gas or wood for heating. As it’s squatted land, they pay just the small capital cost (e.g. a few thousand Euro) for the homes, rather than rent or a large mortgage. People there come from all walks of life, and have jobs just as varied as people living in conventional homes. They use mesh Wifi for Internet access (indeed many Wifi developers like Elektra live in these communities).
In the first photo you can see Elektra working on her electric recumbent bike – I took this for a fun ride while in Berlin. It cruises happily at 30 km/hr with just a little it of peddling.
An Open Source Life
The “open source” life I have been living over the past few years has taken me on all sorts of adventures to wonderful places. I have met many great people and made some wonderful friendships. I can trace this all back to a decision in late 2005 to open source the hardware designs I was working on. I remember at the time thinking long and hard about this decision. But there is no way I would have had these travel experiences, met these people, or built great hardware and software had I stayed in a cubicle. Open source equals a good and fortunate life.