Parts of our 2016 in travel was at times truly silly purely because, well many things: Being a transnational couple, being nomads, living and working in several countries = dealing with many visa restrictions. My passport says Denmark, Charlene’s says Singapore and as such we have some of the best passports in the world and can travel to a lot of countries visa free – but we share no common residency in the word. To stay together, Charlene and I are forced to move country at least every 90 days. In reality a lot more, because we were fortunate to get some nice jobs around Europe which then meant very carefully planning and counting the 90 out of 180 days Charlene can spend in Schengen territory. Hence, a lot of time spent in and flying in and out of Belgrade, Serbia – and look, I think Belgrade is totally awesome, but 3 times in one year for visa reasons is a bit much.
2015 was somewhat of a visa-joggling-nightmare, while 2016 just crossed into pure being ridiculous. For me, this year went like this: Singapore – USA – Mexico – USA – Denmark – Serbia (Belgrade) – Montenegro – Serbia (Belgrade) – Denmark – Germany – Denmark – Belgrade – Denmark – Belgrade – Denmark – Germany – Denmark – USA – Denmark and then I fly to Singapore on 31st of December. Phew, even the Doctor might need a rest after that. And it is not just travel for work of course, it is running from that darn ‘Transnational clock’.
Transnational Clock – that is a term I learned from Singaporean writer Kirsten Han, she hits the nail on the head exactly in her article The Transnational Clock. Do read the whole article, a few sentences really hit home for me:
“When you enter a transnational relationship, you get a clock. It’s not a physical clock, even though you wish it were, because then you could break it, lose it or throw it away. It is an indestructible clock that keeps ticking down.”
“…We hope that at least one of our home countries will take us both. So we’ll know that there’s at least one place in the world where we can be together without worry. One place in the world where the transnational clock will finally stop ticking..”
“Traveling and meeting new people you would never have had the chance to meet before only gets easier. It seems counter-intuitive to have more rules that try to stop people from being together.”
There are truly wonderful and magical things about a transnational relationship and I am the luckiest potato in the world, I found true magic, true love. I am truly lucky and very grateful. And compared to many other transnational couples and many other people in the world we are extremely lucky and fortunate. I know we have chosen to live like this and no regrets on that, but right now we are also forced to live like this. This damn clock has got to go. It is stressful and makes it difficult to build our future.
This is why 2017 will kick off with a new mission: establish a base and a residency permit in Germany. Hannover to be more precise, which we love, where we have been many times to visit dear friends, part of Charlene’s family. More about that next year. That clock is always ticking right now, so rock on 2017 and a new base in Hannover, ironically giving us freedom to travel more or at least when we want to, not when that “clock” reaches zero. That will be a huge relief, and a kickstart for a new phase in our lives. To quote Doctor Who: “Time is not the boss of me”.
We still had several awesome travel experiences and let’s dive into some highlights from the mad 2016!
U3 on a 3 week American Tour
Engage silliness! We had a fabulous time traveling around the South West with my sister for 3 weeks in January. We even started a band called U3 – well, came up with the silly and super fun U3 selfie project! Sorry Anton Corbijn, you are my hero, we may have been somewhat inspired 🙂 U3 world tour coming up, do read the whole blog post about U3.
Silly things: The entire trip! The visitors to the Grand Canyon may say that the day we visited and I skated around the icy paths in my fancy boots was one of the most silly things they have ever seen – but I disagree, I skated very gracefully!
More from U3 In America road trip: U3 in America and Fear Makes Strangers of People Who Should be Friends
Mexico – Guanajuato
We spent a bit more than 2 months in this rather magical place. Actually, this place is almost like a dream, I look at these pictures and I still cannot believe that it is a real city. It would fit in perfectly in a fairy tale or in a Doctor Who adventure. But it is real, we lived here, and loved it and will return one day. I could fill this whole post with mad images from Guanajuato, but here are a few and then dive into the blog posts I have linked to after the pictures for much more.
If you are a time-lord running from a rift in the space time continuum – or a nomad running from Schengen visa laws – I highly recommend Belgrade and Serbia. Actually, I kid, I recommend it for everyone. It really is an exciting place to visit, and it is very walkable, safe and interesting.
Awesome bonus: Rakija – fruit, improved! And Tesla on the 100 dinar notes.
One of the first things we did was attend an amazing wet plate photography workshop, still one of the coolest things I have tried all year. We started off with our wonderful instructor Darko demonstrating the process and making the portrait of the gypsies.
We walked for hours around Belgrade every day. Two of my favourite things in Belgrade is the Belgrade Fortress and riding the tram lines:
We were in and out of Denmark a lot of times this year for a tonnes of different projects, so I will just post a few personal highlights here – you can read about my favourite music pictures in my 2016 in Music blog post.
Silly things: I managed to kick my foot into an old piece of furniture at my father’s place and break a toe! My toe was sticking out at a 45 degree angle, and although I mostly wear socks, I am pretty sure it wasn’t doing that before the kicking. Cue lots of swearing and me pulling the toe into position and taping it up. Then followed 5 weeks of very grumpy limping, swearing at the toe, limping around stage shooting gigs, and going to Germany and Photokina and grumpily limping around the damn convention and city for days with a damn broken toe. Fortunately for everyone around me I suffer in silence!
We managed to get to Hannover twice this year, and we always have such a wonderful time that I really look forward to spending a lot more time there.
We also spent 4 hectic days in Köln in September and attended Photokina, working for Fujifilm. I met a lot of great people and we managed to get out and see just a bit of Köln as well, including the unbelievable masterpiece, the Kölner Dom.
USA Southwest – Mad and Magic Raving
We really needed a break at the end of the year so this trip was to be different, a trip just for us, we purposely wanted no mission nor purpose, nothing commercial, just travel for us, explore and experience, have fun and shoot on instinct in the one place where we most want to be and shoot – the Southwest of the USA. Our 5th road trip in the US in the past 4 years. Fuel up the spaceship, fix that hyperdrive, and lift off! Here’s just a taste, do read the whole Alien Antics in America blog post.
See much more: Alien Antics in America
I know, I have used this quote many times before, but it holds true, every day, every second in the TARDIS, so I shall end with it again. See you in 2017!
“There’s a lot of things you need to get across this universe. Warp drive… wormhole refractors… You know the thing you need most of all? You need a hand to hold.” – Doctor Who