26th of August

The Kind Police Officer

Just wanted to share a little moment that made me smile. A moment which is one of the reasons that I so much love travelling.

I am currently in Chennai, Tamil Nadu a city of a little less than five million people – it is a big place. Feeling a little under the weather. I am feel saturated with South India, and my feet are itching to go somewhere else. I am craving the mountains, and dreams of going to Kashmir and Ladakh are starting to form. Also the mixture of 36 degrees blazing heat and intermediate periods spend in air conditioned rooms have made me slightly ill – nothing big just a sore throat and all that.

Being in a large city does not help with my current state of mind. I think when anything gets very big it has a tendency to become a little impersonal. Be it a city, an organisation, an enterprise (do not get me started on large enterprises,human resource management, key performance indicators, processes, etc – I will burst!). I can smell people being nice in a fake way miles away. I feel the hunger for money, and people on the street trying to sell me things that I don’t want, rickshaw drivers calling me their friend etc. So to be honest in large cities I get a bit cynical at times.

Now back to the topic of this post – the kind police officer. It all starts with me hitting the streets early this morning with the mission of finding some chai to make everything better. Thats always easy. Chai is everywhere. Also I wanted to buy some raw ginger that I could chew on the help soothe the sore throat. I must have asked a dozen people on the streets, and they simply did not understand what I meant with ginger. For some reason they kept thinking that I wanted to change money (??).

My luck changes and a man dressed in shorts and running shoes asks me what I am looking for. I explain him my situation and that I want to buy some ginger for the throat. He tells me where the nearest market is, and asks if he should take me there on his motor bike (it is less than 100 meters away and its nothing more than a few minutes of walk). I think before I started enjoying the adventures of traveling the world, if I had met a strange man asking me to get on his bike and drive off with him to the nearest market I would have felt shy and said no no it is fine I will walk there myself. But I immediately feel that this is a genuine act of kindness, and I do not waste the chance for a few seconds drive on his motorbike in the middle of the hectic morning traffic in Chennai.

Half a minute later we are standing in the market. The man at the market refuses to take payment for the ginger as he is a friend of the motorbike guy. Happy about this little moment of human kindness I invite the motorbike guy for a chai (even though I had just had a chai a few minutes ago – you can never have too much chai!). We spend a few moments together just finding out what we both are doing in life. It turns out that he is a traffic police officer. I ask him why he is dressed in shorts and running shoes, and he tells me his big passion is playing hokey. So he is heading off to the beach to do a bit of running practise.

When we have finished the tea he is about to pay for it, but I insist that I want to pay – it is my treat. That was the whole point – I wanted to give something back as a gratitude for his help. We say our goodbyes and I walk back to my hostel for some rest and to chew on my ginger. Feeling happy that genuine kindness exist everywhere.

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Categories:  India Thoughts Travel
5th of August

Little Acts of Kindness

I start my day visiting the wonderful momo lady. She is popular, and her stall is full of children having their lunchtime snack. “Auntie auntie one more one more”, they beg – one more momo please.

I wait patiently in line and when my time comes, her face lights up – a returning customer. I smile at her and say: “Abke momo bahut acha hain” (your momos are very good!) She has one of those faces that you just know that this person is very kind at her core, her cheeks showing that she smiles a lot. But somehow after my comment, her face lights up even more. I pay for six momos but she gives me three extra for free. All for the price of a little less than 30 euro cent.

I like going to her stall. It is so obvious that she enjoys what she does and giving her gift of cooking delicious momos to hungry people. She takes pride in it and she does it damn well.


I escape back into Old Delhi, where I feel free. New Delhi is all too much business and greed for my taste. I venture into the small back alleys looking for shortcuts and adventure. I find my way to a muslim area. Some stern looking man looks at me with a hard face. He is unsure of what I am doing there. I nod at him and say “Salam wala I kuum” (muslim greeting), his face lights up and he answers “Wala I kuum asalam” (response to the greeting). The ice is broken.

I take a side turn into a very narrow street. The light is beautiful, and I want to photograph the wall of one of the houses but I am too close, I need to go further away. Also I want something to frame the composition. I ask a man if I can enter his house to photograph the street through his door. Respectfully I tell him “Dhanyivad” (Thanks). I make a gesture that I feel hot and say “Garam” (hot), trying to do some small talk. He agrees, and urges me to please sit down under his fan to cool down a bit. “Pani?” he asks (want water?) – “Nai nai bimar hain” I politely respond (no no sick). He thinks I am trying to say I am sick and genuinely he looks concerned. I correct myself – “nai nai sirf bottle pani, local pani bimar hain” – (no no only bottled water, local water makes me sick”. Ahh ok – he looks relieved.
It turns out he is an envelope manufacturer, and we spend a bit of time looking at his products. “Sundar hain” I say (beautiful). I shake his hand and say thank you and head back into the streets.


I find a corner with amazing late afternoon light casting wonderful shadows, and start looking for stories to tell with my camera. I smell something nice. I ask the man “ye kya hain?” what is this? It is some kind of beef ball. I actually always found this a bit funny about India – muslim and hindus living besides each other. For the hindus the cow is holy but not for the muslims. Doesn’t that mean that the muslim are eating the hindus god? Me being a foodie with no religious orientation I eat anything and I am glad to try some beef again – “kitna hain?” How much? He quotes a price per kilo and I tell him I only want to try a few. Ah ok – no need to pay then. No no I insist. Ok 5 rupees then. They are delicious.


The next day I check out from the hotel – heading off 2000km south to visit an Indian friend that is living in Chennai. I haven’t seen Shalini for far too many years. When I check out from the hotel, the owner gives me a call and shows his true colours and does everything to squeeze me for more money than what we had agreed on. I am cornered and in a rush to go to the airport, and after a lot of fighting (India is the only place in the world that can make me truly aggressive), I just give up and pay the bill. Upset I enter the taxi, and ask the driver – “ab kaise hain?” – how are you. He smiles and sais “tick hain” – good! A little small talk and I mention I am angry with the owner. He tells me that the owner is a very greedy man, not a good man. The driver is afraid that I will not come back to India because of my bad experience. “No no – Hindustan mera dil kepas hain – acha log hain” – no no India has my heart – great people I ensure him. Forgetting about the road and the traffic ahead of him, nearly knocking over a cyclist, he turns and shakes my hand – “thank you thank you sir!”.

I ask him to quickly stop by at the owners office (I know where he hangs out, nearby the hotel) and I go and yell at him. It is small money to me, but it is about the principle. I hate dishonesty and greed. I tell him about Karma, and let him know that I will do everything in my power to give his business bad reviews online. A scam in the airport to bring me to his hostel, and then cornering me for money when I was in a rush. It is not ok. Back to the taxi. On the road again. I ask the driver – “shadi shuda?” Married? Yes of course he is married he replies. “Kitna bacce?” how many children? One child – a daughter. What about you he asks – are you also married. No no – girlfriend. Ah ok. How many girlfriends? “Sirf ek” I laugh (only one). “Sex karte hain?” (you do the sex?) he replies. Yes yes of course! How long? 1 hour he asks? 2 hours? 3 hours? How many times? I smile and disclose little bits of details about my private life to this man I have only met a few minutes ago. Men will always be men.

A lady I once met in Nepal (Didi oh how I miss you and your gorgeous face!) once described me as “Naive but kind”. I believe in karma. Do good things and good things will come to you. I see a lot of unnecessary friction and tension in this world – particular in these anti-islamic days. I think at our very core we are all the same, and I have shared many great moments with muslims. Actually I find it ironic how some atheist passionately are against religion, it seems like they are fanatically worshipping science – isn’t this just another form of religion, with the exact same arguments as other religion? Their god (science) being the one true god. I think we all want to be respected, and we want to share our gifts/talents with each other and be appreciated for what we do. Wherever I go I always see the same traits in women: softness and kindness and need to care for others. It doesn’t matter whether they are muslim, hindu, catholic – it is universal. I see the same traits in men wherever I go: warriors, systematic thinkers, task oriented. It is always easy to break the ice with men, by talking about work, sports, gadgets and of course women.

When we don’t understand something – be it some new challenge at work, another culture, or anything for that matter, it seems common that we get tense and aggressive – afraid of hurting our egos. We all have our different ways of coping. Personally I prefer being naive and willing to look silly and loose my face. Little act of kindness and appreciation, and genuine interest always goes a long way. Sure, I might be taken advantage of a few times, but life is just more fun smiling. So long New Delhi, and hello to Chennai. Momo lady I will always remember you…








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Categories:  India Photography Travel
31st of July

India and the Measure of a Man

After a long flight from Norway, I arrived safely and slightly brain fogged in New Delhi this morning (too much TV on the plane – and a little tip for you if you where considering watching G.I Joe retaliation – don’t!).

Arriving in India for the 7th time so far in my life, I was full of mixed emotions. Part of me was extremely excited to be on the road again, looking for adventure. Another part of me was feeling sad and guilty for leaving behind Michelle in Norway – I have just moved there a month ago, and now I am already hitting the road again! A third part of me was feeling nervous and anxious on how things would pan out in terms of photography.

Well once I stepped out of the plane, there was no turning back and the reality hit me – India is truly the place where you can only expect one thing – the unexpected. Having retrieved my luggage I excited the airport around 3AM and found myself a taxi driver – or so it would seem, but reality was rather that he found me! He asked me where I was going, and was unsure about the address so he asked for the phone number of the hotel I had booked and rang up the number for me. When I spoke to the hotel in the other end they where very sorry to inform me that my booking had been cancelled due to the ongoing festival.

I would later learn that this was in fact a very well organised scam – kudos for their execution – the first time I have ever been scammed on such an advanced level. The taxi driver entered the phone number, but apparently rang another number where his partner in crime with was pretending to be the hotel I had booked. However, as the hitchhikers guide to the galaxy states on the front page – DON’T PANIC. And I didn’t – six previous visits to India has taught me to expect the unexpected, and go with the flow.

At 4AM I was plenty awake to bargain hard, and I ended up checking into another hotel costing only a fraction of the prize for the one I had original booked online. So even if I feel slightly violated for being scammed, I still ended up saving a fair amount of money.

And this bring me to my point – India is a place where you are measured up for size constantly. There is no point in panicking about feeling violated, because trust me you will feel it a lot during your stay in India! More than a billion people live here, and the Indians are fierce tradesmen, with no time for messing about. And this is exactly one of the reasons I keep returning here. I like having to feel things again. Back home in Scandinavia everything is so organised and non-invasive. Life is very pleasant. Very easy. Very vanilla. In India your senses are constantly bombarded – ranging from the spicy food, to the spicy people, to the whole craziness of this massive society.

In a way it is ironic that I travelled to the other side of the world to test a tiny camera – the fuji x100s, which has been designed to be very unobtrusive and anonymous. Because the camera sure is exactly that. But the man carrying it is not. A white person is always more exposed to attention in India – for sure. But add 195cm height and 110kgs of body mass to the equation and there is nothing stealth about me here in India.

India is truly the place where you are measured up for size constantly

Now you might wonder why I bring up my body weight. Well I will have you know, that I was measured today – literally! During my walks on the street, taking some portraits, a crowd of people got interested in me. So sure this guy is white, and tall, and speaks a bit of Hindi, as if that was not interesting enough – let us weigh the poor guy! So some guy fetched a weighed and I was measured there and then on the street. 110kg. It did not make the locals any less curious about me.

Ahh India – I am happy being back and measured constantly. Expect to see me on your street shortly, with my tiny little camera. And for good measure here is the portrait that I was shooting that triggered the locals to decide to measure me:


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Categories:  India Photography Travel
31st of May

Distortion Copenhagen Day 2: Vesterbro

Distortion continues! Yesterday the party carried on at Vesterbro. This neighbourhood traditionally has been known for being the epicentre of drugs, prostitution and porn shops in Copenhagen, but int the last decade or so it has really started flourishing.

Distortion took on a whole different mood yesterday compared to the first day. It all seemed much more laid back and relaxed somehow. More calm. Maybe there was just more space for the same amount of people? Or maybe people where just recovering from the hangovers from the night before?

The sun gods where with us again, and the weather was lovely. Unfortunately the direction the light hits Vesterbro – from a photographers point of view, is not as interesting as compared to how it hits Nørrebro, but I still enjoyed myself in the company of my new best friend the Fuji x100s.

In the evening there was briefly a tiny bit of rain, but it definitely did not scare away the locals!

All you need is some beers and some friends!

All you need is some beers and some friends!

The sun was shining on Distortion once again!

The sun was shining on Distortion once again!

The sun brought out the skirts and tshirts!

The sun brought out the skirts and tshirts!

People enjoying the sun and some pizza from the funky pizza van

People enjoying the sun and some pizza from the funky pizza van.

Radio host from Radio 24 syv

Radio host from Radio 24 syv.

Even though its called a street party, no need not to make yourself comfortable

Even though its called a street party, no need not to make yourself comfortable.

People getting their moves on!

People getting their moves on!

This has to be the most creative sound speakers I have seen so far during Distortion

This has to be the most creative sound speakers I have seen so far during Distortion.

The rain came out for a few moments, but this did not scare off the locals!

The rain came out for a few moments, but this did not scare off the locals!

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Categories:  Photography
30th of May

Distortion Copenhagen Day 1: Nørrebro

Every year Copenhagen is hit by a party tsunami, also known as Distortion. Its a celebration of the various neighbourhoods of Copenhagen. Last night it all kicked off at Nørrebro, which is the most densely populated area in Copenhagen.

It is a very interesting neighbourhood – a mixture of different cultures. You will find main stream coffee shops next to shawama shops and halal butchers. I love this neighbourhood! Unfortunately it has always had a bit of a bad reputation due to various social problems.

The day started off looking very grim in Copenhagen – gray gray and gray, sprinkled with rain. But the sun gods decided to shine on Copenhagen after all, and early in the afternoon the sun was here, and stayed with us all evening. It was truly amazing! Gorgeous light for the people to enjoy this giant outdoor party, and gorgeous light for the photographers to enjoy.

Most of the evening I roamed the streets on a never ending hunt for photographs, pushing my new Fuji x100s to its limits. In the evening I was joined by my good friend Peter and his gorgeous girlfriend Isabel.

Distortion was of to a great start indeed!

Queen Lousise bridge fills with people as they head towards Nørrebro where the party is at

Queen Lousise bridge fills with people as they head towards Nørrebro where the party is at.

The sun was really shining on the party this evening. Gorgeous light and colors.

The sun was really shining on the party this evening. Gorgeous light and colors.

Locals selling their produce from stalls outside. I think anyone in the fast food industry was doing very well on Nørrebro this evening.

Locals selling their produce from stalls outside. I think anyone in the fast food industry was doing very well on Nørrebro this evening 🙂

This is why I love Nørrebro - its full of interesting places like this!

This is why I love Nørrebro – its full of interesting places like this!

Resident enjoying his dinner while watching the party.

Resident enjoying his dinner while watching the party.

Probably the best view off the party on the whole of Nørrebro.

Probably the best view off the party on the whole of Nørrebro.

People enjoying the last hour of sun.

People enjoying the last hour of sun.

Most people dressed casually, others not so much :)

Most people dressed casually, others not so much 🙂

This is what its all about - the music!

This is what its all about – the music!

The party carries on into the night

The party carries on into the night

After 22PM the party continues inside at various places around Nørrebro

After 22PM the party continues inside at various places around Nørrebro!

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Categories:  Photography
19th of September

Earthquake in Nepal – I am OK

Last night a massive earthquake hit nepal, and Bangladesh. I don’t have access to a very fast internet connection or a lot of information from here, so you guys probally know more from the news than I do.
I know that there has been casulties in the bigger cities, some bridges here in the himalyas has collapsed and the pass up to everest has been temoporarily closed.

It was a scary feeling having a whole mountain shake underneeth you, and last night I slept in my clothes – I think everyone did – ready to run out of something happened again.
Anyhow just wanted to let you know that I am safe and healthy.

This is really a reminder of how tiny we are compared to nature. Please guys do what you love to do, and spend the time with the ones you love – you never know how much time you have left on this planet.

Hope you are all well.

Internet is very lousy in this part so not sure If I will have the possibility to post further updates.

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Categories:  Nepal Travel
18th of July

What Really Matters

During the past few months I have been getting ready for the rather big lifestyle change ahead of me. As part of the preparations one of the major issues have been deciding what to do with my stuff.
Originally I wanted to clear out stuff that I didn’t need any longer and put the rest in storage. But once this process started, I began thinking about what it really was that I wanted to achieve with this change in my life.

I’ve experienced 30 summers so far in my life. I’ve travel to a lot of interesting places. I’ve lived abroad for almost 4 years. I’ve been married – I’ve been divorced. Had the privilege of being able to study at university (it is free here in Denmark – actually you get paid around 700€ a month by the government to study here!!). Many experiences – some good, some bad, some sad, some happy – all contributing to making me who I am today. And I find it the more I experience the more I realize what really matters to me. What makes me happy is experiences. Relationships with people. Eating great food. Climbing mountains. Doing crazy things.
Material goods are not of great importance for me to be happy. The only few things that I really feel that I need is a laptop, my camera, a photo printer and an internet connection. All the other stuff to me is just luxuries. Oh yeah and a bed and some warm dry clothes might also go on the list of essentials 🙂

Therefore I decided to part way with pretty much most of my belongings, cutting down to only possessing a few boxes that will be stored with friends and family. Furniture, electronics – gone. I sold these. Clothes, various household stuff – gone – donated it to charity. Lots of various crap – gone – I fed the container with this. Left are just a few physical memories (postcards, photographs, etc), my favorite books and nothing much else.

Throughout my whole life I have been conditioned by society that in order to be successful you need to get a good education, have a career, make money, build a home, settle down with a family, and once you retire you can enjoy the good life. I know that things are not really this black and white, but often I get the feeling that this is what my culture and society expects of me. A fair amount of times I have been wondering – what does it mean that I only have a few boxes to my name and a couple of coins on my bank account at the age of 30? But I have to say it is at this point in my life that I feel the most free. I am of good health, I have great people in my life and rather importantly I am full of hopes and dreams. And I am doing what makes me happy.

As the departure date gets closer it is not my things that I think about. It is people – the people that I will miss back home in Denmark. The people that I will meet on the road. Of the experiences to come.
Things are and will always just be things…

“There is something perverse about more than enough. When we have more, it is never enough. It is always somewhere out there, just out of reach. The more we acquire, the more elusive enough becomes.”
– Unknown

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Categories:  Thoughts Travel
8th of July

Into the Unknown

For the past 3 years or so I have been having this idea in the back of my mind of trying something else than the comfortable life of being employed 9-17, having a steady income, and 6 weeks of annual vacation (yes – the luxury of being a dane!). Back in the end of 2009 I decided to conduct an experiment – to travel on my own for three months (Russia, Nepal and India), to see how I would enjoy traveling for an extended time period. And I have to say that I absolutely loved it!
Photograph by Julian Bialowas
Photograph by Julian Bialowas

So now the decision have finally been made. I want to live the dream! So I will be traveling for an undefined time period. Just go, and roam until either I get enough (is that even possible?), or run out of cash.
So I let my company know that I will resign employment per 31st of August. I will stop renting my room with Dorthe and Dennis (two lovely people, whom I will miss a lot!), and whatever few belongings I have not either sold or donated to charity
will be stored away with friends and family. The journey starts in Nepal with 2 months of hiking with my tiny guide and friend – Ratna (first time ever that I bought a one way ticket that far).

Initial plan is to travel Nepal in September and October, and then go to Bangladesh in November to celebrate Eid ul-Fitr with my crazy friend Zubayer.
After that I am pretty sure I will go to India for a while as I never travelled much in north india – and after that I have no plans – but I hear that there is supposed to be a lot of countries in Asia 🙂

Needless to say – I am pretty excited!

“Nothing is more damaging to the adventurous spirit within a man than a secure future.”
– Christopher McCandless

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Categories:  Travel