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May 11th, 2018 - Nat Geo & travel staccato





Hey y’all,

I hope life is treating you well in these days!

If you've been bearing with my newsletters, your attention span is nothing short of admirably long and you deserve a break; so I'll make it a quick one and then I won't pester you for awhile! You can consider this a late April or early May edition.


published on National Geographic

First I have a proud announcement! One of my pictures has been published by Nat Geo - what a tremendous honor! It was selected for the story "The Trip that Changed My Life" alongside 14 other stunning photographs from 20.000 submissions and has a shot on being on the cover of National Geographic Traveler this summer!! Check it out below and explore the entire Nat Geo story here!

bye bye Chennai

Until about two weeks ago I was in Chennai, where work held me in its tight grip for the last three months. That is the work on MilesAstray, some freelancing and volunteering with AID India. I already gave you the gist about Chennai and AID last time, so I'll go easy on you and let some pictures do the talking:


Marina Beach

Cathedral Road

a weekend trip to Mumbai


travel staccato





Upon leaving Chennai, I embarked on the kind of time-lapse travel-run I usually like to avoid. Here is the staccato rhythm in a nutshell:

2:30am: immigration line at Chennai airport resembles oversized millipede. 2h later: intercepted by airline employee before security. allowed to skip the line. security guy: "you're late?"; me: "I wasn't aware, but it seems so." time check: 45 minutes past boarding. straight from security into the plane. 4:45 flight to Dubai. on to Baku. throw stuff in hostel. 4pm setting out to explore Azerbaijan's capital. stumble upon F1 race I didn't know of. circuit around the old town makes it annoyingly difficult to enter. same with the water front. walked at least 15km. Baku pretty. next day mud volcanoes and 40.000 year old petroglyphs. the first firsts in a while. night train to Tbilisi, Georgia. exploring extensively by foot; again. blisters and aching foot now. next morning off to Signagi. stunning Caucasus backdrop. next morning back to Tbilisi. more walking, more photos. day after headed towards mining town Chiatura. soviet architecture with "flying coffins" (Lenin's cable cars, still in use). rock monastery in town. another rock monastery on pillar nearby. wow. back to Tbilisi. flight the same night to Istanbul. on to Copenhagen. arrival next morning. train across Denmark. family reunion near German border.


The whole spiel in pictures:


Dubai: perpetual transformation



mud volcanoes and petroglyphs





Chiatura rock monastery

Katskhi pillar


Rømø / Denmark


latest content

There is a lot of fresh content to discover on MilesAstray! My series on grassroots volunteering is more informative than entertaining, but if you are interested in the topic, have a look:

reads | travel

Reality Check: Volunteering Benefits & Pitfalls

Are volunteering programs more helpful or harmful?

If implemented right, volunteering programs employed by grassroots nonprofits can add additional value to community-empowering projects along various dimensions. However, oftentimes benefits come alongside cultural and ethical pitfalls...

reads | travel

Volunteering vs. Voluntourism


self-organized engagement vs. vacation packages – structures, results and ethics

...organizing your grassroots engagement independently, might not only help your own experience and wallet, but also the community you work with.



You can find the entire series (consisting of 6 articles) here.

There are also plenty of new collections in the photo section. Here is a little selection:

photos | people

Outside Job

when your office isn’t anywhere near an office

...nobody robbed us of our freedom; it was an inside job we signed up for. Outside jobs, by contrast, are not always a deliberate choice and oftentimes the harder labor, but they come with a certain spatial freedom...

photos | urban

Office Prison Symmetry

behind bars: office or prison? 

Looking at it from the outside, I can’t help but seeing bars in the symmetry that comes with the sterile and institutional blueprint of office buildings around the world. 

photos | people

Not Pity Poor: Grace of the Life Lottery's Runner Ups

fortitude and perseverance forged in a hard place

Pity is misplaced here; awareness is welcome and so is action. There are many ways to even out the chances of a slanted life lottery...



And here are some of my latest glimpses:

glimpse: MARKET THEORY’S REALITY | With his famous Five Forces Framework, Harvard academic Michael Porter gave the business world a tool to determine the competitiveness of an industry. How nice, thanks teach! For a business to enter under favorable conditions, the forces should be weak. Let’s look at retailers in Kigali’s Kimironko market for instance: threat of new entrants – strong; threat of substitutes – strong; bargaining power of customers – strong; bargaining power of suppliers – strong; industry rivalry – strong. Well I’m afraid that’s a no-no Mr. Aspiring Shoe Vendor. Unless, of course, this is all you got and life isn’t just a theory.

glimpse: BLUE SKY | Drained of its natural blue, the sky over Beijing hasn’t looked like itself for years. The notorious smog is a pale witness to the world’s largest carbon emissions. Long established factories for the world, China’s metropolises hardly get to catch their breath; the less so now that the hungry domestic middleclass is just getting comfortable at the consumerist table. It’s fair enough – the West has feasted for ages, all the while belching out CO2; let India, Brazil and China have their turn! But alas, doctor’s orders are a green diet. For everybody. Right now. And, foregoing its turn at pollution, China has become one of the front runners in role modeling for renewable energy: phasing out coal mines, challenging individuals and corporations by implementing strict regulations, and blowing away the smog with more wind energy than any other country.

By exploring my latest piece from the country section, you get to know the extraordinary Imagine Scholars from South Africa

countries | Africa | South Africa

Kamhlushwa / Humans Living Passions – Community Enrichment from Within

meet the extraordinary Imagine Scholars


As founder Corey Johnson puts it: “I’m incredibly proud of all the huge successes, but the real goal is to create good people. I’d be more proud if they become good mothers, fathers or coworkers, just good people; because that’s what the world needs.”

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