Monday, December 13, 2010

Moving forward

Update: blog discontinued. I'm keeping a new personal website here:
It has been a fun ride blogging here, but it's time to change some things. This is more of an adaptation to some factors, rather than a change driven by the need of trying something new.

I'll keep it short: this blog will be discontinued. It has been for a while now :) ..lingering without anyone to maintain it, and probably without readers.

Moving on..
Just noticed that the previous post is named "Between stagnation and change" - and this one is "Moving forward". I guess change has won already :) and it requires the adaption I was mentioning before.

To give you an update on the situation on our end, here is a quick sum-up:
Since we came back from the summer trip, we plunged into working - at the office and at home.
At work, Assassin's Creed is now done and selling great. I was in charge of the Multiplayer part of the title, on Xbox360. We've worked like crazy (including week-ends) and it was totally worth it. Hope you're enjoying the sequel; I certainly enjoyed working on it.
At home we've reached another milestone with our website:
It looks great thanks to our designer friend - George, and it works as good as it looks :) thanks to Alecs - the tech guy.
Gathering all the resources, documenting the attractions, coordinating with all the people involved in it, processing hundreds of photos and text - fell on our shoulders. It was particularly tough because of the continuous overtime at work, but we managed to pull through. There are still some bugs to fix, but it's going to be ready in no time. Alecs is on the job, so no worries.
We'll be launching it with all the bells and whistles after the holidays.

We've also moved from the old apartment in a new one.
Still with rent, since we're not sure that Romania will be the country we'll live in for too long to deserve a financial investment for a place of our own.

We're still wannabe entrepreneurs, but with more experience. Actually, Andra is a part-time entrepreneur since she keeps those pottery classes she enjoys so much. She's now working on her website:

And we've reached the last chapter: plans for the upcoming year. We'll go traveling on long term! :) 3 to 6 months. At least this is the plan. We'll see if we get bored or we won't have enough of it - and choose to stay more.
India will probably mark the beginning of our trip, then we'll move forward from there towards China, Tibet, Thailand.. It will be different from the previous trip: instead of running from one country to another, we'll stay more in one place to absorb the culture and avoid burning out fast.
I'll set up another website with this occasion. I'm going with WordPress (it's more flexible & professional) and a paid domain.

That's everything.. I think.
See on the other side :)  I have no idea when, so no promises. Oh, the trip starts in March, so the blog/website will be ready before then.

Have fun, enjoy the holidays and let's stay in touch ..offline if possible :)

Monday, September 13, 2010

Between stagnation and change.

At the usual hour (same one for the past 1825 days) I wait for the metro to take me home.
It's one of those hard working days that make me feel lobotomized after the usual 9 intensive hours. By now, my brain refuses to think anything other than the basic stuff; can't challenge it with interesting ideas.
So, I take a sit, stop the audio book that plays in my ears, close my eyes and try to empty myself of today's baggage. No more disappointments on bad decisions, no planning in advance, no nothing. I simply give my brain what it craves for: peace and quiet..

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Razvan's Life List

Live in Scotland / Ireland for at least 3 months.
Move to Spain (preferably Barcelona or Madrid) for a longer period of time.
Accomplish the entrepreneurial goal by solving at least one of the world's most important problems / needs.
Do at least one long term travel (6 months or more). First step taken in June, 2010: one month and four countries from Middle East.
Visit more than half the world's countries. 9 down, 88 more to go :)  Already been to: Italy, Bulgaria, Greece, UK, Spain, Turkey, Egypt, Jordan and Syria.
Discover at least 5 beautiful countries in which I would like to live in (beside Scotland, Ireland, Spain and New Zeeland) ..and stay in each of them for a while.

Do skydiving. It's one of the few things that make my heart beat faster just by thinking about it (beside Andra :D). Another one was motorcycling.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Andra's secret list..

Since three years ago, Andra has been carrying in her wallet this newspaper cut-out, with the extended list of world wonders, hoping for a long term travel.
Back then it was just a strong wish, a dream which was not yet possible. Guess who was the culprit for the delay.. Sadly, I found the idea too costly in terms of money and "precious time at university and at work". But, I've slowly - painfully slowly I may add - realized that money are not the solution and that my priorities were somewhat wrong. So, things have changed a lot since that time.
Anyway, sometimes I wish I could travel back in time, slap my younger self on the head and tell that stubborn, close minded dude a few colorful words. Or maybe hug that shy and a bit scared boy, tell him everything will be alright and even better after getting the head out of the sand..

Back to Andra's list, all I can say is this: we've reached five already, fifteen more to go my dear :)

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Preconceptions - we all have them..

"Dogmas of the quiet past are inadequate to the stormy present" - Abraham Lincoln 

I was planning to write a post on preconceptions a while back, but for some reason I postponed it. However, the idea's seed followed me everywhere and slowly deepened my understanding on this matter. Now I'm actually glad there's no half-post of mine, because there's a blank slate to start from - for building my case against preconceptions.
Only recently I've started to grasp the true venomous power of preconceptions - and I've begun seeing them as some of the most destructive creations of one's mind. The whole idea of taking half-truths (or worse - something entirely wrong) - and wrapping the brain in layers upon layers of thick and resistant shroud - does nothing more than building a premature coffin for that particular brain. Too bad we have this capacity of committing suicide at so many levels.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

The time has come..

To launch the website we've been working on for quite some time:
It was a long but rewarding work - and we have learned a lot of interesting things along the way. It is our very first step towards online entrepreneurship, so we'll be very grateful for any kind of support people will offer us in the following months. The idea is to create a useful website that any traveler can consult whenever planning to visit places from Romania.
The work is far from over and I doubt we'll be able to say - anytime soon - that we've reached the end of it :)
We've just started and there are many useful features already in the works (English translation for example). So, expect some new updates on this matter.

The feedback received while still in Closed Beta was extremely useful, especially since the "testers" and their opinion came from various places on the planet - thank you Couchsurfing!
Also, some special thanks are in order to the entire team working on this project! ..and - why not  - to future members :)

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Elements of change.. learned from photography.

When you're not happy with the results, just change the angle.
In photography it can make the difference between a failed shot and a great one. In life, a different perspective often brings new understanding, opportunities and possibly better results in any kind of situation.

When you like the angle a lot and spend too much time in the same spot doing the same damn thing, you're certainly missing other opportunities.
Again - change the perspective and make sure nothing passes by unnoticed.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Losing weight and learning usefull things (9kg - 1 month)

I've lost 9kg in one month and learned a few useful things in the process. I'll share these with you since some of them can be applied in a wider range of situations, not just for tailoring your shape:
  • The first and foremost important one is the mindset: don't just "try", DO it.
    You must really want to achieve your goal and decide to put aside any negative thoughts or influences that may lead you astray. Also you must be happy with the important choice of building a new
  • It's possible to eat less and have more energy than before.
    During the recent one month trip in Middle East - I ate mostly vegetarian foods for three weeks - and felt more stamina than before (keep in mind I walked and sometimes hiked all day long).
  • There's a clear difference

Saturday, July 10, 2010

The one month trip - in a nutshell (Egypt, Jordan, Syria and Turkey)

Budget, time-frame, likes, dislikes - it's all here.
In case you didn't have the patience to read all previous post from our recent trip, then you'll find below a short sum-up, plus some additional information.

Budget: 1500 euro - each.
That was the maximum amount we were comfortable spending, but we had an emergency surplus of 300 more euros. So, 1800 per person, split in half: cash and credit card. When we got to Turkey for the second time - close to the end of the trip - we realized that we spent far less than expected: around 1000 euros each. Not bad at all since we couchsurfed only four times and stayed at hotels for the rest of the trip (budget hotels recommended by the Lonely Planet guide). In the end, the overall cost was around 1200 euros per person.

Egypt: June 6 - June 16 (Cairo, Aswan, Luxor, Dahab).
What we liked:
- All the places we saw - in this order: Karnak temple, Pyramids, Phylae and Abu Simbel temples, Valley of the Kings, Luxor temple;
- Dahab: a very affordable resort; a great place for relaxation and snorkeling (or diving) in the near blue lagoon with its coral reef and marine fauna. Dahab is one of the cheapest places in the world, for taking diving classes and earning a diving permit.
- Aswan city: cleaner than Cairo and Luxor, more relaxed and with an awesome Nile view.
- Egypt itself as a very affordable destination (if you bargain all the time and dodge the scams). A budget hotel room, with breakfast included and air-conditioning - was around 10 euros per night (some hotels even have a pool on the rooftop and sometimes a nice view over the area). There's also the alternative of sleeping in the roof garden and paying substantially less (we never did that, but it can help a lot in cutting down the overall costs).
- The one hour hot-air balloon flight.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

To be continued..

Almost a month has passed since we've left our country and I'm writing what's supposed to be the last entry while still on the road. As in many previous cases, I'm doing this in a bus.

The flow of ideas sometimes stops and I resort to my "muse": long breaks watching the fast changing environment from the other side of the window.
When doing this, I sometime feel like vibrating at another level, on a bridge between worlds, where my mind is tuned to hear whispers that are either the answer to what I'm looking for, or an entirely new idea.
I have this image about ideas being like invisible schools of fish, swimming around us. From time to time, one of them comes close enough to me, not to see it, but to feel the ripples it creates.
It's there for a split second and then it's gone. I take a break from gazing and write it down before forgetting it.
I forgot a lot of them in the past.. but now I've learned to pick them up and store the unripe ones for later.

Andra interrupts my contemplation; she's telling me she just hurt her foot accidentally - on the chair in front. I discover I'm still not back into this world, I simply note the fact and somewhat coldly continue the introspection.
She's not going to be happy when she reads this.. But I like it here.. it's new and interesting for me. I'm going to stay for a a little while longer.


Outside we leave behind an imposing mosque.. an image that we've already grown accustomed with. And suddenly comes the revelation that almost imperceptibly - the new has turned into old - and soon enough - the old will be new again ..for a while.