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Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Getting things done

I'm terrible at tasks at hand.
I always have to get a "go do it" mentality before an annoying task gets done. Can't have that in the future so slowly building things up for when I'm in the Dominican Republic.
First step was two months ago, making a little schedule on my desktop screen. It kinda works. But it's too rough and too static and I can hide it under a pile of windows. I rarely touch the Windows-M key combination.
So next step was adding the phrase "To help beat procrastination, will yourself to spend just a few minutes working on whatever needs to be done." to the desktop. Now that works. If I get to look at the desktop! The phrase comes from 59 seconds. Haven't read the book, but got some snippets of it.

Lifehacker posted the results of a poll on what is the best to-do list manager. Seems it's paper. In the comments somebody mentions AutoFocus v4. Now, if you think this is some fancy program, wrong! It's a method. And clicking through the PDF that animates the process, it's pretty straightforward. Only a few rules, you can hand-pick the tasks that need to be done, you duplicate them if needed. And it took me 5 minutes to add in my 'spreadsheet of progress'.

Last step in the process will be two programs that will keep an eye on me: either ManicTime or iFocus. They seem to be up for it and both are free. Will try them out after I made the jump to DR.

Not to my surprise packing and cleaning went slower than expected. And breaking a wheel nut of the 2cv last minute is not the best way to go as well. Although there is a solution for that: 2cv community to the rescue! Even in Ireland!

Monday, June 21, 2010


Don't want to add too much about this great series, but it amplified what I already had set in my mind. I already posted the full list, but like to point out their latest post as being brilliant!
Finding Your Calling Part V: Obstacles to Embracing Your Vocation

Before I leave... ...Irish weather

The thing that always amazed me here in Dublin is the blue sky. It can be this bright blue colour.
Of course I won't miss the rain. But seriously. I got more rain in the Netherlands than I got here in Dublin. If it rained it was only for a few minutes. Of course, I cycled through the occasional rain, but it was seldom that I had to wear protective clothing. Even in a rainy season it was very rare that I had to wear it for more than 3 times in a row. (morning and afternoon). After that I would leave the stuff mostly at home. So there you have it, let's promote the good weather in Ireland and forget about the "oh, it always rains in Ireland".
Ok tourists might have a different impression. But there is a secret to Irish weather. There are two summers in Ireland: May and September. When it's really summertime, it rains. But then you just feck off to a warm country to enjoy the sun!
No, I'm not doing that. I'm leaving for a lot longer than just one summer.

Yes I remember the dreadful summer of 2008. Where it rained non-stop. Well, at least it seemed that way. At the moment I'm very grateful that I get to experience the wonderful summertime with bright blue skies here in Dublin. It just paints a smile on my face!

This morning someone sang: "Where ever you go, always take the weather with you". I heard it was raining in the Dominican Republic. Don't think the Irish would be happy if I took this gorgeous weather away from them. People could save on their holidays this time!

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

What are those dreams?

I've been going on and on about dreams, following them and living them. There is a simple reason for that. I'm still about a month away before I fly over to the Dominican Republic. And currently I'm making little lists in my head of mental luggage and real luggage I can carry.

But what are those dreams I want to follow exactly?
My dreams are about several different things. 

Find out if we can actually live without all these luxuries, needless things and look for alternatives. 
Not that I want to be in solitude in a little hut, being one with nature. But more about finding alternatives for fuel consuming luxuries and live a less complicated life, with caring for nature in the first place.
I know I could live without my computer, without internet. But do I want to give it up? No way! Like it far too much! Besides it's also my tool to make a living and will be able to support me in chasing my dreams. Being in the Dominican Republic means I will be without electricity sometimes. It could mean I want to explore alternatives. Wind energy like the windbelts maybe?
A very small one, can lit up a table or something. Enough to study, enough to do homework.
So I would like to explore more of those options, and see if they could proof to be an alternative to fossil fuel. Or charging a battery so I could keep working on my pc.

Caring for others
Living in an environment where a lot of people need to work hard and depend on supporting each other. This creates a bond between people that is lost to most of the western world.
In the western world we've learned to wait for handouts by the government and are living in fear for our fellow people. We've become selfish as there is no need to help others out. Familiar with the phrases: "Everybody gets money, so why should I help?" and "Government should do it. Not my problem."

Although my avatar is a saint, I don't pretend to be holier than the pope. So I certainly don't see these things above as a number one goal. More on an broader picture.
But they are the things I want to investigate and want to see if, in the western world, we've gone ape-shit and need to adjust. I feel lost in a western world and would like to be more open.
So I 'escape' from all things certain, all things with a safety net, and land myself in the unknown. Can I adapt? I don't know!
But willing to try my utmost best? Definitely! Because it's a part of this puzzle: what is quality of life? What's needed to be happy? Or as some would say: "Having my chakras aligned."

Now, I might be pushing it a bit too far. Lets focus on the horror stories.
"Oh! Weapons and drugs everywhere!", or what about: "it's called hurricane season for a reason!" And last, but by far the least: I'll be on a small little plate between two fault lines.
And somehow I don't see them as a threat. People have been able to live with these horrors for centuries. And guess what? They all died in the end! Either because of those horror stories, or just plain old age. People nowadays, just seem to freak out on things that don't have an on and off switch that they can control.
For me there are two things I can control: My body and my soul.
The rest? Out of my control, so I shouldn't worry about them too much. Of course I could try to influence those other factors in life. Or address them so I can take precautions. But that's about it.

Do I want to live a life in luxury?
Yes a nice villa would be cool. Nice cool classic car, Sure! Nice furniture? No problem for me. but I could do perfectly well without.  And if meaning doing without for a while means getting all above. I'm willing to achieve that. But if not? C'est la vie!
That villa, classic car, etc are not goals that I want to achieve, and if I get so environmental friendly that a cool classic car is out of the question, well c'est la vie, again!

I do have a plan. And I've found friends in the DR that might have slightly different dreams, but are very compatible with mine. So? If it's possible to chase our own dreams together, than all the better! My ultimate dream is to try and live in a paradise in a home that's resistant to what ever nature throws at it. (Think dome home) Build it as self efficient as possible and be more dependent on nature. Possible? I don't know. But I sure would like to try it out! It could be fun!

Yes, I do like to have nice things around me. Yes I do like to make some money to make it all come true. But for the time being I know I will have to set aside everything that isn't necessary for the soul, body and mind. Learn how to appreciate it. It will give me the opportunity to explore life. In that respect, my dreams don't stroke with each other. But dreams can change. Step by step, painting little pictures that fit in with that whole painting. Sketches have been made, but could be changed at any time.

Could we all live happy with nature? Self sufficient, without destroying nature, but live in harmony with it, without sacrificing all luxuries? I'm willing to try that dream out. And willing to set aside what isn't necessary and move forward.
And what about love, friendship and everything else? Well... that's a whole painting in my head. I think a small little picture to describe some of my dreams would be enough for now.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

without friends

Would anything be possible if you didn't trust your friends?
I don't think so.
Without my friends I wouldn't had such a great time in Dublin.
In Dublin I've found a lot of interesting people, some like-minded, some chasing dreams and some fulfilling them, and some simply crazy people! Love them all!
Without my friends picking up and leaving Dublin, I wouldn't have thought about doing the same.
Without having some great friends in the Dominican Republic, I would have never made that step.

But it's still doing what's best for me! With or without friends, you should always follow your heart and trust your instincts. All will end well.
Dreams are not always easy. Dreams are actually damn hard to chase. But if you believe in them, if you follow them, put things aside that stop those dreams, and most of all: Have faith in yourself. Have the will power and think ahead, this will all make following your dreams a lot easier.

Lately I've been following the Art of Manliness. They have this series at the moment about vocation. Your calling in life! The thinks you want to do, effortlessly and without seeing it as a being a job. Interesting stuff:

Part 1
Action verses dreams
Necessity of dead work
Part 2
Vocation and avocation
Part 3
Part 4
Vocation: Sham and Sincerity
Part 5 (Final) 

It's not an easy thing to just pick up and leave. Ok, for me it is. I don't have a wife nor kids, no mortgage or house to sell. So yes, I'm in a position to pick up and leave. Leaving security, steady job and hit the unknown.
Without a plan, without a dream, it'll never work. But if you feel that everything will be fine, you have the will to work the best of your ability and even better, if you stick to your plan. You too can follow your vocation, your dreams and live your life!

But without some fantastic friends and support, think twice, but never let it stop you!

Of course it's not going to be all sunshine and walking on clouds. Heck, I'll probably just fly over the pitfalls and bump my head against the clouds. But willing to learn, willing to work hard and make dreams come true. Not only mine, but others too. It will make it a lot easier if your friends dream the same way. If that's the case, build that team, work hard, have one goal and life will smile at you and you smile back at everything it throws at you!
Probably the most important thing in following dreams: The only thing you have is your life, your choice and your mind. Those are the only things that you will carry with you all your life!
Having a fancy car, a beautiful mansion, loads of money on your bank account, it's all materialistic and not very important. You have one life, use it! Bring happiness, be caring, help others. Anything else just serves as instant self-gratification and could be taken away at any giving moment.

Saturday, June 5, 2010


Sometimes I get the feeling certain letters or numbers or even colours keep coming back in to my life. Following me all the time. It just happens to be that way.

The initials of my dads name are the same as the city and street my parents live in. I was born in that house. When I thought I was old and wise enough, I searched for my own initials.
First city was Deventer, after that came Dublin and now it's going to be the Dominican Republic. What's next? Djakarta or something?

Meanwhile, at the office. My Dutch colleagues are acting like most Dutch people and get all nationalistic and absolutely crazy when they have the opportunity to make everything orange and wave the Dutch flag. Further more, you can sell them anything that faintly looks orange and they will pay any price for it and act all jolly. This nasty virus is called Orange-fever. You can prevent it, but that's not easily done.
It usually happens about every two years. In the end everybody catches it and then we all end up watching football in the pub. My colleagues are a bit worried. My desk shows no sign of orange nor red, white and blue. Except for a union jack close by. So they asked me if I will put the Dominican flag up!
Said "no, because the colours are the same as the Dutch flag."

Dutch flag

The Dominican flag

So I said, it does look a bit like the flag from my birth place:

Flag of the province Groningen

Now, of course I could have deliberately picked my previous destinations, but I never thought: "oh, yeah. lets go to a place where the colours of the flag are like the Dutch flag!" And as it turns out, the name of that country starts with the same letter as my first name. No way. Those previous places where cities. Now it's suddenly became a country!

So today I was clicking away on wiki and suddenly got a shock!
The flag of Cabarete, my next destination, looks like this:

Ah! The smart observer would be saying! Your next residence will start with a C!
And you went from province to municipal!
Yep, fully correct. It doesn't make sense at all. But I have a middle name. And that one does start with a C!
So there you go. Call it far fetched, call it deliberate. Call it what you want.
I think it's no coincidence. And I certainly didn't search for this, it usually just pops up!

Wednesday, June 2, 2010


I don't like them. They're just like any other day.

But I do like to thank all those friends that think otherwise.
Really appreciated it!

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Following dreams, Danny's way

About 1.5 years ago a friend of mine came with the idea to live on a tropical island in the Caribbean and enjoy live more fully.
Sounds like a nice dream! So after throwing ideas around at each other for a while, both knowing that all we'll need to do is work hard, she took the plunge and took off.
In the mean time I was following DR1 a bit, reading the forums. Reading the horror stories, reading the discouragements of ex-pats and had to read deeply between the lines to appreciate their choices, the life they live over in DR and the weird behaviours of the Dominican people. Well, weird for most western eyes, anyway.
I fell in love. With the simplicity of live, the worries of a day-to-day economy and the prospect of walking around in the sun all day.
Hey! If 10 million people can survive on that island, a gringo must somehow be able to live at least at the same standard.

Next step: a holiday. Of course not in one of the AI's (All Inclusives). For me a hotel is a necessary evil that must be avoided, if possible.
To be on the save side I landed myself in an all secure, wireless included, cleaning service included, condo-complex at the beach.
Hey! Taste the good live, while you can!

The holiday was spend reading even more on DR1, and while overcoming my fear for being nailed down as a not-knowing first time holiday goer, I joined and started participating on the forum.

Another step. Exploring the little part that my friend knows of the island, and where it's feasible enough to find work without having to go to the big cities. So I meet ex-pats at the local baristo, speak with Dominicans that went abroad and came back and sit back watching local live pass by.

Learn not to be ripped off by the motoconchos but take the taxi instead. And see a little bit of the local nightlife. But in general, people are very friendly. The exceptions are just friendly. And maybe a few shady characters.

I learned that some gringo's are really rude and treat Dominicans almost as second rank people. Can't understand them. You are a guest here! Others, on the other hand do get a proper understanding of how life is and how it should be lived. I decided to stick with those and learn.

Slowly the talks with my friend and with the locals made me realise that, yes, life will not be easy. Life could be actually going ape-shit in no time.
But in no way I felt afraid, instead I felt welcome, and this was an excellent sign.

And it clicked! Back home time pressure began. I never forget my old boss telling me when I left for Dublin: "5 years and 11 months here with us. Couldn't you just complete the 6 years?" "Hmmm, no!" So again: July 1st. 5 years and 11 months in Dublin. Time to leave.

So back home I started learning Spanish. Reading about the Dominican history, it's politics, it's foreign relations and trying to make somewhat sense of how business is run over there.
My friend is supportive and patient with all my questions, observations and the change in my mind.

Start seriously working on a plan with my friend, change it, add stuff. And trying to prepare everything as much as possible.
In the mean time the 2cv is standing a few years in the garage. Hole in the bottom, brakes not super and taking the bike to work on a daily basis. I need to get rid of almost 12 years of my live with this car. One post on the 2cv email list gave me a buyer. Deal is made and finally I know how I'm going to leave the Emerald Isle!
So today. A few lines in MS Word in the morning, a trip to the printer. A signature and it's final. I'm leaving!
Destination: Dominican Republic
Future: unknown
Quality of life: better (according to some statistics)

Follow your dreams. Or regret them forever.

A new step

I could digg deep into my soul and search for the correct answer in my heart to why I start this new step.
I could try to explain the reasons, the obstacles, the doubt, the fears and everything else.
But in the end it's only two things that really matter:
  • Dare to follow your dreams
  • Dare to move on when you are not happy
And the rest? It doesn't matter, it will have to come from within.