Blog Posts

Slow living in Gottlieben

It all started with the need to make coffice last a little longer.

What is coffice? All credits to Bianca here for finding this perfect wordplay illustrating what we used to do on a weekly basis the Summer of 2019. A combo of Coffee and Office, in (preferably hipster) Cafés of Basel to work and talk about our business struggles and life.

It was my most inspiring meet up of the week and it was always too short!

So this year, we were going to spend a whole weekend together to have ALL the time in the world to catch up on EVERYTHING that has been happening! And work of course.

But where were we going to go? France? Germany? Switzerland? Nature or City? Forest or Lake? Both? We started sharing a few links in our WhatsApp group but nothing was really IT!

Until one day, as I was scrolling through the Gram, I stumbled upon THE GEM! It was the new place Carla had just opened in Gottlieben, a tiny town on the Lake of Constance, Swiss side in Thurgau.

Carla is the founder of Localholic, a company offering tours to show the work of local businesses. You can find all local-heroes here.

The company was born in Basel and expanded throughout Switzerland. The headquarters are now on the shores of the Lake of Constance where she recently opened an Oasis: a Café (with Kaffemacher coffee from Basel) called Dein Lieblingscafé - always full cause it’s so good, a Stand-Up-Paddleboard / Kayak rental – for the Uncle Berry Fin in all of us, a very cute bed & breakfast and last but not least: a co-working space where workshops will start taking place in the Fall. The local tours are of course happening there too and creativity is not lacking in this area!

Apparently it’s a common thing for artists to come to Gottlieben. Across the street, there is the Bodmanhaus a house for Literature and just underneath it, a Bookbinding Atelier Handbuchbinderei Merten Inspiration is in the air, Bianca can feel it too, typing away on her laptop! At this pace, her book will come out before the due date!

The whole town makes me want to take pictures all the time (as well as Carla’s paradise, but I’ll come back to that later). All the shapes, colors, the flowers, the architecture, the cobble stones streets, the water, the boats slowly passing by, everything here blends perfectly together, just like the Affogato I had as we got here yesterday! The perfect place on my slow living / follow your bliss journey it seems.

We stand-up-paddled to the local buvette and took a boat ride to get pizzas both in the sunset (and the dark on the way back!) When Carla says: Erlebnis-Tour, be prepared for anything! Especially to have the most fun you’ve had in a while!

A few words about the Oasis now: everywhere I look inspires me, every corner, every vase, every magazine and cup is gourmet food for my soul! Carla has taste and good taste that’s for sure! But it’s not only that, as Bianca told her this morning: 'we can feel how much love you put into this place!' A good-vibe-place, that's what Carla built! You just want to spend time here, have 1000 coffees, chill and create whatever!

Thank you ladies for the amazing weekend I’ll be back for more bliss!

Humor is…

The definition my partner gave at breakfast one morning: humor is the ability to take a step back and look at something in a detached way, to offer a new perspective on things to yourself and other people. 
It ultimately meets spirituality because you become the observer and don’t identify with your emotions and environment. It also allows you to speak out the unspeakable.  

It reminded me of this video with Jim Gaffigan and his wife Jeannie, who was diagnosed with a brain tumor a few years ago and explains how they 'chose to fight with humor because it's a coping mechanism' and that sentence in particular really hit me: 

'It just becomes a second nature to instinctually process information through that lens, you can either sit in the MRI for 2 hours freaking out about what's wrong with me, what's gonna happen, why are these noises so loud?! Or you can say: why is this so hilarious right now?! And it helps get through the trauma'. 

Till and I loved the sentence so much, we wrote it down and put it on our kitchen wall with other kinds of affirmations #nerds

Humor is so much more than just a joke and I see humor as a way to 
stay sane, a way to not get involved too much, a way to be in your 
romantic relationship especially or any kind of interaction, a way to live! 

Where can you find humor this week?

Why I do Podcasts

The podcast Elie’s coffee talks started as a conversation at an airport. You can read the whole story in the About section.

Step by step, it developed towards what it is today:

a podcast about creative entrepreneurs from (mostly) Basel in the best Cafés, over the best Coffee.

The main topics are:

Entrepreneurship | Self-development | Spirituality | Holistic Health | Creativity

 

 

Why Cafés?

because I was spending most of my time in those beautiful places – still will be when they open again post coronavirus, soon! inshallah – to either work or to meet friends, most of them entrepreneurs (that’s why they had time to meet!). I started noticing a common thread: we were always having the best conversations. This is very personal of course, for me, Cafés are the best setting: you are sitting across from one another, focused only on what the person is saying, while being surrounded by a nice deco (love interior design without knowing anything about it) AND you have this rush of caffeine which makes ideas travel quicker in your own brain and also from your brain to the other person’s brain – not a scientific fact of course but that’s how it feels to me – I researched some scientific facts below though (nerd emoticon). Some people have more transcendental experiences in Nature or while walking, I love sitting in Cafés. And as I was spending so much time in those places, talking, I thought: let’s monetize this time! Kidding still not monetized! But that’s how Elie’s coffee talks was born!

Now a few ‘scientific’ words about caffeine:

A recent study threw some light on this effect, showing that caffeine, as a potent psychostimulant, facilities faster information processing—causing brain networks to connect with more speed and efficiency—through a process of “cerebral entropy,” even when the brain isn’t actively engaged. The researchers reported they found that caffeine “increased resting brain activity irregularity or complexity, suggesting an increase of information processing capacity in the resting brain.”  So the high octane injection may provide an ongoing boost to brain processing beyond the brief period of immediate effects.

https://www.forbes.com/sites/daviddisalvo/2018/06/29/three-things-caffeine-does-in-your-brain/#42872651876f

I also listened to the book Caffeine by Michael Pollan that was pretty interesting. He talks about the Science of Caffeine but also the History of Coffee and Tea, where it comes from and how it traveled through the world to end up pretty much everywhere. I recommend it to every Coffee Nerd!

 

Why Entrepreneurs?

I believe in going back to basics, to local and small businesses and towards a more simple way of living like slow living.

I believe in high quality services and products and genuinely enjoy promoting them.

I also believe in a future of Entrepreneurship. You might argue that not everyone is made to be an Entrepreneur and it’s true BUT I see it this way: if everyone starts to find their purpose and who they truly are, their unique gifts, etc. won’t they want to create their own thing then somehow?

About what follows, I know that Wikipedia doesn’t have the best rep but I compared a few definitions and those are the ones I liked the most, so no it wasn’t laziness!

entrepreneurship is the process of designing, launching and running a new business, which is often initially a small business.

 

Why Creatives?

creativity is a phenomenon whereby something new and somehow valuable is formed. The created item may be intangible (such as an idea, a scientific theory, a musical composition, or a joke) or a physical object (such as an invention, a printed literary work, or a painting).

First of all: I love that Wikipedia includes the joke example in its definition of creativity! #standup.

While entrepreneurship is business oriented, creativity, even though modernly defined as valuable or useful, to me, doesn’t need to be either. It doesn’t need a goal, nor a quantitative measurement such as making money. By adding the creative component, my aim was to integrate something that doesn’t need a purpose apart from existing.

As I kept reading the definition, my eye got caught by the Ancient definition: it is commonly argued that the notion of “creativity” originated in Western culture through Christianity, as a matter of divine inspiration. (…) In the Judaeo-Christian tradition, creativity was the sole province of God; humans were not considered to have the ability to create something new except as an expression of God’s work. A concept similar to that of Christianity existed in Greek culture, for instance, Muses were seen as mediating inspiration from the Gods. Romans and Greeks invoked the concept of an external creative “daemon” (Greek) or “genius” (Latin), linked to the sacred or the divine.

I don’t consider myself a religious person but I believe like Steven Pressfield says in his book The War of Art that there is something divine in the creative process. He, for example, always invokes his muse before he starts writing and I think it’s humbling to see it in this way. It also takes the pressure off either failing or succeeding!

I know I know it sounds Esoteric but hey I used to teach Yoga after all!

 

Why share?

The kind of question I ask:

What would you do with more time? | What would you do with more money? | What does a typical day looks like? | What did you do before? | What do you see yourself doing in the future? | What is your self-care routine? | What is work for you? | What did you learn on your journey to entrepreneurship?

The first 2 questions I wrote here: the time and money questions, I started asking them because I was interested in the Universal Basic Income and in my own (rebel) way wanted to prove to the older generation (usually against it) that when (young) people have more money and more time they won’t become lazy. Most guests I had on the podcast would use the money to create bigger projects. They would also donate more. And of course enjoy life and travel more but most people would do exactly what they are doing already but bigger, with more impact.

Some questions are more related to my background as a Yoga Teacher and Holistic Health Geek. It’s important to know how to take care of yourself as an entrepreneur to not fall into the trap of working 24/7. Stefie says on Podcast #10: make your health a priority cause life gets easier if you are healthy!

Other questions are process-oriented (entrepreneurship) to show people who want to do something else that it IS possible! To show them that people who are just like them, did it, so they can do it too! To show that it all starts with a thought, an idea. To show that when people allow themselves to think they can do it, they actually can end up doing it!

Sometimes we also dive into self-development cause I think it goes very well with Entrepreneurship and I like to use this sentence to illustrate it: working FOR yourself is working ON yourself. I experienced it as a self-employed Yoga Teacher. It was tough, it was a process where you learn about yourself. You start noticing what you are good at and not good at, what you like doing and don’t like. Cause you do everything by yourself at the beginning. You keep learning about new things all the time and maybe even start thinking differently. And just like artists, you are expressing yourself through what you are doing and you get evaluated for it. It puts you in a vulnerable position but it’s a great learning experience (as long as you can stay detached from the whole thing! Easier said than done! I’ll develop in another post that is already in the making!).

 

It was important for me to write those ‘why‘ because at the beginning of the corona period I thought of dropping the podcast altogether. I was thinking: yes it is cool but what kind of impact is it having really?! Maybe I’d better record meditations or something (which I actually started doing as well) because that will really help people! And also I really didn’t want to do the interviews online (and still won’t do that) because like Anika said: virtual coffee, is like virtual sex, just not the same! (this sentence will go viral soon!)

While this period was (/still is) great to question one’s life choices, sometimes -often – I find myself questioning waaaay too much and realized that I don’t have to SAVE the world, that I’m allowed to do things just because I love the process and find them inspiring for myself and hopefully others! (blogpost about GUILT coming soon!)

I actually rediscovered my aims by listening to a podcast myself: a ‘podcast about life and comedy’ Un café au Lot 7 (funnily around coffee as well) hosted by Louis Dubourg. I was listening to episode 3 with Marina Rollman. Because of the content and form, it was like listening to a friend’s conversation which made it very pleasant to listen to. Plus because I could identify with the guest speaker so much (because of her age, where she is from, her background, etc.) I became super inspired and it made me want to work on something right away. Anything. Anything that would take me closer to what I envision. Which I did as soon as got home and it made me feel so alive and happy! So thanks Marina and Louis!

 

I hope Elie’s coffee talks will also inspire you to do whatever you feel most drawn to! To express yourself, to create, to start that thing you’ve been wanting to do for a while! Let me know if you have questions, i’d love to help!

And if you consider yourself a creative entrepreneur, please reach out, maybe we can go for coffee and talk!

Sending Love and Health to all!

 

My 10 day IG detox and Meditation

At the beginning of April, I decided to go off Facebook & Instagram for 10 days.

 

Why?

I was spending way too much time on it in general (especially Instagram, I semi-quit Facebook a while ago cause it was too overwhelming with its events, ads, your friends holidays, groups, pages, etc.). I’m sure you’ve found yourself on the couch or the toilet scrolling scrolling scrolling, checking out profiles you don’t care about that much – someone you met 4 years ago and you wanted to know what she/ he is up to after all these years and from there, you check out another profile and another one – and you suddenly notice 1 hour has passed! What a waste of time no?! I guess anything else could have been more productive / useful / creative?!

These days, there was way too much information about the virus (what to do to be safe, what to do if you are bored, what not to do, conspiracy theories, other news). EVERY SINGLE post was about that and whether I wanted or not, it was affecting me and creating more fear or anger, frustruation, helplessness, or raising more questions.

Also at the same time, my partner and I started a course from Dr. Joe Dispenza and were meditating a couple hours / day – still are –  and first of all it takes time – 2 hours – and second of all, it’s easier to meditate when your head is not full of information and emotions already! I wanted to, as we say in French: mettre toutes les chances de mon côté translating as:  put the odds on my side (yes you can also learn French in this post!) to give my body mind and spirit the opportunity to ‘meditate properly’. Be more focused or trying to be because even without social media, let’s be honest, it’s hard work!

 

What happened:

At the beginning, my Instagram app being next to my What’s App app on my phone, I was noticing that muscle memory made my thumb always go on the IG app even though my mind was not thinking/ wanting to go on it. It was just a reflex and that’s how I noticed how bad the habit actually got! And I guess it’s the same for many other habits I developed like the habit of constantly checking my phone when it’s lying next to me, although I might have checked it 30 seconds ago and I’m not really expecting any important message. I’m not an expert about habits so I won’t talk about it. I will just say that the thumb habit was easily changed by – after the recommendation of a friend of mine – putting the app on an other page of my phone like ideally the last page, in order to make it less likely to reproduce the habit. And it worked, thanks Anika!

I also noticed that IG became my search engine for things like pictures of places or the work of famous people like this one time when I wanted to check out the memes of a Swiss Comedian after I had watched one of his Youtube videos. It didn’t even occur to me that I could check his website! So i waited until yesterday to check the memes as it wasn’t super crucial to know like probably 90 % of the research we do online.

TBH I didn’t miss it at all (this time). Cause I knew how beneficial it would be. So I did it seriously.

But I remember ‘failing’ at digital detoxing too! Twice! The first time was during my first Yoga Teacher Training in Bali a few years ago. We were asked to stay in silence and not use our phones until breakfast which was after the first meditation and practice of the day. But I remember very well sitting on the toilet and scrolling through Facebook at 6 a.m.! Facebook was stronger than my will! Or maybe it was because of the fact that ‘I HAD to do it’ and since I’m a french rebel that approach didn’t work?! Or maybe it’s because I was still young and didn’t have the wisdom I have today?! I don’t know. The second fail was during a 10 day Yin YTT in Thailand with a famous teacher from the U.S. and this time, it was forbidden to use our phones the whole 10 day but they were not taken from us, we had them in our rooms so the temptation was great and I succumbed after a few days!

It’s not the first time I do it seriously either. The first time was during Vipassana Meditation over New Year but more on that below.

When I went back on IG after 11 days – because I was not ready on day 10 – I logged in, checked my messages, the comments and likes and logged out 5 min later cause that was enough already! They say it takes 60 days to change a habit but 11 did the trick!

If you have never tried it I highly recommend it, especially during this special time! You might notice that the world won’t stop turning even though you are not following everything your friends and favorite influencers are doing! You might also notice that your mind is less agitated and that you actually HAVE time for all the things you were saying you didn’t have time for! But I’ll stop here because if you are a rebel like me, you won’t do it if I insist too much!

And if you are not a Millennial reading this, maybe try with a detox from another app/ habit?!

 

Now the meditation part:

It REALLY all started with Vipassana.

A bit of context cause I haven’t really talked about it yet apart from on podcast #23 with Sabrina Krämer who was at Vipassana at the same time as me over New Year 2019-2020 in Jura, Switzerland.

Vipassana is a 10 day-meditation-retreat where you meditate 10 hours / day in silence – more in the links where it’s written Vipassana and I can’t wait to share the stand-up version of it as soon as it’s allowed to gather in public spaces again!

It’s only since coming out of this retreat in January this year that I have a daily meditation practice because:

1. One hour or 2 per day is nothing compared to 10 hours! It’s almost easy (although some days it’s definitely NOT!)

2. Because I now know about the benefits and potential of this practice. I made it a priority and that’s the only way you do or don’t do something in life, when you decide whether or not it is a priority. It’s that simple! An example: when you say you don’t have time to see your friends or to exercise, it’s not true, it’s just not your priority and with meditation it’s the same. I hear you arguing but be honest with yourself.

Before that, I would meditate here and there and never really keep a daily routine although I have been practicing Yoga for the past decade and teaching even for a few years but le cordonnier est toujours le plus mal chaussé  (really learning a foreign language in this post!), translation: the shoemaker is always wearing the worst shoes. There was always an event that would make me forget to meditate, in other words, I always had an excuse for not doing it regularly!

I know you are eager to know about the benefits, that’s probably how you’ll consider whether you want to start meditating or not.

 

Here they come:

The major positive effect I noticed after the 10 day-course was that I felt immensely well in my body and that was a surprise for me because I was suffering from chronic back pain for the past 2 years and was not looking forward to the retreat at all because I thought that all that sitting would be unbearable – and it was, but more mental pain than physical. Of course I saw many different therapists prior to the retreat and they all helped but no kind of healing really lasted. Day after day I was feeling better and better in my body. The meditation was creating space and I would cry of joy when noticing that because finally I was able to move freely! It was very liberating and unexpected! Although S.N. Goenka‘s teacher said: it shouldn’t be the first goal to do Vipassana to heal your health problems, I feel that it is important to share this positive effect! Nowadays, even if the back pain shows up once in a while, I feel much much better and even started practicing yoga at home again, a huge win for me because I had to stop practicing asanas because of it! You only appreciate everything your body can do once it cannot do it anymore!

For the ladies: one week after coming out of the center, I got my periods and I’m part of those women – like I guess pretty much EVERY SINGLE WOMAN these days – who has PMS and cramps and migraines and cravings, etc. Well guess what? Nothing this time! No migraine no cramps no mood swings, not even hungrier than usual, nada! It was amazing! Of course it didn’t stay this way, one month later it went back to the usual aches and pains, because: modern life oblige! But when I really stick to 2 hours / day, no matter what, the pain is not so great, the migraine becomes a slight headache. Now my partner cannot predict my cycle anymore!

Another physical positive effect: it’s still the beginning of the season but so far I don’t have spring allergies! It’s really enjoyable to walk outside (I live in Switzerland and we are not quarantined here) and not have to sneeze every 30 seconds.

An emotional change this time: (of course when I came out of the 10 day-course the effects were X 10 but I still notice the change now) I feel more calm, peace, serenity, less anger, more joy, more gratitude. I have better relationships, better communication, more compassion, etc. (side note: I use many other tools also to feel happier, it’s not JUST the meditation that got me to that happier state, maybe I’ll talk about it in another post maybe not and second sidenote: of course it’s still work in progress!).

Also more focus in my work and more acceptance of where I’m at. No social media helps too for both!

Now I’m not sure everybody will see that as positive but: I need less entertainment time! Less movies, less interacting with people. I find many things not as enjoyable as before, they got sometimes neutral or even boring but not in a negative way. I do more NOTHING.

 

Recommendations:

  • No you don’t have to start with a 10 day retreat where you meditate 10 hours a day to have a regular practice (although it definitely helps), there are plenty of Youtube videos and apps to accompany you on your meditation journey. You can start with guided meditation, it might be easier than trying to only think of nothing. There will be some appearing on this website soon too!
  • You can sit on a chair or your couch, against a wall, you don’t have to sit on the floor if it’s not comfortable for you.
  • Less is more: start with a few minutes like 5, 6 or 10min, not more at the very beginning cause it will be challenging enough. I used to do 6 min and couldn’t even keep my eyes closed during this time. I used to find it long!
  • Don’t feel guilty if you forget to do it!
  • The most important is to make your body sit and tell your body to stay seated! EVERY SINGLE DAY ideally.
  • Priorities! You might have to give up something you are doing to be able to meditate, especially if it’s longer periods of time like 20min, 30min or 1 hour. So maybe think of something you do in your life right now that you could do less, I don’t know, maybe like scrolling and scrolling and scrolling 😉

Martinique

Warm moist air, french spoken everywhere, bakeries, Créole cuisine, exotic fruits, turquoise water, friendly people, it didn’t take long for me to fall in love with the Island!

Although I must admit, it wasn’t love at first sight cause it sometimes takes a few days (sometimes even months) to get used to a new place, even in paradise. But then you can’t picture yourself elsewhere anymore. You are in the moment, nothing else matters. And it’s usually when it’s time to leave that you want to stay (forever). That’s how human beings work, paradoxal beings. Or is it just me?! 😉 Then when you do go back to this place you call HOME, with every journey you took, you bring something back with you or leave something behind.

But back to Martinique! We stayed in the South in Trois-Îlets at La Pointe du Bout and mostly visited white sandy beaches and restaurants in that area. We also visited briefly St-Pierre, Le Carbet and Fort de France which I recommend visiting from the ocean side, on a sailing tour. If you stay in the South, many agencies offer day tours to see dolphins and visit those 2 or 3 towns. A ferry also departs to Fort de France from La Pointe du Bout every hour or so.

We stayed only for a week which is a bit short if you want to explore all the beaches, hiking trails, sailing tours, etc. and still have time to chillax a bit/ a lot. I would highly recommend 2 weeks or a year!

Here are a few beaches worth a swim but first and foremost a few restaurants worth a meal (because FOOD!):

 

 

Restaurants:

 

Le bistrot d’en face IMG_20190516_103647

Restaurant Le Pitaya in the Hotel La Pagerie (only evening)

 

Le Kano for it’s amazing view and original cuisine

 

La Suite Villa also for the view and Haute CuisineIMG_20190516_130126

The pottery village:

Located at Trois-Îlets, at the end of a dusty road, you will find an Oasis of good food, artsy shops and more! We took a pottery class and ate lunch there a couple times. Here are a few gems La Mandoline, Le Jardin des Saveurs and O’Coup d’Coeur for a tea & pastry.

 

And beautiful Beaches:

L’Anse Dufour for the Turtles ❤IMG_20190516_082403

 

La pointe du bout for its little covesIMG_20190512_101419

 

 

Les Anses d’Arlet for its sub-marine life and cute villageIMG-20190517-WA0016

 

 

Our Food Bible during the trippage_1_thumb_large

 

Enjoy!

 

Podcast #1 Carla from Localholic

Rodrigo and I started a podcast about people we find inspiring (more on how it started and the details in another post!)

Carla was our very first guest this month and it’s been so much fun interviewing her and equally fun to go through the whole video again to write this!

If you are on an entrepreneurial journey or if you are thinking about it, this podcast is for you!

Headphones on: listen to it HERE

About Carla :

She is originally from Lake Constance. She used to be in event management in Hamburg and landed in Basel a few years ago where she created Localholic, a company that makes you experience Basel differently – a beautiful way to discover the city as well as local products & services aka Local Heroes. She also brought Creative Mornings to Basel and has many more projects in the making!

This is how her week looks like:

  • 3 days/ week Localholic (office in the AM and meetings in the PM)
  • 2 days/ week Creative Mornings
  • Sunday Carla-ME-Time (likes to go for a run in Dreiländereck, spends time in Nature & with friends, likes to cook, read or listen to podcasts!)

What she learnt on her entrepreneurial journey : 

  • Focus on yourself
  • Give yourself time, don’t rush towards a goal that you think you need to attain
  • Business Visions change constantly if not every day!
  • Constantly ask yourself: what do i really want? Keep this question in mind but keep moving forwards.
  • Reflect your work in small steps and know that you can do it from past experiences.
  • Know your strengths (she lists 5 in the podcast!)

The best investment she made:

  • Find out about herself and her skills

working for yourself = working on yourself

Advices to anyone wanting to start a business or project :

  • DO IT! Don’t let your doubts stop you, invite your doubts as questions. Give yourself deadlines and go fully into it!

2 words to your younger self :

  • TRUST YOU

Listen to what she does when she experiences fear. It’s brilliant!

What would she do with more money?

  • Invest in more skills

(when I talk about my friend ‘the social media pro’: it’s Bianca Fritz) 

What would she do with more time?

  • Start new projects

What she does when she gets stressed : 

  • She comes back to her weekly schedule and writes it again. This helps her refocus (with a coffee or a tea)

How the world will look like in 20 years and what we can do to make it better:

  • Come back to local products /services
  • Travel less > people travel to find themselves but it’s important to find yourself at home and in your ME-time
  • Reduce your needs > minimalist mindset
  • Take the speed out *

The 2 books she is currently reading: 

  • ‘Schön dass es dich gib’ Laura Maria Seiler
  • ‘Start something that matters’ Blake Mycoskie founder of Tom shoes. 

One podcast she listens to:

Her motto: 

  • LESS IS MORE

*My fav quote or one of them:

‘The speed is in the head but if you are yourself, if you know yourself better, focus on yourself, know your skills, needs and fears maybe you don’t need the speed anymore?! When you know your skills, you focus on them and your network is full of people who can do things better than you which makes it easier to let go of what you are not good at, because then you just ask your people!’

The power of knowing yourself and community!

 

 

Meet her at Creative Mornings this Friday!!!

If you missed it, connect here: 

Facebook @localholic.ch & @CreativeMorningsBasel 

IG @localholic & @cm_basel

 

 

One more thing that you won’t hear in the podcast:

The magic behind our first encounter

Carla was visiting one of her Local Hero Haenowitz and Page and having coffee. I was finishing a photoshoot for Yoga, Coffee & Journaling. She saw my yoga mat and we started chitchatting about yoga. I invited her to the event with H&P and she gave me her business card and that’s when I went like: ‘Wow!!! Let me introduce myself again!’ (I didn’t actually say that or maybe I did who knows?!). Why it was so awkward: a few months prior to that weird introduction, I did my very first Yoga & … event. It was Yoga & Wine at Vinigma, a wine company in Gundeli. Valentin, the owner, advised me to connect with Localholic which I, of course, never did! I went on the website though but never reached out. That’s why I was so surprised by Carla’s business card! Synchronicity or the fact that Basel is so small, you always bump into people you know? We’ll never know but I like to think it’s the first one.

(You can find the projects we did together in the ‘Past Events’ Section of this website. Bad Taste Yoga Party & Flohmi and Yoga auf dem Rhystärn

 

#IGChallenges or The art of creating Habits

The 1st of November, Jelena Joksic launched a 30 day green smoothie and plank challenge on Instagram. I have to be honest, I didn’t read properly (for my defense it was in German) and thought it would be a 5-day thingy. It’s only after a couple days, that I realized: I was in this for 30 days!!! But it was too late cause I already started posting! 

The second day of the #greensmoothieandplankchallenge, since I was already on my mat, I figured I could add some meditation to the combo. I’ve been trying to have a regular meditation practice for so many years!!! I would always drift away from it, as soon as I’d change routine or environment. But this time it wasn’t going to happen because I had the best accountability coach: INSTAGRAM. 

Having to post the green smoothie every day (almost, i missed 2 days of IG stories so far BUT still had them!) involved that I did the planks and the meditation also, it became my motivation and priority.

Here are a few changes I noticed after only 1 week: 

  1. I can do much better with time management, meaning I get early to appointments instead of 5 min late (I’m sure it has to do with 6.) 
  2. I’m more centered and focused throughout the day
  3. I feel strong physically and mentally from the planks and the discipline/routine.
  4. Thanks to the green smoothie, I make healthier food choices throughout the day (I’m still having my dark chocolate and occasional croissant) but I notice less food cravings + the food prep makes me go to the shop almost daily for the greens which makes me buy other fresh food for other meals (BONUS)
  5. I don’t need to get entertained as much and I need more quiet times > especially before bed 
  6. And this is a huge one: I spend less time on IG/ my phone in general 

 

The details:

Green Smoothie 

Spinach, oat milk, 1 banana, almond or peanut butter. Sometimes: kale and overnight chia seeds 

Planks

1 min plank, 1 min forearm plank, 1 min dolphin (down dog on your forearms). Finishing with a nice childspose or even doing childspose for a few breaths in between the planks. 

Meditation

set a timer to 6 minutes, find a comfortable seated pose, lengthen the spine, relax the shoulders, jaw and forehead. Count to 21 on each exhalation and backwards to 1. If you loose the count, start over! If you don’t loose the count, you will be done before the timer goes off and in that case you can observe the breath for the couple minutes remaining. 

When I have more time, I add some journaling, reading, roll & release and stretches. 

All of it ideally before you get out of the door and even more ideal: before any device is switched on. If you really don’t have time in the AM, do it in the evening. I recommend though: waking up between 5am and 6 am and trying to go to bed ‘early’. If you are not an early bird, just try getting up 1 hour earlier than you already do. Or even 30 min. And if you are reading this thinking ‘waking up even earlier?!’) try 15 min or even 5 min. Step by step. No worries. 

I’m far from being an early bird myself but noticing the changes of adding only a few minutes of healthy routine before I start my day has been so rewarding and worth the few seconds of discomfort every time the alarm goes off! Plus getting up early will give you much more time to do all the things on your never-ending-to-do-list. 

 

A couple more tips:

If you are the type of person who watches TV or Youtube videos while you eat or before bed, try switching to podcasts instead, your eyes and nervous system will thank you especially if you are on the computer the whole day already. If you don’t know what to listen to, our first podcast is on its way 😛

Instagram was/is my accountability coach but you can use any method that works for you: a friend, partner, colleague (I actually tried to motivate my colleagues at the office but it didn’t quite work yet!).

Research shows that if you want to integrate a new habit, your environment is going to be key. Meaning: surrounding yourself with people who do what you aspire to, will help you tremendously. True for careers and any kind of behaviors also!

The amount of time it takes until that new habit blends naturally into your daily routine is a bit controversial. Some say it takes 21 days, some 30 or 40 but apparently it takes up to about 66 days. AND it’s going to be very different for everybody. It could even take up to 6 months or a year depending on the task and your aversion for it 😉

The key is to start with a couple minutes a day, whatever it is.

For example I do a 6 min (only) meditation because my aim is simply to get used to sitting down and to remember to do it every single day.

More on habits with this awesome podcast

It’s definitely daily hard work but it’s transforming us into our best versions!

 

So with that in mind, one of my aims is to extend the meditation challenge until

X-mas. That’s almost 60 days! Who is with me? 

 

What kind of habits do you wish to integrate or give up? 

 

Remember: together it’s easier!

Basel Top 5 Cafés

Café Vonlanthen 

Café von Lanthem is my absolute fav for 3 reasons:

1. it’s overlooking the Rhein,

2. they have Oat milk that blends so perfectly with their homemade coffee &

3. their gluten-free chocolate cake is out of this world

IMG_3661@cafevonlanthen

 

Café Bar Rosenkranz

Cute vintage decor, quiet terrace, great food AND if you are lucky: amazing oldies music ❤

Latte Freddo is my Summer pick:

IMG_3662Café Bar Rosenkranz 

 

Ferry Tales

Can we applaud the wordplay?! Ferry Tales is really cool if you are running errands in the city center and fancy a coffee to go. You cannot really sit there but if you take a 30 second-walk, you will be able to enjoy a nice view of the Rhine from the Garten der Alten Universität, while sipping your Haenowitz & Page Cappuccino.

The + side : they have happy hours between 8am and 10 am and 4pm and 6pm. 

IMG_3556@ferrytales.ch

 

Café frühling 

&

Kaffee-Mobil

Café frühling in Klein Basel aka the hipster corner as I like to call it. A great place to work on your computer like everybody else. The coffee is great and it is around the corner of all the cool Feldbergstrasse places including The Looking Glass Basel.  

 

Kaffee-Mobil belongs to the Unternehemen Mitte family and is located at Marktplatz or am Rhy close to Wettsteinbrücke. Great coffee and cute settings.

IMG_3445@marktplatz

Damatti Café Bar

A recent discovery. I enjoyed the quiet terrace, the healthy food from @happybowls.ch and again the great latte freddo. Plus, indoors the decor is pretty cool. 

IMG_3654@caffebar_damatti

French holiday

BELLE ÎLE EN MER

 

Galettes, crêpes and cider

Sun, waves and white sandy beaches

Turquoise water 

Stone houses & hydrangea

Sailor tops

Pine trees

Ferry rides

Photo 07.07.18 16 50 16Quiberon

 

Ferry rides:

To get to this little paradise, you will need to take the ferry from Quiberon with Compagnie Océane.

  • If you are planning to take your car to the Island (which I highly recommend although there are many options once you are there, see Commute below), book your tickets in advance because space is limited.
  • If you are leaving your car behind in Quiberon, no real need to book in advance. There will be a big parking lot with a Bus system taking you straight to the Ferry.

You’ll most probably arrive at Le Palais, the main town with Supermarkets, Restaurants and Shops. Get an ice cream or a galette as soon as you get off the boat 😉

Photo 09.07.18 15 27 51Cafe Littéraire in Le Palais

 

Commute:

You can be everywhere on the Island in 15 to 20 minutes so if you have a car/ scooter/ ebike, not a problem. If you only have a bicycle I hope you trained before getting there cause it’s a hilly Island 😉 Also renting 2 bicycles is pretty much the same price as renting a scooter so unless you are super öko, consider option B, you’ll thank me later.

Photo 26.07.18 22 36 01

 

Must see or rather what we saw:

Photo 13.07.18 10 42 21Phare de Goulphar

 

Galettes & Crêpes:

Our fav crêperie is Les Embruns. Their ingredients are mostly organic. The service is fast and good, the portions are perfect and the food delish. Plus there is a really cute view on the harbor of Sauzon. This town was definitely a highlight. A big thank you to our friends who showed us this gem. 

Photo 08.07.18 21 02 52A door of Sauzon

 

Beaches:

  • Plage de Vazen: dreamy! Not many people and full of little secret spots. Be aware of the tide though. You will understand when you get there.
  • Plage de Donnant: the only beach where you can surf! Between 2pm and 7pm, the lifeguards watch the beach so it is CROWDED and no surf lesson is allowed during those times. There are not many people in the early morning and late evening though (the sun sets around 10pm in the Summer which gives you plenty of time). You can easily be the only one in the water then! Wear a wetsuit 3/2 minimum. You can rent boards at the local surf school although they won’t rent anything during their class times (basically the whole morning until 2pm and after 7pm). So the best option is to either BYO or to rent in Le Palais. We rented at Moonbreak, great customer service, cool clothes and the best board ever: a Notox cork board, we all fell in love with!
  • Plage des Grands Sables: for all water sports! There you can rent Stand Up Paddle boards and they even had SUP/Yoga classes.

Photo 13.07.18 13 21 25

 

I wouldn’t be a real french if I would not add some downsides so here they come:

  • If you are foreign, be prepared to not get the best customer service. Or like my BF says: ‘it’s not that it’s bad, it just doesn’t exist’. Even though in the french language we say: ‘the Customer is King’, we don’t actually apply this saying like ever. Just be aware that you might perceive some answers as rude 😉
  • Between the croissants, crêpes and baguettes, watch out for the gluten overdose 😉 Only the galettes are gluten-free (made with buckwheat flour).
  • If you are used to those city hipster cappuccino, you might not like french style coffee (blog post about good coffee in Basel coming soon…).
  • If you drive there, know that it’s suuuuuper far + the highway will be quite pricey. Compare the options beforehand: train, plane and car. Book in advance whatever you choose (cf. Ferry §). We split the way each time. More on that below.

 

But in the end it was just as dreamy as I had imagined and I’m hoping to be back soon!

 

Ah hoy

Photo 13.07.18 18 54 34

 

Our 2 stop-over:

On our way there: we stopped in Nantes. I’ve been wanting to visit this city for a while and luckily A) it was on the way, B) my friend Mathilde was home and she gave us a tour of the city: first the old town with its Castle, Cathedral and cute streets.  Then we visited Les Machines de l’île and became kids again. Of course there is so much more to discover but we were really looking forward to see the Ocean and that’s what we managed to do in half a day.

Photo 07.07.18 10 58 32Le Carrousel des Mondes Marins

 

On our way back: we stopped in Fontainebleau, THE most famous outdoor bouldering site on the planet. We met people from everywhere, walked on white sand again and faced our fears! Everything you need to know about the place HERE.

Photo 15.07.18 08 47 47L’éléphant

Impressions of a first

DE116924-34CB-4A83-A4C3-D711C7DFA4DB.jpeg

Hitchhiking: according to the Merrian-Webster Dictionary: to travel by securing free rides from passing vehicles by holding out your arm with your thumb up as you stand on the side of the road.

Starting point: Bad Nenndorf 2pm Friday June 29th.

Destination: Munich. Estimated arrival time: 10pm Friday June 29th. 

The train departs at 2:05pm but because of me, we miss it. Fight number 1. 

The first step was: taking the train to the next town and first Autohof (usually a resting area off the highway with a gas station, a couple fast food restaurants, maybe even some supermarkets). So instead of waiting 30min for the next train, we started hitchhiking from the train station. The first car stopped and drove us to the Autohof, even though it wasn’t on her way. The fight ceased. 

Once there, the real hunt starts. We start asking people at Macdonald’s but in vain. So we head towards the gas station and there, the first person I ask – a young man our age – is on his way to Berlin. He will take us. Success! This hitchhiking concept isn’t that complicated after all. 

During the first couple of minutes, I thought: ‘he doesn’t really want to take us on board. Maybe he’ll even change his mind after paying for gas’. But he was a great host, genuinely interested by what we were saying and eager to share about his own life. 

Second stop: a Rastätte (resting area on the highway, usually a gas station and maybe a couple fast food restaurants). This one is small, somewhere on the way to Berlin, which is where everybody is also heading when we want to go direction Leipzig. This one is a tricky one and I start thinking that we might have to go to Berlin for the night. It takes us about 1 hour of hard work to find a nice hippy lady with her daughter, driving to the countryside and willing to welcome us in their vehicle. 

I was hoping she’d be a massage therapist or yoga teacher judging by her fashion style (Pocahontas shoes & braid + crystals around her neck) and all the Boho feathers in her car but it turned out she never even took a yoga class in her life. So we small talked our way to the next Rastätte. 

Quickly after arriving at our third stop we realize that, here too, everybody is heading the other way, everybody but one person who is driving home, not sure anymore about the name of his town. All I remember is that he had a crazy German accent. The rolling ‘r’ kind of accent.  

We had dinner in his car and a nap, the constant asking if people were going our way, exhausted me. 

At about 9pm we arrive at our fourth stop, an Autohof again (this one has it all, MacDonalds, Burger King, Gas, DM, Liddl and more), the sun is setting, there are beautiful pink colors in the skies but the smell of gas counter-balances all this beauty. I’m tired of asking people who are going the opposite direction, people who are simply enjoying a coffee or meal, people who are getting gas or going on a toilet break. Some people are nice, some people are less nice. It’s getting dark. I suddenly think of staying at a hotel for the night and hope that my hardcore hitchhiker BF will like the idea because he usually doesn’t stop until he reaches his final destination.

The destination though was still 2 hours away and it was getting late. So at around 10pm, I declared forfeit. On the Macdonald parking lot, I logged into the free wifi, researched nearby hotels, made a couple phone calls, asked a couple people if they could give us a 6 min ride to town. 

And en route to our comfortable night of sleep + delicious breakfast. The whole package cheaper than a train ticket with the Deutsche Bahn.   

The next day at 10am – yes we took our time – we start the second and last part of our journey. 

After only a few steps out of the hotel, the first car stops and drives us to the same Autohof as the night before – a little déjà vu feeling – but this time we are lucky. It must be the effect of the good vibe dance we did at the hotel.

I was standing for a good 30 min at the exit of Burger King, showing a cardboard sign that said ‘Munich’ to every person who would want to look.  Some people shook their heads no and smiled and some people tried their best not to make eye contact. 

At some point, straight out of Burger King, a car pauses. He didn’t seem thrilled at first, although he was the one who stopped. He opened up a few kilometers later, sharing his travel & family stories. He told us that he usually takes hitchhikers to have conversations.   Another friendly encounter.

Last Rastätte: We get to work right away and it pays off. Again someone our age going straight to Munich! Victory! 

Before getting into his car, he apologizes that his car doesn’t go as fast with 3 people. 

So 140km/h was the maximum speed limit. Only one of the many differences between France and Germany. 

One hour of career dreams and book discussions later, we finally ARRIVE after 15 HOURS on the road + hunting time. 

I’m so happy I almost cannot believe we are finally there. 

Actual arrival time: 3pm on Saturday June 30th. 

Here is what I learned:

  • When you hitchhike, your expectations have to be thrown out the window. You won’t know when you’ll arrive nor when you’ll depart. 
  • Patience is key. 
  • ‘Focus on your breath’ will finally make sense if it didn’t yet.  
  • More gratitude for the simple things (like getting where you wanted to go). 
  • More likely to take hitchhikers now.
  • More compassion for the people who need to ask for survival basics in everyday life.
  • I will be pickier about which itinerary to take even if it means waiting longer to find someone driving the better route. 
  • People seem closed or even mean at first glance but they open up after a few minutes, sometimes hours, even to the point of sharing their whole life story with complete strangers. 
  • You don’t have to be a Yoga Teacher to wear crystals, just kidding, again it’s about not judging from first encounter and not putting people into boxes. After all we are infinite beings 😉 

At almost 30 and as a car owner, I experienced hitchhiking for the first time last weekend. Of course I hitchhiked in the past but only very short distances. Will I do it again? Maybe, but only with a lot of time, nobody expecting me at point B and if public transportation is too complicated or the price of a downpayment. 

A couple movies on the topic: Weit and Into the Wild by Sean Penn.