Thursday, July 31, 2014

Tentative Travel Plans

Is this what Fall 2014 will look like for me? Whew- a lot of planning to do...

July30-Aug 8 Copenhagen, Denmark
Aug 9- 10 Amsterdam, Holland
Aug 12-14 Antwerp, Belgium 
Aug 15-16 Bruges, Belgium 
Aug 17-19 London, England 
Aug 19 -21 Glasgow, Scotland 
Aug 21-24 Edinburgh, Scotland 
Aug 25-27 Stockholm, Sweden 
Aug 28-30 Copenhagen, Denmark

TechCrunch Disrupt SF, San Francisco, California, (September 7-11, 2013)  

Maker on NY September 17 
Makerfaire NY September 20-21

Chicago for two weeks 
Oct 29-30th (Pioneers Festival Vienna) 
Gemany/Austria for one week 
Nov 6-8th (Dublin Web Summit) 
Norway for 10 days 
Nov 18-19th (Slush Helsinki)

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Alternate Endings

Funny how life works sometimes?

Remember when life was simple and you had to make simple choices? Like back in high school when you had to choose if you should go to a football go or not? What would be the difference in outcome of that choice? Not much difference I suppose, since you would be most likely see the same people at school and done the same things at the next Friday night football game.

But now- it seems my life is at higher stakes. Each choice I make, each day seems to have huge impacts on the direction my life goes. And many of these impacts are almost impossible to predict.

3 months ago I left CPH with just one suitcase and planning to stay 1 week, and now Im back in CPH to move all my stuff out? Wow how did all this even happen!? I love CPH and had the stars aligned, I would have stayed here for a very long time. I took such a big risk and worked hard to make a life for myself here-yet somehow through a series of unforeseen events in rapid succession- things turned out so differently than how I thought they would. So quickly, so abruptly, my life changed 180 degrees this summer.

Does time heal all wounds? Do we learn from our choices? I always been a believer that things happen for a reason- and so far life has proved me right, because each time something ends - it leads me to walk  onto the path of finding something better- something more right. To explore and find the way.

But I would not be human if I did not pause and ponder my choices. How could my life have turned out, if I  had just made one or two different crucial choices?

What if I had never gone on my Eurotrip 2 summers ago? Would I have never wanted to move to Scandinavia?
What if I had stayed in Chicago? Would I still be living the same life?
What if things had turned out differently this spring? Would I never have gone to California?
What if I haven't gone up to SF and just stayed down in San Jose? Would I have decided to come back to CPH?

Oh, choices, choices, Choices--It seems to me that traveling is the common thread in all my crucial choices-- Trips can be life changing, and sometimes situations and people are never the same again. Traveling puts ideas in people's head and these ideas have changed the course of my life.

I have to believe, I do believe, there are no regrets in life- just lessons that needed to be learned. I am 27 this year and I am still finding my way. Who would have thought that coming to Copenhagen would lead me to San Francisco? I am doing this for myself. Alone - I will travel forth again.

Home Sweet Copenhagen

I travel so much and I travel constantly. But it never struck me until today, just how powerful our modern transportation technology is. Less than 20 hours ago, I was going to events SF with friends and living out of a suitcase in my tiny little "bonus" room in Northbeach/Telegraph hill, and now, one international flight later I find myself back in my apartment in Copenhagen.

Arriving in CPH was so strange today. I have been gone for the whole summer- almost 3 months to the day. Yet it was like nothing had changed, but everything had changed at the same time. It felt both comforting yet alien- maybe it is because I am the one that changed. Walking down the street in Copenhagen, I felt like I was living an alternate life, it is just so different here than in San Francisco. I love Scandinavia-I love the order, the cleanliness, the serenity, the beauty, the history, the list goes on and on. I have experienced so much in the last three months and I know I will experience so much more in the upcoming months - on one hand I feel that I have outgrown my beloved CPH, while on the other it feels so soothing to come back to a place where I have amazing friends and memories, and where I actually know the streets and can navigate the public transport without getting lost - it is so peaceful here without constant noise, without ambulances/police cars zipping back and forth and without the general craziness of SF happening all the time. Feels good to recharge in solitude.

Unlocking the door to my flat I felt like I was walking into a museum, all my boxes were still packed from when I moved in three months ago - I have only stayed in this place less than 5 days since I moved in. How did time go by so quickly? When I first arrived in back CPH this afternoon, every fiber in my body screamed, go back, gooooo back to hustle and bustle of SF. I was missing everything and everyone there. But now after a much needed nap(have you ever been so tired you pass out into a dreamless sleep?) in this HUGE BED and in my MASSIVE APARTMENT that I live in ALONE- it kinda feels good to have space and privacy- something I definitely haven't had in the last three months of couchsurfing and something I won't have again for a long while. When you travel as much as I do, you learn not to take the simple pleasures in life for granted. Something as common place as sleeping alone in a large soft bed, in your own fresh sheets and pillows - where you can sprawl out in every which direction and then the icing on the cake is- having your own private bathroom(even if is tiny and designed for midgets?) is just pure magical f&cking bliss.

The movers come tomorrow and the craziness will start again. But tonight, just for this one last singular night, my apartment in CPH is still mine, and it's quiet, its comfortable and I am blissfully alone with just my thoughts.

Yes, it's good to be home.

-Ran - A Nomad Home at Last

Home is where the heart is and Copenhagen is the closest thing I have to home. I moved not knowing anyone or anything and tried to irk out an existence here. Its been a crazy ride and so many unpredictable things have gone wrong along the way- But, still I wouldn't change a thing :) In the space of less than a year I have made life-long friends and learned so much about this beautiful land and about myself. Thank you Copenhagen.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Reason Behind the Madness

And the headache begins---how does one small asian girl move all her worldly possessions from Denmark to USA?

It seems just yesterday(well actually just 10 short months ago) that I made the big leap across the pond from Chicago to Copenhagen, but now I'm leaping again from Copenhagen to San Francisco.

My zigzag journey around the world has been exciting, hectic and unpredictable. Who would have thought that going to business school in Denmark would lead me back to USA in less than a year?

A little under three months ago - I literally canceled my flight to London the day before I was flying and bought a ticket at the airport 2 hours before my flight and flew to San Francisco for Makers Faire San Mateo. I packed one suitcase and thought I was staying only 5 days. Due to the fact that I bought the ticket so last minute, I had the worst ticket possible where I had to transfer in London and then sleep a night in JFK New York Airport(scary o.o) before driving directly to Makerfaire San Mateo with suitcase in tow.

Looking back, I had no idea what I was getting myself into, now its been almost 3 months and Im still in San Francisco and have now put a deposit down on an room in the "lower Nob Hill"(aka the Tender Nob).

Hmmm but was this move so unpredicted? While at first glance- it seems like I am just randomly moving around the world, but digging a bit deeper there is logic in this madness. Denmark is a great place for entrepreneurship, especially for young companies. There is a lot of energy and the ecosystem has been really coming together and gaining momentum. There are many accelerators and office spaces that do not take equity or money from young startups, plus there are many government grants and programs available to startups. So yes, Denmark is a great place to start a business!

So why move to San Francisco? Well as a lesson learned from Kickstarter---network, Network, NETWORK! It goes without saying that the Bay Area is the epicenter of the startup/high tech industry. Where else can you find so many talented, driven and ambitious people and companies all focused on entrepreneurship and the "next big thing". The speed at which things happen here is just mind-boggling, there really are no words to explain this except that you have to live it to understand it. Since finishing up Chicago Tech Week and Makerfaire Kansas City two weeks ago, I have just been getting a preliminary glimpse of the life here in San Francisco- I am seriously learning by doing here, because almost everyone I run into is somehow involved in the tech industry, whether, they be a VC, designer, media, engineer, lawyer, etc. Startups are the norm here- I always knew that was the case, I just didn't realize what that meant until now....and I LOVE it. In two weeks here, I have experienced/learned/done more than I could imagined.

So I guess my decision was made for me- career comes first and I have to follow opportunity. A piece of my heart will always be in Scandinavia, and I know I will find a way to return to this beautiful place. But for now - San Francisco is where I need to be.

My life: Wuhan > Dallas > Baltimore > Chicago > Stockholm > Copenhagen > San Francisco.
Ok, Im ready :)

-Ran - A Nomad on the Move

Friday, July 18, 2014

SF Apartment Search Update

So I just posted my rather disheartening post about my dismal attempts at apartment searching in SF and guess what...right when I was about to give up ---I FOUND ONE!!!!! Woohoo!!!

So maybe it's not in the best neighborhood, and I don't know who I will be living with and I can't move in for another month, but you know what? It's MINE, its affordable and...there's wifi! What else could a girl ask for in this world?!

So f%cking happy right now! Funny how your luck can change so fast huh?

-Ran- A Smiling Nomad :D

Countdown to...???

The clock is ticking down to the end of my lease in Copenhagen and ....I'm still not clear on my plans.

I know strategically that opportunity lies in SF at the moment but logistically how will I move my stuff over? or should I move everything?

I have a feeling I will be commuting between Europe and America often in the near future, but where do I make my home base. Not to mention, I'm not sure I even have much of a choice as I will again be homeless in less then two weeks and no clear plan in place.

I have scoured Craigslist in SF and so far no luck ....urrrgh. No matter what happens, this will be my fourth move in less than a year---oh the life of a traveler.

Monday, July 7, 2014

Day 50 in San Francisco...

So approximately 50 days ago, I canceled my flight to London and Amsterdam and instead bought a last minute flight to San Francisco.

I packed some random outfits leftover from my Berlin/Amsterdam trip and thought that I would only be in the Bay Area for 1 week, but now almost 2 months later I find myself living the one the smallest(but centrally located) rooms in SF.

Im surprised that I'm still there and even more so, I'm surprised that I've been able to survive off of just one suitcase of poorly packed clothes. (I only have shorts and it's actually pretty damn cold in SF- A big THANKS to Tom Wang for telling me I needed absolutely no cold weather clothes :p)

The last 50 days have been crazy, exhausting and exciting!
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