Moments In Asia – iPhone 5s 120fps from Markus Kontiainen on Vimeo.

Markus Kontiainen traveled through 11 cities throughout Asia. Here is what came of that.



I had plans, I honestly did, to have posts queued up while I was gone, but I realize now that this is not going to happen. I’m leaving the country to a remote region in Southeast Asia. It’s always been a dream of mine, to travel alone. Somewhere difficult. I’ve always traveled with friends previously, and that’s a crutch. This solo trek is something that just needs to be done.  
One of the most difficult parts has been informing people. I’m using a smaller travel agency, and things might still go south. Until I’m physically trekking on foreign soil, I probably won’t believe the whole thing is real. So usually, I prefer to do something, and talk about it afterwards. Just checked the weather report for the region, and there’s nothing but thunder storms where I’m headed. I’m writing this post partly as an impulse, and hoping for the best.
What have you done recently outside of your comfort zone? 
I’ll be back in two weeks. 


Lucerne Bridge
Lucerne: Chapel Bridge
For the sake of sanity and brevity, I’m going to divide this post into discrete, digestible parts. Here we have Part 1: Lucerne, or Luzern, as the city is also otherwise known.

If you have ever found yourself in the middle of a dream, in an idyllic town that borders a lake, the water crystal clear, swans dotting the waterfront, charming sloped and steepled rooftops…you were probably in Lucerne. One dead giveaway is the iconic Chapel Bridge, above, which I have caught at a bad angle under bad lighting, so you miss the flow of red flowers that run down its flank. As soon as you emerge from the train station, you can traverse this iconic structure and settle into any of a number of quaint restaurants that line the water. There, you can sip, eat, and otherwise take full advantage of Swiss hospitality.

It rained almost the entire time. The moment the rain stopped, I took pictures, but every picture looks as if it were taken on a different day.



What there is to do:

Lucerne is clearly a city meant for the wanderer at heart. However, if you don’t want to lounge, or wander elegant streets, or savor rich food, there is also the Sammlung Rosengart Museum, which houses a staggering private collection of modern art, mainly by Picasso.  I would include pictures, but they were not allowed, and you’ll just have to take my word for it. Just keep in mind, however, Lucerne sleeps early. All shops close by 6:30pm, and the museum closes around 5:30, so if there is a store you want to visit, get there early, it won’t always be there.  

Alternately, you can take a tour of the lake by boat. While I was there, there were two options: 1 hour, or 3 hours. My ideal time: 2 hours. Nothing’s perfect. However, if you remain in the city awhile, and you should, you may decide to stay in one of the charming hotels right by the water, where I saw people fishing, rowing, and enjoying life.

To and From:

My home base was Zurich. Lucerne is a one hour train ride away. Trains generally come every half an hour, because the Swiss don’t just make excellent timepieces, they use them as well. 

Lucerne lakeLucerne lakeside hotels
Lucerne lakeside tiny

I don’t often include too many pictures, but I wanted to convey a sense of the place. That feeling you get from a city, that visceral immediate impression it makes on your memory through your eyes. It’s the impression that stays with you, like an aftertaste, but in a good way.


White flowers
Flowers at sunset
I don’t have the wherewithal to manage complete sentences. I’ve been reading fiction. 700 pages of it, all moving continually in a blur, and I’m finally toward the end. Life has never been better. In light of my current distraction, here’s a few interesting bits while I get my act together. 

Here are ten things. I will maybe try one or two of them, because to try do everything is to make yourself miserable. Ten options is a nice number to choose from. You can think of it as choosing your own adventure.

Here’s a man who likes to write straight and clean. I believe in doing the same. You do not allow your reader to look up from the page. You do not punish your reader by making them take out the dictionary. You reward your reader, you bedevil, you enrapture, you capture, and you enslave. 

Way back when I used to write papers, I had to include citations. The most reliable citations, the ones we were encouraged to use, were to books, while the least reliable were to wikipedia, or some sketchy website on the seventh google search page that may potentially also have been a link to a virus. There is an implied integrity in a book, it implies that someone, somewhere, took the time to thoroughly edit and fact check every tiny piece of minutia before it would ever be allowed the privilege of publication. Well, that assumption is wrong. We are all screwed. Books are like people. They can lie.

This Outfit, because I’m a fashion sheep at heart.

This is a video. You might want to relocate yourself to a more appropriate location for this. It’s often thought that the creative mind is prone to bouts of depression. When you are creative, you move about on the fringes of the known (where the act of creation can take place, yes?) and as a result, I believe, are uniquely vulnerable. Hence, depression. That is my theory.

I have an empathy problem. Whenever I think about what it must be like to have naked pictures of yourself circling the web, I want to vomit blood. I hope people join together in a silent protest that involves not looking and not discussing, so that interest can die. I’d rather reflect the light onto the perpetrators instead.  


China Garden2
China Garden, Zurich
In the true spirit of Labor Day, I am working, albeit at a “relaxed” pace. In my stead, is a reflection in water. If I were not working, a one day holiday would be ideal time for self reflection, which is both a rich world indulgence and absolutely necessary. 

There is usually so little time available in the set routine of the week, that you may find yourself subconsciously biding your time for a holiday, an extra day that isn’t long enough to plan an full fledged vacation, but short enough that you suddenly have time to take a breath and take look around. Take stock of where you are. Make changes. 

I’ve been thinking about my own summer so far, and I can say without sarcasm that I’m pretty well satisfied with it. I’ve spent a lot of time outdoors, lost track of what’s happening on TV, and I’ve somehow managed that small miracle of forging new friendships, which I’ve heard is nearly impossible to do as an adult. 

I hope when you take a look at where you are, you feel a sweet indulgent swell of pride.