Wear Sunscreen

An historian's view on life, love and leisure

Category: Work

How to achieve total #freedom in 5 easy steps

Russia

Disconnect

Step one: switch off your phone, your tablet, your pc, your laptop, your TV and every other machine that seems to be controlling your life. Instant freedom.

Have you ever travelled to a place without Wi Fi or an internet connection? With no newspapers and no network coverage whatsoever?

After experiencing some minor withdrawal symptoms and panic attacks (the dreaded FOMO), you will quickly realize nobody really misses you, your friends can eat pizza without you, the 3.685 newsletters you receive each day will still be there to be deleted without a second glance when you get back, your colleagues were glad to be left alone for a change, and your cat did not die.

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5 images, 5 things I’ve done in the past few weeks

 

we've moved!

I hate moving, I really, really, really hate moving. This was actually my 5th or 6th move, so by now I can probably write a book about what to do – and especially about what not to do – when you prepare to move. Anyway, we survived. Barely, but we did. Our new house has a bigger office space and it’s closer to the offpring’s school. Everybody happy. More or less.

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The day after: 9 things to do in November

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Forest of Averbode (Belgium)

Forest of Averbode (Belgium). This photograph was actually taken in July, although with pine trees that doesn’t matter does it…

Halloween and All Saints Day are over, and as I sit here eating the offspring’s Halloween candy (note to self: stop bying candy as if you have 10 children), I can’t fail to notice what an incredibly dull and generally gloomy month November is. Though I shouldn’t complain, considering it’s about 15° C warmer than it usually is. We even went out for ice cream at the abbey of Averbode yesterday. Not really something you would consider doing when winter is nearing. Averbode is our ‘go to place’ when we have friends over and we’re looking for a relaxing way to entertain them. We took the kids out for a walk in the forest and a delicious ice cream, everybody happy. Although we did get some strange looks. All Saints Day is a serious thing in Belgium, and the fact that my daughter was dressed as a ‘devil princess’ (for want of a better description) for a small Halloween party we had yesterday was clearly not to everybody’s liking… Continue reading

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Keeping busy: what I’ve been doing in the past few weeks

Leaving the harbour of Ostend (Belgium).

Leaving the harbour of Ostend (Belgium).

These past few weeks have flown by so quickly. I finished editing a book, spent about a month travelling in July/August and have just started my own business. I don’t even know where to start…

The book I’m talking about is actually a volume I edited with a Dutch colleague on the dynastic identity of early modern aristocratic families, which will normally be published in December of this year by Ashgate publishers. If you want to know more about it, you can find details on their website. It took us about 4 years to finish it, I don’t think either one of us imagined it to take that long. Not that this in itself is an exception in academia, my husband is waiting on a publication to come out which he wrote about 8 years ago…. So things could be worse 😉

The good thing about finishing a project, any project, is the mental rest that comes with it. After I sent my final e-mail this Saturday,  I felt completely exhausted. I couldn’t think of anything else, I just wanted to go to sleep early. I’m still really tired strangly enough, but it also feels as though my head is clearing up and new ideas are slowly filling it up again. That feels so wonderful!

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Conferences, coffee and jolly good company

Humboldt University

Humboldt University at Unter den Linden in Berlin, Germany: the location of the latest conference I went to in March of this year.

 

Contrary to what one might think, the best thing about conferences is not the exchange of knowledge. The best thing is meeting new people and catching up with old friends.

 

I once heard say that the whole idea of attending conferences is old-fashioned. Most companies have long ago decided conference calls are much more efficient, cheaper and faster. Since a couple of years, the internet has taken over, Skype is a wonderful thing, TED-talks inspire people all over the world.

So scholars who still travel around the globe to listen to a paper they might just as well read at home, are apparently completely out of date. Although I personally do feel we might want to “update” the whole conference experience a little bit, people who think the concept is obsolete simply do not get it.

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