The Simple Life [en]

I’ve been at the chalet since December 29th. I like it here. I’ve been “down” 5 times: once to see a new client in Zurich (more about that in the weeks to come), once to bring a car back to Lausanne, once to get my nails done, once to get an MRI done (wrist, nothing too bad), and once for a foundation board meeting.

Chalet et Grand Muveran

My life is simple here. Few possessions, few activities, few people, few responsibilities. The Paradox of Choice in reverse. As I’ve often noticed in the past, freedom is in fact in all that you can’t do.

That’s why people go away on holidays. There’s stuff to do on vacation, of course, but there is so much more from the daily grind that you can’t do.

Here I eat, take care of the cats, go skiing, buy food, fool around on the computer with my slow 3G connection (when I’m lucky, otherwise it’s Edge, or nothing), do some work, sleep.

But this state does not last. I’m already starting to make connections here. I’m starting to know people. I go to the caf√© in the village which has great chocolate cake and wifi. I’ve been through this when I lived in India: within a few months, I’d reconstructed for myself a life full of things to do, of people, of meetings, and activities. That’s how I am — I cannot remain a hermit for very long.

At the end of the week I’m going back to my city life. I’ll miss how easy it is here to talk to people. I’m not from here, but I feel like I fit in. I like the outdoors. I like my clothes comfortable and practical before pretty. I don’t need a huge variety of restaurants, shops, night-clubs, or theatres to make me happy.

I know I’ve already mentioned it, but my life slows down when I come here. Even with an internet connection. I try to bring this slowness back into my life in Lausanne, but it’s difficult. Specially as things will be a rush next week: I’m hosting a WordPress meetup workshop on Tuesday evening, then there is Lift, then I have a friend visiting, then I’m coming back up here ūüôā for a few days. The week after that will see me back in Zurich…

As I write this, maybe what I get here (or elsewhere on holiday) that is hard to get in Lausanne is long stretches of time with no outside commitments. No meetings, no appointments, no travel. Just weeks ahead with nothing else to do but live and ski.

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Busy Busy Busy [en]

[fr] Ma vie, cette course.

Two whole days is not enough. It’s the first day, and the last day, and nothing in between. Arrival and departure days do not count.

Next time I come up here, I’ll take a longer break.

I haven’t walked much — the weather isn’t really inviting, and my free access card which lets me use public transport freely in the area is not valid in November. December, hopefully, will be more exciting: some snow, maybe. I’ll be back just before Christmas.

I realised that I haven’t uploaded the photographs of my last trip here. To say the truth, I’ve been horribly busy. Way too horribly busy. At times it seems that I spend my months and years saying that: “I’m busy”. Busy, busy, busy. I always have tons of things to do, and if I don’t, I invent more. I long for a few weeks of leisurely time — India is great for that.

Money is an issue. As a freelancer, I can take time off whenever I want, as long as I can afford it. These days, I can’t say it’s really the case. On the other hand, maybe it’s worth examining how much paid work I actually accomplish each week over the month. It might help me get organised better.

It’s always the same problem: busy, busy, busy, I keep “working” but a lot of it is not directly earning me anything. And often this “work” is not very visible (read Suw’s great article on the nature of work in a knowledge economy), which leaves me with a sense of frustration at the end of it all.

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Back Home [en]

[fr] Retour en plaine.

So, I’m back home. I haven’t turned on the router yet. Arriving in my flat a bit less than two hours ago, I saw myself preparing to leave, frantic, packing late, rushing to do things before my week offline (most of which I did not manage to do). I didn’t want to go on my holiday. If I hadn’t set the dates in advance with a friend, I certainly would have cancelled.

Back here after five days in the mountains, I feel different. I feel slowed down. I realize that I’m taking the time to do things. Unpack my toiletries. Empty my backpack. Take a bath. And I want to sit down and write a bit before I go back online, because I’m not sure what will happen when I will. It’s silly, isn’t it? I’m in charge, so I should decide — but there are different me’s, and it’s not always the one I want which wins.

Online — my office — is a fast-paced world. Spending five days away from my world of too many choices did me a lot of good. Nothing but walk, eat, sleep, read, and sort photos. In discreet but present company.

I can slowly feel it starting — this feeling that I need to quickly do this, quickly do that. But I don’t want to live my life quickly. I want to take the time to enjoy it. Slowly, more slowly.

As I was soaking in my bath a little earlier, I realized that I could enjoy this slowness whenever I wanted. I mean, there is nothing material to prevent me from doing so. Thing is… how do I switch into the mood? That’s the big question.

I’m a bit apprehensive right now. I want to go and check on my office, see what happened while I was away. It’s exciting, in a way. But I’m afraid of getting caught up completely. Where will I start? Do I just jump in? Do I take advantage of my “rested” state of mind (physically exhausted, mind you) to try and do things differently? Plan ahead? Tomorrow is catching up day. Go through e-mail (oh yes) and decide what I need to do next. Deal with emergencies. That’ll be enough for a day.

Online is fast-paced, but it’s also noisy, busy, full of people (and very quiet of course). It’s a busy city. As I’m “always on”, I think my life has become a bit of a “busy city”. So has my flat. Part of why I get sucked up in it has to do with how I deal (badly) with alone-ness. But maybe now that I’ve had a few silent days of walking in the mountains with myself, things will be different.

It’s quiet outside.

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Rafra√ģchissez les id√©es √† votre Macbook [fr]

[en] Is your Macbook warming your lap a bit too much? whirring its fans noisily when you want to enjoy the calm? Help it cool down with Coolbook.

It will make your Macbook even cooler.

Votre Macbook vous chauffe les genoux de mani√®re excessive? Il ventile bruyamment alors que vous d√©sirez jouir du calme de votre salon? Rafra√ģchissez-lui les id√©es avec [Coolbook](http://www.coolbook.se/CoolBook.html).

De quoi vraiment rendre votre Macbook encore plus cool.

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