Declaration of Dependence

Throughout my previous blogposts(which were written a long, long time ago, shame on me), I often bored my readers with how much I just love to travel. By the way, did I mention that I am super excited for my trips to Berlin and Montenegro? God, I just love visiting different places! Traveling is just so amaaaaaazing!

Lately however I have come to find new insights on my habit of not wanting to commit to a particular country and my continuous need to stay mobile. Namely, that I am terrified of being dependent. Traveling provides me with great excuses to keep my head in the sand, safely sheltered from adulthood. Thus I don’t have to commit to adult things such as buying a house, taking a mortgage, settling into a career, closing a one-year gym membership or thinking about the future at all. I can simply tell myself that, while I am not working towards a stable future I am at least mobile and independent.

Around me I see people signing declarations of dependence by getting financially involved with their partners, taking a million years to build that dreamhouse (mom, dad..), committing to, in their eyes, irreplaceable employers and worst of all having kids. And while I might turn out to be the washed-up girl from Lily Allen’s song 22, I spend every penny on seeing the world so these people can pretend to be jealous of broke, careerless and cultured me and I can pretend to be not jealous of them and their perfected homes and slowly progressing careers. Perhaps Dependence isn’t always bad and I should just sign that damn declaration.

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Istanbul

Once upon a time, not so long ago I decided to move to Istanbul to get my MBA at BAU University. Perhaps that decision was made with the rash, happy-go-lucky attitude of a child. So for practical (read: financial) purposes I duly stayed in the Netherlands. However I will get a taste coming weekend of what it is like in former Constantinople while the boyfriend will get his eye laser treatment. (For Dutch people it is cheaper to take two 4 hour flights, stay in a 4* hotel for three nights, and get the most advanced eye laser treatment in Istanbul than to get it done here..)

While I will of course be the sweetest, most caring girlfriend on earth, we must see something from the city. What do you recommend, besides the overly touristy things that we will of course enjoy, photograph and subsequently bore our friends with.

Let me know,

Cheers!

Aside

Rocking Around The World

Some days in the year are very special such as anniversaries and birthdays. For me today is such a marvelous day because today is the day before the day on which it has been 13 months since the boyfriend and I visited our first Hard Rock cafe together. On this day, September 4th, 2012, we decided we would visit all Hard Rock cafes in the world. That is a reason to celebrate right? Time for some alcohol!

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Now, let’s have a look at the score. I logged onto members.hardrock.com, because of course I’m a member, to see where the past 13 months got us.

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A little note to add: The boyfriend went to Hollywood and Las Vegas, sadly enough, without me and I visited the one in Helsinki solo. When we do something, we do it well so we don’t count these as visits in our Excel sheet (See how professional we are? I almost feel like an adult now), where we keep track of all currently opened cafes and our visits, meaning these have to be revisited. I will count them today though. A friend once told me I make my sentences too long when I write, hmm, maybe he had a point.

So back to the score: So far we visited 8 cafes on three different continents and six different countries and part of us has slept in one Hard Rock hotel. Calculating an average of 100 euros per visit, it has cost us 2.5 months of grocery-shopping money. Say cheers to that! For 2013 we plan to visit Prague and Hamburg as well and next year the soon-to-be-opened hotel on Ibiza will be enlightened by our presents. I’m sorry, I will steal the soap and shampoo, but don’t worry. You may keep your towels Hard Rock hotel people. I read some blog posts on stealing from hotel rooms yesterday, but I’m a nice guest.

So, that is kind of what I wanted to share with you today. Oh and if you don’t think I’m insane by now; Hamsterface!

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Love,

Sophie

P.S.: I cheated. The Malibu bottle is actually empty, it’s a schoolnight and I’m a good girl!(sometimes)

Workouts on the Road

Normally finding motivation to workout is not a problem for me. Most mornings I’m happy to roll out of bed early for a run or a quick visit to the gym. Well… actually I’m motivated to exercise because my reward breakfast awaits me patiently. But, anyways, I like to exercise. It genuinely makes me happy.

The bigger problem starts when I lack the opportunity to do my regular workout. For instance when I’m in a gymless hotel, in an area not suitable for running. That’s normally when I fall off of my exercise routine and trust me, when I fall off I fall off hard. Suddenly I don’t care about my protein intake anymore or about my intake in general. The first day is usually okay, because I determinedly tell myself I’ll catch up tomorrow. The second day, my inner fat kid takes over and soon I find myself attacking every bit of food I can find. I then start my day with coffee, but not just with coffee because just coffee obviously doesn’t contain enough calories. So it will be a Starbucks’ caramel latte with cream on top, oh and a white chocolate, raspberry cookie of course. Then for my second and third breakfast I’ll have cinnamon rolls, croissants, eggs and bacon to stock up on all the carbohydrates my body missed during my strict workout-and-diet regime. By lunch I’m lost…

To prevent this in the future I found some to-go daily workouts, which I like to use for traveling. You do need to bring your cross trainers, shorts and a sweater for cold environments. Optionally you can bring your yoga mat of course, but I would say it takes up too much space.

The first one is INSANITY by a dude who names himself Shaun T. which is a dvd workout program. It costs about $120, which I think is expensive, but then I think you can also find the videos online. Actually I just started and it was the inspiration for my post. The package contains videos that will up two months of exercise, a calendar for dummies, where you just have to enter your starting date and it calculates the dates for every video for you, in case you’re stupid, and a nutrition plan. You start with a fit test of twenty minutes and repeat this every other week to measure your progress. The first week however you will experience severely sore muscles. I was doing this yesterday and I swear sweat was pouring out of my skin like it only does in the sauna. The good thing is that it is easy and doesn’t require equipment so you can do it in every hotel room. You can load the videos on your iPad like I did or watch them and just write down the required exercises and times. Also, the workouts are very short, so they won’t take up too much of your sightseeing time.

Something that I haven’t tried myself is the Jillian Michaels 30 day shred, which are basically just YouTube videos. There are three levels and the idea is that you do each level for 10 days, then go one up. Again they are very intense, but don’t require any equipment. Bonus: It’s free and you have a hot woman motivating you to get her body instead of a muscular Shaun T. I guess watching a lady with much revealed skin is fun for the guys as well.

Thirdly, and keep in mind I’m writing from a girl’s perspective, pack a jumping rope. I know this is Victoria’s Secret Angel Doutzen Kroes’ preferred to-go workout. The rope hardly takes up any space and you can do it everywhere. Then just put up some fun music, set a timer and start jumping.

Lastly there are millions of no equipment exercises you can find on the internet such as this one, where some exercises are described and you can do them in your hotel room on your bed. Make sure to always warm up and stretch before and cool down after. If you have been into exercising for a while you can also make your own program, based on what you parts of your body you want to train. Normally I alternate pushups, sit-ups, squats,crunches and burpees. I do 12 reps and 3 sets of each. Be creative and use things you find around such as trees, park benches or stairs.

Make sure to force yourself to exercise at least every other day. Put it in your agenda as an absolute must-do on the same level of importance as catching a flight.

I hope this was useful to you. Do you have any other preferred to-go workouts? Let me know!

Love,

Sophie

The $100 Startup

When I first started this blog, which sounds like long ago when I put it like this but it was actually last month, I did it for the sole purpose of entertaining myself. Since I am in business school however, I figured I should have some sort of mission for my blog. Now, my mission is to entertain not only myself, but others as well and to inspire and encourage people to travel. Transformed into a giant-corporation’s-mission-statement-pr-bullshit way:

“The Piggybank tales aim to provide entertainment for those in need, to inspire and to encourage the author’s peers to embark on their own adventures. Our mission is to trigger the adventurer that hides in each and every person, while protecting themselves and their surroundings from all harm and injustice, to make the world a better place.”

Or whatever.. Anyways back to my purpose. I want to inspire you guys to do things that are way more fun than sitting behind your computer and reading. Don’t get me wrong, do read my blog regularly! But besides that, also go out and create your own adventures, from something as small as a piggybank.

I’m probably the only blogger, who needs three paragraphs just for the intro.. Sigh.. So on to the main part. I read this really awesome and inspirational book that I think you guys should all read! It’s called (surprise) The $100 Startup written by Chris Guillebeau. Basically it tells you to put all your excuses in the trash and pursue your dreams.

Maybe from a business point of view it is not the most innovative, high quality content book on entrepreneurship, but it does exactly what it needs to do. It motivates you to overcome your fears, dump your excuses and throw yourself into a big sea of adventure, which, if you work really hard, will turn into a pool filled with money inside of a golden warehouse, so you can swim in your own wealth, just like Scrooge McDuck. Are you still with me?

Scrooge McDuck wealth

Mostly the author describes success stories of people that either were stuck in some point in their life or saw an opportunity to create their own business. He writes about the fundamental features that made them successful, problems they encountered and mostly about how much happier they are now. The catchy detail is that he particularly focuses on people that did not go to business school and are not gifted like Steve Jobs, making it incredibly engaging.

Apart from the inspiration he provides little extras such as premade one page business plans on his website or franchise contract samples. These, I did not find very helpful because they missed some aspects to work in the real world. Somehow I don’t think my bank would grant me a loan if I’d hand them a single page file that could’ve been written by my little niece.

However that is not what you buy the book for. This book triggers your enthusiasm to enter the big scary corporate world to pursue your dreams. The forms and business plan models serve their purpose, not by giving you the actual model, but by breaking down and simplifying the laws and regulations that you are about to face. I recommend the book to everyone with a file on their computer titled *New Business Ideas* or everyone who’s just sick of employment. This might be the trigger you need.

For myself, I’ve always had loads of business ideas in my mind that I hardly ever shared with other people. Sometimes I did share them and people were enthusiastic about them, but then they always ended up in some drawer in the back of my mind. Recently I started to be more serious about the ideas that came to my mind. My only problem was that all my ideas where huge unorganized piles similar to my to-be-ironed pile causing me to be as unmotivated to start as I am to do my ironing. One of them was starting a consultancy service for job-seekers. I wanted to guide them through applications and to help them find a new job, but it would be a huge project on a very personal level. Now I cut back on my expectations and will use a simple ad on Marktplaats (the Dutch version of Craigslist) instead, which only offers to review application letters. This way I won’t have to build a website or anything decreasing the start-up barrier)

So much for my personal experiences. Now, I dare you to read the book and tell me about your experience! Also, if you liked this post, please click like below. Then follow me on Bloglovin’ or Twitter. Thanks!

Love,

Sophie

Through the eyes of a stranger..

It was Friday 11:50 pm and I was sharing mutual excitement and beer with a big, big mustache. While I was listening to the big mustaches’ adventures in Australia, I was waiting anxiously for my friend to arrive. Meanwhile I was also wondering what other people would think of me, a pale uninteresting girl, waiting for her friend from Turkey.

Oh well, for the next week I was going to have to wear the image of a pathetic girl and her loverboy. It was only a week, I could deal with that! When my friend finally arrived our adventure could begin. I, who could not even get by in my hometown, was going to be a tour guide. Not surprisingly I was not the only one learning about my country. Here are the things I learned from my foreign friend about my country.

1. Whenever you see a place that sells stroopwafels the logical reaction is to buy as many as you possibly can, eat them all at once, get nauseous, recover and repeat. Whenever you walk in a place where these waffle vendors are more than 100 meters apart from each other Kroketten can be a great alternative.

2. Weed is more expensive in Amsterdam than anywhere else.

3. Next time I’m stuck in a traffic jam for half an hour I should not complain. Our traffic jams are annoying, but comparable to normal traffic in Istanbul, where one can be stuck in traffic for up to six hours.

4. Windmills are super exciting, Rotterdam has fascinating buildings but lacks older architecture and Dutch houses are ugly as fuck!

Red light district

5. Dutch girls have big boobs and are really pretty. Except for the ones that work in the Amsterdam Red Light district, they’re unattractive.. or well.. ‘maybe they should be looked at secretly. These people are sick.. How can they be so open about sex? I wonder how much they are? Hey, I wasn’t looking or anything(or was I?)’

6. Even though beer is expensive, we have awesome parties! Dutch people are so much fun when they’re drunk. Time for another joint! Flying hiiiigh!

7. Pancakes are amazing here!

8. It’s a bridge, but it opens.. Wow, that is amazing. They just close it off and lift the entire bridge so a boat can pass. How is that possible? Is it magic? Then there are these cool thingies where a boat sails into a closed off area, and they raise or lower the water level so the boat can pass through. Dutch people are like water magicians!

9. Awesome cheese, awesome mayonnaise, fake Turkish food and too much bread!

10. Trains are actually not as bad as we Dutch people think they are. While we complain about trains being 10 minutes late, other complain about trains with hours of delay!

So, that pretty much described my week of homeland tourism. I was kind of scared to be a bad guide, but when he left for the airport, slightly intoxicated, my guest thanked me for having one of the best times of his life. Mission accomplished, yay! It really surprised me to find out how much fun Holland actually is. I should be a tourist in my own country more often!

Love,

Sophie

Aside

Entering the Suite Life

I think I was about eight years old when I first decided that I would definitely not grow old in Holland. For what reason? Foreign countries all had these mesmerizing hotels. Now my irrational child’s view on housing has not stayed with me, but my fascination for marbled reception desks, piccolos and minibars has. In fact me entering a fancy hotel is still guaranteed to provide instant happiness. During my poor, brokeass student years I discovered that this works opposite ways as well. The moment I walk into a hostel, or crappy hotel I turn really sad immediately. My hotel-feeling obsession is even bad enough that hotel entrances can be decisive for my stay. Therefore I have collected some of the prettiest hotel entrances that have enchanted me.

1. Sauerland Stern Hotel, Willingen, Germany

To be honest I don’t really know what fascinates me so much about this hotel. Sure it has a really nice entrance, but I mostly I remember is because it is the very first hotel that I fell in love with. My parents would take me here every so often and I would entertain myself with ice skating, swimming, bowling, playing arcade games and mostly sitting at the lobby and be astonished.  You’ll always remember the first time..

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Hmm, normally it is far more busy than in the picture.

2. Makadi Beach Resort, Hurghada, Egypt

The entrance of this hotel is obviously really nice, but for a hotel entrance freak like me it is just amazing. Outside palm trees await you and then inside it is marble all over the place. One not so amazing thing; stumbling down the stairs when drunk, but oh well. The being marveled was worth it.

Serenity makadi beach, hurghada, egypt

3. The Mount Nelson Hotel, Cape Town, South Africa

Maybe I have cheated a little on this one, but it just had to be mentioned. I never actually stayed here because A: can’t afford it an B: I lived down the road. However I used to go regularly for a drink or the amazing and famous high tea on Sundays. Really; if you ever get to Cape Town, make sure to have a high tea at the Mount Nelson. It’s not even that expensive. This hotel is really iconic and famous in Cape Town, but no one ever speaks about the entrance. I just don’t get why!

Mount Nelson, Cape Town, SA

Now I am being such a nice person for sticking to three for I want to avoid boring you at all cost. What is your instant happiness recipe when traveling? Tell me! Also:

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