BOOK REVIEW “The 4-Hour Workweek: Escape 9–5, Live Anywhere, and Join the New Rich” by Timothy Ferriss

“The opposite of love is indifference, and the opposite of happiness is boredom.” –Timothy Ferriss

The influence we as humans have on each other, are unavoidable. This impact that extend far beyond physical interactions.  There are people, fictional or otherwise, who inspire and motivate me to change and see things from a different perspective. They can be viewed as temporary teachers. Exemplary, the author, have the mastery and power in his possession to influence others regardless of physical presence.

Timothy Ferriss is one of those people who have played such a role in my life. Tim is the author of ‘The 4-Hour Work Week’, ’The 4-Hour Body’, ’The 4-Hour Chef’ and most recently ‘Tools of Titans’. He is also the creator of the ever-popular podcast ‘The Tim Ferriss Show.’

First and foremost, the 4HWW is practical. It’s very easily to accumulate the information provided, and immediately put it to practical use. And. It. Works! This is the book, I can honestly NOT stop recommending to everyone. Feel deprived in life? Read the 4HWW. No money? Want to travel? Read the 4HWW. Problems with your grandma? READ IT.

The 4HWW have taken me from ‘being stuck in the daily maze of 9-5’ to living a life based on personal freedom, opportunities, and the ability to do MORE with my time. Most importantly? It has created mental space. The book gives a practical road-map to get ‘unstuck’ from what is ‘normal and expected’ in today’s society. It gives a foundation for putting a why in front of easily accepted truths, that surrounds us on a daily basis. 
One of the most important takeaways, was the ability to do things differently and allowing everything to be possible. The principals in this manual allows you to question everything you thought you knew, and swim against the stream. Even if just a few of the keys in this book is applied, the changes still have the ability to have life-changing impact. I didn’t have to start my own company to apply the necessary foundations otherwise mentioned in the literature and see a mayor changes in my life.

The 4HWW is my first review because it has been one of the biggest game changers, added to my life in years. It’s the one thing that really pushed me to taking a closer look at my fears, and actually getting on that airplane to Poland (ALONE). It was less than a month and a half after reading it, when I found myself 1000 kilometers away from home, feeling excited and proud of my newly found courage and freedom. This book helped expand my horizon and possibilities. It eliminates excuses that clutter life, mind and our ability to maximize the potential we got right in front of us. The potential to truly and freely happy. I suggest you give this book a go. Apply what is appropriate, and leave the rest for someone else. Honestly my life has become much more exiting and real since I picked up the 4HWW. Globe-trotting has become one of my new favorite activities. (Did I mention I’m leaving again next month after finals?)

Freja Blay,
Aarhus, Denmark.
2nd of May, 2017.

 

Auschwitz-Birkenau: My experience at a Death-Camp.

“Our generation is realistic, for we have come to know man as he really is. After all, man is that being who invented the gas chambers of Auschwitz; however, he is also that being who entered those gas chambers upright, with the Lord’s Prayer or the Shema Yisrael on his lips.”
Viktor Frankl. “Man’s Search for Meaning.’


Note to reader: This is my personal experience at the German Concentration Camps, Auschwitz-Birkenau located in Oświęcim, Poland. An hour and a half’s drive from Krakow. (the country’s third largest city). My visit there is solely based on personal understanding and reflections. All opinions are grounded in my own experience at the death-camp. This post is not up for discussion nor disagreement. It is a very sensitive matter for me, as well as many others affected by this tragedy. If you are of another opinion, than my experience I only ask you respectably take it elsewhere, where such matters are more appropriate.

I woke up Tuesday morning. The weather had dropped from 68°F (20°C) the day before, to just above 50°F (10°C) over night. It was raining and grey outside. It wasn’t the sunshine and lovely temperatures that had met me upon my arrival, just days before. 
However, this was appropriate weather for visiting the concentration camps. I felt as if sadness and mourning literally hung in the air.

What happened in Oświęcim, Poland was one of the greatest tragedies in human history. This is undoubtable. This is what you should expect encountering if you decide to tour the Auschwitz death camps. Nothing less. This isn’t a museum, it’s a place where many suffered and were murdered. To this day, people nationwide still mourn this location and occurrence.

My visit to the memorial grounds of Auschwitz-Birkenau didn’t hit me till later. When I was there I felt prepared and well-informed by Victor Frankl’s memoir, experience and suffering. In the days up to my departure for Krakow, I read his memoir ‘Man’s Search for Meaning’. Victor was a Jewish holocaust survivor. He was held prisoner for three years in the German concentration camps, Auschwitz I and Birkenau II, included. So, I knew what I was getting myself into, before I even got on an airplane to Poland. I wasn’t chasing after this place, as a historic interest, I think that would be very disrespectful. For good reasons. The despair rooted in the place, is suffocating and unbearable at best.

It is seventy-four years since Auschwitz-Birkenau was liberated, at the end of WWII. The polish government decided in the years following, to keep the two concentration camps intact as museum, memorial and as reminder of the past. It stands today, as it did seventy-four years ago. Auschwitz-Birkenau is the one of most well-preserved pieces of history, we have left from the war.


6 of these cans of gas was used to kill 2.000 victims at once.

Some of the camp were destroyed immediately after liberation. Four out of five gas-chambers were destroyed. Most war-pictures were burned or buried by the German government. Most is still left in good conditions and the remains of the death-camp is plenty horrifying to bring ever visiting soul to tears. 
There were rooms filled with shoes. Millions of pairs of shoes. Suitcases and belongings taken from war-victims, before they were sent directly to the gas-chambers and killed. Mothers and children, the weaker and unsuitable. 90% of all who entered the camp, was sent directly to be gassed upon arrival. The only Jewish children whom survived the gas chambers where the twins. They were subject of interest. The Germans preformed ’medical experiments’ on them, before they also were sent to be executed.
There were a rooms full of human hair. Tons and TONS of human hair. Some of it were carefully braided. Then it was cut off and collected, to make fabric for war uniforms for the Germans. This happened to every single arrival at the Nazi Camp. It was a very horrible sight, to say the least.


One of the destroyed gas-chambers at Birkenau II.

The most excruciating part of the experience, is knowing that well-over a million people were murdered in that exact location. Birkenau II is the latter portion of the camp build. It’s over twenty times bigger than the original Auschwitz I. They build it because Auschwitz I, just wasn’t big enough to hold and kill the war slaves. They needed bigger gas-chambers. The new gas-chambers they build in Birkenau II, could kill an estimated two-thousand people at once. They build four. These chambers were hardly ever empty. 
The ashes of the people killed where spread on the camp grounds, where they died. When you walk the grounds of Auschwitz-Birkenau, you walk directly on graves of over a million innocent victims of the Second World War. After liberation the whole place was basically human ashes.


The sorrow and memorial goes on to this day.

The feeling of despair and sorrow lived on the camp-grounds. This was also the feeling that stayed with me hours and days, after our tour was over. I felt cool and collected on the tour, but the aftermath of the shock lingered. These are things, that you can expect from a visit to the Auschwitz-Birkenau Memorial and Museum. The polish still deeply mourns these grounds. I even encountered some, whom had never visited. The pain and the memory of the past had already made a permanent mark on their souls. They didn’t want to go. They didn’t need to.


If you are looking for a video footage of a visit to the campgrounds, I can highly recommend this one by Heidi Somers.  

I went to the camp with questions. Lots of questions. Questions of suffering. Questions about meaning. I came out of the experience broken, tearful and safe to say; with more questions than before I went in. I was not a pleasant experience, but I do believe that it was an extremely essential one. One that will help shape and form my perception on human life, mercy and love from now on. Yes, I came out of the experience with more questions than ever before. But these are new questions: Questions every human needs to ask themselves at one point or another. I also came out of the experience with a deeper appreciation for life. I came out of the experience with a deeper love for myself. The camps proved one thing to me: Every human being deserves love. We mourn over a million, whom were unrightfully murdered in cold blood. Yet most of us don’t know a single one of their souls, or have any personal connection to the history of the place. This is what binds us together as a human race. The love we have for one another. This gives me reason to forgive. Forgive those around me. Forgive myself. Ultimately learn to love. Because if thousands can love the unknown, I can love what is known. When I start to love myself, I can start to genuinely love you.

Freja Blay.
Frankfurt, Germany
13th of April 2017.

Krakow, a city build in sorrow.

‘It is so hard to leave — until you leave. And then it is the easiest goddamned thing in the world.’
John Green, Paper Towns.


The first thing I saw flying into Poland, was the formations of what was left after the communist movement of Stalin. Krakow is every emotion; it is beautiful, old, historic, proud and it easily tops as one of the most beautiful cities I’ve ever seen. It is a boiling pot of the old: Castles, churches and ruins and on the other hand it is also a mix of what is left from industrial communism. Broken buildings. Houses that are falling apart. Apartments build with cheaper solution materials, in the midst of WW2. Beautiful historic buildings with broken in windows, left for death, because nobody has the resources or means to care for them any longer. These are things whom speaks poverty and sorrow, which gives Krakow a strange but unique identity. It tells a story, not grounded in suffering alone, but also in victory and survival. The roads are so very dusty, but are fairly empty for trash and littering. The generation older than thirty are very difficult to communicate with, but are mostly friendly and seem like they want to be helpful, despite the language barrier.

I like it a lot here. The food is very nice, lots of sauerkraut and sausages, and the eggs taste absolutely amazing, (I don’t know why, they are so flavorful. I have eaten SO many eggs since I got here.) The weather have been on my side: amazing. I swear it was like the most perfect summer weather yesterday. I must have waked around between five and six hours, just taking in the city and trying to navigate.

I can’t believe that I brought myself here. Honestly it a mental border I didn’t imagine myself crossing. That’s the thought that keeps returning to my mind. I’m really proud of myself. Proud for making a leap. Proud for having courage. Proud for making it work, even when everything seems to be a chaotic mess. I guess I owe some of the honer to Tim Ferriss, for writing the 4-hour Work Week, and inspiring me to break my mental matrix. Allowing me to put my excuses to rest and leave my fears in a Danish forest. Because ‘Who Says’ I can’t? Maybe, next year I will actually plan a trip to Japan and go? Thanks, John.

Here’s the truth; staying in the same place too long, is, and have been, very unhealthy for me. What happens is that I get stuck in the same routines, which has a tendency of being a tad on the the obsessive compulsive side of what is good. I do the same things day in, and day out. Why? Simply because it’s comfortable and safe. It is however not healthy. Not for my perspective. Not for my perception, and not for my spiritual life. It can be very hard to recognize these truths, when I am stuck in the midst of it all.

So, I am here. Krakow. To see. To feel; Both myself and something besides myself. To get over myself. To meet myself, and to meet something besides myself.


Partly this trip is meant to take the air out of some of my obsessive behaviors. They have grown so effortlessly. Lost in the months spend in my everyday slumber. Nothing takes the air out of the compulsive sails, like being thrown into a foreign setting. Nothing here is like it usually is at home. In Krakow it is not possible to do what I usually do. Away from my daily routine, I become strictly aware of these nasty habits, I’ve gathered around me like naughty little ducklings.

SHORT HONEST LIST OF MY DARK DUCKS :
(a.) artificial sweeteners (which I have a mayor suspicion really fucks with my hormones)
(b.) my necessity to be in the gym, for at least two hours every day.
(c.) My general oversensitivity to smells and the smell of cigarettes, in the strange apartment I’m staying at.
(d.) General controlling eating habits and my compulsion to wanna check macros (fat, protein, carbs) on everything I’m eating. Here, I am unable to check things, which gives me a chance to ACTUALLY learn to be fucking flexible. I’m not, but in Krakow, I get to grind it out and learn to be. And it’s great for me. (Not really a total pleasure, but a really good for both my body and for my mental health.)


In short I’m forced to loosen up my grid, give up control and go with the flow. Be carried on the winds of Krakow. Altogether, this is really great for me. So if you want ‘change’, just go ahead and relocate your ass somewhere foreign, because shit will for sure hit the fan, and there is no choice but to laugh and find the silver lining.

So when I find myself in a strange apartment in Krakow, Poland, which kinda smells like smoke and everything is unfamiliar and I can’t even translate the food label to know how much protein I’m getting, it’s still OKAY. Because it’s an adventure. And I’m in love with the learning. And the living. And the loving myself, kindly and with a laugh, when things go south. Without it I wouldn’t last.
Okay? Okay!

Freja Blay.
Krakow, Poland.
11th of April 2017.

Next up: Krakow

‘I wanna go somewhere where nobody knows
I wanna know somewhere where nobody goes’
-Miranda Lambert, Highway Vagabond.


[Krakow, Poland]

About a year ago, I was chatting to my, at the time, hardcore gym-crush. Together were contemplating travel locations & places that we wanted to visit before we died. We had this common ground of desiring historic or strange travel-destinations. These places were basically anything but a beach in Spain, or a shopping trip to New York. 
I stated that I’d been wanting to see
(1.) The Harry Potter Museum in England. (Seriously; look it up and steal my idea. It looks so bomb.) I still have in mind to find a partner in crime and/or just go sometime within the nearest as possible future.


[the Harry Potter Museum in England]

(2.) I really wanted to see the Auschwitz Concentrations Camps, I and II, in Poland. (At the time I actually thought Auschwitz was located in Germany. Geography has never been my strong suit. At least I found this out, before I bought the tickets ‘eh?)

It is safe to say that my desire to visit and see the Concentration Camps in Poland, lasted a lot longer than my crush on gym-boy. Tomorrow I am leaving for five days to vacation in Krakow, Poland. 
My thought is, that a visit to a place like Auschwitz is something very essential to the human spirit. Combined with a good six years of existential crisis and lots (and lots) of time, in my own company. My hope is that this place will bring some reflection, to my own experience with suffering and bring some understanding to life as a whole. So I guess going this is kind of an existential crisis, within an existential crisis.

I want to see and get a feeling of what legends, like Victor Frankl, lived through. I’d like to encounter what is possible to survive as a human being. It is my wish to contact some humility and love inside myself for others. It’s a bit difficult to say exactly what I am chasing on this journey. I just know that this is the way, I am supposed to walk. Kind of like writing, art and music. I am not moving: I am being moved. It’s a beautiful thing, really.


This is a trip for a lot of reasons.

It’s a big deal for me to be going alone. I haven’t traveled much since I relocated back to Europe in ’11. So this is kinda scary.  I dramatically imagine it going one of two ways: The first is being abducted by the polish, whom I’ll never learn to fully understand nor speak to. The second, is that they make me their queen. Here the lack of communication this still come into play. I’ll forever have to settle for being unable to speak to anybody, ever again. Someone was kind enough to point out that Poland wasn’t a kingdom, which leaves me back at option one.

I’ll  be leaving a complete and lovely review on my blog of Poland’s amazing attractions, and of cause my experience at the Concentration Camps.
I’m sure it’ll be okay. Okay.

Freja Blay
Aarhus, Denmark.
8th of April 2017.