About Farewell

“The brightest lights, cast the biggest shadows. So honey I got to let you go…” There’s a universal wisdom in Alela Diane’s latest record. About finding the guts to ride out of the time when you are taken hostage by a jammed chapter in life.

Last months, I have been listening to Alela Diane’s latest album ‘About Farewell’ a lot. The ‘break-up record’ is by no means an oddity in singer-songwriterdom. Heartbreak, leaving or be left, is a gift to singer-songwriters. While Diane is not the first songwriter to use a breakup as inspiration for their music, she has managed to create something special to me. Why is this broken hart record different and inspirational?

In the first place, it’s not a boring self pity ‘revenge on ex record’. Diane is not pointing the finger solely on her ex. Second, is the straightforwardness of the lyrics. Diane avoids metaphor almost entirely, bringing up the painful details of her marriage: from a troubled start (‘Hazel Street’) to the realization that it was a lost cause and time to move on (‘About Farewell’). Therefore, the album is not only about heartache and love loss. It’s about choices, guts, and moving on. This is exactly what I lyrically like about the album. 

You have to be strong to close a door to open a new door at any stage in life. In any relationship: with your partner, employer or current work. Recent hart breaking events in life, the lovely people around me, reading suggestions and ‘About Farewell’ stirred up self-reflection. Now it’s time for me to have the guts to say farewell…

These beautiful enviable pictures were taken by photographer Jaclyn Campanaro.

What does this indie-country-folk-blues album sound like? Delicate guitar lines and beautiful vocals are occasional supported by strings, percussion and keyboard. But why don’t you put on your headphones (compulsory!) and give it a go:


We made it to Almaty!

Here and there with a little help of public transport, after 3800km of cycling me and my girlfriend Martine finished cycling to Almaty, Kazakhstan. Earlier I posted some pictures of stage one. Here some more of the continuation of the trip.

Read more about the amazing people we met along the road on our project website: energy borders.nl. If you want to follow our tracks along the way, check out our travel statistics.

Impression of Georgia and Armenia

Impression of Iran

Impression of The Stans

Energy Borders video impression stage 1

On the ferry from Odessa to Batumi, I edited a small movie from the little footage we shot with my compact photo camera.

Shotlist stage 1: Amsterdam > Rzeszów > Odessa

  • The train from Warsaw to Rzeszów (Poland)
  • Cycling in the rain (nearby Kaminets Podylski, Ukraine)
  • Sunday church ceremony (Chortkiv, Ukraine)
  • Dinner, banja and stay over with artists (Chesniki, Ukraine)
  • Looking for a place to camp when sun sets (Moldova)
  • Spontaneous folklore dancing at a restaurant (Brichany, Moldova)
  • Cycling towards Chisinau (Moldova)
  • Relaxing and swimming (River between Transnistria / Ukraine)

Level one accomplished: Odessa here we are

Read More Level one accomplished: Odessa here we are

Currently me and my girlfriend Martine are cycling to Almaty, Kazakhstan. We started in Poland (Rzeszow), crossed the Ukraine, Moldova and Transnistria and after 1000km we arrived safely in Odessa, Ukraine.

Read more about the amazing people we met along the road on our project website: energy borders.nl. If you want to follow our tracks along the way, check out our travel statistics.




Ready for adventure

Read More Ready for adventure

Today I left the office. Left my car at the car park, switched off my phone and walked to the train. I walked in at the tailor who occasionally altered the second hand jackets I bought at the local thrift store. This Afghan man who had lived in Iran for years gave me a comforting big smile and some encouraging words I was going to have a good time.

I showed him a picture of the djellaba like cloth my mother sewed for my girlfriend for wearing in Iran. He gave his seal of approval for chastity and craftsmanship. W shouk hands. and I took the train to Amsterdam to go home. Tomorrow I will take another train. To Poland. To start the biggest trip in my life so far. Travel along at www.energyborders.nl.

Connect with reality. My Mom’s Motorcycle

Read More Connect with reality. My Mom’s Motorcycle

I’ll won’t sell my bike, still have my first (broken) skateboard, kept the hand painted T-shirt my mother made for my 12th birthday until it showed to many holes and still cut with the pocket knife my dad gave me. But this short film also makes me rethink my love for material things that make me remember. Having versus giving.

Stumbled across this short film. It’s quick, beautiful, emotional and all about how people use objects to connect with times, ideas, and people. Stuff helps to remember about the past. Sometimes priceless immaterial past: the love from and for people around you.

Crossing energy borders

Read More Crossing energy borders


This summer, we will travel for 3,5 months from Amsterdam to Almaty and back, by bicycle and public transport. It’s a simple trip, with a simple purpose: exploring energy borders, while finding the energy to keep going…

It all started while we wondered about energy, deciding it was time to take action.

Marijn Engels, professional creative

“I was seriously wondering whether I would find the energy to get going again creatively after 8 years at the same employer. I needed to confront myself and my fear of losing my job, asking for a sabbatical to do what would regenerate me as a creative and human being: observe, explore, create and reflect by travelling and taking pictures”.

Martine Verweij, professional sustainable change-maker

“I was wondering a lot about a bigger scale energy problem. The one our world faces. Trying to fix how humans use energy and organize their energy supply, I realized two things: first, it would be wise to look at myself and my own energy lifestyle, which has a big impact on energy demand, second, in considering solutions, it could be that I was missing some vital perspective, looking at it sitting behind my laptop in my energy-efficient well isolated apartment in energy-abundant Amsterdam.”

Both of us knew we needed others to fix our energy problems: “Marijn got me to scare him with a break-up if he wouldn’t follow his heart. And I got Marijn promising he’d help me creatively with my mission to gain a new perspective on global energy challenges.”

The result of all this is pretty simple:

the two of us joined forces! Hoorah. From mid June 2014, we will travel for 3,5 months through countries with enormous fossil fuel reserves like Iran, Turkmenistan, Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan and cycle through countries which struggle because of a lack of own energy sources, such as Ukraine, Armenia and Moldavia. We will cross countries that found a way to harness energy available, but by doing so are not making their neighbors very happy, such as Tajikistan, and pass through countries that are using their energy to influence others, such as Russia. Not by car, not by motorbike, but by bicycle. Sometimes with the help of a bus, a train, or hitching a ride.

Martine sighs: ‘You’re right. I know that if we want to write and publish about energy, we’d better find some of our own energy to get going. But isn’t it also an idea to take an electrically powered bicycle?’

Marijn frowns: ‘Are you serious?’ This time Marijn scared Martine with a break-up!

Crossing energy borders

To cut a long story short, the 14th of June we’ll head of.

First of all, to explore – and cross? – our own physical boundaries when it comes to energy. How long before we need to recharge our batteries? Do we have the power to make it to the top?

Second, to explore – and cross? – mental boundaries. Will we forego our stereotypical thinking on the energy situation in countries we will be crossing? Ukraine, Russia or Iran: what’s beyond what we already know?

Third, to explore creative boundaries. They’ll be on the look-out for bold and inspirational ideas, people collaborating on a better (energy)future, or playing MacGyver with whatever is around locally.

During and after our trip we’ll be sharing our experiences with as many people as possible.

Follow us on www.energyborders.nl – lauch 1st of June – and add your knowledge and ideas to our stories! If we combine our expertise, experience and will power, we all can cross energy borders sooner!

Bankjescollectief launched

Read More Bankjescollectief launched

Every first Sunday of the month BankjesCollectief turns the streets into the largest outdoor café in the world. ‘Open’ your own bench in front of your house or visit other benches in your neighbourhood. The bench owners choose what they want to serve: from a cup of coffee to a tasty lunch and from a beautiful story to a haircut. And afterwards, the café guests decide what it’s worth beside the experience, new friends and a smile.

This relaxed way to meet the neighbourhood was kick started by creative couple Jesse Jop Jorg and Cathelijne de Reede in the East of Amsterdam this sunny Sunday. The BankjesCollectief initiative makes the sidewalk even more an adventure.

Spread the word, register you couch and make it happen in your neighbourhood!


De Ceuvel: poluted space for creative entrepreneurs

Read More De Ceuvel: poluted space for creative entrepreneurs

A multidisciplinary team has come together to create an urban dream spot on a former, polluted shipyard in Amsterdam North. The team of (landscape) architects, artists, artisans, photographers and media people are renovating decayed houseboats to create a new breeding ground for young creative entrepreneurs.

I learned about ‘blue economy’ and De Ceuvel october 2013 during Bright Future lab in Rotterdam. It was not only established DO-thinker Gunter Pauli who inspired during the event. All the individuals or small groups who bundled their creativity, enthusiasm and skills to create value while making a little change in our world simultaneously inspired. And de Ceuvel story of Eva Gladek is a perfect example.

It super cool to see De Ceuvel idea coming from the ground. Literally: a myriad of different house boats are placed on the ground of a former polluted shipyard. A long wooden pier is floating above ground level and curves dynamically through the refurbished boats. The plants below you and the pier will grow to a ‘green water world’ while neutralizing the polluted soil. Win win!


Café de Ceuvel

Jesse Jop Jorg – We The City – hinted me about a pre opening BBQ of Café de Ceuvel. Not only the café space is great. The people involved are awesome, the vibe is all you can wish for and the food is A plus in many ways.

Personal Café de Ceuvel introduction and request.

Pre opening BBQ of Café de Ceuvel, May 18th. The weather helped, but I fell in love with Café de Ceuvel.

More information

Are you helping the Café de Ceuvel team to open this June? Check out their website and crowd fund this great initiative.

Café de Ceuvel
De Ceuvel website
De Ceuvel Facebook
De Ceuvel Tumblr
Jesse Jop Jorg / We The City

Craft in focus

Read More Craft in focus

From the 30th of May till the 1st of June, the Kromhouthal in Amsterdam North will host Craft in Focus‘: a documentary film festival about craftsmanship,

The festival includes a symposium, master classes by craftsmen and film workshops. During the symposium – Tuesday evening May 27th at 19:30 – some craftsmen will give a presentation on their work. And you have the chance to publicly debate the importance of craft and authenticity.

Check out the Craft in Focus website.

Lennard Schuurmans Context

Read More Lennard Schuurmans Context

From April 24th to May 25th Walls Gallery presents: ‘Context'; A solo exhibition by mixed media master Lennard Schuurmans.

The abstract works you’ll see at Context resonate with each other and the whole is a work in itself. Go see it at the Prinsengracht 737 in Amsterdam!

Check out the Walls exhibition post and Lennard Schuurmans online mixed media portfolio.

Walls Gallery Lennard Schuurmans Context

Exhibition opening. © Walls Gallery.

The shapes, surfaces and lines that I use in my work are not easy to associate with something you see around you. Creating something separate from nature is much more challenging in my eyes than a real world. Creating a world of form and color that is much more abstract; like a collection of shapes, lines, words, rhythms and repetitions.

Blocks that I can use in different ways; as fragments of sentences that I still have to place in its context. During my working process I surround myself with previous works, so that I create a context in which I can relate them. All works resonate with each other; therefore the whole again is a work in itself that is constantly changing.

Lennard Schuurmans (2014)

Did you know that Lenny is beside artist the mastermind behind the Bubble Visor Blog and the annual Rusty Gold Swap Meeting?

Cycle route elevation profile

Working on a cycling route through the Middle East for this summer and wondering about the elevation profiles of the challenging Pamir Highway, I ran into Cycleroute.org.

Cycleroute.org uses the Google Maps API Elevation Service to provide elevation profile of cycle routes. Just enter a starting point and a destination into the interface and a suggested ‘bicycle route’ is displayed on the map. The interactive elevation profile of the route is displayed beneath the map.

Cycleroute.org highlights the top five steepest climbs on the route. You can mouse-over the elevation profile to view where the climbs on the route you created are located on the map. By selecting the ‘climbs and visualization’ tab in the map side-panel, you can also view the distance and grade of the steepest climbs. It works a little faster than Google Earth.

Pamir Highway Dushanbe to Khorog

Sidewalk Adventures



© June 2012, Marijn Engels