April 2014 to April 2015 — the year in review

In April, I took a road trip with Eurof and Matthew, from Geneva to Bologna, in time for the 20th anniversary reunion of the year we spent at the Bologna Center of the Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies. From the top of the Asinelli Tower, I took this 660 megapixel view of that fantastic city:

We also reshot some old photos from the exact same location, so that you can see what we looked like then, and now.

In May, I attended Stockholm Internet Forum. In my piece for The Local covering the conference, I looked at the state of Internet Freedom, and Sweden’s role in promoting that freedom.

In June, my old friend Benny M. visited Stockholm, as did my sister Francesca, who took a well-deserved break from her hectic life running a business. We visited Sandhamn together with her childhood friend Petra.

Also in June, I decided this would be the year where I learn how to sail properly. The previous year’s adventure sailing on Joachim’s boat from Kalmar to Sandhamn had merely whetted the appetite. So for 2014, I decided to share a small sailboat, Sunita, spending several weekends sailing between Rindö and Grinda with the help of James S., once even making it to Sandhamn and back. And both Joachim and Lina L. took me sailing to the outer archipelago on their boats, allowing me to — literally — learn the ropes.

At the start of 2014, some colleagues from Söderhavet and I started a sister company, Äventyret, focused on service design innovation. In June I was invited to Hong Kong to talk at the Knowledge of Design Week about how service design can help the travel industry adapt to changing social preferences. My talk is here:

Talk at Knowledge of Design Week 2014 in Hong Kong from Stefan Geens on Vimeo.

From Hong Kong, I traveled to Guilin, in Guanxi, to see the famous karst landscapes. I ended up in a fantastic little boutique hotel outside Yangshuo, borrowing a bike to explore the amazing scenery. Here is a panorama I took of some of my fellow tourists:

Punting on the Yulonghe

And here is a 2 gigapixel landscape shot of a bend in the nearby Lijiang river:

In August, after a quick trip to Copenhagen, I finally visited Göteborg for the first time. I stayed an extra day after a work pitch there to explore the city. Göteborg is lovely — like Stockholm but minus the pretentious parts.

Also in August, for the second year in a row, I attended the Nordita science writer’s workshop at Stockholm University — and promptly had my mind blown by some of the foremost researchers in the quantum computing field. I even held a qubit in my hands:

In October my parents came to visit Stockholm. A highlight was a motorboat trip from Central Stockholm to Artipelag and back. Artipelag is a new museum in the archipelago, though so far the food and surroundings outshine the exhibitions. Also in October: a trip to Visby, for work, with time for a windy walk around this historical gem.

November began with a family reunion at my sister’s place, in Wye, near Canterbury. The highlight was a road trip to Blenheim Palace, and to Bletchley Park, home of the WWII code breakers. At Blenheim we saw Ai Wei Wei’s exhibition, while at Bletchley Park we made a pilgrimage to Colossus, the world’s first computer, at the National Museum of Computing.

Then, it was off to New York, for my annual pilgrimage to visit friends and museums. The year, the visit included an impromptu road trip to Boston, to a combined birthday-party-book-signing fest, but also to visit a remarkable Goya exhibition at the Museum of Fine Arts.

As always, December saw the family reunite in Antwerp, for Christmas. New Year’s, on the other hand, saw the unusual visit of Eurof and Yianna and their kids to Stockholm, which became an occasion to visit Uppsala and Sigtuna. My cousin Tom also came by Stockholm in January.

In February, there was another quick trip to Copenhagen, to visit Jacob J. and family, but I also found time to head North, to the Louisiana Museum of Modern Art (which I found too commercial for my liking) and to Helsingør’s fantastic new Danish Maritime Museum, situated right next to Hamlet’s castle.

Work, meanwhile, has been challenging and interesting. In January, Äventyret — as part of a consortium of companies — won the pitch to develop A large Swedish publishing house’s next generation of media products. We also developed a concept for 360Stories — a panorama story player for the Samsung GearVR virtual reality head-mounted display — on behalf of 360Cities and Samsung, and then built the app together with Prototyp, which went live in April.

February and March also saw impromptu trips to Belgium — once to attend the funeral of my uncle, Edgar Winderickx, and once to be on hand for a (successful) family surgery.

Finally, April saw the early start to a new sailing season — this time in a slightly larger boat, Alexandra.

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