We continue this series with the report of Fabienne Prétôt, Tourism Professional, from Basel, Switzerland:
The “land of wood and water” was my home for two years.
After being with the largest European tour operator for about two years, I finally got the call to go work for them in the Caribbean! And only a few months later, I found myself on a plane heading to the beautiful island of Jamaica! It has actually always been my goal to live and work in the Caribbean which is why I started with this job in the first place and so finally, the time had come to start my tropical adventure.
When I first arrived, the company provided me with a hotel room in a large RIU hotel on the northeast coast of Jamaica in a town called Ocho Rios (in English: eight rivers). I absolutely loved my stay in a superior guests room, enjoying all-inclusive drinks, food and one of the best beaches on the island
right in front of my balcony. However, the fact that I also worked in that hotel every day and my guests were also staying there has led me to persuade my supervisor to let me move into an apartment outside of the hotel area. The apartment was situated in a gated-community which
allowed me to connect to some other expats living and working in Jamaica.
I was working as a representative for TUI, meaning that I was responsible for looking after the guests during their stay in Jamaica. This included welcoming them at the airport when they arrived, holding the information meetings in the hotels, providing information about the destination, consulting the guests on things to do such as excursions and of course also handling complaints. In turn, I got to spend two amazing years living in paradise.
Jamaica is the third-largest island in the Caribbean after Cuba and the Dominican Republic and the official language spoken is English. However, the locals usually communicate in their own dialect called Patois, which is a secret language developed by the slaves in 1600’s mixing English, Afrikaans, French, Spanish and Creole. Jamaica really has so much to offer. Not only is there great music, delicious food and a beautiful nature with spectacular beaches, waterfalls, jungles, rivers and mountains, but the Jamaican culture and people are just as fascinating. So, for anyone who has never been to Jamaica, it’s definitely worth a visit.
Our editorial team has put together the following book tips - available from our partner Orell Füssli:
We continue this series with the report of our co-founder Stephan Graf:
Los Angeles / Berlin
Three fascinating seasons in the global and the European movie capitals.
Both my longer stays abroad have to do with film production. In 2002, this career aspiration led me to the film Mecca par excellence: Los Angeles. Here I attended an evening course at UCLA and worked during the day at Splendid Pictures (their productions include "The Devil and Daniel Webster" with Sir Anthony Hopkins or "Narc" with Ray Liotta).
The film industry is omnipresent in this city, with roadside shoots, movie premieres in the evening - and yes, really every cab driver has a self-written script in his glove compartment.
My life as a student and intern defined how I experienced this city. During the day, I biked from my humble Westwood Village lodgings up to Bel Air, where Splendid had its offices - in the same building as the legendary Warren Beatty.
In the evening, I'd go to the university campus and later join my fellow students for a few drinks on Sunset Boulevard or at Moonshadows in Malibu.
Looking back, I realize that my second and third stays abroad - in Berlin in 2007 and 2009 - were also influenced by film productions in the way I perceived the city. During the first production, "The Baader-Meinhof Complex" by Uli Edel, which was nominated for an Oscar, I shifted between Charlottenburg, where I lived, the production office on the Spree and the filming locations at historically relevant sites.
Wherever possible, the producers shot on the original locations, which on the one hand made the film all the better, but also offered me a fascinating journey through time. For example, this incredible scene with Rudi Dutschke at the auditorium of the university.
The second Constantin production, the biopic "Zeiten ändern dich" about famous-notorius rapper Bushido, on which I was privileged to work, I experienced according to the circumstances mainly in Kreuzberg. The countless multicultural influences in this neighborhood have not only enriched my professional life, but also my free time with many culinary highlights.
We start this new series with the report of our founder Alexandra Elsener:
The buzzing former British colony with it’s one of a kind diversities was my home town for 4 years.
I moved there with my husband not knowing what to expect - not knowing much about Chinese way of life and about a metropolis that belongs to China but has a one country two system policy - which meant in simple terms: It has it’s own legal system and government.
What that meant, I gradually started to find out when I needed a visa to travel to Mainland China, which borders right next to the territory of Hong Kong.
We first lived on Hong Kong Island and then moved to the New Territories - another district of the city.
What amazed me most was the fact that this autonomous territory of China was extremely green with lush rainforests and country parks - lovely seaside villages and a quirky wildlife we used to encounter with our dog George on our daily walks - from monkeys to wild boars - from snakes to exotic birds and butterflies not to speak of the beautiful flora everywhere.
So to my surprise, I was not just living in a concrete jungle with skyscrapers with stunning views over the city, expensive boutiques and hotels - it was actually a paradise too!
Daily life was so diverse it couldn’t have been better.Public transport was fabulous and your weekend destinations like Thailand or the Philippines only a couple of hours flight away.
I started learning Mandarin - I did not dare to tackle Chinese Calligraphy but wanted to be able to say some basic words and sentences especially when travelling to Mainland China.
The official language spoken in HK is Cantonese which is a dialect spoken in South China. But you could usually communicate in English specially with the older generation.
I miss HK for it’s incredible mix of western influence and Chinese traditions - it’s small alleyways in Kowloon - my boat trips on the traditional Star Ferry which took you from HK Island to Kowloon. The busy streets - the hidden little shops - the markets especially the flower markets.
Many more memories will stay in my heart as I truly love the Asian spirit - the incredible and magnificent Chinese wall I was standing on outside of Beijing and the picturesque villages in Yunnan, China.
I could go on writing about my adventures and experiences but hopefully for those who have never been - my little insight has inspired you to put it on your bucket list one day!
Our editorial team has put together the following book tips - available from our partner Orell Füssli:
Instagram is not only a great platform to be inspired by food, fashion and travel. You can also get in touch with incredibly exciting people.
Imagine meeting a personality at a party that you didn't know before. What do you spontaneously talk to her about? We are starting a new series here, in which we ask the interviewees not only for three answers, but also three questions. And they usually don't know to whom their questions will be asked next.
Check out: Max Loong
Max Loong is a full-blooded entertainer and entrepreneur. His professional network now stretches from Singapore to Bali, Switzerland and California. We have passed on Noella's questions to the versatile TV presenter and actor. Here are his very personal answers: What moment in your life was key in guiding you to your current position? There have been so many key moments that got me where I am today. Life is full of ups and downs and a true rollercoaster ride, sometimes faster, sometimes slower, and sometimes life throws your for a spin. My first key moment was when I got the job as a VJ at VIVA-SWIZZ Switzerland’s first youth TV channel. Another key moment was when I was offered my own show on MTV Asia called Mobbed with which we wen’t on to win various awards as one of the first interactive shows. When I opened up my first business, which became one of Hollywood’s hottest clubs. I got to meet many interesting people who have led me to further businesses. Opening up my own luxury boutique hotel Hidden Hills Villas in Bali, together with my mom, after years of sweat and tears, was a magical moment. So was becoming a partner of Bjoern Hering at Mediafisch, Switzerland’s largest production company. Being nominated for an Asian Television Award in the category of Best Supporting Actor for my role of Richard in Singapores hit TV Series Lion Mums, was an epic milestone. But of course the greatest milestones and key moments was meeting the love of my life, my now wife Sepideh as well as the birth of our children Ryden and Kayden. Now it’s time to write more great memories, both at and off work. What simple advice would you give to someone young? Always follow your dreams, follow your heart and learn from your mistakes. If you follow your heart, you know that even if you make mistakes, you can safely say you didn’t let your mind interfere with your heart and gut. Find fulfillment in doing a job you really love to do, find happiness in family, friends and nature. But you have to work hard, as the German saying goes, if you do nothing, nothing will happen. You have to seize every opportunity, don’t be lazy, network, build valuable relationships and again, follow your heart. What brings you inspiration? Now it is my family, seeing my two boys grow up not only inspires me, but gives me the motivation to do even better in life. Both as a father, husband, friend but also business owner and with my career. But there are many things that bring inspiration for me, such as travel, different cultures, nature as well as the energy of a metropolis such as LA I live in. Our team in Bali, Switzerland and the US, we have to constantly inspire each other. And here are Max's questions:
Christa Riggozzi became a celebrity overnight with her Miss Switzerland 2006 election, and since then she has had a steep and varied career as a presenter, brand ambassador and influencer. She was nominated by Frank Bodin. Here are her answers to his questions, which she comments as follows with a smile: "Exciting and not easy questions from Frank... I know him, he is always unique!" Why do Adam and Eve have a navel? Because they are human beings and exactly the same, gender does not matter, there was no discrimination between men and women back then, both are equal :-) Why do you push the buttons on the remote control more firmly when the batteries seem to be empty? If you push firmly, you have the feeling of power, everything will be fine again and you don't have to change batteries. Man is stronger than technology... If everything is made out of atoms, what are dreams made of? Dreams are made of emotions and inner wishes. But sometimes they can also be atomic. And here are Christas questions:
In 2007, Noëlla founded Malaika, a nonprofit that impacts thousands of lives in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) through enhanced access to education and health programs. Noëlla?
Noëlla Coursaris Musunka is an international model and philanthropist of Congolese/Cypriot heritage, an Ambassador for The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis & Malaria, and a voice for the power of girls’ education worldwide. Noëlla has shared her insight at a number of world-class forums, spanning the World Economic Forum in Davos to the university halls of Cambridge, Oxford, Harvard and MIT and the offices of UNICEF. In 2017, she was named one of the BBC’s 100 Most Influential & Inspirational Women of the Year. Marine proposed to forward the questions she got from Peter straightaway and nominated Noëlla at the same time. Here are her answers and new questions below! She also nominated one person, but we will tell you who next time. What drives you to do what you do? The people I work with at Malaika in the Democratic Republic of Congo are so incredibly driven and amazing, but they come from such difficult circumstances. Changing the life of individual students and an entire village with our school, community center, nutrition program and 20 wells makes a world of difference for a better future, and that motivates me to do everything in my power to provide them with more opportunities. What was the worst mistake you’ve ever made? I try to look forward and find the positive, instead of focusing on mistakes, but it has been hard every time I’ve had to say ‘no’ or turn down a person or project. If you knew you were going to die tomorrow morning, what would you do tonight? I would spend the time with my two children and husband, simply loving being together, and I would send a message to everyone at Malaika to tell them how very proud I am of each and every one of them. Here are Noëllas questions:
Meet Frank. Frank Bodin is one of the most renowned advertisers in Switzerland. He studied piano at the conservatory and law at the University of Zurich. He has received numerous awards from all major competitions worldwide, was Advertiser of the Year and is Twitter Ambassador Switzerland. His latest book “Do it, with love – 100 Creative Essentials” is a bestseller in its seventh edition. Frank got the questions from Marine that were originally formulated by Peter. What drives you to do what you do? passiON What was the worst mistake you’ve ever made? A mistake: The fear of making a mistake. If you knew you were going to die tomorrow morning, what would you do tonight? Sharing time with my children. Here are his questions for hopefully inspiring answers:
It's Marine's turn now. Marine Tanguy managed her first gallery at age 21 and opened her first art gallery in Los Angeles at age 23. After seeing the restrictiveness of the traditional gallery model, Marine launched MTArt Agency in 2015. MTArt is the first talent agency for visual artists worldwide. Marine was awarded Forbes 2018 30 under 30 Europe: Art & Culture and UK entrepreneur of the year for the 2019 NatWest Everywoman Awards. Marine answers Peter's questions. You can find his section below. What drives you to do what you do? I love to work with the most inspiring artists. It’s such a joy to see their art enhancing the life of our community, clients and partners. What was the worst mistake you’ve ever made? I make mistakes all the time. We innovate daily with our business so mistakes are a part of it. I would say that I am much better at handling the consequences of my own mistakes and moving forward positively. If you knew you were going to die tomorrow morning, what would you do tonight? Invite all my loved ones over, I would have a last dinner surrounded by art and laughter. Marine chose to pick the same three questions that Peter sent us:
We're starting this adventure with Peter Cincotti, best known for his mega hit "Goodbye Philadelphia". 88 keys, a bench and a mic. Give those things to Peter and he can take you anywhere. We get the impression that your Italian roots become more important to you lately. True? Well they have always been important to me. But in recent years, I have had more and more opportunities to perform in Italy and visit many beautiful places within the country. So Italy has continued to influence me as a person and as a songwriter. Your career started when you were still so young. How did you evolve personally and as a musician? Music has been a part of me ever since I can remember. So how I evolve as a person goes hand and hand with how I evolve as a musician and writer. Life and music are kind of inseparable in that way, and as I learn and change as person, so does the music I make. Hence my latest album being quite different than my first album, because I am quite different now than I was at 18. What in life are you most proud of? I am most proud to have the family and friends that I have. Without them, little else would have been possible. From a musical standpoint, I am most proud of being true to myself artistically and I feel lucky to have a fan base (for the most part) that supports my musical expansion and creative evolution. I am very proud of that. And here are Peter's questions. You're already curious who we'll ask his questions to? Come back soon and find out!
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