Sunday, February 01, 2009

Weekly Geeks # 4: Other passions

The great team behind Weekly Geeks are enquiring about passions this week. Read the full post here.

Image of man and wife on an ushabti-box from a tomb.

What are our passions outside of books and blogging? First of all, I am questioning myself, do I even feel passionate about anything at all...? Passionate is such a big word. But then again, I do know that I do not have to take the meaning literally and that if I translate it to something like "what are your other interests" it applies (and appeals) more to me. I can see the gap between being passionate about something and having an interest in something. But taken literally, I am not red-hot with passion over anything. But I am interested in a lot of things, and definitely, I feel more interested in some things over others. And there are of course things which I am very interested in and spend a lot of time doing or thinking about. Surely.

So okay, here goes!

Travel is one of my great interests as well as travel-writing. I feel at home in many places around the world and have travelled since I was 6 years old, where my parents took me and my two siblings on a month long journey to Italy and Greece. I have spent a year of my life living in USA and about a year (totalt) living in Egypt. And USA and Egypt are my fave places to travel. I have written two guidebooks on Egypt (in Danish) and several travel-related articles both online and in "real" papers and magazines. I am very passionate (oops, there it was, the word...) about that. Some of my fave destinations are (in random order): San Francisco, New Orleans, Luxor (Egypt), Cairo (Egypt), Berlin (Germany) and Chora Sfakion (Crete). Blue door in Chora Sfakion

San Francisco seen from Alcatraz

I spend a lot of time on where you can find all sorts of travel-related stuff.

Photography is another interest I have. I am by all means a complete amateur. I am NOT saying this in order to have all of you claim the opposite. I truly am. I have no idea whatsoever about the right lightening, white-balance, ISO or any other technicalities, I am a point and shoot-kind of photographer. I do want to become a better amateur though and have contemplated taking some serious lessons. I am quite sure I would learn a great deal and also learn to take better pics. I am also the proud owner of a fancy Canon-camera, and many of it's features are wasted on me. Oh....I am passionate about NOT photoshopping my images. I may twist an image so that the horizon is in sync or remove red eyes. I may also crop an image or do other minor stuff with the images. But the extreme photoshopping I see around some online photography-pages, well, that doesn't do it for me. As far as photography goes, that is cheating.

I post a variety of my photos on flickr. There are some tremendously good photographers also posting images there, but basically it is amateur heaven.

Egyptian man Ahmose. Part of statue with his mother

Egyptology. Actually, I am about to receive my MA in Egyptology with a thesis, which I will deliver during the late spring this year. I have studied for many years, but took a lot of years "off " after my Bachelors in order to work. Last summer I stopped working at the art museum where I had worked for 5 years in their Dept. of Egyptian Antiquities to finish the MA-degree. But I am still doing guided tours at the museum though. And I also got myself another job as I found it difficult just to sit at home writing the thesis. This has meant that instead of completing in 6 months it will take me 12 months, but the end is near, and I am looking forward to that and to receive the degree. Anyway, I have lived in Egypt as well while studying and worked there as a guide, but that is some years back now. I go there at least once a year, sometimes more. I am mostly interested in the old stuff, but over the years I have also gained an interest in the modern life and world. There are literally tens of thousands of websites out there about Ancient Egypt and all but perhaps a couple of hundred (maybe even less) are worth your while. The rest are....well, crap.

Boy on donkey in front of Pyramid of Chephren, Giza, Cairo

A couple of good sites are this one about the pyramids of Giza and this one about the royal burials in Valley of the Kings.

Softdrink from Fizzy Thoughts and I share a great interest in travel.

I guess that is it ;o) I also like fashion, pop-culture, art, urban/street art, American History and food! All images above are from my own flickr-photostream.


Ana S. said...

wow, Egyptology! That's so cool. And I love that you're so interested in travelling. Seeing the world is definitely one of my main goals in life. People around me tend to see this as a "shallow" goals (as opposed to things like settling down with a family, owning your own home, etc), but it's something that REALLY matters to me. I know I'd feel miserable if at the end of my life I looked back and saw that I didn't travel. Whereas not having owned a couch until I was 35, for example, won't especially bother me :P Anyway, I haven't had the chance to visit all that many places yet, but once I'm in a better financial situation, I will. Your post is inspiring!

Literary Feline said...

I envy your having traveled to so many places. I have done some traveling, but not really outside of the U.S. (other than Canada and Mexico, and even then some say that doesn't count considering where I was and how short of time I spent in either place).

San Francisco is a wonderful city. I like visiting thee as well.

I do think your photographs are beautiful. For an amateur, you are very talented. :-)

I imagine Egyptology is quite a fascinating area of study.

I enjoyed getting to know you better!

Beth F said...

What a terrific post. I love your photos -- and the Crete doors is particularly nice.

I knew you were interested in Egyptology, but I didn't realize you were getting a graduate degree in the subject.

Thanks for sharing so much about yourself.

Debi said...

What a wonderful post! I know it's not "nice" to be jealous, but I can't help it...I would so love to travel like you have! And your photos are absolutely gorgeous, despite your amateur status. :)

claire said...

What an insightful post! I love to travel, too, but since having kids I have to say I've been staying put. Planning to travel again when they're a little older. Although I must say, recently I've been getting to be a little fearful of flying.

When I traveled to China once, I met this family from Egypt (I think the father was an ambassador to some other country). We visited Windows of the World in China and when we were at the pyramids, the Egyptian family acted as "unofficial" tour guides. I really liked that experience. I also would love to see Egypt in person (Love The Mummy movies!).

Re: photos.. I'm with you.. I'm also not tech-savvy. I have a beautiful Olympus, given by my husband, but I just use the program button heehee. I always say the same thing you do.. its features are wasted on me.

I don't use photoshop but do use a little iPhoto because I like to make some photos black-and-white, or sepia, or antique.. depends on my mood.. but don't do anything else except for manipulating the colour (or non-colour).

Anyway, love your post.. really nice to meet you. :)

Unknown said...

I love your pictures, and it seems like your Egyptology interest encompasses the travel and photography ones too :-).

I have to agree with your qualifying the use of the word "passion" as applied to interests. I feel the same way about it - I think it gets over-used a lot and makes these things sound more important than they really are.

Cheryl Vanatti said...

Great post. I love traveling and have posted a few things to tripadvisor myself. It's such a fantastic site, isn't it? My profile name is cheryltasses on there. I've noticed that if you leave negative comments, you get a less helpful status, but I'm always honest on there and I try to post photos to help people make decisions.

We get to fly for free, but I'm terrified of flying so we don't go as many places as we should.

Congrats on the M.S. in such a cool topic!

Anonymous said...

Wow two great topics. I like your photos. I lived in San Francisco for about 15 years when I was younger. It's a great place.

Suey said...

Loved your post! I think these are some very cool things to be "passionate" about! Travel writing has always sounded so fun to me. And I'll be happy just to go to Egypt some day! :)

Maree said...

Oh ... Egyptology _ that must be a fascinating area to work in. I love the ancient world. I'm not a scholar, like you, but I always stop and watch documentaries on the history channel and I always mean to dig a little deeper.
Thanks for the website links :)
Happy Weekly Geeks

pussreboots said...

I like Egyptology too but I never blog about it. I wish I had the money and time to travel.

Louise said...

Thanks a lot for your comments, all of you.

Re. travelling: I have been super-priviledged in that I have worked in the travel-business and therefore have a network and always know where I can get a good deal etc. I have also been priviledged in that I have been able to travel to the places I have wanted to see as I realize not everyone are as lucky.

Re. Egypt and Egyptology: I don't feel like a scholar at all, but of course I know a bit more about Ancient Egypt than the next person. Sometimes Ancient History bores the heck outta me and at other times I am almost passionate about it. But my real knowledge of ancient history is limited to Ancient Egypt. I don't know much about other ancient cultures.

Re. photograpy: Thanks again for your comments on my skills. It means a lot and I am happy you like my photos. Like I said, I just point and shoot, but of course I try to find something pretty or interesting to snap and I also want the pics to look good. But that really is about it. And making a colour-image black/white or sepia and so on is not cheating.


Chrisbookarama said...

Beautiful photos! I'd like to learn how to be a better photographer too. All the technical stuff confuses me.

Louise said...

Chris, I'm like you. The technicalities confuse me and I am afraid I don't have the patience to learn about them. Maybe I should begin working on my patience-issues ;o)

mimbles said...

Improving my photography skills is on my to do list for this year, I too am completely reliant on the programmed functions. I'm photographically frustrated at present because our good camera is broken and I'm reduced to using my phone, a Nokia N95, and the kids' cameras when I can find them.

I think I've mentioned before that hubby has an interest in Egyptology (among many other things), when he went to the British Museum a few years back he bought a copy of Beatrix Potter's Tale of Peter Rabbit in "the original hieroglyphs" - very silly and fun.

Most of the travel I've done was when I was a kid. My dad was a lecturer in Applied Maths at Sydney Uni, he did some post-grad work for 15 months in Paris when I was 3, we traveled all over France, England, Germany, Switzerland, Italy and I remember almost none of it. I went to pre-school in Paris and was just starting to speak french when we came back to Sydney.

There were 3 short trips (6 months or less) to the US when I was 8, 10 and 14. We lived in Boulder Colorado each time, I went to school and we did a bit of travel around the states while there. On the last trip we also spent a month traveling before getting to Colorado - Greece (Athens and Crete), France (Paris), England (London) and the US (Boston, Washington DC and New Orleans). That trip I remember well :)

As an adult I've got as far as Tasmania, Adelaide and Brisbane and haven't needed a passport in 23 years.

One day we hope to take the kids to Europe and inflict tour of ancient Roman ruins on them. Or possibly Viking ruins. Or both!

Louise said...

Thanks for your comment Mim. I take it, that you are back from vacation by now :o)

We feel a bit connected to Tasmania these days, as our Crown Princess is from there ;o) Not that I am overly interested in royal stuff though.

I hope you will swing by Europe some day. If you come to Copenhagen, Denmark, I shall be happy to show you both Viking ruins and interesting Egyptology stuff :-) You husband can check, which is the website for the museum where I used to work. They have an exquisite Egyptian collection.

Julia Phillips Smith said...

What a great post - especially your initial wrestling with the idea of 'passionate', then it slipped out later... LOL! Thanks for those links on the Egyptian sites. And I had no idea you were about to deliver a thesis - *tipping my hat*

Louise said...

Thanks Julia - but hold the hat-tipping until it is actually delivered ;o) Which I hope will be within this first half year....actually it MUST be within this half year, otherwise I have to start over and that I don't want ;o)

Dorte H said...

You must remember to tell us more about Egyptology. I may have vowed to write about crime fiction only, but I am allowed to read other stuff ;)

Anonymous said...

Woo-hoo, a fellow traveller! I'm partial to the United Kingdom, but Scandanavia is on the list for someday. As are a lot of other places. Why can't Europe be closer? ;-)

Louise said...

Dorte, I will :-) Have to think of something I can mix with books and reading though.

Softdrink, well, why can't USA be a bit closer ;o)

Anonymous said...

It's awesome that you're so well-traveled. It's really cool, too, that you used to work in a museum. That's one of my dream jobs. :]

Ruth King said...

I've been fascinated by Egyptology ever since I came face to face with a real mummy at The Academy of Natural Sciences in Philadelphia museum when I was in second grade.

I hope I can make a trip to Egypt someday. It would mean so much to me. The closest I've gotten is the University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology, where they have part of Merenptah's palace on display. The sphinx and columns are breathtakingly beautiful.

Louise said...

Chayenne, thanks a lot. It was great working in the museum but bad economy combined with other things forced me to find a better paid job. I know, money isn't everything, but as I could not get the promotion I felt I had earned, it was time to find a new place. I do want to go back there though one day.

Ruth, I'd love to see that in the Pennsylvania Museum. I live a lot close to Egypt than you, so its easier for me to go there ;o)