Morning thoughts from Mandalay!


Rose with the sun around 6 am and went for a morning walk with the monks that always spend their first hours of the day to collect the days food from the local community.

At this time of the day the air is fresh and it isn’t too hot. Myanmar must be one of the last Buddihist countries in the world where the monks still do like they did in Buddha Shakyamunis time – maybe their fellow monks in Laos do the same. But that’s another story.

I don’t know why – but I really enjoy this scenery – and taking the time following them around the streets is one of the best ways to start my day when I am in Myanmar.

Watching them walking in the streets on their naked feet with their black bowls in their hands ready to receive donations from all the people waiting outside their houses with their big pots of boiled rice, various fruits, small bags of curries, a bottle of water, bisquits or whatever they can afford to give is a grotesque contrast to the progress in the world that surrounds them.

I have to admit that we are part of the same craziness. And specially these days when almost everything we do is focused on starting up in Myanmar. A project that has turned out to be more difficult and time consuming than expected due to the extreme real estate madness that is taking place right where we are.


The constant focusing on ‘things’ that work against you blur your mind and confuse you.

In my case I get sad and disappointed – and sometimes even angry.

But after my walk this morning and after going through all my mails and updates and after reading my diary from the past month I realize how foolish this is. We are surrounded by love and positive things – so don’t be silly!.

Not only are we going to have breakfast soon with Kasper (my son) and his girl friend + two of their friends. And our close friends Ingrid and Kasper joined us yesterday. All of them traveling with us these days – one of them is even following us back to Kathmandu in a weeks time.

We are also blessed by an incredibly amount of positivity from and around Tings in Kathmandu.

I just made this list of all the positive things that has happened to us the last few days:

  • Today we just passed 1,000 likes on Tings Facebook page. An impressive number – after all Tings is just a small Hotel with 13 rooms in Kathmandu!
  • In Mawlamyin two days ago a guy stopped us outside our hotel: You are the two from Tings? It turned out that he live in Pani Pokhari 5 minites walk from Tings in Kathmandu and recognized us. I know it’s a coincidence – but it happens all the time… and more and more frequently
  • We get more and more returning guests to Tings. At the time of writing and the the next couple of weeks Leila, Judy, Karin, Per, Nina, Barry & Myrrina is/will be at Tings… I mention it because our VERY FIRST GUESTS Line & Martin returns on exactly the same day they visited us 3 years ago when everything was almost still under construction!
  • This morning I just got an invitation for a lecture in the Denmark-Nepal Friendship Ass. by Nina Schriver and Morten Krohn – about WAWCAS.
    Nina was our second guest at Tings. She introduced us to their program for women entrepreneurs in Nepal. She met Morten at Tings the following year – now they work together…  🙂

    The WAWCAS program combines social training and mobilization with women entrepreneurship, business training and saving/loan training.
    Furthermore the program is structured to develop stable cooperatives among the women in the program and to enable the children of the women entrepreneurs to attend school.

  • Our Art@Tings projects that have been ‘low’ for a while because we needed to rethink it all after the huge succes with Prasad@Tings in September is back on track.
    The positive feed back we got from friends in Denmark who has never seen any of our exhibitions combined with the all the mails we have received from very talented young Nepali artists who wants to play with us convinced us that our efforts make a difference.
    During the last week we have got at least 3 new art projects in the pipeline (two with local artists). Never underestimate the power of Art!
  • The number of mails we get from fellow travelers who wants our advice grows week by week. The last week we have forwarded our latest Myanmar Travel Advices to Anton, Emma & Caroline Hughes.

Hi Thomas
I hope you are well! I came to stay with you guys back in May 2011 whilst traveling throughout Asia. I was travelling with XX, a danish girl who introduced me to you guys.
You inspired me to travel further and longer than i had anticipated and gave me some great advice on where to travel in Asia.
From Nick, guest @ Tings and fellow traveler

  • We keep getting mails from companies who know about our past as business people and want our help to start up in Nepal, So far we have thanked NO – but last week I agreed to get involved in one very interesting venture – but only peripherally (so far)
    And  two days ago I was asked to help giving birth to a big charity joint venture between a Danish NGO and a big Nepali company. This is something that really means a lot to us since one of the reasons behind our move to this part of the world is to make a difference.
  • TingsTing is growing slowly – but it grows. Especially Annette’s beautiful rings has a huge interest.This means a lot to us since our cashmere, our rings and other high quality products is something that started for fun – and now turns into a small business.

These are things we never think about and accordingly never appreciate!

All these things are just what popped up during my first cup of coffee. If I had had one more I’m sure the list would have been longer.Still it shows how much we achieve from the small project in Kathmandu. And how much other people achieve from meeting each other through Ting’s small universe.

Add to that all the love and caring we share and get from our young staff who runs Tings so well in our absence. Sometimes we fell bad about leaving all the responsibility to Dorjee and her staff.

But when we see how they grow everyday our bad conscience change into pride on their behalf. To us it proves that young boys and girls in Nepal (and other similar countries) are at least as skilled as their fellow friends in Denmark and other western countries. We just  treat them exactly like we treated our staff at big international companies in Europe: With love, respect and a lot of responsibility and hard work and a 100% focus on the business…

Again these are things we forget – or when we remember we worry. The thing is: we are a little pissed off that the staff don’t need our fantastic Western expertise – that they are capable of running everything themselves at least as good as if we did it. LOL 

I could go on about all the positivity that surrounds us, But I think you get the message: The whole point about this post is perspectiveto open your eyes and see and appreciate what’s right in front of you!

I know it can be difficult – and I can’t tell how you do it.

What trigged me writing this was the smiling monks and their bare feet looking so happy this early morning during my moody walk in Mandalay..

Enjoy your day!



Inspiration comes from everywhere. In the 70’ies I read a lot of Comic Books. One of them inspired my travels: Souviens Toi, Jonathan by Cosey who always credited the music he listened to while writing/drawing his books.

Souvi-ens-toi, Jonathan, by Cosey, 1977

While writing the post I listened to this mix.


Radioaktiv – Kraftwerk 1973-2000 by Djmq on Mixcloud