Originally born in Rheydt, about 40 kilometers away from Dusseldorf and not far away from the border with the Netherlands, I have lived in Spain since 1999 with a few interruptions. My current home town is Guardamar del Segura at the shores of the Mediterranean Sea where I live with my wife and my son. I have an M.A. in Romance and English studies with a strong focus on linguistics, and a special interest in computational linguistics and nlp.
It is fairly easy to drag me into something new, especially anything related to water, fish, outdoors, travel, programming, writing or combat sports .
Languages are not in the list. This is mainly due to the fact that anything related to languages seems to involve a certain quantity of ideology, a bit of politics and a fair amount of endless talks about things that seem to be but aren't really related to language. Apart from that, literature and language both seem to serve a certain type of people for feeding their ego. Languages are for being spoken, not for being spoken about.
People are also worth mentioning. The older I get, the more important become other people to me. In recent years I have been so lucky as to know quite a few extraordinary people. I see this as a privilege that cannot be bought with money or favours. When you meet this kind of people the really important thing is to be aware of them being extraordinary and to enjoy the time you spend with them.
Like most people with many interests I do not actively practice everything at the same time.
When I took up BJJ at the age of fifty I was not at all convinced that this was a good idea. Now I know that in terms of health, fitness and many other aspects I would not be the person I am now if I had given up. I currently train three to four times a week.
BJJ is tough, especially at the beginning. It is physically demanding and sometimes it hurts. At this age you need to be especially careful not to get injured because recovery will take much longer than when you are young. However it is also awarding. It also teaches you a lot of lessons such as:
- You will get there, you just need to continue. Keep going is the secret to reach your goals.
- You learn to be comfortable in uncomfortable situations. You learn not to panic when there is a 100 kg guy on top of you. After some time physical discomfort does not bother you anymore, you just ignore it.
- After some time you are not impressed anymore by the imposing appearance of another person. The small guy with the nice smile may be a much more demanding opponent than the evil-looking dude with a skull tattooed on his chest.
- Knowledge is nothing if you cannot put it into practice.
- Repetition is the key to mastering. Everything is difficult before it is easy.
- Do not rush but do not hesitate. This is probably the most difficult lesson. Sometimes you put at risk everything you have achieved just because the submission of your sparring partner seems to be just sitting there like a duck. And then you end up on bottom because you did not secure your position before you went for it. Hesitation is not good either. If you suddenly see an opportunity for an attack you need to be spontaneous. If you start thinking about the risks and speculate about what might happen, the opportunity will have gone by the time you decide what to do. You need to learn to trust your intuition and let things happen without actively thinking.
- Do things slowly. Speed will come over time and practice.
In recent times I have qualified as a massagist and specialized in sport massages and therapy. My main focus is on the more evidence based side of massage which means that I am not a big fan of Ayurveda and similar stuff. However, I am not a physiotherapist which is an academic career of four years.
Travelling on my RE Himalayan
I am definitely not a speed junkie. This is one of the reasons the Royal Enfield Himalayan is such a great fit for me. Cruising over country roads through beautiful landscapes and packed with just the essential things you need is a great experience.
In my twenties I practiced some freediving and took it up again some years ago. You do not need to be an expert to enjoy this type of sport, however you do need a bit of technique. My equipment is rather basic. It is a unique experience to move through the realms of another world without any equipment. This does not mean that I wouldn't give scuba diving a try...
I usually carry an action cam, either a gopro action hero or an isaw. One of my next projects will be taking time lapse footage of slow moving creatures like star fish, sea urchins or sea cucumber.
Sea kayaking and kayak fishing
I strip-built my Great Auk from western red cedar a long time ago and I use it for kayak fishing as well. The great thing about sea kayaks is their sea worthiness. A regular person with a bit of technique and experience will safely get through conditions in which even bigger boats struggle. They look unstable but this precisely makes it possible to keep them upright when waves roll in sideways. Another fascinating part of kayaks is that it takes very little effort to make them move. With a bit of practice you can easily cover 10km and more in a relaxed morning session.
I love fishing from my kayak, especially trolling for pelagic species that come a bit closer to the shore certain times a year such as mackerel, horse mackerel, silver fish, mahi-mahi or little tuna.
However I am also aware of the damage that overfishing has caused, which also goes for certain types of recreational fishing. This is why I avoid rock fishing. At the spanish coast it has become rare to see big fish outside protected areas anywhere close to the shore.
Programming in your spare time is like doing puzzle, crosswords, sudoku or playing chess but you get an outcome which sometimes is even useful. The dangerous part is that you end up doing the same thing in your free time that you do for a living which I think is not a good idea.
Python is my programming language of choice. I won't list all the frameworks and libraries I have worked with, there are quite a few. I took my first steps with python back in 2000. Before, I used to code ObjectPascal/Delphi and Perl. Yes, and I also used to use php but this is a long time ago and we all make mistakes.
I wouldn't call myself a C programmer but I sort of like the language. It gives you a lot of understanding of how things actually work under the hood. However, if I ever wanted to learn a new language it is probably going to be Go. After playing around a bit I have really come to like it.
I have had aquariums almost all my life. I started off with a 60 liter aquarium when I was 9 years old. The aquarium was of bad quality, the air pump was noisier than the exhaust pipe of a Harley Davidson and the light was a submersible tube with a light bulb in it.
Later I got a 112 liter aquarium with decent lighting and turbine based water pump and internal filter. After that I got my first open 300 liter aquarium which I had for many years. My current aquarium is a bricked 2000 liter fish tank with a steel framed glass front.
In between I have had aquariums of different size, sometimes various, for breeding or keeping other species. Currently I am more focussed on the aquarium as a garden, with a special focus on plants and ecosystem.