I was once told by my father that every great person was once a beginner, a loner with nothing to start off with except his own creativity and will to become successful in an area where he can excel in. The more he can do for himself and for the benefit of the community, the more support he receives from those who want the best for him. No one can be successful on his own unless he is totally selfish and believes that he is the world and the rest are all too foreign to him. However if he embraces others, shares and adopt ideas from others while at the same time, help them succeed,Â in the end, he is not so lonesome. He has company which serves as a distraction to the main worries in life; also known as reality. Company also serves as a shoulder of support and a source of love and laughter,Â no matter where he goes. It provides him with a sense of peace and tranquility by listening to the stories that touch him, the humor that shakes the foundation of the nerves, and the sense of silence that can only be heard among themselves. Here in this photo, we can see this sense of peace and tranquility as the pair of sailboats float along Flensburger Fjorde not even caring where they go or what they do. It’s no wonder if you see that the waters are calm and the only real reflections from the bay are the boaters and the beautiful blue skies- at least 30 shades worth! It’s no wonder that the only other color that presents a contrast to that of the deep blue is green. But it serves its right to be here for the purpose of not only providing the person with a sense of peace and prosperity, but also a sense of perspective on life and what he wants to do with it. The problem with this is the fact that we want to have peace and prosperity but we neglect looking at life from our own perspective, which is a necessity in order for us to get to where we want to be. All of us want money and fame but we do it at the expense of others. All of us want the luxury that others want, but we go out there and steal. All of us want to have a profession but instead of going through the pains and taking the side roads that are rarely used but have lots of green and blue, we use the freeway, like the Autobahn 7 to Hamburg or I-35 to Minneapolis, where there are too many people, too much aggression, and too many disappointments because of traffic jams, accidents, road blocks, well, you name it. In other words, we want what others want, but don’t look at life from our own perspective and listen to ourselves regarding what we really want; what brings us the peace and prosperity that we want. Peace and prosperity does not have to come in the form of money and fortune. It can come from people you meet on the way- friends you make, people you help and care for, and even your relatives and immediate family. And even if you have just a handful of friends- enough to fill a sailboat- it’s enough to have a comfortable life; to sail together in pairs, in an environment that brings you the peace and prosperity that you wanted. But it is all because you look at life from your perspective and answer the most important question in life, which is “What do I want?”
You are probably wondering why I’m posting photos and commentaries on this site or why I chose the Flensburg Files as a title instead of something that many may see as catchier than this one. It is because I wanted to. Well, if I was to say those words, there would be many inquisitions from others which would be never-ending and would not bring me more stress than necessary; especially considering the fact that I put up with inquisitions from students in my English classes at a technical university in Erfurt, which is in the central part of the country next to Weimar, and Leipzig. So to simplify my justification for this title, here are my reasons for striving for my own peace and prosperity:
Writing and photography both run deep in my family. The writing part came from my father who got it from my grandpa, who got it from….. Well, you get the idea. The photography came from my mother, who showed me, as a kid, how to take good pictures, just by watching her do her work and doing it myself.Â Over the years, I developed my own interest in topics worth photographing and writing about. This includes landscapes, politics, people, architecture, and even more so, historic bridges. Each subject that is the focus of the lens or the ink has a story to it, the story that many of us ignore until something happens to it and it disappears from the scene forever. While many race to see them, others, like me stumble upon them by accident while travelling, and as neglect as they are, they deserve at least a little bit of attention so that others can see them.
Despite the fact that I’ve been living in Germany for almost 12 years and I’ve travelled to many places to photograph many subjects, the one place that really served as my starting point as a travelling commentator and photographer was Flensburg, Germany.Â Located on the border to Denmark and at the tip of the Fjorde which leads to the Baltic Sea, the city is known for its rum, theatricals, and clipper ships, but it was also known for its green landscape and the people living there.Â I was in Flensburg for Pentecost for four days and it was during that time I let the camera and the pen do all the work on the impressions of the city and the surroundings. It’ll be discussed more in my later entries. From that point on, I decided that if I could share my experiences of lifeÂ as a travelling teacher, journalist and photographer to the rest of the community, maybe, just maybe people will forego the popular metropolises for a day and take a side trip to the places that deserve the attention needed. After all, with the world getting smaller through globalization, we cannot afford to be ignorant anymore, as embracing even the smallest and rarest cultures- even from the perspective of a person who grew up rural, like yours truly did in Minnesota- brings in bigger rewards than when you embrace something big and you end up with little or nothing. In the end, we will end up like the party of two out in the Flensburger Fjorde; having the peace and prosperity as a result of looking at life from one’s own perspective and making a difference in that of others.
And that is from the files until the next one, folks.