9 posts categorized "Travel"

December 22, 2010

Beating the recession by working internationally: 2010's Travel in Review

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A year ago yesterday I started NoTosh Limited, a to-the-point, action-based consultancy for digital media and education arenas, which has proven far more successful than I had hoped. Here's hoping 2011 is just as successful (actually, no, our target is to double revenues with some new stars on our team).

Crucial to this velocity has been the acceptance of overseas clients (thank you all so much!) to take a risk and have us over to inspire, cajole or troubleshoot. Plenty of their stories will appear on a new NoTosh.com site in the New Year. Exporting our skills makes up around 65% of revenue.

But this has also meant a fair level of travel; the last quarter of the working year saw me personally undertake 56 flights, covering the world two and a half times. This year, I've travelled 106,372 miles on Seat 53F (big, modern aircraft), compared to a much more tiring 41,902 miles of Extreme Commuting that I did while working for Channel 4 in 2009 (on seat 23C -smaller aircraft, less efficient, more carbon). The nature of that travel wasn't easy to handle, and noted when I was leaving the company last year. 2008, back when I was doing more educational stuff, saw some 82,000 miles.

A colleague told me that every time you do a transatlantic flip you experience the same radiation as a chest x-ray, so neither I nor my current or future colleagues leave our families and jump on a plane lightly. We do so because we believe in our work, that it will make a difference to thousands of students lives and that this will far outweight the environmental impact we're having.

Not content with that, though, we're announcing a pro bono project in the New Year which will more than make up for our own airmiles (and probably all of yours, too, dear readers). Planting trees with Carbon Credits doesn't solve the problems we're creating today at all - it's going to take 20 years for their impact to be felt. So we're planning something far more here-and-now, that will take the edge of all those miles.

Until the New Year, and notwithstanding a blog post or two inbetween, best wishes for the festive season from a thankfully Edinburgh-based, airline-free Ewan!

December 13, 2009

Extreme Commuting: 2009 Travel in Review

Ewan McIntosh Travel Map 2009
Doing anything three times or more on a blog almost makes it annual custom, so I wasn't going to disappoint. This year's travel was about 50% less in mileage than in 2008: 41,902 miles compared to 2008's 82,000 miles or so. But the map's not a global one. It's highly localised. Something's up.

While fewer miles have been flown, most of this travel has been done in what Mark Penn spotted a decade ago and coined as "Extreme Commuting". That is, I've been one of a couple of hundred people who regularly make the commute from Scotland to London each and every week for work, often coming back within 18 hours of leaving home. It's a trend that, thankfully, is becoming less and less common as companies feel the economic pain of sending someone around the world for face-to-face time. In January I noticed that my plane was less about 30 suited and booted regulars from the previous six months. By August, they had been replaced by tourists filling up cheap seats on their way home to the States and the Far East.

Extreme commuting is tiring by its regularity, bad food at weird times, and the sneaking suspicion that your constantly stuffed-up nose is related to the circulated air you consume four times a week. You feel hungover for the day before and after your extreme commute, regardless, I'm afraid to say, of how much fun with a bottle of shiraz you have actually had.

Heading into the new year, I'm not sure the amount of travel will decrease too much, but it will be on longer adventures, to hotter places, and just a few of them. Some of them, dear reader, might even be to see you. Bring on 2010.

December 04, 2005

Paris - Les Blogs

Arrived in Paris on Friday night - late - and then spent another hour the wrong side of airport security as the one and only passport control monsieur checked us out with particular attention. The following morning I had a chance to walk around the Seine and Champs Elysées area, taking photos for the MFLE's Photo Bank of 'typical' French things. Got a strange look or two as I snapped street signs and metro plans. It's so much nicer to be a tourist in Paris than to be a worker. Normally on a Saturday morning when I worked here I would be round at a Space Shuttle Research Institute giving lessons in English. No, really, I would have been.

Off on the 12.40 to Rouen where Andy and I caught up over a pint at O'Kallaghans before heading home for an evening's raclette. Today, Sunday, we're croissanting and pain-au-chocolating with plenty of coffee (little Matthew was up yelling at 6am) before going to the Christmas Market at the Cathedral. More photos tonight of that.

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My mate Andy


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Emilie and Flo and the famous raclette machine

November 04, 2005

Language Show 2006

Had a great time today in London at the Language Show in Olympia. Got some really nice feedback from the audience and made to feel very welcome. I promise I'll put up more details on the presentation on Sunday. Tomorrow (Sat) is the SALT conference and I just can't believe that six hours after arriving back in Edinburgh I've got to be on the move again to Stirling. Let's hope tomorrow's Scottish audience is as enthusiastic as the international one I had this afternoon.

October 29, 2005

White Van Man Brings Me Home

I have been away from the Internet for over a week now and am proud to say that I survived. Indeed, it's given me a chance to be relatively normal and talk to people. Today I am grateful to Ollie Bray in his stupendous White Van and to Caroline for her scintillating (and slightly hungover) chat for bringing me back safe and sound from Dundee. I was speaking at the Hilton (very good lunch) and Ollie was up in the University speaking about Geography stuff. As expected, he found me at the station (good at the navigation stuff, these geographers) and was kind enough to cut an hour off my journey home to Auld Reekie.

So what have I been up to this last week and a half? Most of it in Austria working with Jamie, Claire and their Austrian counterparts on a joint project. Got lots of good film clips for the MFLE about blogging, podcasting and making digital video on the move and in collaborative groups. They were speaking great German to communicate with Russians, French, Austrians and Americans (though the latter was admittedly more anglophone comms than anything else).

More on that later. In the meantime, I leave you with Ollie and his Van as they left me in Leith tonight (Caroline can be seen hiding under the dash).
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October 16, 2005

Polish lesson Part II

Spent a great morning with Beata and her husband Janik (which, I learned through my Polish lessons, means “Little John” – there are apparently 25-odd other versions which I cannot and will not go into now, leaving that for another visit, perhaps one to learn some more Polish). Also present was 8 (and-a-half) year old Julia, Beata and Janik’s daughter number two, who speaks French with an accent I would be proud of, understands this Scotsman’s elaborate English with apparent ease and who says prszeprasam (please) and djinkuje (thank you) at every opportunity. She’ll go far. Her older sister was going to arrive at Krakow Balice at the same time I was about to leave, coming back from a £14,000 scholarship to learn through English (CLIL en place, if you will) and who looks like she is on the way to a second year in Ipswich doing much the same. Another Pole to look out for, methinks.

Beata and I worked on the geoblogs project together and are trying to find something else that might work. This morning was spent sharing our photos and talking about all the wonderful places both of us would like to visit in the future. But an exchange will happen soon. Trust me on that.

We had a coffee in a cool little café down a pasaz. On leaving we heard the most atmospheric street music for this cold and crisp season. I recorded some on my mobile phone Quicktime:

Download Record000.amr

After a quick stroll back round the city walls they were kind enough to deliver me to the airport – so no more of that mad Krakow coach driving that seemed to get me there on time but put me at more risk than seemed reasonable.

Amber in Krakow

Spent a lovely morning in the market place at Rynik square, buying some amber (discovered green amber, very nice). Here are some photos. I am about to go and meet Beata who helped so much in putting together the geoBlogs geography online project. Hopefully after a cup of warming coffee we will come up with another great idea for next year's students. This time, though, I'll have to find someone who is wanting to do a similar kind of project with this great Polish school with me not in the classroom at the moment.

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A collage of devotees' face making up a 50 foot high Pope John Paul

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Krakow's main cathedral in the Rynik

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Amber shopping on Sunday morning

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At the old city walls

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Trams variae at the hotel entrance


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5* Geekdom

October 15, 2005

With mind implosion nearing: a night in Krakow

Well, after a gruelling 10 hours of conferencing I was ready for a night out in the city. After a few Becherovkas Tonic I excuse myself for any typos, but here are some great images from the night, including a wedding taking place at 10pm in the main market square of Krakow. Just fantastic.

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Early morning Krakow, the conference begins

Some beautiful shots of Krakow this morning, a lovely crisp start to the day. Learned some Polish from the best languages teacher I have ever known, I think. I was overjoyed to hear that I have actually already got about 20% of Polish under my belt. More on that later. Click the photos for a larger version.

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About Ewan

Ewan McIntosh is a teacher, speaker and investor, regarded as one of Europe’s foremost experts in digital media for public services.

His company, NoTosh Limited, invests in tech startups and film on behalf of public and private investors, works with those companies to build their creative businesses, and takes the lessons learnt from the way these people work back into schools and universities across the world.

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Do you worry that your school or district could better harness its people, digital technology or physical space? Do you want some actionable inspiration, a mentor for a learning journey with your staff?

In a keynote or masterclass we can give them concrete ideas based on experience, enthusiasm fired by a vision of what can be, and backup before and after to make it happen for them.

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