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Thinking Spaces

It all started with a few spaces...

With dedication to you,

our ‘spacers’ – without your support and inspiring stories this e-book would never have been possible.

Foreword The Economist: Thinking Spaces launched in 2011 as a way for you to create, share and explore the spaces that inspire your ideas, making it easier for you and your imagination to spend a little time together in a hard-to-find, thought-provoking location. Many of the spaces you shared were in cities, but many too were in remote, inspiring, beautiful and panoramic places, uploaded by an incredibly international community. Thanks to you, our spacers, we’ve been able to compile an amazing collection of places and showcase the diverse people who captured them. You uploaded breathtaking spaces from all over the world, which we featured and shared with our growing Thinking Spaces community through the Facebook page, website and mobile app. Through your shares, comments, likes and feedback we have grown the Thinking Spaces Facebook page from a few thousand fans to nearly 40,000. Now, with the help of you, our community, Thinking Spaces can reach over 13m people each day. In this e-book we bring together 50 of the spaces that have impressed, enlightened and amazed you, and tell the story of how you discovered them. As we prepare for the evolution of Thinking Spaces we want to take this opportunity to thank you for all you’ve done. Keep on being inspired, keep sharing and keep checking back with us as we’ll have some new developments coming soon. Watch this Thinking Space. visit our facebook page

Thinking Spaces in over

100 countries Top 10 countries

Top 10 cities Amsterdam Barcelona Berlin Istanbul London New York Paris Rome

1. US |2. UK |3. France |4. Netherlands |5. Italy |6. Germany | 7. Spain |8. Turkey |9. Canada | 10. Australia

San Francisco Stockholm

Top spaces themes 31% | City 16% | Nature 15% | Sea 14% | Indoor 10% | Cultural 6% | Mountain 6% | Sunset 5% | River 4% | Lake visit our facebook page

David’s space The picture I posted for my Thinking Space is Garrettstown Beach which is 15 miles from Cork City on the south-west coast of Ireland. It is a very  popular beach with surf enthusiasts and a great beach to relax and walk on.

Examples include Gandhi, Muhammad Ali and Martin Luther King. I was born with dwarfism so I understand the sense of endurance by these people to overcome adversity.

My favourite book is “About a Boy” by Nick Hornby. My I have an avid interest in surfing favourite musicians would which I have tried, but have include Radiohead, Cinematic failed to master, hence I have Orchestra, Portishead and Nitin resorted to body-boarding. Sawhney. My favourite film is I am from Cork City. I have “The Pianist”. If I didn’t have to lived in Waterford for work earn a living I would love to DJ reasons and Manchester to and travel the world to study. I have travelled around well-known surf spots. many parts of Europe including Britain, France, Spain, Portugal, Belgium, Greece, Cyprus and Tunisia. I also speak German. I am employed by a health-care company in Cork as a lab technician. I took up photography as a hobby last year, and find it really interesting.   People who overcome adversity in life to achieve their dreams and ambitions inspire me.

Garrettstown Beach, 15 miles from Cork on the south-west coast of Ireland

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Katherine’s space My space is on the walking path next to Lac Leman (Lake Geneva) in Montreux. Having always thrived in environments where I am surrounded by people, I had never before felt like I just wanted and needed to be alone.  Switzerland has that effect on you, you just feel so calm and at peace. I simply hopped on a train and decided to go for a walk in a town close to Lausanne. That’s the beauty of being in one of Europe’s most breathtaking countries. There was also something about the blend of majestic mountains and quiet, fresh waters.

People inspire me. People of all colours, cultures and ages. People from all walks of life. Their knowledge, their wisdom, their achievements, their way of life. People from whom I can learn something. Which is what makes my Thinking Space so special - it was a place that inspired me.

Having been brought up with very conservative Chinese thinking but in a Western environment, I have been heavily influenced by both societies. But I’d always known I wanted more, my thirst for knowledge has never failed to inspire me. It has taken me to the places I’ve always wanted I am a 22-year-old Chinese South to go. African from Cape Town, born in Shanghai, fluent in six languages If I didn’t have to earn a living, and learning two more. In the I would like to be the South last four years, since I first African ambassador to the UN. embarked on my tertiary studies in Australia, I have lived, studied and worked in seven countries across five continents. I shall start working as an audit graduate in March 2012.

Walking path Lac Leman (Lake Geneva) Montreux, Switzerland

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Antje’s space This was my first trip to “God’s own country” as Kerala is called. After a long train journey I arrived in heaven. You see in the right of the picture a hut where we slept. It had a bathroom outside with no roof. In front is a yellow cabin where we always had breakfast, read books and in the mornings I did yoga. I had never felt closer to nature, to earth, than at this place. We only stayed here for three days during our tour through India. But it was heaven. I loved the fireflies at night. They were even in that little hut, it was first time I’d ever seen them. This place was perfect to forget the industrial problems we have in the world. It freed my mind. I’m from Berlin. I studied in Germany (communication management). I’m a public relations manager for a five-star luxury hotel and plan to move to New Delhi, it’s time for a change.

There are a lot of things that inspire me, mostly books and art. My favourite book is “A Moveable Feast” by Hemingway. I read it at 16 and since then over and over again. And for art Berlin is an inspiring place, there are so many galleries and exhibitions. I love spending the weekends at design fairs and exploring hidden small galleries. Mostly I spend my free time with friends or journalists exploring the city. I also like to draw sketches and read. I would definitely like to be famous for my sketches. But unfortunately there is less free time to do so. That’s why if I didn’t have to earn a living I would be an artist and paint.

The Venice of the East, Nedmundy, India

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Roz’s space My favourite Thinking Space is this view from the back of my horse Bazillion, looking west from the top of a hill near Palo Alto in California’s Bay area. Getting there by horse is an important element. Away from traffic, crowds and technology, it’s a chance to slow down to the pace nature intended – horses only operate in that dimension – and I have time to think. Life can be frenetic and tangled. Out in the hills on a horse, the knots loosen and the threads separate. I’m English, and grew up partly in Ghana, Canada, and Sabah, before graduating from Leeds University and becoming a journalist. Now I’m in marketing in Silicon Valley. If I didn’t have to earn a living, I’d be seriously writing plays…one day!

Bleaker countryside and oceans have always been my favourite ‘Thinking Spaces’: open hills, the downs in Wiltshire, deserts, a ship’s wake uncoiling endlessly at sea. The Pacific Ocean starts on the other side of the hills here: the Thinking Space is unlimited and my mind is free to roam, so that when I ride back to be fenced in again by the demands of daily life, I’m ready.

A hilltop view, Palo Alto, California

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Jani’s space Pyynikki Ridge was formed as the ice sheet of the last Ice Age melted away, the view from the top of the ridge is magnificent, there is even an old observation tower and a small wooden bench, where one can sit down and think while looking at the view.

I have mostly travelled in Europe but have also been to New York, Rio de Janeiro, Beijing, Singapore and Dubai.

I am inspired by large cities like Paris, London and New York where I like to walk around and just observe things. I am Over the years, I have often particularly interested in public contemplated the big issues of transport networks. I read a lot my life sitting there. The serenity and am constantly running out of of nature inspires a feeling of space in my bookcase. continuity and of belonging to this place. It reminds me of basic If I didn’t have to work for a values that matter more than living, I would travel more to superficial successes or collect inspiring ideas abroad appearances that we put up. and, in my personal life, I would also devote more time to my I studied business at Turku daughter. School of Economics in Finland and spent a semester as an exchange student in Lille, France. I work as a service product manager at an international high-tech company. I speak Finnish (my native language) and fluent English and French. Additionally, I have studied Spanish, Swedish and Latin.

A spot to contemplate, Pyynikki Ridge, Tampere, Finland

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Joseph’s space My space was the main Plaza in But I also find inspiration in the Cuzco, Peru. Cuzco is the former places that are evidence of what capital of the Incan Empire. life was like, like Macchu Picchu or the Great Wall. The square maintains an old colonial style and is a gathering By seeing what is old and what place for tourists. is new, I feel like I can begin to trace where we will be The confluence of modern tomorrow. tourism, ancient civilization and colonial style gives one a certain perspective of where humanity has been and where it has gone. I am a law student at Southern Methodist University’s Dedman School of Law in the US. I received my BA from the University of Texas in Austin, US. When I’m not studying, I am a law clerk. I am inspired by the modern and the ancient. I constantly try to see where history is heading. I find inspiration in places where modernity is self-evident. Where you can literally see the history of man being written, like the skyscrapers being built in China.

Plaza De Armas, Cuzco, Peru

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Carl’s space My space is the waterfall in the village of West Burton – in the Yorkshire Dales, UK. We holiday at a friend’s cottage when we want total tranquillity. It makes us very relaxed and promotes a desire to simply read and walk. Soaking up the glorious countryside where there is very little traffic apart from people working the land one connects to the real world, real values. Very calming. I am from Rugby, Warwickshire, UK, but have lived up in Yorkshire for ten years. I have lived/worked in New York, Perth and London. I have travelled with business over the years to most of the US, Europe, Israel and Canada. I didn’t attend university – I went to college but dropped out as I wanted to get into business. I have been self-employed for eight years and work in international business development for software and technology companies.

Places that inspire me include the Yorkshire Dales and Yorkshire Sculpture Park, New York and most art galleries.  In my spare time my wife and I like to cook, walk, socialise, see live music, visit art galleries and exhibitions. I’d like to be famous for achieving something of merit that lasts. Pondering new start-up options - I want to create something that is useful and that creates sustainable jobs. If I didn’t have to earn a living I’d like to run a small music venue, combining an art gallery and help incubate up-and-coming musicians and artists.

Village waterfall, West Burton, Yorkshire Dales, UK

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Markus’s space Västerbron is famous for two reasons. Lots of people have committed suicide by jumping off the bridge. The bridge is also mentioned a lot in Swedish popular culture, mostly music.

when I was in Africa, I read Fitzgerald’s “The Great Gatsby” and was totally inspired, both by the great piece of literature and the great fields of the Savannah.

It’s a little bit like love, the best This summer and fall, I walked piece of inspiration that was over the bridge almost every ever made. If you can capture morning to catch the metro to that you can do anything. work. It helped me clear my brain and focus on my daily tasks, taking in a great view with a fresh breath of air worked every time. I was born in Stockholm and have lived in Sweden most of my life. I studied communications at Örebro University, in Sweden and the University of West Florida in the US. I have travelled a lot to Europe, USA, Africa, South-East Asia and China. I currently work in digital communications for a Swedish energy company. I’m inspired when two good things come together to create something great. As an example,

A morning walk on the bridge V채sterbron, Sweden

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Femi’s space Pershing Square is a space I love going to as it’s a place to people watch while enjoying a little solace in the concrete jungle. I spend a lot of time on the weekends sitting there reading and working on my iPad.

Wright State University in Dayton, Ohio, US.

The space was taken from the Penthouse restaurant at the Huntley hotel, which I go to a lot on Sunday afternoons for the views over the Pacific Ocean.

I went back to Nigeria and established a small local building materials company in one of Nigeria’s toughest cities by socio-economic standards.

It’s a quiet place where I spend a lot of time networking with social media friends, thinking of all the future possibilities for a connected world.   I currently work as a management professional for a firm listed as one of the “Fortune 100 best companies to work for”. I was born in the US, raised in western Europe (UK and Austria, during my fathers tenure at OPEC) and Nigeria.

My goal was to contribute to a burgeoning community, by providing low-cost building materials to local businesses and individuals.

I completed my high school education in the UK, before enrolling and graduating from

In 2004 after a standout career with a consumer electronics retailer, I decided to take time away from corporate America.

I returned to the US, having learned many social lessons in Africa, in particular the importance of sharing ideas within local communities, showing compassion for our neighbours and understanding that charity and business should go hand in hand at all times.

Solace in the concrete jungle, Pershing Square, Los Angeles

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Andrea’s space Mar Morto is the wildest place in Monte Argentario, Italy. Just before Porto Santo Stefano, you must take the “strada panoramica” for about 10km, in the direction of “Le Cannelle”. You can look at Giannutri Island in the middle of the sea and then the Red Island, near the coast. You have to walk 20min through a thin passage to have an astonishing picture of this lovely place. It’s an amazing mixture of freedom and silence, interrupted only by the sound of waves and seagulls. I am from Grosseto, Italy. I have a degree in economics and a master’s in economics and banking, both from the University of Siena. I speak Italian, English and French and currently work for a bank.

I am inspired by people who have the strength to express their ideas against prejudices or bounds and, on the other hand, by people who listen to your opinions and take note of them, with the aim of improving life or simply solving problems for a collective welfare. My favourite book is “Cien años de soledad”, by Gabriel García Márquez, my favourite film is “American Beauty” and my favourite musician is Carlos Santana.

Mar Morto, Monte Argentario, Italy

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Mike’s space My space saved my life.

I now fish from that very spot. I’m still disabled, and will in I was diagnosed with a time completely lose the degenerative spinal condition feelings in my legs. My Thinking which left me disabled. After Space allowed me put things in 22 years of military service, to perspective, in peace, quiet and suddenly lose the ability to walk solitude.  was a huge hit. It’s hard to put my experience While at Headley Court Military into words, I once wrote the Hospital, I had a breakdown. I whole story and it came to 37 shunned mental health help and pages of A4, both sides! I often instead, spent three weeks at go to my space and reflect on my caravan to sort my own head the difference in me then and out. now.  The lake in the picture was my first “mountain to climb”. It’s only 200 yards from my van to the lake, but I eventually walked there with the aid of my walking stick. The wooden structure on the side of the lake is where I stood and “sorted my head out”, beat the pain and gained a new enthusiasm for life.

I’m currently having a complete change of career path, taking an accountancy course, then hoping to start an MBA in finance. I hope to go into business as a consultant in the future. 

A space that saved a life, UK

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Julie’s space My space is the Hollywood Beach at the north end of Lake Shore Drive in lovely Chicago, US. Every morning, weather permitting, I stroll along the shoreline with my two Chihuahuas. Experiencing the feel of the sand, the sound of the waves, tails wagging in the air and the sun creeping above the horizon line, it is the best way to start the day. For the past two years, I have captured images from our walks and shared them with my friends, family and acquaintances via Twitter or Facebook. I love being able to share that priceless moment with people. Everyone truly enjoys seeing them. Not only has it become my ritual, but theirs as well. And that is what inspires me.

Being a native Chicagoan, Lake Michigan is in my soul. The lake teaches you about the fluidity of this ever-changing world. That anything is possible and nothing is permanent. These points stay with me daily while I am busy working in one of the largest ad agencies in the city, dreaming of how I can travel off to various beaches to capture the eastern sun and share it with everyone.

Hollywood Beach, Chicago, US

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Ieva’s space My space is in the old town area of Vilnius, Lithuania. It’s been a long time since I accidently found it while passing by one lazy summer afternoon.

At the moment I’m finishing my studies on journalism at Vilnius University and working as a radio journalist at the same time.

Now I’ve lived here for four years and this place is still one of my favourite spaces to think.

I speak Lithuanian, English and French, enjoy jazz music and collect soundtracks from “new wave” cinema films. I admire great radio and TV documentaries and want to make some good ones after my current studies.

Why? It might sound scary, but this cemetery is an inspiration to live. When I feel a lack of inspiration I often go there to walk surrounded by the statues of thinking angels. Sometimes there is a girl playing the flute there. As this cemetery is on the hill down near the river, you can see the living city at the same time as the “sleeping” city of dead. I’m Lithuanian and I was raised there. I travelled and lived in France and Belgium for a year.

The cemetery of Bernardinai, Vilnius, Lithuania

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Pedro’s space The space is in the entrance of a canal that connects a small fishing village, where I was born, to the open sea. This lighthouse is used to signal to the boats far away in the ocean the way back home and is a very important place to the people that live here. It is the place that brings happiness when the boats come along full of fish after a good hunt, but also brings sorrow to families when a fisherman unfortunately dies during an adventure. A lot of people come to this place, it is the north part of the village and here you can see all the beach fringe and you have the furthest view of the horizon. It is for sure a Thinking Space, there’s nothing better than sitting on a bench there with good company and discussing, chatting away.

I don’t know of other places that compare to this space, but I assure you that I will keep this place with me wherever in the world my life leads, this will forever be my Thinking Space. I am currently a stock trader and studying economics.

Farol da Barra, Florianopolis, Brazil

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Amy’s space This space is on Lake Geneva, taken from the chateau in Nyon, Switzerland, while I was studying abroad in the summer of 2011. No other place, beside my childhood home in the countryside of China, brought me more tranquillity. The morning haze clouding the far-away peaks of the French Alps, the shimmering lake, the quaint old town houses, my memory and image of this place takes my breath away every time. I had stared and stared for hours at this view, and I was never once bored. My mind had wandered while staring at it, drifting to memories of home in China, US, school, friends and classes I must attend the next morning. Yet, instead of feeling worried as I usually did elsewhere, my mind felt very much at ease. I’m not sure I will be able to fully uncover the origin of the magic and power behind this view.

However, I do know that whenever I return to this spot, through looking at this picture, I am still unfailingly held spellbound by its purity and gasp of freshness. I currently attend university and live in Rhode Island in the US.

Lakeside chateau Lac Leman, Nyon, Switzerland

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Jane’s space I share my Thinking Space with everyone in the office who does the ritual five minute-after lunch walk to the mini-park overlooking Sagami Bay, Hayama town and Mount Fuji. Seeing Mount Fuji is the highlight of the walk, though I’m more drawn by the tree on a slope. I just love how gracefully it stands. It has a calming effect on me so I took a photo to share with some friends cooped inside cubicles back in the office. I grew up in Sibuyan island in the Philippines. I am currently based in Hayama, Japan, working as a policy researcher on climate change issues. Work brings me to different places in and out of Asia. I get by with English, Tagalog, a little Nihongo, a few Spanish words, hand gestures and a lot of smiles when I’m lost in translation. The vibrant colours of nature, the sound of music and my family inspire me.

I enjoy watching “NCIS LA”, listening to random music, reading The Economist, Inquirer, National Geographic and now following Thinking Spaces. I do ikebana, dive, hike and take a lot of photos, which I hope to exhibit and publish soon.

Sagami Bay Hayama, Mount Fuji, Japan

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Diane’s space Poros is a lovely island, greatly underrated. I arrived on Poros on a dazzling spring morning in 2007 in search of a home for the weekend and decided to stay. Poros has a soothing energy, rooted in contentment and a deep sense of place. Adjusting to life in a closed, rural community isn’t easy after a life spent in large cities like San Diego, Athens, London, Washington and New York. Knowing the name of the chicken that hatched my egg and pressing oil from olives I’ve picked compensate in deeply satisfying ways for things I miss from the city, which is only a couple of hours away. Luckily, the internet lets me work from anywhere. I edit an English-language magazine about Greece and its contributors are as scattered as the Greek diaspora.

Poros gives me a sense of place, a Thinking Space where I’ve balance between the world outside and the world within.

An underrated paradise, Poros, Greece

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Sasha’s space My Thinking Space is next to the Tsim Sha Tsui Public Pier, Kowloon, Hong Kong. The clock tower shown in the photo is a landmark in Hong Kong, the only remnant of the original site of the former train terminal on the Kowloon-Canton railway. This area is usually full of locals and tourists but very quiet in the early mornings. It’s about a 40-minute walk from my home and I like to walk there during weekend mornings before the crowd and look over the beautiful Hong Kong harbour. This gives me a peaceful mind. People come here to enjoy the sea breeze, to take photos of the famous harbour view (one of the best ten night views in the world), to fish, to take the ferry to the island of Hong Kong and to board yachts.

There are always activities held here, such as outdoor concerts, like the Piazza Live Relay for the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra held in October 2011. I am a native, born in Hong Kong, working in infrastructure projects after spending 16 years in the US for higher education and work.

Tsim Sha Tsui public pier, Kowloon, Hong Kong

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Mahmoud’s space The space is in the city of Turin in Italy. The image and the rest of the photos in the album, take me back almost two years to many high hopes (already satisfied) and many accomplished dreams. Spring 2010 was the nicest time I’ve ever had in my life. When I took the photo the sun was setting, sending slight sunbeams on the city and mixing the colours and fragrances in one marvellous scene. I can hardly find the words to describe my feelings at that moment, I’m not a poet, but I just felt a need to collect that moment, at least for a second, so I captured it in a photo. I am Syrian from a city in the north called Aleppo. I spent my childhood in Lagos, Nigeria, grew up and graduated in Syria then moved to Italy in 2009. After getting my masters degree, I got an internship at an Italian company as an export manager.

I was then accepted at the prestigious “Bluebook Internship” to undertake a placement at the European Commission in Brussels, Belgium. I appreciate all kinds of jazz. I love music from the 1960s to the 1980s and some from the 1990s too! I’m passionate about philosophy and a great fan of literature. I highly appreciate existentialism and I’m in total love with Darwin’s “On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection”. In my free time I go out with friends and try to get to know new people. I would have loved to have been an architect, but unfortunately my path in life didn’t go this way, but I love my life nevertheless.

A perfect spring, Turin, Italy

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Deepu’s space This space is on the backwaters of Alleppey, India. The shot was taken at the majestic Vembanad lake at about six in the morning when we were able to capture the sunrise in all its splendour. I never thought it would turn out to be as good as it finally did.

Everything inspires me, even when I go through a tough situation I try to find some good out of it and try to turn it into a positive experience, that’s just the way I am.

Some of the most influential people in my life would be The feeling I get when I look at Mahatma Gandhi, for almost this picture is the overwhelming single-handedly winning presence of nature which towers freedom for my nation, Lance over everything else. To a great Armstrong, for proving that if extent it also makes one realise you believe in yourself nothing how insignificant a person can can stop you from reaching the be when the power of Mother stars and Muhammad Ali, for Nature is inescapable. asserting that he was the greatest and proving true to his I am from Trivandrum, the word. capital of the state of Kerala, India. I have lived most of my In my secret desires I wouldn’t life in Trivandrum. I completed mind being a celebrity chef, my law degree from Cochin and along the lines of Anthony am presently living in Delhi, Bourdain, as I am a total foodie. specialising in commercial law. If I didn’t have to earn a living Travelling is something that I would travel around the world runs in my genes. I myself have (and possibly space). travelled extensively in India and abroad and have visited about 12 countries and speak five languages.

The backwaters of Alleppey, Vembanad, India

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Juan’s space It was Saturday in the capital of Boyaca, Tunja, Colombia. I was walking around town looking for something interesting; I enjoy photography and capturing things to share. Walking along the grey pavement I found this gate.

I lead a consulting firm which works with small towns on international affairs, so we can improve the quality of life of its inhabitants. I speak a little English, also Spanish and French. Living in Barcelona I travel through Costa Brava and Costa Dorada and love it.

It was wonderful, the contrast of blue sky with green grass. It’s next to a small forest (not shown in the photo) that refuses to I’ve been to Paris, Brussels, disappear while the growth of Bruges, Rome, Amsterdam, the city has condemned it to. Berlin, Potsdam and Copenhagen, and I have It makes me feel bad because travelled across more than half of I love nature, I also love the my home country, Colombia. people in my region because they are very hardworking and noble. My biggest ambition is to help I love being surrounded by the poor people of my region, friends, good music, good food travel, study and raise a family. and my family. I am 29 years old, I studied finance in Colombia and international trade at the University of Barcelona, Spain.

Something interesting to share Tunja, Boyaca, Colombia

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Rebecca’s space Although I currently live in upstate New York, I am a great lover of big sky country. That vastness, the fluidity of passing weather systems, the tug of war between kinetics and thermodynamics that is so evident - it sets my mind on fire. Nymph Lake is in Rocky Mountain National Park along the trail from Bear Lake to Dream Lake in the US, which was our destination for a bit of fly fishing that day. I was captivated when I saw this lake and almost told my husband to go on to Dream Lake without me. Standing and looking at the lake, even during the bustle of the height of the tourist season was like being transported into a fairy tale. It looks almost contrived, so serene and peaceful, with lilies that extend across its expanse.

For me, since it is so different in appearance from its neighbour lakes it inspired me to consider a particular set of circumstances: the interplay of small differences in circumstance and great expanses of time that gave rise to such a spot.

Nymph Lake, Rocky Mountain National Park, US

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Rachel’s space The space is in Kuroshima Lookout Park in the small town of Niihama-shi in Ehime Prefecture, Japan. The space is where you become quiet and simply take pleasure in the joy of the moment brought by the beauty of the surroundings. This spot has become a favourite of mine. I park my bike here, sit under the tree, get a book out and let time fly by.

I have been enjoying my life in Japan, the culture and tradition and even the challenges of daily survival with far from fluent Nihonggo speaking ability.

Living in Japan has opened a wonderful world of experiences for me and has made me appreciate with great passion the beauty of nature. I have also taken a lot of interest in the “wabi-sabi” principle, which is the appreciation and acceptance of transience: “Nothing is It is simply a serene place for finished, nothing is perfect, and musing and breathing the sea nothing lasts forever.” It has bebreeze. It is picturesque in spring come one of my mantras in life. with the charming Japanese cherry tree that provides the I am inspired by the beauty of most restful shade for a restless nature, a fan of great mind. architecture, I love to travel and like surrounding myself with I am from the Philippines, a people who enjoy the creative graduate of the University of process of their work, they Philippines where I studied a inspire me and challenge me to bachelor of arts in speech think. communication. Three years ago, my dream of travelling and living in a foreign country became a reality when I landed a job as an English teacher in Niihama city.

Kuroshima National Park, Niihama-shi, Japan

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Catalina’s space My space is located in Umeå, Sweden, a university city located around 600km north of Sweden’s capital, Stockholm. The picture was taken at the pond near the economics building of Umeå Universitet. The area around the pond is a great place to sit and study during the summer and in the winter the pond is cleaned for ice skating. I am originally from Medellin, Colombia, where I studied for a bachelor’s degree in engineering and specialised in international marketing. I studied for my master’s degree in Sweden. The master’s was a joint programme which meant that, even though my home university was Sweden, I spent one semester in Finland and one in Denmark. Currently I live in Hamburg, Germany, where I work at a browser game company.

I enjoy learning about cultural differences, really like travelling, meeting different people and trying out different foods. One of my greatest passions is cooking, therefore I am always looking for new ingredients and recipes to try out. I am also passionate about photography and painting. I mostly paint with watercolours and pastels. I like sharing my stories with people and write two blogs, one in Spanish and another in English.

Umea Universitet, Sweden

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Anthony’s space My Thinking Space is on the banks of the Luangwa River in Zambia. I’m a back office manager for Luangwa Wilderness Lodge – a dull title for a varied collection of responsibilities. Needless to say, I’m rarely in the office.

I speak a bit of Swahili, Zulu, Nyanja, German and Portuguese. In England I move from job to job, waiting to return to Africa when the rains have abated.

I’ve been inspired throughout rural Africa by people’s tenacity in adversity. Favourite authors After a hectic day I’d sit by a fire include Martin Amis and Kurt at my Thinking Space absorbing Vonnegut, I love the the sights, sounds and smells of Rolling Stones, but I’d hate to Africa. be famous myself. Various species of insects and animals would come to join the hundreds of hippo below my seat, feeling relaxed and at peace in a way I never do in England. I’m originally from Manchester, England. I twice attended university but found the learning by rote and low expectations to be demeaning and quit. It was too easy – no challenge.

My time is spent on fitness, studying wildlife, ecology, conservation techniques and principles, and photography. If I didn’t have to earn a living, I’d do exactly what I’m doing now.

A long way from Manchester, Luangwa River, Zambia

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Fanny’s space My space is in Lanyu (orchid) Island, Taiwan.

I speak Mandarin Chinese, English and a little Spanish. I used to be a PR executive and an At that time, I was having a road entrepreneur. trip with my friends before I departed for Spain to study for I love travelling and listening to my MBA degree. I’m currently music. My personal aspiration living in Barcelona. I took this is to live an unregrettable life photo at the beach of Lanyu and understand more about the Island, which is also the most world. eastern point of Taiwan. I appreciate a person who This is the place where the always tries to make every gleam of the morning’s first moment of their life beam will touch Taiwan when meaningful, no matter how poor the sun rises. The moment when or rich they are. I am inspired by the sun rose from the sea was people who care about others one of stunning beauty. and contribute to the effort of helping others. I still remember the four of us sat side by side on the rock on the beach to appreciate the sunrise together. I told myself I will never forget this moment and the beautiful land. Since I may not be able to meet my friends for a long time, I also made a wish in my heart that we will be back to the island in the future.

A stunning sunrise, Lanyu (orchid) Island, Taiwan

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Claire’s space I took this photo of my space one summer. After taking a short detour from the historic Columbia River highway, choosing this quieter, winding route over the buzzing I-84 freeway that courses the length of the gorge.

Oregon is my current home, but I grew up in Sydney, Australia, - contrasting landscapes and colour palettes - both abundant and beautiful. I’ve travelled to Europe and have lived in England in addition to Australia and the US.

In the presence of this ancient sweeping vista, I stand in silent appreciation of the grandeur of the geology, the exquisite beauty, imagine the daily activities of the Native Americans who once graced the river’s shores and the explorations of the Lewis and Clark expedition when they first ventured into this territory.

I am inspired by gracious, strong, articulate, feminine women such as Aung San Suu Kyi, Nobel Peace Prize laureate for her non-violent struggle for democracy and human rights, Marianne Williamson (US spiritual teacher), Crown Princess Mary of Denmark, an ordinary Aussie gal transformed to future queen of Denmark.

I also think of the verdant Shangri-la that Oregon is, somewhat hidden during the long gloomy rainy season, but revealed in all its glory during the short paradise of perfect summer.

I am nourished by my family, friends, yoga, the ballet, orchestral performances, playing piano and reading.

A river highway, Columbia River Gorge, Oregon, US

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Ezana’s space My space is actually at the end of Pier 1, next to the ferry terminal building in San Francisco. One of my clients occupies the place, and their lunch room has retractable barn doors that open up onto to the water. On one of my visits I thought that it would be the perfect place to catch the sunrise and I couldn’t have been more right. The space itself is unassuming yet you have unobstructed views of the Bay Bridge, Governor’s Island, Alcatraz, and in the distance, the Golden Gate Bridge. It’s one of those places where, at the right moment, you can hear silence. It’s very stirring and that is one of my favourite things about sunrises.

I was born in Ethiopia and grew up in Kenya and Zimbabwe before coming to the US in 1990. I attended the University of Washington in Seattle and have been working in the travel industry since 1996. I currently live in Harrisonburg, Virginia, with my wife who is a doctoral student who also works remotely for a leading meeting and incentives planning firm, based in Greenwood Village, Colorado. Travelling abroad inspires me. Experiencing simple things like sunrises but in different corners of the world has the remarkable effect of making the world that much smaller. It’s probably the greatest gift anyone can give themselves.

A view through the barn doors, Pier 1 San Francisco, US

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Carlos’s space My space is located in Potosi, Bolivia. It is part of the Eduardo Abaroa National Reserve of Andean Fauna, a protected area.

I graduated from George Mason University, I’ve been to Nicaragua and Peru and speak fluent Spanish and English.

I was there with my girlfriend, who is from Nicaragua, and I wanted to show her these natural wonders of nature. We both live in Washington, DC, in the US, but as a Bolivian national I had always wanted to visit these marvellous sites.

I work for the Korean Agency for International Cooperation (KOICA) in La Paz, Bolivia.

The feelings are indescribable: peace, silence, wonder. Laguna Colorada was a copperish mirror, undisturbed and reflecting a mix of grey clouds and blue sky. A site we had never seen before. The only way to describe it is as food for the soul, definitely a site for deep thinking. Upon capturing it we knew that we were capturing a unique moment in time. Even though there are thousands of pictures of Laguna Colorada, the mixture of snow, grey clouds and blue sky were unique at that moment.

People who inspire me are Ludwig von Mises and F. A. Hayek. Places that inspire me are airports, Lake Titicaca, the Andes and Georgetown in Washington, DC.

Natural wonders of nature Eduardo Abaroa National Reserve, Potosi, Bolivia

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Tomàs’s space The space pulsates with the essence of what inspires me in all that I endeavour to do - strong, vibrant, beautiful, almost ethereal optimism. It shows a space where art and life mingle and dance with each other, to the extent that even to my naked eye, I could have been looking at a painting. I take great solace and comfort from moments and ‘spaces’ like this. Such solace enables me to think and reflect. I am from Carlow, Ireland, but now live in Lucan, County Dublin, where the Thinking Space was captured. I went to University College Dublin. I speak English and Irish and also speak some French and Welsh. I work in the Irish Civil Service. My wife and I are raising our children bilingually, English and Irish.

I am inspired by all those who give as much as possible in order to make the greatest difference in people’s lives. I am inspired by those with keen poetic vision, such as Patrick Kavanagh and Seamus Heaney, by David Attenborough, by musicians such as Christy Moore and by those who battle against ferocious odds for the greater good such as Brian Lenihan Junior. I would like to be famous for, like Kissinger once said, leading people from where they are, to where they have never been.

Ethereal vibrant optimism, Lucan, County Dublin, Ireland

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Alica’s space Byron Bay became a place of a genuine escape from my busy lecturing and tutoring lifestyle on the commercially developed Gold Coast.

Admittedly, my most favourite Thinking Space is under the water, when I am swimming.

The picture of Byron Bay just portrays the environment and I photographed the space on my my perfect time of the day for a way to a lighthouse. nice worry-free afternoon swim, when the sun is comfortably It looks very rustic and filled warm. with natural elements, dramatic clouds, waves, trees and sand. I don’t want to be famous, but They all blend beautifully. would love to travel around the world’s beaches one year. We do not have any access to the sea in Slovakia, therefore travelling to the beach is rather special for us. I used to live on the French Riviera, where I conversed in French, and explored the paths around St Tropez on a bicycle. One of my favourite movies is Luc Besson’s “The Big Blue”, based on two famed free divers. I never tried diving, but I always take advantage of beach locations where I can go swimming.

A genuine escape, Byron Bay, New South Wales, Australia

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Enrique’s space My space is located on a cliff some 2,100 metres above the sea level. It is in the Avila Mountain, a mountainous range in Caracas, Venezuela. My brother took the picture while I was meditating about the size of the mountain, our own size and the big impact we have on the earth.  I was born in Caracas, Venezuela. I spent most of my life there, where I studied foreign affairs at the Universidad Central de Venezuela. Three years ago I moved to Prague, Czech Republic, where I now live, working for a multi-national company. I also spent a few months in Haiti, working for Doctors Without Borders. I speak Spanish, English, French, Portuguese and now I’m learning Czech.

The ability of the human brain to adapt and respond to different stimuli and circumstances inspires me. It is fascinating for me to understand what makes us humans and the things we can do to make our life as a species better. If I didn’t have to work, I would probably dedicate my life to travelling, doing research on human behaviour and interactions.

2,100 metres up, Avila Mountain, Caracas, Venezuela

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Xenia’s space My space lies within Victoria’s Discovery Bay Coastal Park, south-west Victoria – approximately 320km from Melbourne, Australia. The photo depicts what is referred to as the “Petrified Forest” – a cliff face of what appears to be uprooted trees turned to stone – staring out across the black rocks of the blow holes.This is a time-swept landscape. Rugged, surreal, it is a place of brutal beauty which begs contemplation.   I currently live in Melbourne, this part of Victoria is a holiday destination for me and my family. We come as often as we can. My two young children find this part of the world utterly captivating.   I am a teacher in a large university – in the disciplines of mental health, alcohol and other drug use. My background is in community services and, briefly, as a writer in television.

I am passionate about good food, wine, literature, film and spending time kicking back with my friends and family. I travel when I can.

320km from Melbourne, Victoria’s Discovery Bay Coastal Park, Australia

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Guerino’s space My space is a view from the village square in Roccaforte - a small mountain village outside Reggio di Calabria, Italy. Roccaforte, like Reggio, was founded by the Greeks. Both of my parents were born in Roccaforte and both emigrated to the US in 1970 shortly before I was born. I am a graduate of Butler University in Indiana where I earned a bachelor of science in economics. I am also a graduate of the Indiana University school of law and have been a practising attorney since 1999. I captured this space on my recent trip back to Roccaforte with my children Lucia and Rocco.   My space is the one place where past, present and future all come together for me. 

Exploring the homeland, Roccaforte, Italy

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Paul’s space My space is situated on the west side of Amsterdam, in the Netherlands, and this park, Wester Park, is just great. It is superb for running, enjoying the sun in summer on its lush lawns, visiting concerts, the once-a-month Sunday markets, sitting beside a babbling brook, to enjoy great food in the restaurants or just to stroll throughout the year. I was born and raised in the Netherlands, I have lived in the south and the west of the country. I have travelled extensively around the world but mostly in Asia and Europe, also in the USA and Australia. China is a future project. I speak Dutch and English fluently and also have a working knowledge of German and French. I work in IT as a solution designer.

Regardless of race, religion or gender I’m inspired by people I “click” with, I feel at ease with and with whom I can spend evenings discussing everything under the sun. I enjoy serenity and peacefulness like a beautiful temple in Kyoto, a shiny beach in Thailand or beside the brook in Wester Park. I wouldn’t like to be famous at all, too much responsibility and others judging everything that I do, I would lose my life and my freedom. I would like to teach English in the rural parts of Malaysia, to give these young people a chance for a better life and freedom of thought.

A place that has it all, Wester Park, Amsterdam, Netherlands

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Matthew’s space My Thinking Space is from the town of Shimogo, Japan, where I was lucky enough to live for two years from 2006 to 2008.

The Fukushima nuclear disaster following the Tohoku earthquake and tsunami made this prefecture a household name for all the wrong reasons.

While living there I began to appreciate the Japanese affinity Home to some of the most beautiful countryside and the for the changing seasons. kindest people I have ever encountered, the region In order to understand these deserves recognition for a whole transitions more clearly I lot more. returned to this lake, called ‘Kanon-numa�, in the mountains of Fukushima prefecture every two weeks for a whole year and watched the transformations take place before my eyes. Since then I have taken a similar approach to my favourite places near my current home in Colorado. I love to watch them change and really get to know their secrets. Autumn remains my favourite season because it always takes me back to the remarkable colours of this lake.

Famous for the wrong reasons, Kanon-numa Lake, Shimogo, Fukushima, Japan

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Orsini’s space Cap Ferret is a peninsula 60km south-west of Bordeaux, France. One side is the Atlantic Ocean the other is the Bay of Arcachon, the natural cradle of most of the breaded oysters in France.

I speak fluent French, English, Italian and Spanish. I also have an understanding of Japanese and German. I will start to learn Brazilian Portuguese next year.

I am very often on travels here and there in the world and Cap Ferret is the place to cool down and find some relief. Where I can fish, pick mushrooms, jog through the forest, observe nature, cook and live true moments of life.   I was born and grew up in Madagascar, Africa, studied in Switzerland and have worked in many places around Europe and Asia, and travelled the world.

If I didn’t have to work I would spread the importance of education.

People inspire me, smart and eclectic people. Paris, Tokyo and There I have my house where my Venice are my favourite cities. wife is living most of the year Food, wines, long-distance while I am living in Holland, running and fishing are my commuting from time to time. favourite things.

Cooking and cooling down, Cap Ferret, France

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Emilio’s space My space is Villa Cimbrone in Ravello, Italy.

I am 46, married, and I have a son who is 14. I’m a graduate in economics and I work as a I especially love Ravello, a small financial adviser, my favourite town near Amalfi, for its quiet hobbies are astronomy and and relaxing atmosphere and reading, but I also love for its magnificent architecture travelling and swimming, it’s like Villa Rufolo. the sport I do all year round. Richard Wagner, a German composer, conductor, theatre director, philosopher, music theorist, poet, essayist and writer, once said about the villa, “The Garden of Klingsor is found” and D.H. Lawrence once wrote, quoting the Latin poet Catullus, “With their breathtaking views and magnificent gardens, there I can sit alone and commune with my heart.” Ravello is also famous for its Ravello Festival, a two-monthlong music venue featuring world-renowned artists. Several concerts are held on a stage, located in Villa Rufolo’s gardens, that look suspended in mid-air between the sky and the sea, overlooking the Amalfi coast.

I was born and live in Naples, but my wife is from Sorrento and we have a nice house on its surrounding hills, hence my enduring love affair with the “Divina Costiera”, dating back to the 1980s.

A quiet, relaxing atmosphere, Villa Cimbrone, Ravello, Italy

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Marta’s space My space is Kuldîga, Latvia, my hometown. I used to go to that place when I was in high school to think about my future and to dream big dreams. Now I live in Riga and it has become just a tourist place where I take my friends. I am currently working as a web developer and journalist for a public policy website. This year for the first time I was teaching university students about online journalism. The furthest place I’ve travelled to is New Zealand, which is quite cool. I speak Latvian and English and understand Russian very well.  I am inspired by ordinary people living in an area with its own character. Sometimes after work I take my bicycle and my camera and go to those parts of Riga, where you see time has stopped in a way – not much development is going on, but it’s full of life.

My hometown, KuldĂŽga, Latvia

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Melanie’s space I discovered the beauty of the Millennium Pier after several nights of walking around London. I made the leap to move from the US to London to attend university. I didn’t know anyone and had only ever been to London once before, so I took comfort in exploring my new home. I walked around for days but would always find myself drawn to this spot. I was able to remain completely anonymous yet I somehow felt that I wasn’t alone, that the city knew me as a friend. I didn’t feel like such an outsider. I’ve now been living in London for four years and I still come back to this spot to reflect. I always find myself drawn to it in times of emotional stress.

I feel comforted by the city lights. I feel that I am part of something greater than myself, knowing that the buildings surrounding me were built before my country was even a thought. I’m inspired by feeling that I am part of something greater in London. I am a part of the city and the city is a part of me. I feel alive and inspired by its energy and resilience. The city picks me up when I fall down. It shares in my triumphs and despairs in my failures. Being in this spot connects me to that greatness, it inspires me to keep moving forward.

Anonymous - but never alone Millennium Pier, London, UK

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Mihaela’s space My space, Mies van der Rohe Pavilion, built initially for the 1929 International Exhibition, is the most surprising constructed space I have seen in Barcelona. Completely dissonant with Barcelona’s style and most of Gaudi’s works, the pavilion is a minimalist continuous space, which fills you with energy and gives you a meditative mood at the same time. It feels like stepping out of time into another universe. The pavilion continues to inspire me after two years since I first visited Barcelona, its picture is still my laptop’s desktop photo. If teleportation would work, the pavilion would rank among the first places I’d be teleported to.   I’m Romanian, working as a mergers and acquisition consultant in Bucharest, Romania. I graduated from two universities with degrees in philosophy and finance.

Perhaps the most representative thing about me is my website, it is dedicated to inspiring films or cultural events taking place in Bucharest.   If I were to be famous I would like it to be for publishing a Romanian magazine with the same approach as Intelligent Life, the New York Times or Time.

Stepping into another universe, Mies van der Rohe Pavilion, Barcelona, Spain

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Giri’s space It was November 26th 2008. We had reached our resort in Thekkady that evening and switched on the television - only to discover that the famed Taj Mahal Hotel in Mumbai, where we had just travelled from, had been attacked that evening by terrorists. My city - attacked! We watched the TV through the night for updates from Mumbai. The next morning, we went for a day-long trek through the Periyar River Sanctuary. At the start of the trek, we were made to wear rough gunny-bag stockings with tobacco powder sprinkled on to keep the leeches off. The trek was a combination of long walks and a lovely ride on bamboo rafts across the placid lake.

Truly, that day at the Periyar lake was a very contemplative one - reminding me that there was more to life than work and the running around that we did in Mumbai. The family became closer that day. As a family we have lived in India, Dubai, Singapore and London and have travelled widely. We enjoy our travels and like to sample what the different locales have to offer - the food, the attractions, the people.

I went to university in India and work as the CFO for a global Indian pharmaceutical company, but I do dream of retiring early if this were possible and building an independent villa outside Mumbai, where I can spend more time with my family, The picture of my space was books, music, art and the work taken when we stopped for that I try to do with non-profit lunch at a clearing, which organisations. I love meeting provided solace from the grim news of the terrorist attack back people, they inspire me. home in Mumbai.

Solace from a tragic atrocity, Periyar Lake, Thekkady, India

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Ryan’s space My space is a lake about a block from our house, taken on a very cool early fall morning. I pass it while running in the morning, walking our dog with the kids, and to and from work every day. I am from Lancaster, Pennsylvania, however the US Air Force has taken me all over the country over the past 12 years. I have lived all over the south-east from Texas to Georgia, have been deployed to south-west Asia several times and am currently residing in the Washington, DC, area. I recently completed my bachelors degree and am a computer programmer for the Department of Defence. I am married and have two children who keep me really busy. Inspiration has come to me from the strangest of people and places. I am usually drawn to passionate people and more natural settings.

I enjoy being outdoors, whether it be camping, hiking, running, playing sports or just enjoying time with family and friends. I wouldn’t want to be famous... wealthy, yes, but famous, no. Should the day come where I didn’t have to work, I would spend the rest of my life travelling and sharing my experiences. I am a very open-minded individual and would love to immerse myself into other cultures.

A very cool early fall morning Lancaster, Pennsylvania, US

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Monica’s space Born and raised in La Antigua, Guatemala, I have lived in places like Lebanon, the British Virgin Islands, and travelled around the Caribbean, Latin America, Europe and the US. In all my travels I have not found a place like Lake Atitlan, which is located in the highlands of Guatemala. The feeling I get when it becomes visible in the distance as I drive towards it is pure excitement. I can’t really describe it with words as I feel I would not be making an accurate reflection of what my body and my soul feel at that moment in time. This picture was taken in December 2005 when I took a friend for a visit. Let me tell you, I have not met one person who does not fall in love with its simple beauty.

At the moment I work as a stewardess on luxury yachts, and have always had jobs that connect me with people, as that’s what I enjoy. I am an explorer, curious about the world and the people living in it. I love discovering and experiencing the awe of the unexpected. I still hope one day I can live off my hobby, travel photography!

A highland lake, Lake Atitlan, Guatemala

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Karolina’s space The space was in Byblos, modern I am very fond of the Middle Jubayl in Lebanon. I was visiting East, where I lived for a couple of years. Byblos during my fieldwork in southern Lebanon in 2009. As an archaeology student, I was fortunate to partake in excavaTo me ancient Byblos is tions in Lebanon. Originally I am amazing. The archaeological from Poland, but for many years park shows monuments from I lived in Scandinavia. different periods, starting with the Chalcolithic settlement, through the magnificent Obelix I think travelling and living Temple up to the Roman theatre abroad is a wonderful experience. Currently I live in Poland and featuring a massive castle from the crusades. and am planning to continue my archaeological education. All those monuments are magnificent and overwhelming. I aspire to work in archaeology full time. From the park area, there is a splendid view of the city harbour and nearby mountain range. When I look at the photo it makes me feel at peace. I like to come back to Byblos, because it has a very Mediterranean feel; at the same time it is a real pearl on the Lebanese coast.

Magnificent monuments, Byblos, Jubayl, Lebanon

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Raùl’s space My Thinking Space, the Cathedral of Learning, is the centrepiece of the campus at the University of Pittsburgh. With a towering profile that dwarfs the surrounding neighbourhood of Oakland, it defines the skyline with its gothic architecture. I chose it as my Thinking Space because it is as much a home to me as is any other place.

I sing with the Pitt Men’s Glee Club, which has taken my musical focus away from the cello and piano and shifted it to vocal performance due to the passion and skill of the director. Ostensibly, music is a source of awe for me, though I can find inspiration from something so simple as a particularly dazzling sunset over the city to my favourite film, “My Name is Khan”.

As a student at the University of I was born in Valle de Bravo, Pittsburgh, I study languages Mexico, and hope to return from Portuguese and Spanish to there in the future. Hindi and Italian. Despite this, I am a philosophy major hoping to earn a law degree. In my free time, I participate on both an Indian and a Brazilian dance team, as well as compete on the university’s debate team.

Cathedral of Learning, Oakland, Pittsburgh, US

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Archer’s space I was taking a spring intercession in Rome and walked down towards the forum after seeing an art exhibition, to take in the night air and the sunset before looking for a good Italian dinner. I sat on the bench in front of the statue of Caesar as the sky behind him turned blood-red. The bouquet of flowers in his hand affixed no doubt by a devoted son or daughter of Lazio.

I speak a smattering of Italian, Bahasa Indonesian, French and I am fluent in Hawaiian Pidgin. In my spare time I plot my next adventure and dilly-dally on my 15-acre plot in the Jurassic woods of Volcano. I’d like to be famous for good storytelling and if I didn’t have to earn a living, I’d be travelling  most of the year taking photos and spending time with my girls at the vocational training programme called Ladli in Jaipur.

I am a teacher and a photographer. I am from Hawaii and currently live in Volcano on It is one of my favourite places to be. the big island. My school schedule allows me to travel around the year. I have a little jewellery business out of Indonesia which funds my photography. Recent trips include Turkey, India, Spain, Italy, Japan and Portugal. Next year includes Iceland, Chile and Kenya, if I am lucky.

Caesar and a blood-red sky, Rome, Italy

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Candy’s space The picture was taken during my second trip to Peru after 13 years of exile. I was standing on the Puyhuan mountain, located 4,536m above sea level in the province of Jauja.

I hold a master’s degree from Florida International University in Latin American studies where I focused on democratic development and cultural identity.

Although I have had the chance to travel around the world, Latin From my childhood, I have America is what truly fascinates always known about the me, I find its sights, people and Puyhuan as a very mystical place culture incredibly complex and where many head to find a welcoming. spiritual connection with the earth. I dedicate my time outside the office to Kuyayky, a non-profit Believed to be partly man-made organisation dedicated to the by pre-Incan cultures, most research, promotion and likely the Xauxas, this small development of Andean culture. mountain is also peculiar in that it remains green all year round. It is believed to hold one of the entrances to another world. I was born in Jauja, Peru and left the Andes at the age of six. Part musician, artist, dancer, political scientist, traveller and headhunter. I currently reside in Miami.

Puyhuan - 13 years after exile, Jauja, Peru

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Mark’s space Visitors to Hong Kong can be forgiven for thinking the city is all concrete, shopping crowds and that storied skyline. But it’s also an archipelago of more than 260 islands - and it’s on one of these I found my Thinking Space.  

It is the perfect antidote to workaday life. I was born on the shores of the Great Lakes and spent my formative years messing about in the Canadian outdoors, before slipping off to study literature and zoology at university.

Lamma is the third largest island in the territory. I moved here after enough years in crowded Kowloon. My space is a mountain peak just a short walk from home. Its distinctive trigonometrical marker presides far above the village of Yung Shue Wan and gives a panorama of this barren, beautiful island.  

To date I’ve lived and worked in Toronto, London, Vancouver, Singapore and Hong Kong.

I often come here when I need a place to think, away from the trammels of civilisation. Just me, the wind in the grass and sweeping views of the South China Sea. I’ve read books up here, written some stories and often watched black kites and white-bellied sea eagles soar on the updrafts.

I’m inspired by those who achieve greatness in their chosen fields – the writers, the scientists, the photographers, the explorers. I’ve seen a fair chunk of the world myself, yet the more I see the more I understand how much remains that I may never see. So I plod on, camera in hand, convinced that it’s the journey rather than the endpoint which matters most.

A barren beautiful island, Lamma, Hong Kong

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Stemie’s space My space is located on the Karbonkelberg which roughly translates from Dutch to ‘Hunchback Mountain’. It sits between Llandudno and Hout Bay in Cape Town, South Africa. On a ledge with a steep dropoff as the sandstone cliffs fall 90 degrees into the Atlantic Ocean below, I have a view towards the back of Table Mountain with Camps Bay and Lions Head to the left.

Born in Cape Town, I studied finance and economics at the University of Cape Town, graduating in 2007. I am currently a web developer. I am inspired by the natural world, particularly plants. I love nothing better than to hike in the mountains around Cape Town and appreciate its remarkable beauty - we really are spoilt down here.

I have travelled throughout southern, eastern and northern Africa as well as Europe, in fact in 2008 I drove from Cape Town My favourite time of year to visit to London. Cape Town is still the the space is in winter and spring best! when all the Cape’s unique flora (fynbos) is growing, flowering and thriving from our Mediterranean winter rainfall. This is the half way and the rest point of one of my favourite hikes.

The mountain was used as a radar station during World War Two and the eerie remains can be seen en route to my space.

Hunchback Mountain, Cape Town, South Africa

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