I timed it perfectly. On the last night before we left for Asia to escape the Norwegian winter and to locate ourselves more strategically for the Asian expansion of All-in Translations, I completed my 4th bonus card at the local pizza parlor. Eat 9 - get the 10th for free. Roughly estimated I forgot to ask for a stamp 50% of the time. That’s a lot of pizza in one year.
In my defense, Pizzanini might be the best pizza in the world. It’s a deep pan, but much less greasy than Pizza Hut. I normally prefer the crispy Italian style, but there is something special about a Siciliana (number 14) from Pizzanini. Even if it’s thick, it’s not mushy, especially if you put it back into the oven for a little while after it has been delivered.
My other excuse for eating too many pizzas is the lack of other food delivery options in my hometown. I love to cook, but with 2 kids and a company to run from my home office it is too tempting too often to get a pizza to the doorstep.
As we settle in Koh Lanta in Thailand for the following months, I have no more excuses. If I don’t get fit again now, I never will. The circumstances could not have been better:
I have always struggled to motivate myself to go for a run or to the gym. If however the opportunity of playing football presents itself, I'm pretty much always up for it and I am privileged to have a few different teams and groups to play with in Norway. Klong Dao beach, where we are staying, is perfect for football. Sometimes the reggae boys from Asylum put up goals of bamboo sticks and have a go just before sunset, but till now the sessions have been rather sporadic.
In the last year, I found out that I need to go to “classes” to push myself to train hard. On the beach, about 100 meters from our bungalow, a Swedish lady from Lanta Workout arranges training sessions every weekday (at least).
Mondays: Bulgarian bags
Thursdays: Bulgarian bags
Fridays: Pulse and easy strength
My goal is to attend 4 times a week. I had my first session on Tuesday and I think this program will be enough to increase my fitness level consistently. The Klong Dao beach itself is perfect also for running, with its 3 kilometers of fairly hard sand. It doesn't hurt either to run/swim after my kids every day to make sure they keep their head over water.
There is a great Swedish pizza place on the island called Bajen (I assume the owner is a Hammarby fan) and I have actually managed to arrange deliveries from them. But I rarely have the need to eat pizza on Koh Lanta. Same goes for souvlaki, although they have a nice Greek restaurant here as well. Thai food is maybe my favorite cuisine in the world and if I am not wildly mistaken it is healthy and ideal when you want get rid of your pizza belly. Instead of drinking sugary juices and soft drinks, like I often do in Norway, I can drink fresh fruit shakes like watermelon and orange, for just about one euro.
Within 100 meter we probably have at least 10 places that all serve great Thai food. Then there is Time for Lime which is a cooking school and a restaurant where the owners are enthusiastically involved in the welfare of stray animals on the island through an organisation called Lanta Animal Welfare.
I am not a fan of stray dogs, but as opposed to many other places in Thailand this is not really an annoyance on Koh Lanta. A reason for this, as far as I have understood, is that Koh Lanta is more Muslim rather than Buddhist compared to other places in Thailand. In Buddhism, there is an emphasis on respect for all living things, I guess even a stray dog with rabies. But since Koh Lanta has an extensive mix of Muslims, Thai-Chinese, Buddhists and Sea Gypsies, there seems to be a stronger will to solve the problem. Lanta Animal Welfare plays a vital role there.
On the topic of Buddhism... I believe in karma, or at least I believe there is a lot of truth and good guidance in the saying “what goes around comes around”. This is an important part of the history and culture of All-in Translations. In Norway, one of my least favorite things to do is dressing up my son in winter time. If he could choose, he would walk out in his pyjamas, but obviously that is not an option when the thermometer crawls down below zero and the streets are white with snow.
It takes a good portion of patience and negotiation skills to make him wear woolen underwear and to put the mittens on just the way he wants them. The tantrums usually start when one finger, often the last one, gets caught in the wrong place. This is karma biting me in the ass I think, because according to my mum I was exactly the same. In 4 months in Southeast Asia I will not have to face this challenge once. OK it might rain, but not in the morning when Erik is getting dressed. He is as happy as I am just to put on shorts in the morning, or a t-shirt and a pair of sandals at the most.
A contributing factor to why I believe I will manage to get fit again is that neither my wife nor me will have to clean, do laundry or cook. This obviously frees up a lot of time. We are staying in a very basic resort where breakfast is included and where laundry costs about one euro. The staff there is nothing short of spectacular and they make us feel like we are part of the family. Erik refers to all of them as his friends.
This week he had his first day at the Swedish kindergarten he will attend while we are here. The Swedish and the Norwegian languages are so similar that he understands most of what is said. I was happy to see that they also focus on the Thai language and culture, so by the time he starts elementary school he will be pretty much fluent in Norwegian, Greek and English and have a basic understanding of Swedish and Thai. By the time he starts junior high he'll be able to take over All-in Translations -- we just need to teach him how to use Google translate.
The Asian expansion
All kidding aside, this extra time will do wonders also for my working schedule which is sorely needed these days. The company is growing quickly and we are juggling many balls simultaneously. We are building a new website, focusing more and more on multilingual content creation (instead of just localizing), we're adding esports as a focus area, and our aim is to attract more clients with our Asian expansion. We are targeting both Asian companies trying to break into markets outside their continent, and other companies trying to get a foothold in the Asian market.
We are thrilled to see our Asian languages growing increasingly popular. When I recently participated in a panel at SiGMA about the changing face of content in poker affiliate marketing, I shared some recent statistics we had compiled: in the top 10 list of our most popular languages for all translation projects, 2 of the languages were Asian (Chinese and Japanese). But when we looked at poker projects only, 5 of the top 10 languages were Asian (Chinese, Japanese, Indonesian, Vietnamese, Thai). This is not necessarily representative for the industry in general, but we found it interesting.
Affiliate World Bangkok
Today I arrived at the Affiliate World Bangkok where we will be hosting another (hopefully) legendary Tal Ron/All-in Translations dinner tonight. Tomorrow afternoon, I am available for meetings in Bangkok to discuss your language needs.
ASEAN Gaming Summit
If you are not attending the Affiliate World conference, you can also set up meetings with us in Manila in March during the ASEAN Gaming Summit. We will be hosting the official conference poker tournament in the PokerStars Live part of the City of Dreams casino. Give us a shout if you would like a ticket for this freeroll or if you would like to be one of the prize sponsors.
Now I am off to burn some calories with a stroll and possibly check at the gym/pool at the Muse. But tonight and tomorrow the boot camp is on pause.