skip to Main Content

New blog theme, alltop featured and more

Well, it’s been a busy week-end for some of us, and yes my friend, that includes me. There were some important changes on this blog, some of them quite visible, some of them just starting to bloom. But the bottom line is that we are moving in the right direction.

First of all, as you may already noticed, there is a new layout for eDragonu.ro. I felt that it was the moment to make the step toward a professional implementation of a wordpress template. After searching the net several days, I finally decided to stay with thesis, a highly customizable, yet surprisingly stable wordpress theme. Installing it was a little bit time consuming, but in the end it really paid the time. I am satisfied with the new look, and, as I already told you, you are only seeing the top of the iceberg. There are more subtle options that I really like at this theme, and I plan to write a more detailed description of them in a couple of days. Oh, and when I said “professional”, I said also “commercial”, thesis is a paid theme and it is on the highest scale amongst the paid template systems.

OK, so now you wonder why I paid for a wordpress theme. The answer is really simple: because I want to focus on writing, not on customizing my blog theme every week. And because with this one I have more than a theme, I really have like a small publishing system. For instance, the picture you see on the right of the page, well, that multimedia box is a highly customizable content placeholder. I can assign to it a fixed image, a video box or custom code (like advertising, of course), and I can do that globally, for each post, or for each page. I already assigned to the pages top posts and downloads special images, just do a quick click to test. And I can do all of this from within wordpress dashboard, without digging through code, how about that?

Read More

Raw Food Diet Update: Two Months After

It’s been almost two months since I started the raw food diet and I thought it would be a good time to share some of the effects this diet had so far. For those of you unfamiliar with this type of eating I’ll just say that raw food means eating uncooked and unprocessed food, exclusively fruits, vegetables and seeds. I’ve been on this type of diet before, but now I do it much more strictly, while monitoring its effects more closely. First and foremost, I have to say that there were several exceptions from this diet, all of them because the events were out of my control.

It’s about the trip to New Zealand, which in itself counted as almost 4 days from the total amount of the last month. And two of these days were literally on air, the flight from Bucharest to Auckland is more than 22+ hours. So, on the plane I had to eat some cooked food, but I limited myself only to some bread now and then, some cheese, and the rest of the meals were just the salads, fruits or juice. The stewards were most of the time puzzled by my choice – and I have to admit that I could organize the trip a little better, by informing the airline company in advance about my culinary preferences – but they did their best to accommodate my appetite. So, with a little compromise from my part, I managed not to starve on the 4 transcontinental flights, and still keep the cooked food at a minimal level.

Another exception was an experiment. After reading a lot about B12 vitamin deficiency I decided to incorporate some B12 fortified food in my eating routine. I experimented with some cheese and then settled for B12 fortified cereals. I intend to eat twice a week a plate of B12 fortified cereals with plain water. It’s a compromise I need to make until I have a better understanding of this situation. The vast majority of raw food gurus seems to agree on the B12 necessity, while some other part claims that B12 can be found in seeds, especially sesame seeds. Will see more about that…

Read More

The Trip To New Zealand

Today is the last day of my trip to New Zealand, my plane leaves tomorrow at noon, taking me on another 37 hours travel. It’s been one of the busiest and most exciting weeks in my life so far. There was so much information to ingest and process, and so much interaction to sustain. I can’t really claim that I processed all the information and I’m sure there will be weeks, maybe months in which this processing will continue. I think it’s a good time though to make a first round up of what I touched the most during this visit. It’s not gonna be complete, I’m sure, and it will only be a reflection of this moment, but it will help me organize my thoughts and maybe will help other people interested in living in New Zealand, or just visiting it.

Ambiance

The strongest sensation challenges when I arrived here were related to the senses of smelling, viewing and hearing. I don’t know the exact order, and I guess they must be somehow related, but the first thing you’ll notice is an unparalleled clarity of the air. It’s like the sun light is two times more powerful than anywhere else in the world – and in some respect it is, we’ll talk about later. There is a flow of light and a powerful shading contrast you will see even in the cloudiest day. That’s even more intense near the ocean, at the beaches or in the ferry, and I guess is because of the water reflections. You will have to wear sunglasses. Here more than anywhere else in the world, sunglasses are not a fancy accessory but a must have in order to protect your eyes from the unusual strong sun light. The other thing you must carry with you, especially during the summer, is the sunscreen lotion. It’s common to see people stopping on the street, taking out from their pockets or bags a sunscreen tube and rubbing their face and hands.

And this leads to the smelling area. People smell differently, but usually very nice. There are some exceptions, of course, but the main point is that the clear air makes so easy to pick up smells and most of the times those smells are nice. Everything has a smell here, and if it doesn’t, it will just smell like the ocean. Because the level of humidity is very high, the vegetation tends to be luxurious, and even the backyard grass of every house just grows almost by itself. You have to cut the backyard grass pretty often, and that makes for a steady – not very profitable, but steady – business for some people here. Along with the grass, in every part of the city – Auckland, that is – are spots filled with flowers which spread a delicate fragrance. The humidity in the atmosphere gives also some volume to the odor, and I surprised myself several times stopping in the middle of the road and just smelling the air. Maybe this sounds a little bit too enthusiastic, but believe me, there is a huge difference in this regard between Auckland and Bucharest. And on top of this, I haven’t had any moment at all the feeling of pollution in any way whatsoever, nor visually, auditory or by smell. The continuous wind that blows over the shores of those islands is acting like a non-stop cleaning agent.

And the third sensation challenged was related to the sense of hearing. All the noises have a different, usually higher, volume here. I noticed that in my first night, when the noise of the cars passing near my bead and breakfast accommodation was perceived closer than usual. I thought it was because of the flight and all, 37 hours of continuous traveling might affected my hearing somehow, but the next day we went to a reserve – a park – with a view to the ocean. At more than 500 meters from the beach there was a sailboat, and we clearly heard the noise made by the sail when it was hit by the wind. It was like the boat was 5 meters away from us. Pretty scary in the beginning, but you get used to it in a few days. Anyway, all the noises are more intense than usual, and, in combination with the stronger light and the abundance of the – usually nice – smells, this makes for a very intense sensorial experience.

Read More

Trip To New Zealand – first impressions

It’s my 3rd day in New Zealand and I finally found a little bit of time to blog about my impressions about this. First of all, this is what I call a “pulse taking” visit, in which I will try to incorporate as much information as I can about this country, while trying to understand at the emotional level how can I congruently vibrate with such an environment. The complete move, including my family and all the stuff I consider necessary to take with me will take place in 2-3 months. So I don’t have any specific goals for this visit, just trying to enjoy as much as I can.

Traveling

I had around 22 hours of flight in order to get here from Bucharest, and after adding the checkin times and other amounts of time spent in airports between flights I come up with a total of 37 hours of traveling time. Quite a lot. I had to go to Vienna first from Bucharest, from there a I took a flight to Bangkok, Thailand, and then from Bangkok I took the last flight for Auckland New Zealand. The last 2 flights were around 9 hours each. The second was with Thai Airlines, my first flight with them, and I had to say that I was pleasantly surprised about the quality of services. From the way the plane was prepared and presented, to the steward’s care for the passengers, everything was nice and easy. I even got a bunch of salads for dinner after I told to a steward that I am trying to keep a raw food diet, and I won’t eat the chicken whatsoever. Very nice 🙂 .

There is another point that is worth mentioning about the travel and that is the very strict control about biosecurity. New Zealand is making a public statement about keeping the Earth green, and especially about preserving New Zealand natural habitat, and they are respecting it. You have to declare all the food you have with you, or any other plants in any form, even woodcrafts. You also have to declare even if you had camping in the last 30 days or if you have hiking boots with you. This is making even more difficult to enter the country, once you are in the airport, not to mention the time spent to get there, of course. If you are messing around with those things they can fine you up to 100.000 New Zealand Dollars. Auch!

Read More

Why Going To New Zealand

Once my business completely sold and after all the other assets will be transformed into money, we will move to a new country, New Zealand. This announce made quite a bit of shock among my current circle of friends, business partners and relatives. For those of you who don’t know, New Zealand is almost exactly under Romania, the Eastern European country in which I was born and lived up to my 37th year. Basically, if you put a long enough sting into an Earth scholar globe, and start from Bucharest, it will go out exactly from the Auckland, New Zealand, the other side of the planet. I guess it’s more than 180 degrees of change, if you know what I mean… So the surprise and shock were understandable to some point.

Most of the people were puzzled by the size of all the involved changes and, most of the time unconsciously, made the assumption that the decision was a sort of escape, a “take the money and run” attitude, in which we try to move from a difficult country as far as possible. Living in Romania is hard these days, it’s an evolving country, and its evolution is accelerated. There is an incredible diversity of attitudes and people, from the consumerism and deception, to spirituality and compassion. The proportion of these ingredients varies drastically though, and this mix makes up for some pretty interesting rollercoaster. I was living here all my life, and for the last 10 years as an entrepreneur. It’s not easy, and I know a lot of people who got really sick and tired of all the moral problems like corruption, deceptive politics, economical instability, and ran as far as possible from them.

Well, is not my case. I know it’s difficult to live in Romania, but I’m not going away because of that. From some very practical approach, living in a new country, whatever country that might be, is far more difficult than living in a country you do know for more than 30 years. The main point is that I’m doing it out of intention, not out of reaction. This is a very important difference and I will try to make it as clear as I can below.

Read More

Put Your Blog Into A Mind Map

There were several posts here at DragosRoua.com, related to mind mapping, over the last two years. In fact, there were so much posts about mind mapping that I had to create a separate category for them. From an introduction of how and why to blog with a mind map, up to a recap of my most downloaded mind maps, I wrote extensively about this. For the newcomer, mind mapping is a writing technique, which expand the linear thinking by letting you write in different “directions” or “nodes” of a mind map. This seems to be the brain’s most convenient way of representing reality, and it is often used as a creativity enhancement tool.

I found mind mapping very useful when it comes to speed up my management activities. Such as maintaining a blog. Like this one. You know, writing on your blog is a completely different beast than maintaining it. It requires a different set of skills, it takes a certain amount of time, and, like all other activities, can be optimized. If I can use mind mapping to streamline my blogging activity as a whole, why not do it?

My blogging process is the result of several different things: the software I use, the ideas that I want to write about, the posts, the categories, the plugins, the downloads, the revenue strategy… Quite a bit of stuff, right? And is not from the same league, as you already saw, it’s a mix of information, skill, activity and strategy. The challenge is to keep this in a manageable structure.

One very important management principle says: keep everything visible. If there are things on your business that are not visible to you, chances are that your customers won’t seem them either. Keep a broader perspective, try to always look at whole picture. And there is nothing more convenient for the “whole picture” than a mind map.

So, I put my entire blogging process on a mind map, and started to unfold it. Here’s the result:

As I already told you, blogging is a mix of different activities, information and tasks. Must be all visible in order to keep a consistent perspective, right? Must put together all items that create the blogging process and my whole blogging process look like this:

  1. headline
  2. categories
  3. posts
  4. revenue
  5. promotion
  6. plugins
  7. downloads

As you may see, there is no specific order in which I added them, and no consistency, some of them are information, like posts and categories, some of them are activities that I have to perform, like promotion and monetization, and some of them are pieces of software, like plugins. Not all blogs may have all the items listed above, but my specific setup does, and I’ll take a wild guess that the vast majority of blogs are pretty much like this.

Read More
Back To Top