Winter 2016 - Day Seven

After a long night of sleep, and a quick breakfast, we went to visit a local market with Colored Hmongs minorities. We also went to the Vietnamese-Chinese border, before heading back to Lao Cai to grab the night train. As a quick aside, I’ve been listening to #RivieraDetente on the way to the first stop this morning.

Winter 2016 - Day Six

We’ve arrived in Lao Cai station at 5:30am. In this 8h+ night train ride, I’ve slept for approximately 1.5 of them. It’s gonna be interesting going for a 6h-long hike today.

It was great to hear about these minorities and discover the local rural communities and rice fields!

After the long hike, we explored the touristy town of Sapa, which got really foggy in the early evening!

Winter 2016 - Day Five

Exploring Hanoi

As I’ve mentioned yesterday, I feel kind of at home/at peace in the ambiant chaos of Hanoi. I kinda wonder what Life in Saigon must be like now. It feels like the generation of millennials who grew up in Vietnam today, with the internet, is reminiscent of the French 1980’s, a period of growth, of choices, and potential. It was great walking in the streets today, eating in local cafes by the St Joseph cathedral.

I look outside and seeing people makes me contempt. The girls are pretty in their own ways. The young couples are pretty too and happy by the looks of it. I remember this couple that must have been my age, 25, in a local modern/hipster-looking café, the kind I love to hang out at. In traditional Vietnamese fashion, they were sitting on low-level seats. The guy was on his phone and his girlfriend was resting her head on his shoulder. Possibly after work or university. It was simple, it felt easy, unassumingly honest and relaxed.

As for tonight, we’re on a night train to Sapa, in the mountains and close to the Chinese border. Ironically, the train and our cabin is confier than the one in the night train I took between Paris and Nice, when I missed my train back in august. At the time of writing I’m lying down on my bed, at 11:30pm, unable to sleep. I’m listening to my “relaxing” playlist and jotting down these notes before I forget my thoughts. We’ll arrive around 5:30am tomorrow.

Winter 2016 - Day Four

Woke up after a great/long/restful night of sleep (11pm-9am).

Went to the pool around 11-12 until 2pm and had lunch at the hotel. Then we departed to the local Siem Reap airport.

As I’m writing this, we’re on our way to Hanoi for the rest of our trip. As we landed, I’ve realized that I couldn’t quite remember our arrival at the airport he first time around.

However I noticed that my parents and uncle/aunt who have been here before all marveled at the development of the country. In turns, where they are more surprised, I’m getting more excited by the minute and know that I’ll be looking forward to coming back here!

Tonight we’ll be at the hotel and tomorrow we’ll be in the train the whole night.

We arrived in Hanoi and dropped our bags. After 20mn we decided to go out and explore and look for some food. I felt just right in the ambient chaos of the Hanoi-an nightlife, like I belonged there. Unlike my mom, I don’t necessarily attribute this to genes though.

Day Three

Visiting a floating village 30mn away from Siem Reap.

For some obscure reason I went to bed at 10.30pm and woke up around 3:50-4am. Impossible to fall back asleep.

Jack Cheng: "Appreciating the hangover"

The author of one of my favourite novels, on a recent, alcohol-infused trip to Japan:

It was while I was traveling this summer that I first started to appreciate the hangover. There would be nights in Japan when DB and I would go out and, as one does, end up drinking a little too much. But we’d still do things the next day—go see temples and castles and museums. We’d still do more or less what we had planned. 



Those hangovers felt different than the usual ones. Not just from the activity but also, I think, from the openness lent by traveling. I was more amused at, and aware of, the shape of those hangovers; I discovered that in the midst of them I could do certain things—like people-watch or read a book—perfectly well, and others—like construct coherent sentences—not so well at all. There, on the road, the hangover wasn’t something to be gotten rid of; it was part of the whole experience.”



Winter 2016 - Day Two

After a long day yesterday, we went to bed at 10pm, woke up around 7am without problems. We spent the whole day visiting the temples in the Siem Reap area, including the infamous Angkor Wat temple! In the evening, we stayed in the touristic center of Siem Reap, explored the city and went to a bar located on Pub Street

Winter 2016 - Day One

Arriving in Saigon, and transited to Siem Reap, Cambodia ​[wpvideo 5A4tqu2E]​

Goodbye 2016!

As we reach the end of the year, and before I leave to go on holidays tomorrow, there’s a song that I’ve been going back to.

I’m not usually one for retrospects but this year has been eventful to say the least. Between the end of a long relationship, having been back here in the south of France for over a year, and preparing my next adventures, it’s been eventful to say the least.

I’m learning how to be a better, more focused worker, I’m learning to be less distracted, learning to live in the chaos that can be a freelance life, and learning to be single again after three years.

None of this is making me sad, and I'm ready and excited for the next challenges that will come in 2017 and beyond. I've got a big trip planned, that most of you may have heard of, and you'll get to hear more in the spring! I know 2016 has been a terrible year worldwide, on a lot of global & political fronts. But on a personal note, it hasn't been a bad year, and for that I'm grateful! Thanks again for those who made 2016 special, to friends (old, new, or rekindled), and to those who have been with me this year! I wish you all the very best for this end of the year — Happy Holidays, Merry Christmas, and Happy New Year to all! You'll hear more very soon!



Digital Digest - Andrea Saez

For the first part of the Season Finale, I’m talking with my friend Andrea Saez, from ProdPad, about: - Andrea’s international background, - Working remotely and Coping with loneliness, - Fancy sweatpants and much more!

In this second part, we talk about: - Travelling to the Italian Red Lights Districts - Science & Religion - Empathy & Belief Systems - Brexit & Immigration and more!

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About Drea

If you want to be as organised as a team as Andrea is in her life: Check out ProdPad Web | Twitter

Part I


Part II

Supporting the Digital Digest Podcast

Subscribe to the Digital Digest podcast via: - iTunes (don’t forget to leave a review) - RSS - Mixcloud

Also available on: - Facebook - Twitter - Instagram

Finally, if you’d like to help: - subscribe to the newsletter - make a small donation and help sustain this podcast.

Vlog 019 - Moving out of my Flat

It’s official, my bags & boxes are packed : I’m moving out!…


Parisian Vlogs:

  1. Part I
  2. Part II
  3. Part III



Coming soon via:

Vlog 018: Concerts in Paris

Paris Part III

Enjoy the final part of my parisian adventures, with two concerts:

  • Phantogram live at Le Petit Bain
  • John Carpenter live at Le Grand Rex!…

Let’s talk about The Weeknd

I’ve been a fan of Abel Tesfaye, the Toronto-based artist known as The Weeknd, for the past 4 years or so. With the release of his new album Starboy, I thought I’d take the time to write an article about him, and make a counter point to what I’ve been hearing around me.

Mixtape x “Trilogy”

The Weeknd - Trilogy cover But first, let’s go back and introduce The Weeknd briefly. Abel comes from Toronto, and started making noise at the same time as Drake, another Toronto native. Very quickly, the two of them started collaborating, appearing on one another’s record.

They are completely different, however, and where Drake used to mix sad emotions and hyperaware lyrics, The Weeknd’s music has always been about darkness, cloudiness, depravity and haziness. Unlike rappers, his is not necessarily a dangerous threatening tone, but more of a mysterious dark aura that, coupled with relative anonymity, made for an intriguing and charismatic persona that contributed to his early underground success.

Between 2010 & 2011, he released a series of 3 mixtapes, available online for free. Later, in 2012, The Weeknd signed on to a label and these three mixtapes were edited together as an album called “Trilogy”. With a local buzz around Toronto, and a collaboration on Drake’s sophomore album Take Care, all was set to take off.

“Kiss Land”

tumblr_mqb9jxpbft1sodxk7o1_1280 In 2013, his ‘second’ album Kissland was relased. In my eyes, it remains quite an underrated record. And it sold considerably less than even the debut album “Trilogy”.

However, what was interesting was that where most people expected that he would play with a different, bigger, more ambitious sound, Abel released what many people feel is an extension of the Trilogy. The sounds, beats, vibes, and even lyrics are in the same vein. In a sense, it was an interesting transition album that didn’t alienate the existing fanbase that supported him during his underground days.

However, even with similar sounds, you could tell that, sonically and aesthetically, Abel finally had a bigger marketing budget. The artwork, marketing push, and the music videos that were released at the time were of much higher quality, while retaining

To sum it up, where most people were expecting a surprising “WOW!” moment, Abel took a different path and delivered an album that sounded like an “I got something more to say” statement.

“Beauty behind the Madness”

4d6a3a9b56e2b1073e36a7979b46b6d3-1000x1000x1 Fast forward a couple of years, and a new Weeknd was released: the now-iconic “I can’t feel my face”. The cocaine-analogy has been without a doubt the biggest hit thus far, and brought Abel to mainstream success.

As he collaborated with the iconic Swedish producer Max Martin, The Weeknd was ready to hit the big stage. His singles and features he collaborated on started being every mainstream radio station, and despite staying true to his themes of chaos, heavy drug use and sexuality, the musical production values reached a different level that made it easier to please a bigger crowd.

It was finally the breakout moment that most people expected Kissland to be.


The Weeknd - Starboy cover Fast-forward fifteen months, and The Weeknd has just released a new album, which, at a distance, can be seen as a quick follow-up to Beauty’s mainstream appeal.

In reality, where Beauty brought darkness in a sensual world, feeling like a Michael Jackson record, Starboy mixes influences up from the 80’s, with Prince, David Bowie and other artists from this era coming to mind. However, these sounds all serve the purpose of being used with Abel’s dark and profane themes & lyrics. One could even argue that Starboy is a

As noted by Jon Caramanica of the New York Times, only the final song of this record (“I see it coming”, featuring the legendary Daft Punk) feels like a breath of positive fresh air, in a long double-album.

I haven’t had enough time to digest this album just yet, but I’m really liking the paradoxal vibe that comes from giving a throwback to the 80’s while making this record his own.

Adressing the MJ ripoff controversy.

Over the past few months, and really, since “I can’t feel my face” was released, I’ve been hearing comparison with Michael Jackson. Something I can understand, especially for non-fans who have only discovered The Weeknd recently.

So I thought I’d mention a couple of things: first of all, Abel has always expressed his influence from MJ.

But perhaps more importantly, he’s made a statement with which I can empathise: the idea that kids today may not have grown up with Michael Jackson, only his influence. And that they don’t have an iconic artist that can serve as a cultural influence and voice. The Weeknd sees himself as a newer and more modern/up-to-the-current-times version of MJ.

I can agree somewhat with the first part of this statement. I don’t think teenagers today see Justin Bieber or the recently-split One Direction in the same way that 70’s-80’s teenagers saw Michael Jackson. But I’m not sure whether Abel really is this reincarnation. I guess time will tell.

A final recommendation:

In the past two years, the New York Times’ Pop Culture podcast “Podcast” has released two episodes centered around The Weeknd’s latest two albums that came out: “Beauty behind the Madness” and “Starboy”.

Both, to me, are absolutely essential in trying to understand where Abel comes from and what he’s trying to achieve. And as a final word, I can only recommend that you check it out.


Vlog 017 - Ninjas in Paris

The second instalment of the Parisian Vlogs:…


Trevor Noah's evolving Daily Show

Back in 2015, I wrote (in French) about how excited I was about Trevor Noah's Daily Show. I had seen enough episodes of the iconic Jon Steward show to know that it was something I liked, but not enough to be an unconditional fan angered at the new host. And I noticed that some of the people I followed were getting involved.

Fast-forward to 2016, where after a couple of months after the hype, critics have gone against Noah for being too soft, too different, too stale, compared to the previous version of the show. Keeping in mind that it took Jon Steward 18 years to improve his formula, I found the criticism of Noah to be a bit harsh. 

That being said, I was delighted to hear some buzz today about a recent episode from yesterday.

Or as The Atlantic puts it:

The Daily Show host was measured, respectful, and challenging in his 26-minute conversation with TheBlaze pundit Tomi Lahren.

I personally had no idea of knowing who she was.

Tomi Lahren, the 24-year-old host of Tomi on the conservative cable network TheBlaze, feels like a pundit created by a computer algorithm, someone who primarily exists to say something provocative enough to jump to the top of a Facebook feed.

She’s called the Black Lives Matter movement “the new KKK,” partly blamed the 2015 Chattanooga shootings on President Obama’s “Muslim sensitivity,” and declared Colin Kaepernick a “whiny, indulgent, attention-seeking cry-baby.”

At a time when such charged political rhetoric feels increasingly like the norm, Lahren stands at one end of a widening gulf—which made her appearance on The Daily Show with Trevor Noah Wednesday night all the more fascinating.

Sounds delightful doesn't she?


I personally thought Noah did a great job at interviewing Tomi Lahren, as he took it with a calm and opened mind, trying to understand his interviewee’s perspective and calmly calling hypocrisy and bullshit without going into caricature.

I think this is important: he's trying to rebute the fake news and false facts one by one.

You can see the look on his face when he really wants to interrupt Lahren, but stops himself out of respect for his job and his guest. You gotta respect that!

Diplomatic, but challenging, this is what I'll be looking forward to watching from Noah!

I'll leave the final thoughts from the piece over on The Atlantic:

If Noah was looking for a specific episode that would help him break out in his crowded field, he may have finally found it.


NYTimes: A World of Trouble for Donald Trump

Today, the entire editorial board at the NYTimes got together to discuss the global issues affected by a Trump presidency, in a very comprehensive manner.

There is still little sign that Mr. Trump, who has declined daily briefings by the intelligence agencies, understands these threats and how to deal with them.

On Nuclear Weapons:

Since World War II, the United States has sought to prevent nuclear war and the expansion of nuclear arsenals. It would be catastrophic if a nuclear weapon is used during Mr. Trump’s presidency or if his stance encouraged more countries to acquire such arms.

Regarding NATO and global world alliances meant to keep peace throughout the world:

His fondness for strongmen like Mr. Putin and President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi of Egypt, whom he called “a fantastic guy,” suggests indifference if not disdain for efforts to promote human rights and democracy. He has displayed no concern for Russian expansionism in Ukraine.

The entire article is summed up nicely:

The world has long relied on the United States to be the steady hand. The challenges will be more complex than Mr. Trump ever imagined. There is little reason to believe that he will provide strong leadership on these fronts, but every reason to hope that he does.

[SOURCE: New York Times]

Also worth checking out:

The Array of Conflicts of Interest Facing the Trump Presidency

TibzLetter — Getting Worried… and Political!

Every couple of weeks, I share personal updates to my subscribers over email. Here’s the latest issue of my “TibzLetter”.

After last week’s updates on updates on updates, I just wanted a very quick update with you wonderful people:

Yes, you read it right. In case you didn’t know, after a disastrous election results over Brexit in the U.K. and Trump in the US, France is up next.

Luckily my friend Liam just published this great piece. In just a few words, he sums up:

  • Why France and the election matter at a global level.
  • What the political system and landscape look like at the moment.
  • What can be done by our community of business/tech/startup people, to ensure a better election.

As for me, I’m planning to join a political movement, as hinted at previously and am considering making a donation have decided to make a donation to a political party for the first time in my lifetime. It’s important, and similarly to ditching New Balance, one should always put his money where his/her mouth is: VOTE WITH YOUR WALLET Y’ALL!

[caption id=“attachment_909” align=“alignnone” width=“2576”]A blurry picture from a great night out with Elodie, one of my best friends since I was 15! We went out for dinner and then wine: Beaujolais Nouveau! A blurry picture from a great night out with Elodie, one of my best friends since I was 15! We went out for dinner and then wine: Beaujolais Nouveau![/caption]

I did promise more updates:

  • First of all, I've moved the blog over to Wordpress, and it's now available via the usual URL: although technically, this redirects to the new and funkier I'm slowly getting more active there, so be sure to follow (using the buttons on the right handside...)
  • After the stress and emotions of the past weeks, I've published a brand new music mix to dance to, cook to, vibe to, and turn up to. It's available here!
  • And finally, I've made some progress on the next few Vlogs from the Parisian trip! More over there!


…and that’s it for today folks!

As always, thanks for reading and sharing your feedback!


“Why Paris Needs You — & You Need Paris — Right Now”

From my friend Lindsey, an American friend who’s my go-to for new food/coffee/drinks places to go to in Paris. She’s a regular NYTimes contributor, and has written this piece for Refinery29. In it, she discusses why now more than ever is the best time to visit Paris, with a nod to last year’s devastating attacks.

Ultimately, the best way for any of us to move on and honor the victims was to keep living out our lives in concert halls, restaurants, bars, and public spaces, and not immure ourselves in our homes in grief.

This brings to mind a piece from The Times about the infamous Parisian Resilience. I’ll leave you with a second quote.

We’ve all seen the articles exhorting us to travel abroad now, more than ever. They remind us that the probability of being harmed in a terrorist attack pales in comparison to the general risks in everyday life.

By the way, Lindsey is also working on a book about Paris, in English, which I can only recommend. To learn more about her, please pay her a visit over on her blog.



PS: In a future post, someone remind me to tell the story of how I met with Lindsey. It involves cookies.

NYTimes: A Love Letter to Drinking in Bars

Ignore the health warnings, the sage advice, the calorie counters, the sleep addicts: Every great bar is a breath of paradise, and the best ones know, in their gleaming surfaces, what Proust meant when he said that the true paradises are the paradises we have lost.


Common x NPR's Tiny Desk (at the White House Library)

I’ve had this as a draft for a couple of weeks, but considering certain recent events, I feel we could all use some good vibes right about now……

via Common at Tiny Desk | Matt Mullenweg

Captain Fantastic Review | Movie - Empire

One of the best movies I’ve ever seen. There was simply so much heart in this film, and I feel like everyone absolutely should see it at some point!

“It’s a fairly simple plot but Matt Ross’ debut film is so dense with metaphor that you can read it on any of a number of levels.”



9 Tips to disconnect and recharge for remote workers

Really grateful that I got to collaborate on this article with Remotive, the community of remote workers that I’ve been a part of for many months, now!

This article is all about how remote workers disconnect or recharge their batteries when working remotely. Some great insights from 9 different people, myself included.

My answer:

I’m lucky enough to be a remote freelancer living in the South of France (insert cliche of the sun, the beach, and a colourful cocktail!) So there are a lot of perks that come with that. In addition, I’m living in the center of a medium-sized city: another perk that directly leads to my happy lifestyle of being able to walk around the city with my computer in my bag and working from a cafe a few times a week. How to Disconnect: My way of disconnecting is simple: whenever I feel like I need to take a break from work, I make a note of the advancement of the project I’m on, and leave with my keys, wallet and phone. Sometimes, it’s a short break to grab a coffee and come back, sometimes it’ll be meeting with a friend or running a couple of errands. Even a small break helps me reorganise my thoughts, plan ahead on the next client work to be done, or simply helps me to take a breather from a busy day. These days, despite the heavy load of work to wrap up before the end of the year, it’s rare that I spend my entire day indoor. And if and when I do, my Fitbit is always there to shame me into talking a walk during the day or after my work is done. Recharge: When it comes to recharging, nothing is obviously as efficient as taking a proper vacation. To each his own: some of us want to spend time with friends, or discover a new city and culture. And some of us prefer to be outdoors, or in remote places where they can completely disconnect from their day-to-day lives. But even if a vacation is not available for a few more weeks or months, I find working in a different environnement (or even better, a different city to be very beneficial.) For me, it’s usually a week-long break in Paris where I’m going to catch up with friends during my off-time, but also work in cafes and coworking spaces during the week. I’ve actually met some members of the Remotive community like this, IRL / AFK after months of chatting online. I guess in conclusion, I’d add that we are an incredibly fortunate bunch, at the forefront of “the future of work”: we’re location independent, employees and freelancers and can work at any hour of the day and from anywhere. It doesn’t get any better than that.  And while it’s great to set some sort of routine, it’s also worth trying something new with the free schedule that you now possess.

Read the entire article: []

I just wanna see the light

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Panic at the Disco x The Weeknd x Daft Punk - Starboy (Cover)

Vlog 016: Walking in Paris

VLOG 016 IS OUT — the first part of my Parisian Trip! (Why the hell is there no Eiffel Tower emoji?!)…