These are my new hiking boots, taken on the black volcanic beaches of Jeju Island. It is good to have a few days away from the hectic and polluted Beijing, in a small guesthouse between the volcanos and the sea. It is a good time to think. After about a year back in a corporate environment, I am still often asked how it is. Well, not that bad. Sure, many engineers around and they are not what I would call "inspired". But they are nice people. Some of them are even quite funny. And our corporate culture is actually simple: "Achtung, Currywurst - Stillgestanden! Mahlzeit. Jahwoll! Ruehrt Euch!"

Beside my corporate endeavors, I am doing research on "Microcities" and "Urban Villages", puzzle around with mobility concepts, smart grids and energy mixes. I am slowly picking up on writing, photography and still do a little bit of University teaching. My whole stay in Jeju is like a bootcamp, reviewing everything and ramping up for things to come. Just a year ago I was about to embark on the Russian Research Vessel "Academic Ioffe" to head for Antarctica, as one of the earliest ships breaking though the ice of the upcoming Antarctic summer. Yes, times have changed. And they will again.