I created this project to combine two of my biggest interests: Islands and the World.
I live, with my family, on the amazing, modern, island of Singapore. A wonder of efficiency, a bustling, energetic, global city and a remarkable green city considering it hosts more than 7000 people per square kilometer. One of the safest countries in the world, the easiest country to do business in, the country with the most dollar millionaires and so on.
It is in no way Utopia. The city state struggles with income inequality, cost of living and, because it imports almost all it consumes, is not a very sustainable place. But overall there are few countries in the world that has been able to develop so fast and so well over the last 50 years. It’s a privilege to live on this island.
But for about two months per year we leave Singapore and move to a small, private island just outside Stockholm. It might now have running water, and it is just powered by solar cells which means power is somewhat limited – but it is also such a privilege to stay at – for totally different reasons than Singapore. Literally hundred’s of birds nest on the tiny island and we get to see them nest and hatch their eggs. We live close to nature and very simple. Spending our days playing with the kids and enjoying the endless Swedish summer days.
Ideas Island (www.ideasisland.com)
My other island is an island I own, but that I never stay on. Instead I let people stay on the island for free for a week. Yes, for free. (I ask the guests who can afford it to just pledge 1000 USD to charity, but it is not required.).
I call it “Ideas Island” and I created it because I wanted more people to experience the absolutely powerful creative experience it is to sit alone- by yourself – on an island. How the creative juices explode when you are isolated from the rest of the world and can just focus on the creative project you want to create. I knew this from studying creativity for the last 15 years – and by spending weeks and weeks on my other island. (Read about my book, The Idea Book, here.)
If you are interested in understanding more about why a person would be crazy enough to lend out a private island for free to people he doesn’t know and who just apply on the Internet, then please go to www.ideasisland.com to find out more.
(I also used to have another island, in the Philippines, that people also could come and visit for free. But it got totally destroyed in a terrible typhoon. Read about what I learnt from loosing it all here.)
I make my living being a global keynote speaker which means I get invited to conferences around the world to speak. So in my job a travel – a lot. I worked in 22 different countries on 5 continents last year. The year before that I worked in 32. All in all I have been invited to speak in over 60 countries on 6 continents in the scope of the last 15 years, almost all of the multiple times.
I spend more time in the air than a commercial airline pilot, and I use so many passports that I got informed that the Swedish police put me on a “suspected persons”-list. I have been everywhere from Brazil to Belgium, from North Korea to North America, from Iran to Iceland and South Africa to South Korea.
My last book, “One World. One Company“, deals with the concept of being a Truly Global Company and how to develop a global mindset.
So why do I travel so much?
Mainly for two reasons:
Because I think that it enriches my life and because I feel that it broadens my mind like nothing else can, especially around the things that are important – the big questions in life.
Or to quote Seneca: “Travel and change of place impart new vigor to the mind.”
Me and The Human Island Project
I have created this project to learn more about myself, more about islands and more about the world. It is a theme that is very appealing to me and that forces me to study every new island I visit to learn something new that I will have to write about.
It is my hope that it will also inspire others to see the magic of islands – and more importantly to get curious and positively engaged in building a more humane world.
Fredrik Haren – The Island Man.
ps. Please connect with me by going to the Contact page if you want to know more about the project, about why I am doing it or if you have any comments, suggestions or ideas around how I can develop The Human Island project. I look forward to hear from you. (If you prefer to connect via Twitter its @fredrikharen or by linkedIn I am here.
Remember: No man is an island. But every man is on the same island.