Thoughts, travels and inspiration

Tag: luxembourg

Five reasons to volunteer in 2020

Photo by Marcela Hernoux Photography

Last December I had the opportunity to be part of one of the biggest self-development event TEDx in Luxembourg City. Most people are familiar with the TEDx model of conferences: ideas worth sharing being delivered in 10 – 12 minute talks, made available to the public online, so that more people can have access to them.

From the importance of sharing knowledge to engaging ourselves for a cause, the TEDx conferences offer a possibility for everyone to grow not only as individuals, but also as a society. It’s meant to inspire, stimulate and motivate attendees, stirring up new and thought-provoking ideas and concepts.

This made me think of the act of volunteering: offering my time and services for free and not expecting payment in exchange. I realised throughout the process that the experience has given me so much that my time was actually paid, not in a pecuniary form, though.

Volunteering has numerous benefits and I would like to encourage you to think about it in 2020. Here is a modest list of 5 of these benefits that I felt were my paycheck.

1- Volunteering gives a sense of purpose

In a world going faster and faster, we sometimes feel stuck in a routine, doing the same actions again and again.

After long hours at the office, on the phone or on a road to meet clients, picking up the kids at school or enjoying a bit of free time with one or two beloved activities, we develop the “Sunday evening feeling” that the next week is another one before another break or holidays.

Volunteering offers a tremendous opportunity to be part of something bigger than us and to give our best for something that can change the life of many. It allows us to nourish our values and to transform us into an instrument of goodness, without the mechanised feeling of routine tasks.

With strong values of quality, respect and freedom, volunteering with TEDx offers me the opportunity to reflect on topics that can be interesting to develop my values and share them with the people around me.

It allows me to be part of a bigger group of bright minds that give their best to share knowledge with others.

2- Volunteering helps to develop deeper relationships with people

Volunteering is usually a privileged moment to meet a lot of people in a different context detached from the routine.

Listening to an older person who is retired and feeling lonely, giving a hand to a part of the community who is in need or offering some free time to teach a passion to kids or disadvantaged people is a fantastic opportunity to connect with others and build a strong relationship with them.

Offering my management skills to TEDx enabled me to meet people I sometimes work with in other contexts and develop a unique collaboration without any other interest than serving a cause I dearly care about. The interaction becomes more spontaneous and genuine, and the environment is more friendly and less competitive.

3- Volunteering is good for your career

Volunteering is also good for your career. As we all know, careers can be pretty linear with the same type of activities done with different companies at different levels of complexity over time.

Doing another type of activity, sometimes completely different in a volunteering role can turn into a chance of doing something different we like or haven’t had the opportunity to try before.

Once experienced, the volunteering activity can become a vector of experimentation and even change if successful, bringing a huge opportunity to target better things and even a career switch into a more appreciated position or sector.

Volunteering at TEDx offers me the opportunity to connect better with the crowd and the public and be in contact with events. It is a great platform for my passion for sharing knowledge and helping people, as well as assessment of practices and activities I would like to develop in the future.

4- Volunteering is good for the community

We are all part of a community of people working to make our lives better. Some having done this throughout their lives and others starting now, growing up to adulthood and getting their place in this community.

Through volunteering we can give back to those who are making our home or welcoming cities a good and safe place to grow as individuals, professionals and families. It allows us to provide a service and give something we know how to do well for the benefit of the society.

Participating at the TEDx adventure in Luxembourg City is for me a way of offering the Luxembourgish community something of value for having welcomed us so well from the time we arrived last year.

It gives me the opportunity to bring knowledge, care and thoughts to a country and city we love and want to see growing and thriving in the next coming years.

5- Volunteering is good for yourself

Finally, we are all here for a reason and the best way to be is to give in order to exist and grow. Volunteering is sharing, caring and growing for ourselves too, and it is extremely useful to do so.

It allows us to transform ourselves through our passions and see the immediate results with the people we are volunteering with and the others we offer our services.

The feeling and the emotions brought by the TEDx Luxembourg City Women event in December were absolutely astonishing. It was impressive to see people connecting as one and offering a unique moment of knowledge and passion to the crowd.

It was one of the moments where I felt the most at home in Luxembourg and I have build many friendships and connections around the event.

Photo by Marcela Hernoux Photography

To wrap up, volunteering is good for a lot of reasons and the ones I listed here were the ones that resonated the most with me. This doesn’t mean you won’t find others, maybe even more relevant for your personal view and needs. I believe everyone should volunteer even if it is once in their life time. You can be surprised to learn that it is as much about yourself as it is about the others you help.

Let me know your thoughts about it. Are you volunteering? Are you thinking about doing something like this? What does it make you feel? Please connect and share your opinion. I would be delighted to hear more about you and know how volunteering makes you feel 🙂

5 reasons to discover Luxembourg now!

Abbaye de Neumünster, Luxembourg Grund

Summer has passed so quickly and it’s a pleasure to welcome you back after the holidays with some more pictures of my travels around Europe.

A business opportunity brought us to Luxembourg and we have been able to enjoy a fantastic summer surrounded by new landscapes that I wanted to show everyone. So here are 5 reasons to visit Luxembourg and maybe surprise yourself!

1- Summer is nice and sunny

Luxembourg is not a year-round warm country, but its continental climate offers a good choice for summer weather while being really reasonnable regarding its European neighbors.

This Summer most of the days were around 25 degrees with nights around 15 mainly due to the forests surrounding its capital and main towns. Temperatures feel really comfortable, bringing enjoyment to outdoors activities. Even on cloudy days, a good walk is always pleasant.

Luxembourg can be easily accessed by road, train or plane and its national airline Luxair, is well known for its quality and punctuality. And it is always good to remember, from the 1st of March 2020, all public transport will be totally free in Luxembourg.

2- Its capital is either buzzling or peaceful and cosy

Luxembourg city has very different neighborhoods, either very international and busy around the main station (Gare) or the business area of Kirchberg or more quiet and very close to the nature, like the Grund. It’s a city of contrasts.

The heart of the city is the Ville Basse, the lower level of the city. It’s a scenic and picturesque area, with plenty of green areas and preserved buildings and structures from medieval times, such as the Bock Casemates, a group of tunnels and galleries build in 1644 during the Spanish domination to serve as defensive passages.

The welcoming Abbaye of Neumünster (in the Grund, ville basse) is one of our favorite places in the city and is a great place to unwind and walk during the long summer evenings.

Some great restaurants offering international cuisine are also located in the area of Clausen (ville basse) and are to be discovered.

The Ville Haute, higher level of the city, is where all the buzz happens. From the historical city centre with its squares (place Guillaume and place D’Armes) and the Palais Grand-Ducal, to Kirchberg, business area of the city with great options of entertainment (MUDAM – Modern Art Museum, and the Philharmonie).

3- Its community is vibrant with exciting activities

Luxembourg is a small country where most of the international communities are represented to offer a unique and amazing opportunity to meet the world.

The Schueberfouer, yearly funfair happening early September is an amazing opportunity to celebrate the town and its diverse community around the ferris wheel and its numerous attractions. It also counts with a great deal of typical food such as the Gromperekichelcher (Luxembourgish potato fritters), and stands selling souveniers and interesting objects.

Located on the Place du Glacis, its attractions offer amazing photos like the one below.

4- Its landscapes are breathtaking

Leaving the city to the North of the country, numerous castles can be visited like the one of Bourscheid pictured below.

The beautiful region around Esch-sur-Sûre offers to the visitors gourmet cuisine and tremendous views on the river Sûre and the forests surrounding it.

5- Its towns are full of colours and history

Leaving the region of La Sûre, it’s worth driving East to the Mullerthal, its beautiful waterfalls, its long trails into the woods and the town of Echternach.

Located at the border of Germany and home a very well known festivals and religious processions, it’s for sure a very well spent Sunday in one of the most traditional towns in Luxembourg.

Those pictures are only a few taken over the summer of beautiful Luxembourg. Other locations worth visiting are Vianden and the iconic castle, or Remich and its vineyards close to the Moselle river.

Different websites are also easily accessible for more ideas and information like Visit Luxembourg, Luxembourg City Tourist Office or the official website of the City of Luxembourg.

And you, have you already visited Luxembourg? Are you planning to do so? Let me know your thoughts and happy to help you create your journey around Luxembourg.

Did you like the pictures? All credit goes to my better half Marcela Hernoux. You can check her work on www.marcelahernouxphotography.com