Exploration is an essential element of innovation. Trips into the world beyond the four walls of the office provide the Fahrenheit 212 team with unique perspectives, and the ability to look at a challenge with refreshed and inspired eyes. Innovator’s Itinerary is a series of recommended destinations around the world for innovators everywhere. We hope that with these tips, you will go out and get inspired, too.
This week, we present destinations from Hawaii, Germany, Finland.
For three days on a recent trip to Hawaii I escaped to the garden island of Kauai. The northernmost of Hawaii’s eight islands, Kauai carries the slight feeling of paradise unhinged. It’s riotous colors, wind-whipped cliffs, volcanic beaches and dramatic Waimea Canyon reveal that nature can be at once exquisite and menacing.
Untamed and underdeveloped compared to its neighbors, it’s no wonder that Jurassic Park was filmed in the tropical forests that line Kauai’s north coast, especially in December when the surf there is some of the wildest in the world. These 16 miles, known as the Na Pali coastline are the island’s true jewel.
Here, the forest is so dense and the terrain so jagged that the Kaumualiʻi Highway can’t cut through. Instead, the highway completes a roughly 270 degree arc around the remainder of the island, such that travelers looking to get from Haena to Polihale beaches must drive more than 70 miles in the opposite direction to make the trip.
While views of the Na Pali Coast can be had by boat and by helicopter, the only way to grasp its true grandeur is to hike the singular Kalalau Trail, notoriously one of the most epic and dangerous routes in the world.
A must-do for innovators, the Kalalau Trail rewards clinging to mountain ledges and wading through rivers with show-stopping views of the coastline and a deep sense of remove. Flash floods, raging winds and powerful surf are common, as are rainbow sightings, adding to the sense of magic and majesty. Overall, it’s as though someone turned up the saturation on the planet at this particular spot.
The trail’s difficulty forces you to take a painstakingly slow pace, ruins your shoes (bring old ones!) and consumes your focus, forcing you to clear your head, alter your outlook and be in the present moment. I returned with renewed creativity and fresh perspective.
(Take note: while the first two miles of the Kalalau Trail are publicly accessible, the remaining sections are recommended for experienced hikers only. Anyone proceeding beyond Hanakapi’ai valley must possess a valid overnight camping permit.)
Berlin is my soul city. Anyone who has ever spoken to me post-2012, when I first ventured there and fell in love, knows this fact.
The people there are dressed to express themselves. Design is respected and celebrated. Sneaker culture runs rampant. Dance music, pulsing from secret basements and abandoned warehouses dominates the nightlife.
The reason for my emotional attachment to a place I’ve visited only a handful of times is that from the moment you enter Berlin, the creative ethos hits you like an electric current. Riding into the city by bus or by train, you see the remnants of past empires, street art murals like ancient frescos, sub-stations turned dance factories, an island inhabited only by art museums.
A common theme of Berlin is that that every neighborhood, every building, every nightclub has a history. It is a city that has been reborn many times, from the Weimar republic, to the days of Nazi occupation, to the Berlin wall divide, to the post-wall liberation. With ingenuity and creativity, Berlin has had to react to change repeatedly. But rather than bulldozing and starting fresh, Berlin has reinvented itself by building upon its past. It’s the layers that make this city so interesting
On my most recent trip to Berlin, I found myself in Mitte, inside of a large concrete building that looked like an subterranean government complex. A bit of advance research told me that the building had seen many different lives. Formerly a Nazi Bunker during World War II, the concrete building was repurposed into a fruit storage facility during the Soviet period, and then again into a fetish nightclub in 1990s, before being purchased by media entrepreneur and art collector Christian Boros in 2003.
Since purchasing it, the Boros family refurbished the bunker and have transformed the cement space into a gallery for their private collection of art. The gallery is open to the public for tours that take groups of 8-10 people through the labyrinth of art-filled rooms.
The Boros Collection is breathtaking, not just in its representation of artistic talent, which ranges from Ai Weiwei to Olafur Eliasson, to Michael Sailstorfer, but also for the way the art is presented. In line with contemporary art world trends, Christian and Karen Boros have turned their previously inaccessible, private art collection into a publicly enjoyable gem. They have done so in a way that celebrates the art itself and also the colorful history of Berlin. The Boros bunker represents German ingenuity and Berlin’s ability to rebuild from the ashes and repurpose its past into new benefits for the people. Touring the bunker is completely immersive, stimulating on both intellectual and emotional levels.
Every four years, the Boros family curates a new collection to fill the bunker. The 2012-2016 collection has just ended so starting in May of 2017, a brand new collection will be available to view in guided tours. Remember to book tours early – they fill up months in advance.
By Will Brown
My recent trip to my girlfriend’s home city of Helsinki can be summed up as disconnection from the frenetic digital world, punctuated by lots of sauna. We spent a lot of time at her cabin about 40 minutes drive from the capital, surrounded by a thick forest, and most importantly, no wifi. I spent time in the beginning keeping myself busy chopping wood and clearing overgrowth – before realising that it is okay to do nothing besides taking in the contemplative atmosphere of the forest.
The standout moments were all sauna experiences. At the cabin, some locals visited to enjoy BBQ and sauna. We all just managed to fit in the old wooden sauna – literally cheek to cheek. It is an oddly liberating experience to get naked with a bunch of people you have only just met – the conversation cuts straight to the honest core of the matter, as all pretenses are removed (along with the clothes).
For those visiting Helsinki and want a taste of this contemplative sauna culture, I would recommend Kulttuurisauna. Situated on the coast opposite Helsinki’s industrial district, the humble design of the building reflects the sensibilities of the Finnish-Japanese architect couple who run it. Sitting on the concrete and birchwood steps, hearing only the hiss of steam or dripping of condensation, whilst looking out the sauna window towards the city of Helsinki is a truly memorable experience.
The trip made me realize the importance of taking time out of our busy lives to do nothing, as often it is in these moments we have flashes of inspiration.