My phone rings.
‘Hey, it’s Frank. Do you still do experiments abroad?’
‘Great, what does a typical experiment look like? Any preconditions?
‘Well, it’s quite broad. But mostly I help a company launch a new idea or solve an existing challenge.’
‘Ok, and what if I need you to be a model for a few days in Dubai? Would you be open to that?’
‘Uh, I guess…’
‘Great, could you send me a photo of your passport?’
‘Uh, I guess… Are you in a hurry?’
‘Well, better not wait too long, we fly in three days…’
JUST RELAX, AND YOU’LL BE FINE!
Three days later I’m enjoying a coffee with Frank and Hein while we wait for our flight. Frank is a photographer (website). Hein is a friend of Frank. And I’m a guy who looks European enough to be in the new photos for a hotel in Dubai.
But I’ve never been a model before. When Frank senses I’m a bit anxious, he explains I don’t have to do a lot of posing. He wants the photos to be casual. I nod. “Seriously,” he says “Just relax, and you’ll be fine!”
In the middle of the night, we arrive at our hotel. And as with every experiment, I never really know where I end up. This time, it turns out, the hotel is not in Dubai. It’s The Radisson Blu Resort in Fujairah. A completely different Emirate. The next morning when we wake up, it looks stunning.
With Dubai in mind, I anticipated for skyscrapers, desert, and a bustling city. With Fujairah, I get a 5-star hotel, mountains, and the peace and quiet of this 500-meter private beach. Not bad, right?!
After breakfast, we have a strategy meeting with the board. Frank has to take photos of the rooms and the hotel’s facilities. But we sense there much more value in capturing shots of all the activities you can do in the surroundings of the hotel. Because that’s where the real value is: there’s a lot more to Fujairah than you expect. To get a feel for this, we go on a rock safari. This is Frank in action:
Although it was bumpy, the trip is fairy tales and rainbows so far!
Conclusion after day one, Fujairah is stunning. And it’s completely different to what you would expect.
But as a model, you can’t look tired. So after a day full of stimulus, it was time to get some sleep. Because with the female model arriving the next day, the remaining days will be about one thing, and one thing only: Taking photos!
And that’s what Frank did.
Me? I just went diving…
Had some cocktails…
Strolled down the beach…
Looked casual on a yacht…
And did a few handstands…
These are just a few non-edited photos to give an impression. The other photos will soon be used on booking.com and the hotel’s website. Looking back, is modeling life for me? I’m not so sure. Am I still anxious about the end result? Most definitely. But we had a great time and it was a lot of fun!
Frank, Hein, Rami, Nadia, Anne, and all the others at the Radisson Blu Resort, thank you for your hospitality!
This experiment in the United Arab Emirates was a great week to look ahead, and brainstorm ideas for 2018.
And I promise exciting stuff will happen as of late January. But since I’m not a planner, don’t want to jinx things, and love spontaneous adventures like this, I’ll keep the ideas to myself (for now).
And maybe you have a better idea for me about where to go next?
All the best,
Ps; I’m the CEO (Chief Exploration Officer) of Around the World in 80 Experiments. A challenge to launch new ideas at companies around the world in exchange for food and shelter. To fund my adventure, I do public speaking at companies and business events on the project and the topics of curiosity, creativity and experimentation. To never miss the bi-weekly update, sign up below.