Amitabh Bachchan and Maarten Schäfer

Meeting Bollywood legend ‘Amitabh Bachchan’

“I’m here to meet Mr. Amitabh Bachchan,” I say to the security guard at the entrance of Film City in the northern part of Mumbai. “My name is Maarten and I’m from CoolBrands.”

The man silently scans the “Expected Visitor List’. “We have a meeting at eleven,” I add.

The man makes the typical Indian head movement, which looks like a cross between a nod and a shake and continues to study the list.

“Was that a yes or a no?” I ask myself. Continue reading

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Maarten Schafer - Personal Branding through Storytelling - CBNWS

“The secret of a storyteller” – by Maarten Schäfer

I have this joke I use to make a lasting impression when I first meet people. Instead of saying “I have dyslexia”, I say “I have sex daily”. I say it with a totally straight face, which makes people unsure of what I just said. Continue reading

Stad Amsterdam

“In the footsteps of the great explorers” – by Maarten Schäfer

I’m cycling through Amsterdam’s historic centre, a UNESCO world heritage site and an enduring testimony to the city’s rich history. During the Golden Age in the 17th century, Amsterdam’s port was at the centre of a global trade network, with ships sailing to Asia, Africa, Brazil and the Americas, and merchants trading goods across Europe. Continue reading

maarten schafer storyteller for CoolBrands and CoolTravel in chad - CBNWS ATW80B

“Photo shoot in an orphanage in Chad” – Maarten Schäfer

Chad has a chequered history marked by civil unrest, instability, poverty and, more recently, streams of refugees flowing in from neighboring Sudan. Recent developments suggest Chad may be entering a period of greater stability and prosperity. For the time being, however, tourism remains virtually non-existent in Chad, making it difficult for visitors like us to discover the country. Continue reading

“Fight with a toucan at the Iguassu Falls” Maarten Schäfer

The Iguassu River meanders through a forest called the Mata Atlantica before reaching its apotheosis in the Iguassu Falls. In the 16th century, when the Portuguese explorers reached the current Brazilian coast, the Atlantic Rainforest covered the complete coastline from north to south, much further than the eyes could see. ‘Civilisation’ replaced forest with cities and agriculture leaving only 7% of the primary forest.

“Who needs trees, if you can have cities and cars?” I think out loud, while we’re following a track through the wilderness towards the river. “But then again, what will we breath when there are no more trees left? Carbon dioxide?” Continue reading