Life is what we make of it. My aim is to make mine worth it.
My name is Raoul Pop. Here are some of the things you can call me: author, photographer, architectural conservator-restorer, entrepreneur, filmmaker, consultant, etc. Some people also call me other things sometimes… [Here’s a funny side note: my full name is Raoul Ioan Pop. What are my initials?]
I am half Romanian, half Hungarian by birth and American by upbringing. I emigrated to the United States with my family in 1991 and grew up in America. Having spent half my life in Romania and half in the US, this makes me somewhat of a mongrel. These days, my wife and I spend our time in Romania, where we live and work in Transylvania.
I’ve been writing and publishing online since 2000. I’ve had a website since 1995, and the first time I went online was in 1994. I discovered my love for writing in college, where I majored in English and Creative Writing. The best outlet I’ve found for my writing has been this website, and here is where I intend to keep doing it.
I adore the beauty, majesty and peace of nature. I am most at peace when in nature, far from people. I preserve glimpses, beautiful moments from my experiences, in my photographs. I publish my photographs here on my website. Have a look at my portfolio or my Flickr stream. Some of my photographs can be found at Picfair or at Alamy. You can also license photos directly from me. More on my licensing terms here.
In addition to my website and various other places on the web where I post my photographs, my work has also been featured in published books and other publications. Here is a partial list:
- I have published two books so far and they both feature my own photographs. One of them is a work of non-fiction (“Chasing RFI Waves“) and the other is a photo book about the Potomac River and the C&O Canal.
- Did you know my wife is a famous and award-winning raw chef? 😍 Nine of her books feature my food photography and various landscapes, nature photographs and portraits. These are, in chronological order:
- “Pasi in lumea muzicii” (2007),
- “Retete vegane fara foc” (2010),
- “Retete cu germeni si vlastari: surse de sanatate si energie” (2011),
- “Deserturi raw pentru parinti si copii sanatosi” (2012),
- “Jurnal de sarcina: sfaturi pentru o nastere naturala si un bebe sanatos” (2014),
- “Sfaturi pentru o viata mai sanatoasa” (2015),
- “Diversificarea raw și vegană: sfaturi și rețete pentru bebeluși și copii mai mari” (2015) and
- “Un ghid al detoxifierii in 15 zile” (2017) and
- “Jurnalul unei mame: ghid pentru cresterea copiilor pana la 3 ani” (2017);
- A book of poetry written by Jean Wilbur Stromberg, entitled “Walk the Towpath” (2010) (about the C&O Canal and its towpath) features one of my photographs on the cover.
- A guide for new photographers written by Jen Consalvo, entitled “Love Your Photos” (2010) features a couple of my photographs in it.
- My food photographs and my portraits of my wife have naturally made their way into various (and numerous) Romanian media publications and TV programs.
You can see my filmmaking on my YouTube Channel or my wife’s channel. I film and edit my wife’s two current web shows, Ligia’s Kitchen and De Vorba cu Ligia, and my own show called Romania Through Their Eyes. I also have a web series called A Guide to a Good Life.
Being a filmmaker is a wonderful thing. It’s also overwhelming, particularly when you get to play the role of writer, producer, director, camera operator, sound operator, lighting technician, set designer, editor, media technician, publisher and distributor. Has it been worth it? Absolutely. I’ve learned so much and my work has improved quite a bit over time. I’d say the most important aspects are framing, lighting and sound. When I improved on these three things, my videos started to look a lot better.
My interests are varied and my writing reflects that. I publish original content on my website. I sometimes publish links or collections of links to interesting articles, but so far, it’s been my own writing. I get offered guest posts from time to time and I’ve always said no to each of them. If there’s a lull in my posts, it means I’m busy with other projects.
I’ve got knowledge and experience in the following fields:
- Creative thinking: coming up with creative solutions to real-world problems, like technical or design issues; see my consulting website and contact me if interested in my help, this kind of work makes me feel truly useful.
- Information technology (see details below)
- Healthcare administration (I have a Master’s degree in this)
- Architectural conservation and restoration work (see our NGO’s website for details about our ongoing projects).
You’ll notice that I write a lot about technology, and you may wonder what gives me the authority to do so. I have been working in IT since 1995 and have served in various capacities, including tech support, programmer, webmaster, manager and director. I now work as a consultant. I have implemented and developed electronic medical records systems and online learning systems and content management systems. I have written IT policies and reorganized and merged entire departments. I assembled server rooms and servers and desktop computers and made IT purchases big and small. In short, I’ve worked a LOT in IT. It’s a field that I know and like. Still, after all this time, I constantly find that technology is not the final solution. It’s eons away from the designs and mechanisms of nature and it can’t be relied upon in critical situations. It has limits that fail and disappoint. It’s a good helper but not much beyond that.
I am naturally interested in everything that has to do with computers and various other technologies that make our life better. But I am also deeply concerned with how we are disposing of old technology. We must recycle and reuse as much of it as possible.
New and innovative products are wonderful only if they fulfil a real need and are made to last a very long time. I love good design and I admire products where design, function, durability and reliability are tightly integrated. I review cameras, computers and other technology-related products on my site from time to time.
Among other things, I trained with weights quite seriously from 1994 to 2003 and I still do what I can to keep in good shape. I also dabbled in archery and fencing while in college.
I love old movies and cartoons. Some new movies manage to re-capture the magic and the spirit of the old cinema but they are few and far between.
I love old cars. I love cars made by hand, lovingly put together piece by piece, tuned by ear, cars that sputter and rumble, cars that come alive when you turn the key, cars that charm your eyes and steal your heart, cars that click and clack and perhaps even creak a bit, cars with character and charisma and a bit of muscle and mostly, mostly a lot of style.
Ligia, my wife, is an accomplished raw chef, artist, piano teacher and writer. She is the host of our cooking show, Ligia’s Kitchen, which is internationally renowned and is one of the winners of the YouTube Next Chef Program (2011), and also the host of our talk show, De Vorba cu Ligia. She likes old movies, old cartoons and old music, like me.
She published her first book, entitled “Pasi in Lumea Muzicii” (Steps in the World of Music), in 2007. The book is an innovative and approachable method for teaching children piano, and was published in the Romanian language. The first edition sold out in less than a year, and we’re planning a second edition.
She published her second book, entitled “Retete Vegane Fara Foc” (Raw Vegan Recipes), the first book of its kind in Romania, in 2010. The first edition sold out in a few months, so we had to print a 2nd edition, a 3rd edition and then a 4th edition. The 6th edition is now in print and it’s one of the most popular recipe books in Romania, having sold over 30,000 copies. This book is also the winner of the prestigious Gourmand World Cookbook Award for 2014 as the “Best Vegan Cookbook in Romania”.
She published her third book, entitled “Germeni si Vlastari: Surse de Sanatate si Energie” in 2011. That first and second editions have sold out and a 3rd edition has now been published.
Her fourth book, a collection of incredible desserts for the whole family, entitled “Deserturi raw pentru Parinti si Copii Sanatosi” came out in 2011. The first edition has sold out, then the second edition and a third edition is now in print.
Her fifth book, “Jurnal de sarcina: sfaturi pentru o nastere natural si un bebe sanatos” was published in 2014 and has met with much success and appreciation from mothers in Romania; it is now in its second edition.
Her sixth book, “Sfaturi pentru o viata mai sanatoasa”, was published in early 2015 and is being praised for its usefulness; it is also in its second edition.
Her seventh book, “Diversificarea alimentatiei la bebelusi” was published in the summer of 2015. It is a clear guide to diversifying your baby’s diet.
Since then, she has published two more books, “Un ghid al detoxifierii in 15 zile”, a two-week step-by-step guide to helping the body clean and renew itself and “Jurnalul unei mame: un ghid pentru cresterea copiilor pana la 3 ani”, a parenting guide for raising healthy, balanced children up to the age of three.
Our entirely adorable daughter Sophie-Vanessa was born to us in March of 2013 and we’re thrilled and blessed that she’s in our lives. She is now eight years old.
A brief history of this website
After several years of writing articles for my other sites (I started writing online in 2000) and several months of blogging in late 2005 and early 2006, I decided to consolidate my content into a single website.
When you see posts from 2001 as you look through the archive, those are articles originally published at Amalgamy and Lupus Pernix, old websites of mine. By the way, Lupus Pernix is a Latin phrase that means “agile wolf”; it’s not related to the auto-immune condition known as Lupus. For the first few years, I wrote them in HTML and published them as individual web pages, then I coded a precursor of what today would be called a blogging engine, which I called an online publishing system, and used that for a while. I had actually coded that system in 2000 and used it extensively on my sites. It was (for its time) a full-featured publishing system written in ASP, running off an Access database, and it included a control panel where you could add, edit and publish articles, with images, using an online HTML editor. It was, even if I say so myself, pretty nice and well-written. Now I wish I had open-sourced it instead of mothballing it, because it was ahead of its time and even though it ran off an Access database, it was surprisingly robust and could handle quite a bit of web traffic. For all the shortcomings of ASP, IIS and Access, the digital footprint of my publishing system was tiny and it could run well and fast on old hardware, using few system resources.
In April 2006, I took my published articles from Amalgamy (a site where I wrote about various subjects) and a smaller selection from Lupus Pernix (a site where I wrote about web development) plus my posts from Blogger (where I had started blogging), and combined them into a single site, which I called ComeAcross (comeacross.info). I’ve since abandoned that domain.
In December 2007, I moved all my content to this domain (raoulpop.com). And in January 2010, I moved the domain to WP.com from a self-hosted install of WP.org, because I wanted to stop worrying about server issues and focus on publishing my content.
Your ideas and suggestions about anything that pertains to the site and its content are welcome.
Thanks for visiting and reading through all this!
45 thoughts on “About”
Hmmm. Don’t know what happened to my first comment. Hopefully it isn’t waiting for moderation. Just in case, here it is again. I wanted to say congratulations on your beautiful daughter and wife. I spent some time in Dumbraveni and the surrounding area. Have you visited Prod and seen the big church and rectory house? I took part in the renovations. Those were some of the happiest days of my life. I guess I am a “mongrel” like you too: I was born in America to German and Swiss immigrants. I lived for six years in Germany, but really didn’t fit in there either. I now live in Japan where I teach English. Life is good, dar mi-e dor de Romania! Sper ca ne intalnim in viitor.
Thank you for the nice comment! Yes, all comments go into my moderation queue, there’s a lot of spam these days so I prefer to approve everything myself. Haven’t yet seen Prod, sounds like a good village to visit. If you’re ever in Romania again, drop me a note and let’s meet up. Cheers!
Congratulations on your beautiful baby (and wife). I spent some time from 1998 to 2003 in the Dumbraveni/Hoghilag/Prod area. Have you checked out the church and rectory house in Prod? I’m proud to say I helped with the restoration. I am a “mongrel” too. Born in America to German and Swiss immigrants, I can speak German pretty well but never really fit in in America or Germany. I fell in love with Romania when I visited Dumbraveni the first time, I’m pretty sure it was 1998. Since 2003 I have been living in Japan, teaching English. Life is good, dar mi-e dor de Romania! Ar fi bine sa ne intalnim in viitor. Numai bine!
Bravo Raoul! Imi place mult site-ul tau. Si eu sunt tot cu cam acelasi “background” adica din 1993 am locuit in US… Imi place foarte mult interviurile si site-ul. Bravo tie!
Hope you get the track-back for your Vidraru video post – it’s on today’s post at Magura, Transylvania (where I live). Next time you’re looking for somewhere new, come to Piatra Craiului national park and explore Magura. Come and have tea with me.
Ligia’s book would be a great education for caterers here in the village – the concept of vegetarianism is still pretty basic: fresh and raw is on the edge of rural Romania’s gastronomic world. Some new vegan ideas would be fabulous, as there are lots of uncarnivores among our visitors who don’t come for the food…
Sounds like a nice place to visit! Next year perhaps?
Just came across your site… saw the film you did of you cat giving birth. Lovely! Thank you for sharing.
You’re welcome! 🙂
Just came across you web site by chance which is weird as I am going to Bucharest the day after tomorrow. Love your photos and am intrigued by Ligia’s cooking and books. And I am trying to build my website/blog so you are inspirational
I am also a Romanian living in USA for like 6 years, and to be honest with you, I can’t hardly wait to come back to Romania. Life here is so boring, that I cannot standing. Anyway, I love your website, and I would like to congradulate you and Ligia for your accomplishments. Ligia have inspired me in choosing a totaly new life style through the raw vegan cuisine. Once again, congratulations guys for what you are doing and for sharing it with other people.
Thank you Andreea!
Foarte frumos Raoul, am ajuns din intamplare la blogul tau printr-un link despre This Way – o bicicleta faina.
Nu sunt un obisnuit al blogurilor insa de vre-o 25 de minute stau pe aici si ma incant. Am si uitat ce cautam…felicitari!
Not bad. 🙂
I love your writing! Thank you for your optimisms and for being an inspiration. It was also a surprise to find that your wife was Ligia, whose culinary ideas I have often enjoyed.
Thank you Alexandra! 🙂
hiii…Raoul….nice to meet you,is it accident to have ur mail..On my list..??
but…it’s my honored..to have a mail like this,…i di and i love ur web site..very
interesting…Ohh!! by the wa i’m Sara from japan…and..i’m so happy to meet a friend and with ur wife here…really mt pleasure….i Only point….to be honest…
why i write you is…about my Country…i’m sure u r very well known..about happened here in japan….(so sad..) but i wish u can be here and see…the real..happen..and help us…specially to the victim Of the Tsunami..and now..about th typhoon…we Lost are treasure….but still we have LOVE to welcome..all friends…like you…i’m sorry..my lettr’s take so long…
Raoul…?….i hope..i can have One more mails from you…..thank you and God Bless you and ur family….
just if u have time..here is my add:
Thank you for the kind words, Sara. I’ve been following the news from Japan, and have been astonished by the scale of the natural disasters that have befallen it. But I’ve been even more astonished by the response of the Japanese people — their spirit of self-sacrifice and the desire to help each other out of their common troubles. I wish you all the best and I know that Japan will be well as long as its people continue to work together. Cheers!
Ohhh…my God!!!!….hii…i’m so very surprised,to see ur mail…i think that u don’t have time to make even a little response for my letter,..it’s because i know that you are very have hectic schedules…but…Ohh!! God thanks…..to have ur mails….i’m,…i’m so..very Happy….i hopr you don’t mind me to call you by ur name Raoul…so…late to say…how are you with ur family….i wis you and ur family..are doing fine and in good health….Ohhh!! so feel excited,..when i’m typing this…i do…hope..sometime..someday..to hear ur voice…too…(i’m sorry)..i am just happy to be as ur friend too..want to learn..something…i am very interesting to ur site…unm..sorry..if i take too uch Of ur..time…just last and always..wish for you,….take Care and..God Bless you all…..
Merry X’ Mas…..
Awesome site.When did you pick up photography? By the way, where did you go to college? I am in my senior year and i live in the states, so I am on a college search. Was wondering if you had any college advice? That would be a cool post. =D
Thanks! I’ve been taking photos since ’94, but I only got serious about photography in ’06. Went to Middlebury College (Vermont). Pick a school based on the things you care about. I cared about architecture, about nice winters and about good professors. Midd offered all those things. Maybe I’ll do a post on picking a college, we’ll see… 🙂
Found this site through your youtube video about safety razor shaving. Loved the video and love the photos on the site! Keep up the good work.
Thank you Tyler!
What he said.
Decent one, I’d say. Just for the initial word, “Mongrel”, I suppose needs a substitution but, indeed phenomenal!
Great website structure and excellent work Raoul! I myself am a mongrel and with the help of people like you, I learn to embrace what’s beautiful and worth fighting for.
Good and impressive profile. I like your profile, well done.
Buna, te-am gasit pe youtube cind prezentai shed-ul. Tocmai ma pregateam si eu de asamblare. Acolo scapi un ,,gata,, la un momendat si am realizat ca esti roman. Ma bucur ptr voi si ceia ce ati realizat. Noi am venit in 2003 si acum locuim in houston. Multa bafta in continuare pe plan profesional precum si in viata de familie.
Multumim mult, Dinu, si iti uram si tie aceleasi lucruri bune! Sa ne auzim de bine!
I really like your site Raoul. I am looking to establish a professional web presence and stumbled onto your site via a link at wordpress. I particularly like the atmosphere of the pages. I am trying to think about how to articulate that further, but I will settle for ‘atmosphere’ while I try and distill the essence of this and try to add it to my own pages. Good job.
Thanks Tim, I’m glad you like it!
very well said and well done! simply inspiring.
it’s good that you don’t only celebrate the beauty of life but also raise things that need change. i’ve been an advocate of both… 😀
oh by the way, it’s very charming of you to include your wife in here. she must be very proud of you. cheers!
Yes, she is. 🙂 Thanks Jen!
excelent ceea ce faceti si cum va prezentati! Bravo!Multumesc ca existati.
Multumim si noi pentru compliment!
It’s really good website including many of your inspiring thoughts. Really kind of like this.
What an exceptionally honest, complete, and inspiring About page. Actually, extend that compliment to your whole site. Inspiring work!
Thanks Glenn! That’s an awfully nice thing to say!
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