May 15, 2022
People who come home from a long trip or finish a sabbatical sometimes collide with everyday earth life as if they were space junk: They are packed with stories and experiences that seem to be out of this world and they crash into their listeners’ lives without asking. Returning after a long trip or time off can feel like a warm piece of chocolate cake that suddenly gets grabbed out of your hand by reality. This is a report about thoughts, struggles and chances that come along with the end of a great trip, sabbatical, or gap year.
November 28, 2021
"What? Four months!" my dad exclaims in horror as he nearly hurls a piece of tarte flambée at a duck. It is the autumn of 2016, and we are sitting in a beer garden and I have just booked my very first long-term trip. At this moment, four months seem as long as four infinities to both of us.
Traveling often and for long periods of time not only changes you, and the people around you, but also changes the way you live, the way you travel, your sense of home, your circle of friends, and your view of the world. l will try to offer you a little insight, with practical tips, for anyone planning a longer trip.
August 22, 2021
"You should write a book sometime," they said. Right. I should write a book. Sometime. Or play the lottery. Or see if I can throw a chair through a closed window without causing a significant increase in my heating bill.Three and a half years after I opened my first Word document to meet this challenge, my story is now rolling off the presses of National Geographic in Germany. Angst ist keine Ausrede – 13.000 Kilometer solo durch die USA. Which translates to Fear is No Excuse - 13,000 Kilometers Solo Across the USA in English. Although currently only available in a German version, my book is now a reality. How did that happen and where can you buy it?
June 16, 2021
"My boyfriend was in Vietnam," I say.
"Oh, we were there last year, too. Was he backpacking?" the young couple asks.
"Nah, he was in the war," I say.
Bam—I am good at conversation killers and surprising blunders.
My partner and I not only have a long-distance relationship between two continents and two cultures (Germany – USA), but also a large age difference.
How we got to know each other, why we almost never admitted what we feel for each other, what the others say (spoiler: Who cares?), and how we come to terms with the idea that we can never grow old together.
February 14, 2021
I am in an intercultural relationship. That term always sounds like you need a master's degree in social and cultural anthropology simply to explain to your partner how to vacuum the living room again. We are not even Swedish-Sri Lankan or Canadian-Cameroonian, we are only German-American, but that is enough to cause various verbal bumbles and cultural bewilderment. So now let me tell you a bit about the everyday life of an intercultural relationship.
February 6, 2021
At thirty you get grey hair. A certainty. At least so thought my fifteen-year-old self. You will have had a career, bought a home, turned prissy and were close to death.
Thirty is a great number and a lot of people do care a lot about it. It is like a yardstick: did I manage to grow up? Did I meet anyone’s expectations? I say: who cares! The only dream you should fulfill is your own. You should be brimming with joie de vivre, great memories, and courage. Here is what really matters when you turn thirty.
January 23, 2021
"I was in a traffic jam for an hour yesterday trying to get to be with my boyfriend!" complains one of my Facebook friends. I laugh.
If I want to see my
boyfriend, I must spend at least 17 hours in transit on three separate airplanes, sit multiple uncomfortable airport chairs, burn around 700 Dollars and race 5,000 miles through 8 time
I am German and my boyfriend is American. We have been involved in a long-distance relationship spanning two continents since 2018. In those two years, we have been through a lot. So, let us talk about a long-distance relationship – what it is, how we survive and why love always wins in the end.
December 31, 2020
Looking back, this year seemed like I did nothing but slip on unicorn poop: It was something that no one should have to experience. But was it?
Who could have known that I would have to escape like a shot to Canada one night?
Who could have known that in a world without apparent boundaries, it would suddenly be illegal to see your partner living in a different country? Who could have known that instead of traveling to
glaciers and giraffes, I would end up driving 2,500 miles alone across Germany and later going to the Caribbean where I hung out with pink flamingos? This is my personal, dramatic, and
thoughtful review of the year 2020: A huge Mess with Colorful Sprinkles.
November 13, 2020
It is November 7, 2020. We sit on my boyfriend's veranda and celebrate. Four days after the election, Joe Biden has been announced as the new president of the United States. The election was like a thriller. A really bad thriller. A thriller where the perpetrator shoots himself in the knee and the police are less intelligent than six feet of a dirt road.
I have so many thoughts at once. About a country that has become my second home. A country In which so much seems to have run amok in recent years. But it seems the lack of control is not only occurring here in the USA, but somehow worldwide as well. And I wonder: Can people just stop being nasty to each other?
September 25, 2020
My face feels as wet as a dripping sponge because I've been wearing a mask for 16 hours, the shrink-wrapped cheese roll on my dinner tray looks like it's about to run away, and I'm sitting on a broken airplane for the second time today. I am on my way to Aruba. The reason of my trip: As soon as I am out of Schengen area for 14 days, I can enter the USA to see my boyfriend. At least that is how several other couples have done it successfully.
However, because of the almost universal border closures in the world, there are only a handful of countries which would allow me to enter
for these 14 days. One of them is Aruba. Horrible - a trip to the Caribbean! Joke. But what actually turns out to be horrible, however, is my flight. Grab your popcorn and enjoy...
August 21, 2020
There is a strange sentence in my obituary: She died of a Corona-induced heart attack. From the time this evil pandemic was given a
license to kill like James Bond, it is no longer fun for many people, especially for international unmarried couples. The borders are unyielding; the governments feel that a relationship without
a marriage certificate is “not essential”.
My boyfriend lives in the USA, while I live in Germany. Then I found the fantastic Facebook group, “Couples separated by Travel Bans”. This gives me the first hint that there may be a loophole. Croatia.
And then of course, all hell breaks loose again shortly before departure. Here comes - again - one of my crazy love stories. With everything Hollywood can offer.
May 10, 2020
I admit it. I squirrel away photos like other people now do toilet paper. Though not just since Corona, but since ever. Interestingly however, it is that this little asshole of a virus led me to check out the numerous yellow Windows folders on my computer. Where photos of night expeditions to the stars, sunrises in deserts, and snow-covered mountains were just languishing. Images for which I traveled far and wide, got up awfully early in the morning, scratched my knee, and shivered with fear so great that I sprouted three new gray hairs.
So after almost three weeks of ten-hour shifts, it is done. So now I can present my little shop of wonderful moments and places for you to take away.
April 5, 2020
Traffic is humming on the street. I am sitting next to my dad in the car. It’s four o‘clock in the afternoon as I turn on the radio in the car. “Germany is now closing its borders with the
neighboring countries of Switzerland, France, and Austria,” says the announcer’s voice.
In a week, my boyfriend and I are supposed to meet for a two-week road trip in Iceland. He is American. I am German. But then came the coronavirus. And it was getting closer. Every day it crept just a bit closer.
An hour later, I am home. It is dark. I tear my suitcase out from my closet, applying for a Canadian visa online within 20 minutes, and then book a flight to Vancouver, Canada.
December 1, 2019
It is a couple of days before Christmas in 2018. When my uncle tells me that he's not going to his chemotherapy anymore. The side effects are just killing him. "And now?" I ask. "Nothing," he says. A little word. That means everything. It is May when I stumble into a motel in Montana, USA, after 30 hours on three airplanes. It is two minutes before midnight. I log my phone into the WiFi. The first message I get is that my uncle just passed away. It was this situation that ultimately led me to the decision to sell my Tiny House again after only nine months. To move in with my 95-year-old grandpa. Life. A roller coaster.
September 7, 2019
I gaze and smile into the camera with my pilot sunglasses on my nose. The sky is bright blue and the sun reflects in the glasses. Who could have known that just a few hours later I was hanging in a steep wall with no hold, while the blood was running from my boyfriend's legs?
Sometimes all cinematic impossibilities come together and a high-flying adventure suddenly turns into a blatant disaster. The crucial moment is when you realize the difference but can't make it undone. The moment you turn around for the first time and realize that there is nothing between you and the 1300 feet deep ground with the small green river.
May 5, 2019
"You will never be able to get rid of it again!" The way they look at me. It's like I just slipped through wet cement. Admittedly, tattoos aren't for people who are unable to make radical decisions.
I drew my first draft when I was 14. Since then ten more motifs have been added. They are all telling a story about me. My life, my travels, my personality, my values. They are not only art and expression, but also memory, warning and encouragement - against fears, death, for dreams and as a book that is only finished when I am finished.
April 24, 2019
I am laying on the floor, my forehead pressed against the cold parquet floor, trying to not lose control completely. One cramp in my abdomen goes after the next. "I have to send you to the
hospital now," the nice doc says. Three days are following in which I mix up the hospital by being high from the gastroscopy, looking out for wifi desperatly and making the entire ward
Then the diagnosis: Ulcerative Colitis. The little sister of Crohn's Disease. Lifelong chronic bowel inflammation. Crying? That's something I can do when I'm dead. How I got up from the floor and started to fight my disease.
December 31, 2018
It's January 1, 2018. I'm sitting at the kitchen table drawing a melancholic picture of a cat next to a dripping candle. I don't have a job, nothing works out and I feel like shit.
Today is December 31, 2018. I have my own company, I have traveled for 11 weeks, broke up with my long-standing relationship, I have moved, I have found my soulmate. And only a few days before Christmas I bought a tiny home, into which I will move in early 2019. My euphoria-level is close to LSD. Who could have know that!? A chronology of madness.
December 24, 2018
It's a quarter to three in the middle of the night when my phone rings. It's my normal wake-up tone, but it feels like someone is screaming "LAST CHRISTMAS!" next to my ear. My friend from the
United States arrives at Charles de Gaulle Airport at 7 and I will surprise him there. I made a crazy poster and planned to take the metro to the main station and then the train to the airport at
about 5. Did not work out.
The result was a 2-mile-walk through Paris at night - with encounters of the third kind.
November 25, 2018
Somewhere between the clouds and the falling streams I knew it: When I come back, my life will break apart. Implode. For eight years I was with my boyfriend. We've had good times and crappy
And then you realize that your dream isn't the dream of someone else. And that you only have two options: to lie to yourself and stay, or to follow your inner call and go. A month ago, I took all my courage and left.
June 24, 2018
I can see a brimstone butterfly in front of me on the gravel path, before everything is going to be blurry. It couldn’t have been a more perfect funeral. For a woman who inspired and changed my life forever with her courage, her dauntlessness, her love, madness, wanderlust and finally the silent goodbye: My Granny Erika.
May 23, 2018
Munich. 70 degrees and a sunny day. Silvia and Thomas are pushing their bicycles into the street. The bikes look a little bit like packed camels. With two wheels instead of
two humps. Everything’s perfect for a little bike ride. It just goes from Munich to Tarifa. Andalusia. Spain. The southernmost point of mainland in Europe.
A story about finding back to nature and everything you've never dared to do before.
April 20, 2018
I met Maria first in spring 2016. There she was planning on studying abroad in New Zealand for a while. But in the end her trip went much further than just to "down under". What started as a semester abroad ended up as solo trip across Nepal. Right between colorful fabrics, snow-capped peaks of the Himalayas and great self-awareness.
April 7, 2018
I wish I could pack my bags immediately and go back on a plane. Or lock myself in my house to write a book about my adventure. But things like these are only possible in movies. In reality, I was surrounded by bills for my health insurance, my rent and worries about my CV. Only few people asked “How has your trip been?” anymore. Most of them wanted to know: “What are you going to do now?”
A story about a hard way back from adventure to everyday-life.
March 29, 2018
Indigo and her dog Zelda are living full time in a truck they converted into a camper. “We used to live in a converted van, but it bit the bullet and now we have the camper,” she tells me. “Altogether we’ve been living this lifestyle for a couple of years now, and I stand firm in the belief that it’s the best decision that I’ve ever made.” She did not need to say it out loud. Seeing her sparkling eyes would have been enough.
March 4, 2018
Colorful and tiny are the tents nestling between the massive rocks. Palms are embellishing the background instead of wallpapers. Stars are glowing instead of a lamp. Right next to the scenery bicycles are standing in the dust packed with huge bags. Lutz Bothe and his friends are on a bike ride. Not across the lovely Netherlands but the Arabic desert country Oman. With their bikes, wild animals, a lost passport and a car racing on the beach at night.