Today, but one year earlier, I was sitting very excited next to my sister-in-law Antje, in the car on the way to the airport. My destination was Turkey and I was saying goodbye to Germany, my family and my friends for a unknown duration of time. It was a surreal feeling to finally board the airplane and leave my old life behind me, but there, thousands of feet in the air, my journey had begun. With the goodbye tears dried from my face, space was made for overwhelming joy. I was ready for the unknown, the adventures and the life of a fulltime nomad.
Today I celebrate my very personal one year travel anniversary and I look back on this year, giving it full measure for all of the following.
A year full of adventure, exotic countries and cultures, new friends, experiences and teachings. Unpayable and unforgetable!
I can proudly say, that I dont’t regret with a single grain of my body, this brave decision to hit the road. My life grew into that which I had dreamed of for so long. An experience of excitement, varied and free of boredom. Of course, I needed to give up a lot, but what I got for that, makes it worth it.
There’s a lot I need to tell you and maybe you ask yourself, why am I doing this in times such as these, what’s next and when you may see me again.
I want to start with my trip to Mexico.
After I met my parents for two wonderful days in Thailand, the pain of saying good bye again was very bad, as I needed to move on after this short time, we could spend together.
My monster odysee to Mexico was on the plan. So, I spent the next 23 hours from Thailand to Malaysia changing busses three times. In that time, I spent 13 hours in a fully packed minivan and I was grateful to have been picked up so I needed to be okay with the most ungrateful place, It was very uncomfortable. My back was raw and hurt and I was seated in the middle between two muscle packed argentinian guys. One hour later, I started the conversation with the topic: Worldcup 2014, Finals Germany vs. Argentina, Worldcup winner Germany. After this my sitting space got minimized at the highest possible level!
I don’t know, I thought it was funny… Fernando, next to me, was finally sorry for me and offered me his overdimensional, muscular shoulder to lean on. After the malayian border, I moved into the most luxurios nightbus I’ve ever seen in my life. My seat was removable into a complete bed and so I could sleep perfectly until Kuala Lumpur. During my three hour wait in Kuala Lumpur, I spent time with my friends Liyana and Muntah, whom I met in Jakarta (Indonesia), a couple of weeks before.
And then, the flying began, from Malaysia to China, a 3 hour lay- over, from China to Los Angeles and an additional 5 hour lay- over and finally left LA for Mexico City! Completly done, I took a last transport, a taxi to get to the hostel where I would stay. In all, it took 62 hours getting there. You may ask why would someone go through all of this method of travel? Simply put, it is the cheapest way.
I had a room reservation beginning on the day I arrived and I arrived in the very early morning hours at the hostel. I was determined to beat jet lag and I spent the day keeping myself awake and trying to not communicate with other people. I felt like the walking dead, but I had my mission to fight the jetlag and survive the day without sleep. After all, I had made a time jump of 12 hours difference and my biorythm felt like a drunken ballet dancer in a sold out event and the reaction of an overdose on sleeping pills was starting to show.
The result was a time of being tired of travelling and a complete disinterest in adventures. The first two weeks, I didn’t leave the hostel very often. I wasn’t up to visiting crowded sightseeing places, or pushing myself through crowds of people. I only wanted to be at home and yet I was home. The people in Hostel Home understood my family, and the city – the few things I’ve seen on my little trips that brought me enchantment.
For me it was quickly obvious: I was sick of travelling and I needed a break.
Close after my arrival in Mexico, I ordered my Nikon Camera in the U.S.. And so while I waited I began to feel more and more at home in my cozy Hostel. In my 5-bed-female-dorm, the girls changed daily. I was the only woman who held the fort and remained. Only the same boys were always there. Finally, after I stayed there for four great weeks, I left my “hostelfamily“ behind me to make my way to the Mexican Pacific Coast a to Mazatlán. I wanted a break from travelling around and I wanted to spend my time on a beautiful beach and concentrate on my photography. So, for three months I rented a remote apartment in foreign Mazatlán close to the beach.
What a disaster! One week later, I tried to shorten my renting contract down to one month, which was impossible! The landlord agreed to shorten it to two months and so I got stocked. Don’t misunderstand me, Mazatlán is really beautiful and my apartment was one block from the beach, nicely furnished and with air condition. The pacific coast offers clear, warm water with the best waves and the beaches are endless. They are clean and with a view of the little islands infront of Mazatlán. The sunsets are stunning and you can get everything that makes a western tourist happy. The temperatures are warm year round. Pants and long sleeve shirts are only used to prevent against mosqitos. Sounds awesome, doesn’t it?
Yes, I thought the same.
My apartment was in the tourist and fancy Mexicans area. I was surrounded by canadian retired people, who spend their winters in Mazatlán, snow birds if will as well as a young weekend party vacationer from Canada, the U.S. and Mexico. They arrived on Thursday and left on Monday. The mexican families in my neighborhood lived a little seperated from that all. I couldn’t find good friends and I felt in a housewife-compatible, lonesome rider, behavior pattern. I bought tons of food in the supermarket and I cooked all my favorite dishes, Several times! I was in love with the A/C and cable tv, which showed English blockbusters all day . Every day I went for a couple of hours to the beach, fighting against the waves, working on my tan and I took a lot of street photography. On the weekends, I sometimes went to the party temples, in hopes to find new friends but most of the nights ended unsatisfying, because even the music of Mazatlán could not lighten my mood.
We should thank the Germans’ for this by the way. The popular Banda music there, has its roots in German Polka music, which was somehow brought into the country. Howerver, no one told them that this is not the best music to play in a night club or at a party.
You cannot hide from this music either, it is everywhere. Imagine lying alone in the burning midday sun on a remote beach in complete silence, and unexpectedly all of a sudden there appear blaring s tuba and trumpet players giving you a power house performance. It is the ear explosion of a lifetime.
Don’t get me wrong! Sometimes one or two songs are really nice, but in Mazatlán, Banda is everywhere, the whole day and the complete night with powerful volume and you cannot hide from it! This is very invasive, if you ask me!
You can find plenty of golf-cart taxis on the streets of Mazatlán, competing against each other for who owns the better sound system. With some of these toy-cars, you could treat a festival stage with megasound and that’s what they present the world 24/7 in Mazatlan. They love to do that after 3 am, when the people come out of the way to quite clubs and finally need to experience the party of their lives on the way back to their hotel. In these moments, I missed the good old rolling Boom-Bass-Cars from Germany. Ok, that’s my taste. But I have my opinion: There is no need for a tuba at 4 am.
You see, I was bored from my being in Mazatlán, and so I did, what I do best: I planned! I planned complete trips to Miami, to the Caribean Islands, to Central America and to the North of Mexico. Every single tour was planned in nights full of internet research and musing; and after I finished the planning of one trip I decided to abandon that one and go for another one. If all made, I bet these trips would have had been really nice.
In the end I had decided to go back to Mexico City and move from there, after a two day stop over, to the south of Mexico.
And as you can see, this plan also failed.
My couchsurfing date didn’t work out when I arrived back in Mexico City and I went back to the hostel and in the arms of a family of old and new friends. I extended my stay over the next two weeks from day to day and so my plans changed again.
The reunion with David, my irish friend was awesome and David asked me, if I wanted to set up a photography business with him in Mexico City. So I decided to stay and give them all a chance.
Because the stay in Hostel Home got expensive in the meanwhile, I moved for some time to David’s place. He rented a small room at a rooftop and I searched with priority for a room in a shared apartment. While introducing myself to a possible flatmate, I found an announcement for a complete and well priced apartment with two bedrooms. Two days later I decided to move into the room with a mexican girl. David‘s landlords quit his contract and that’s how we moved into our own apartmen in Down-Town Mexico City. Luck or destiny? Destiny!!
After I had lived many weeks in the fancy part of Mexico City, “Roma“; I can only say that I enjoy it so much and that I finally arrived in “real life“. We are living in a closed apartment complex with eight houses that has 24 apartments in every house. We are sourrounded by loud mexican families, graffiti painted walls and construction noise and I love it! Isn’t that ironic? Beautiful Mazatlán loses in all points. I only need to walk 10 minutes to reach the wonderful Palacio de Bellas Artes and many other historical buildings. In several parks around my home, you can find get-togethers of Salsa lovers, who come to celebrate with a gratis Salsaparty on the weekends in the city. Old and young join in the fun! Shopping begins at my front door and I walk two minutes to the next metro station, where I can drive to every station around the city for 5 Pesos (30 Cents). Of course, in Central Mexico City you can also find some homeless people and I wouldn’t walk alone through dark and lonely streets in the night, but after one year of traveling and visiting eight countries, I think I’m allowed to say that I know how to take care of myself.
I felt in love with this city. Restless, completely and undeniably. However, I’m also sure that without my hostel family and especially without David, I wouldn’t have settled down here for this length of time.
David is like a brother for me. He and his boyfriend Yadin are now my little family. We live and spend a lot of time together. David is an english teacher at the British Counsel in Mexico City and Yadin is working as an assistant in production at a TV channel. Yadin speaks very little English and I (still) speak very little Spanish. Our conversations can get very stressful, because David, who is a remarkable in learning languages, also wants to learn German. So sometimes, we speak here three different languages and I guess, the only one who keeps the overview is David!
I must say, I didn’t focus on learning Spanish very fast. I’m really amazing in handling every situation. I’m a master at universal communication. I speak and understand more and more Spanish and the rest I fill up with my “ hands- and feet-communication” and Spanish fantasy words, which I create out of German, English and Frensh words. Basiclally, I get by Everywhere!
But now on to something new and important for me, my photography.
Some of you may have realized lately, that I am more active and facebook is full with my photos. The pursuit of new heights!
After the delivery of my new camera from the U.S., I started getting more serious with my photography and I made the decision to make for myself a name with my Artform. Therefore, everything began in motion.
Of course, I can’t travel all the time around the world, without working for a living but I don’t want to do anything again which is not me and that which I don’t enjoy. Music, people and traveling brings me so much joy (and I guess I have some kind of talent in photography), that I work now on the realization of another dream.
Never get fixed to a place because of your work.
The opposite is my plan: to make a fortune out of the situation, that I’m mobile and so I started to work on different channels to make money as fast as possible with my photography. One month ago, I sold my first photos and I made some tries with selling on a street market but this was more boring than motivating. My connection network is getting better and better and I had my first photo shoot as a music photographer and the bands loved my work. I enjoy every second of a shooting and expressing myself with photography. At the moment my salery is from the respect of musicians, who love my work and in this I have built my website portfolio. I hope to soon make my first income as a musical photographer. I sent emails to several band managers, whose bands are performing in Mexico City in the next months. Bands like Pearl Jam, Sting, Blur etc. With a little bit of luck (who knows, why not!?), I hope to find somebody, who gives me the accreditation to shoot on the concert. I have received two very nice replies, one from the press manager of Sting. She wrote me, that I need to be sent by the press, to get an accreditation. I will now be on the watch for whom I can write that is with the music press and introduce myself to these guys. Further I want to contact a very famous photographer, who is living in Mexico City – David Eisenberg. Yadin told me about him and he was shooting for the Playboy magazine and he is one of the most famous celebrity photographers here in Mexico. Maybe he needs a dilligent, german assistant or he may be willing to help me with my art.
You see, my life theme of “everything is possible“ is still up to date. I would say, my biography about my past years has improved and that I’m doing right by my way of thinking. “ Who never tries it, will never reach it.” I’m conviced sometimes you only need to ask! We human beings like to help and maybe one day a very important person will read my email and think, “Hey, I want to do that German girl the favor of her lifetime!“ Who knows!!! The chances are better than playing lottery.
Did I tell you, before I left Germany, I wrote an email to the major of my city. I told him I was searching everywhere for a sticker with the emblem of my city Bretten, which I can stitch on my worldtravellers backpack. I asked him, if he can help me in this case.
A couple of weeks later my Mum called me at work and told me that somebody from the major department brought a packet for me. Inside was a nice letter from Mr. Wolff in himselfl, where he said sorry for not being able to help me with my concern, but he sent me instead some other things. Also he would be pleased if I tell him about my travels personally when I’m back from my trip. He sent me a complete Bretten-Paket, with a Bretten-Keyholder, t-shirt, bag, pen…. By the way, the keyholder is still in use and carries at the moment the key to my mexican home!
However, one of the most unbelievable tales of my journey, is still my Turkey-story. When the hostel boss, whom I was volunteering for, kicked me out of the hostel in the middle of the night because I had asked him if it was okay if I leave the hostel two days earlier, after three weeks of hard work. So, I walked with my belongings in the city center to find a cheap place to stay for the night. I asked at 2 am a young turkish man if he could help me and he brought me to his home, lent me his sleeping place, the couch for the night and left me alone with his Mum and 3 brothers and sisters plus a dog, all sleeping in this one room apartment on the floor. The room including the kitchen wasn’t more than 25 squaremeter. The mother got up at my arrival, in the middle of the night, and asked me if she could offer me some food. This kindness and hospitality is still unbelievable for me!!!
Aren’t there words in the bible like: “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.”
Very, very wise. Men especially have a problem with that. They prefer to drive one hour through the city before asking somebody for directions but if the situation is reversed and somebody asks them for the way, they will give you directions with joy and a navigation-system-proofed way description. I I read about this topic, that it’s about losing or demeaning their manhood if they ask for help. Strange behavior.
And so we arrive at another topic. Men! Nooo, there is nothing at the moment. It wasn’t anything in sight and also at the moment, nothing. Most of the time it’s like being in the desert and sometimes I’m passing a little oasis. I’m 36 and single, nothing more to say!
I also don’t worry to much about that. There is also this phrase: “Do what you love and in the meanwhile, you will find what you are searching for.“ something like that.
I will become a famous music photographer and then I’ll find my Lenny Kravitz… So, don’t worry about me, yet. I’m also happy being single.
I also wanted to say thank you, that you are interested in what I’m doing on this trip. I hope you enjoy what you get to read here (if there is something to read). I know, I was very very very lazy in writing since I arrived in Mexico, but with my arrival here the travel got a new character. For a couple of days I even was thinking of ending my travels and going back home.
I started writing several articles, but I finished none of them. I wasn’t up to publish these bellyaching articles about Mazatlán. In the last weeks, alot of things finally happend. I designed my logo, my business cards and my website with my friend Eduard Biller in Nepal and I’m so happy with the result. We were seperated by a 11 hour time difference and so we worked and phoned together mostly between 1 and 3 am. In the meanwhile I prepared myself to get in contact with the “big fishes“, without making a unprofessional first impression.
And today it was time and a point of honor to write you all a looooooong letter.
Now you know, what I do here.
And what’s coming up next?
My sister stated yesterday, after my SMS-Update about what’s going on here: “So, the journey isn’t over yet.“ No, it isn’t. I don’t know if it should ever end!?
For now, David and I rented the apartment until the middle of January (6 months) and I shouldn’t fall into my financial emergency zone this year. I would like to stay here for the complete time. I have set everything on getting successfull with my photography now. Should I start making money, I would love to go from January until March to Brazil. My friend Carla from Lebanon is there for a art project and this time it’s also Carneval in Rio…? After this I would love to head back slowly to Germany. Yes, you understood right. If I can spend the money, I will be latest back at the end of May for the wedding of my friend. I would love to spend the summer in Germany and move on again to Nepal in September/October. I’m also thinking about walking the Camino de Santiago and some of my new friends in Europe, also wait for my visit.
So, I ordered a rocket like start of my career at the universe. And this in 2015. And if this doesn’t work out, what is nearly unbelievable (hum*), I also have a plan B in my pocket. I found a alternative, which is not that bad. One, where I can fill up my cash box with money, by working hard as a photographer, in a decadent holiday atmosphere.
A couple of days ago, I had a Skype interview with the media agency of TUI and Hapag Lloyd cruises. This agency is sending photo- and videographer teams on cruises and I guess, I can say, I can have the job, if I want it. The contract is about 4 to 5 months on a selfemployed base and I need to work 7 days a week, a lot of hours. But I would get a lot of practice. I could work on a cruiseship, which is one point on my bucket list and they would cover the costs for health insurance, accomodation and food. With that, I could save all the salery for further travels. Thus, not the worst alternative. Then my rocket start would be extended on the time after. Those two options are enough, to keep me relaxed about my actual balance right now.
The near future brings some new adventures. At the end of Septmeber, I need to leave Mexico to imigrate new and get a new tourist visa for 6 months. I will take the bus at the 24th of september for 20 hours for 35 EUR to Chetumal, a bordertown at the Mexico/Belize border. There I will take a taxi to the border and I need to walk once to Belize, to turn on my heels and walk back to Mexico. After this I induldge my rainy saison oppressed body in enjoying some sun in Tulum and from the 2nd of October, I’ll be on the island Cozumel, where I meet up with Sarah from Kiel. I met Sarah in February this year in Thailand and she’s coming for a four week visit. We want to do some scuba diving and explore the mayan ruins of Chichen Itza. After this, she will accompany me for two weeks to Mexico City.
You know, what I learned in the last year? To plan your future is great, but in the end it always turns out different than you‘ve expected. You should leave your flexibility and composure open therefore, to stay able to react on these situations. With a positive attitude, trust in yourself and the will to fight for your dreams, all of you can move mountains and if something didn’t work out, it only belongs to the process of learning. It is like “this way didn’t work out, but another one will get me there.“
And what makes one more happy, than to realize ones dreams? And isn’t it happiness that we are all searching for?
In this sense,
be the person you want to be and don’t only dream about it.