A friend of mine recently wrote me that I should think about starting a blog about travelling. As it combines two of the things I enjoy doing the most. Travelling and writing. And I thought why not. I could give it a try, :)
I really enjoy telling and talking about my journeys and doing it in a written form is not the worst thing. As it also gives me the chance of reserving these precious memories for the next years.
But now as I am about to start I find it is not that easy to find the best start. About which topic, about which country I have visited or about which of my journeys should I write first? That is a tough call to make as there are so many places which are very dear and close to me. Like Australia or Argentina in which I both spent a lot of time and had so many nice experiences.
But I maybe I should start with something else. Why do I enjoy travelling so much and what is so special about it? Why do I always tend to take big endeavours on me to go on an exhausting trip for a couple of weeks when I could spend the time at home while enjoying time with my friends, reading some good books, drinking some nice cocktails, going to the Movies or whatever else there is to do at when you are having some days off.
Why do I feel this urge inside to explore these foreign and exotic places. What is the reason of it?
Maybe that is a good point to start a Blog about Travelling.
For me the fascination with travelling began when I was still a child. I always dreamed about visiting foreign and far away places. The whole world seemed so amazing and fascinating. There were so many places which looked inviting and tempting. And the world was so big. Places like Australia or the USA looked out of reach. They were so far away. Too far away for me back then.
Because as a child you don't have the freedom to travel around as I do have it now. But I was lucky, my Mother also loved travelling and so she took me to several places when I was young. But of course this all was still in Germany and Europe back then.
We had some Relatives in the Moselle Area which we visited very regular and of course the Landscape there with all the Vineyards and Mountains which are meandering around the shores of the Moselle, is very inviting and beautiful.
We also went to Bavaria very often, maybe the most beautiful and charming part of Germany. Seeing the Alps for the first time surely left an big impression on me. It was an first glimpse of what the world outside might be. Majestic, vast, beautiful and inviting. And of course the lush forests and picturesque lakes in Bavaria also did their work to awake the wanderlust in me.
But we also visited places outside of Germany. We went to Portugal, Morocco and Spain for example. I was still to young at the time of the travels to remember them now, but I think a bit of them still lingers in me. I like to think that these first impressions of a foreign landscapes and cultures lead to my travel desires later on.
When I was old enough to make the first journeys on my own I really loved to took that chances. Of course I wanted to go overseas at once. But this failed because of an veto of my Mum. :) So my first journeys without the family or outside of an group was with a friend when I was around 17 and we went to Kitzbühl in Austria. A wonderful and lovely small town in the heart of the Austrian Alps. And it was amazing. I was so fascinated by the nature and the surroundings there.
I loved to hike around the forests and the Mountains there and it was lovely to sit down at the shores of a nice lake and just to enjoy the Moment there. It was my first real glimpse of an freedom I rarely am able to find at home.
When I am abroad I always feel a sort of inner peace and freedom I just can feel at home. Maybe here at home there is always something which keeps me busy or something that I am worried about. And I seem to lose these burdens when I am on the road. And that is something I am really, really enjoying.
I really feel lighter and happier when I am in a foreign place. It is something I cant really explain. It is just an feeling. But I guess the people who have travelled as extensively as I did might understand this feeling.
So after this first taste of Freedom I started travelling on my own more regularly. I went to Tunesia with a friend and also to Mallorca with a group of Friends. Where I got my first glimpse and taste of the mass tourism and package vacation. Which I still don't really like till this day. Of course I did it over the years and I booked a package, but that was only at times when I had the need to really get some rest and it was just easier then to book it that way. But I rather like to plan everything myself when I can. It is fun to check out the different places you could stay in, check out bus or train connections to places you want to go to. That is what I like about a Vacation.
Instead of arriving at a place where everything is already set for you.
And of course in a place like Mallorca it is terrible, depending where you are going there is no individuality left at all. All the Restaurants, Bars and Discos are well equipped and adjusted for the needs of the tourists. You get the same food and drinks as at home. You listen to the same shitty music as at home and maybe even only have to speak in your native tongue when you are coming from a land like Germany, with thousands and thousands of Tourists visiting those places every year.
And these are just not the things I am looking for, I already figured that out back then. I wanted something else. I didnt wanted to have an adopted version of my Homeland in a different place. I wanted to discover the real pulse and culture of the places I was visiting. But back then I still didnt had the necessary funds to do that as I was still in school.
But when I finished school I finally could fulfil my first travel dream. I went to America for the first time. I cant explain why, but since I was a child I always had the desire to visit the USA. Somehow back then it was the Land of my dreams. I saw the Pictures of New York, San Francisco and Los Angeles on the TV or in Magazine and was really fascinated by it. These cities looked so amazingly different from the modest place that I am living in. They seemed to be more lively and more tempting then every other cities I have known back then.
And it wasn't only the cities. It was the incredible Nature as well. Seeing pictures of the Yellowstone National Park or the Grand Canyon was like looking at an different world.
And also the American Lifestyle seemed very tempting to me back then. That has changed over the years when you realize that things are not really better there, but from a distance it looks amazing, especially when you are a young person.
So, with 20 I finally was about to set off to cross the Atlantic Ocean and I was so eager to do it. I had booked a four week Home stay with a Host Family in Roseville in California as I wanted to improve my back then meagre English Skills and also thought this way I might get a better insight of the American way of life. And in Hindsight I have to say I was very, very lucky with the Host Family I had. They were really nice and sweet people who did their best to make my stay there enjoyable.
And I still can remember how I felt when I was at the airport and set off on my journey. It was my first really long flight and I was a bit scared then. My first flight was from Düsseldorf to London. I remember that we flew into London when it really cloudy and foggy. The Clouds literally touched the ground. We dived out of the clouds and immediately touched on on the ground.
After a short break I was on my way to San Francisco. And what a feeling to get into that huge 747. That was a whole new world for me. It was so great, seeing the interior of that huge Plane, the feeling of how you get pressed back into your seat when the plane starts speeding down the runway and how small the world looks from up the sky then.
And what I also remember, I was reading a Heavy Metal Magazine with a photo of Metallica on the Cover and one of the Flight attendant told me that Lars Ulrich was on the plane. But of course he was sitting in the First Class, so I didn't met him. That would have been cool as well. :)
And then suddenly we were there. Our plane was starting to descend down to the Airport in San Francisco which directly lied in the Bay. The Runway appeared out of the water as it seems. It was amazing. And finally I was in the land of my dreams.
And I hardly can describe the feeling I had back then. I was happy, I was feeling free, I felt alive. It was amazing. And this is something I still have today when I get out of a plane. It doesn't matter where I am. I am always feeling energized and full of live. And I think this feeling is one of the reasons why I am still travelling so much today. I really love that feeling and want to feel it all over again and again.
After another short flight from S.F. to Sacramento in a really, really small plane but from which the view of the world below us was amazing, I arrived at my Destination and was welcomed by my host family for the next few weeks.
And there I discovered another thing I really enjoy about being en route. It is so nice to meet people from other countries and learn about their culture and their way of live. I had it with my family in America which not only showed me so much of the place they were living in but also included me in their family, and I had it later when I was travelling alone in Australia and Argentina and met so many nice and friendly persons from all around the world.
And I think there is no better way of learning about Countries and cultures then to surround you with people from these cultures and exchange your experiences. You learn so much about yourself and about other people that it is amazing. And this are experiences I really don't want to miss.
And for me it makes up part of the magic that surrounds travelling. You open up to other people and they open up towards you. No prejudices and no discrimination. That is the way it should be I think.
And that first trip to the USA was an eye opener to me, after that I really got addicted to travelling over seas. Over the next few years I returned to the USA several times. I visited New York, Boston, Los Angeles, I got to the Yellowstone National Park, I hopped into Canada and visited the amazing and unbelievingly beautiful western part of that Country and also stayed with my Host Family again. It was like a new way of living for me. I worked the whole year to be able to get away for a few weeks a year. And I couldn't get enough of it.
This culminated in maybe the Highlight of my life. After I finished my apprenticeship I had to make a decision of what I wanted to do. The company I was working in back then couldn't offer me a permanent position and I had to decide of what I wanted to do with my life. Then I heard about the option of going to Australia for a year with a Working Holiday Visa.
Which was a Program which allowed you to stay in Australia for up to a year and also be able to work there with some restrictions. And as Australia was also high up on my list of places I want to visit I really liked the idea. And after going to an informative event of one of the organisations which helped you to prepare all the paper works for this adventure I made my decision. I was going Down Under. And up to this day over 14 years I never regretted my decision for a single day.
I am sure I will write a very long Blog about my time there (well, maybe more then one...), but at this time I just have to point out how much this time there impressed me and how much it influenced me in my later life. It really was the trip of a life time.
It was the thing I was looking for my whole life. I was free to roam around for a whole year. I had a whole continent in front of me which needed to be discovered. I was diving into a new and foreign culture and there were thousands and thousands of like-minded travellers who felt the same as I did.
And I still can remember the feeling I had during my time there. It was like the feeling I had when I first came to the USA, but a lot more intense. Unfortunately I never again had it in this intensity, but I still hold the memory of it very dear to me.
I felt sort of relieved and released from everything. No pressure, no daily grind, no attachments. It was amazing. I think I really blossomed up during that time. I was always more of a shy person. but somehow in Oz I never had problems making any friends. It was fantastic. And if it is even possible it even made my desire of seeing the world even more intense.
And these experience in Australia, America and later Asia and Argentina really left an big impression on me and also helped me to understand the world and its people a bit better as before.
There is still so much to discover and to see that I am still not satisfied with spending my vacation on my balcony with a book in my hands. I want to dive into foreign cultures, walk through Rain Forests, exploring old ruins at historic sites or just sit down at the shores of a foreign ocean. I still have the drive and urge to get out. There is so much of Asia that I want to explore. Central America and of course so much places in Europe as well. So I hope I will be able to go on with my travellings for a while as I still have the fear of missing out.
I hope I was able to describe to you why I love travelling so much and what it means to me. And of course if you liked this text I would like you to leave a message as it would be nice to meet some like-minded persons here and of course I hope that you might enjoy my next Blogs as well.