I am currently on my way to Asia and while I decided to go on this trip by myself, I can not emphasize enough how important my friends are to me. I would not be here without you! Whether in Austria, France, Sweden, Spain, Germany, Canada… – no distance can tear us apart. A big thank you to all of my girls (and some boys as well) for standing by me both drunk and sober.
Thank you, thank you, thank you. You know who you are <3
How I ended up on (and survived a) 12 hour Greyhound ride from San Francisco to Los Angeles instead of hitting the beach in Mexico.
After finishing my bachelor’s degree, I embarked on a monthlong trip to Vancouver, California and NYC with my friends Katha and Astrid. Between coasts, we decided to squeeze in some days at the beach in Mexico. When we turned up at SFO late at night, we were surprised to see that the check-in counter of Mexicana, which was supposed to bring us to our dream destination, was deserted. We soon found out that the airline went bankrupt literally two days before!!!
We were really sad that visibly we were not going to Mexico, but also didn’t know what else to do and everything at SFO was starting to shut down. So we stayed up all night trying to figure out a plan B. Considering we had already booked our hostel in NYC and also didn’t have a lot of money left, we decided to stay in California for a few more days. Well, it seems like the only hostel in the entire state of California that was accessible via public transport and was not fully booked this weekend was a shabby surfer spot in LA. Next obstacle: Once that was booked, we had to figure out how to get there. Flying was too expensive, so we booked ourselves onto the notorious Greyhound bus. Departure: 7am this morning. Duration: 12 hours.
We had taken a Greyhound before, going from LA to San Diego, and didn’t understand what all the fuss was about: The bus had AC, free Wifi, a movie was streaming and the bus was packed with backpackers like us. Well, this was not the case for the SF-LA track: We were packed in this old, shabby bus among mostly men who looked as if they had spent most of their lives befind bars, trashy women who though it was a good idea to change their babies’ diapers in the bus, instead of using the bathroom at the bus stop (we were on a 20 minute break then!!!), other people who travelled with big trash-bags filled with beach sandals, boxes and boxes full of grapes and clementines and so on. We stopped in what felt like every hillbilly town in the middle of nowhere and it was there that I realised that there is so much more to California than Hollywood Hills and Golden Gate Bridge.
Back then, we didn’t really have a good time. We were exhausted from a night spent at the airport and really had to squeeze together, as we picked up more and more spooky passengers on this seemingly endless ride. But in the end, it’s one of our favourite anecdotes of this trip and five years later, this story still makes us laugh.
How I came to realise that the less I own, the better I feel.
A lot of people would probably describe me as pretty materialistic. Yes, I do like clothes and nailpolish and own quite a lot of them. The same goes for books. However, it may come to a surprise that I am also a very generous donor to the Red Cross and clean out my closet regularly (I would never throw out books though). Of course, this has not always been the case and it took me several years to realise how liberating it it to actually own less.
When I first moved from home to be an Au Pair in Paris aged 18, I brought with me I don’t know how many suitcases filled with all sorts of random stuff. For years, I would even keep staple upon staple of old magazines which of course I never looked at again.
Nine years later, I have moved to different cities and apartments numerous times, and each time I move, I leave a lot of my stuff behind. So the constant moving kind of lead to an automatic “survival of the fittest” of my belongings. It just got too tiring to pack and unpack staples of unworn clothes, mobile phones I had five years ago and cheap candle holders, which is why I gradually gave more and more stuff away.
And the constant moving also changed the way I consume: I am careful to no longer buy cheap clothes only because they are in fashion, knowing that I will wear them probably twice before they bore me and/or fall apart. It’s so much nicer to invest in one elegant cashmere sweater rather than three pieces of polyester at Zara. Same goes for souvenirs, home deco, gadgets, makeup etc. (because we all know that packing the small stuff is the really annoying part about moving). I always ask myself if I really need to buy three fridge-magnets on each vacation? Nope, one is enough and sometimes, even a simple postcard will do!
I assume that today, all of the things I care about fit into approximately 10 boxes. And I feel so good about it! Of course, having lived in a furnished flat for the past three and a half years and not owning any furniture comes in quite handy now as well, with my upcoming trip in mind.
So if you ever need help cleaning your shit out, just give me a call: I am pretty radical at this and guarantee you feel better once all that trash is gone!
As you all probably know by now, I just quit my job and will soon take off to travel for a while, before I figure out what I want to do next. Read more on my decision here. Pretty much everybody I know has been very excited and supportive about my decision and almost everybody told me that they wish to do the same, but would probably never have to balls to really go for it. Well, I came up with 11 reasons why you might want to quit your job after all and hit the road as well.
1. You can do 9-5 when you are old
Most people I know (aka every marketer’s dream of urban, well-educated, over-achieving, twenty-something high-potentials) dread the idea of being stuck in a lame routine of – as the French describe it so accurately – “Metro, boulot, dodo”. This translates to: Metro, work, sleep. Add some sports, after-work drinks and the occasional Tinder date here and there and you get an idea of what the average life of pretty much everybody I know looks like. Even if you try your best to get out of the city as much as possible or book a fancy vacation once a year: with just 25 days (or even less, depending on the country you live in!) of paid leave a year, not much time is left for fun.
2. Get excited again
In all honesty: When was the last time you got really excited about something that was happening in your life? And no, eating “the best new burger” in town does not count. Neither does getting a great deal on a piece of fabric at the Claudie Pierlot sale. But knowing you will be getting into surfing and Yoga in Sri Lanka is. See the difference?
3. If not now: when?
Of course, in a few years from now, you can still grab your kids and your husband/wife and sail the world. But you probably won’t. Why, you might ask? How many people do you know who actually do that? This decision is a pretty selfish one, and I guess it won’t get any easier once you have a mortgage or need to take care of some tiny human beings aka your future children.
4. Change can feel so good
I have been thinking about quitting my job and leaving Paris for several months before I finally found the guts to actually go for it. But when I hit the “Send” button in Gmail, writing to my boss and asking her for a meeting (in which I was going to tell her I was leaving, even though she did not know that yet), I just felt SO relieved! While I was weighing the pros and cons for such a long time, at this very moment, I knew I made the right choice. I put on some music and starting dancing around my flat all by myself immediately afterwards. This huge pressure just fell off my shoulders from one second to the next and I have hardly ever felt so good in my life.
5. You probably deserve a break
I have been extremely hard-working ever since I was legally able to get a job. During my last semester at Uni in Vienna, I even worked two jobs (one for the money, the other for my CV), while trying to get good grades on my final exams and papers. In Paris, I was pretty much working full time and completing my Master’s degree at the same time. And even though, thanks to a super duper working class upbringing, I do value hard work, there also has to be a time for fun. And no, your job should never be considered fun, even if you like what you do (which is my case).
6. Forget about your CV
So even if travelling leaves a hole in your CV: So what? I do not work in HR, but from what I understand, travelling is quite appreciated among HR people (at least in my field). I already figured out when I was an Au Pair that one year on the road can teach you so much more than one year at University or on a job. So unless you spend your gap year watching telly and eating pizza every day, you will probably have some impressive stories to tell the HR people upon your next job interview.
7. You are not a tree…
…your body is the only place you have to live in! If you don’t like it somewhere: move. I have always been one to quickly pack my bags and move from one city to the next (hence the name of my blog) and assume not everybody is like that. But even in a non-geographical way: We are all able to move on, to get out of routines we don’t like anymore, to be someone else, to change old habits and do to new things. Because even if it’s scary: change is a good thing!
8. Security is for boring people
I can not repeat enough what I felt when I first came across this quote. Finally someone put into words what I have been feeling for too long. Because yes, having an apartment, a secure job and your friends around is pretty nice, but is that enough to satisfy you on the long run? And even if your job and your apartment might not be there anymore when you get back: Your friends will!!
9. Be your own best friend
It’s oh so easy to depend onto someone – whether it’s emotionally or financially – and in return, to have people depend on you. One of the main ideas behind my trip to Asia is to focus on myself again for the first time in years, to find out what I really want to do and not live up to other people’s/society’s expectations.
10. You only live once
It may sound like a big cliché, but, yes, we do only have one life. Unless of course you believe in recreation – which you probably don’t. So why not make the best out of it? Enough said.
11. Never regret the things you did…
…only those you didn’t do. This has been my motto for ages! Don’t be afraid to take risks! Even if you screw up, you are almost always able to go back to the start. There are endless lists of what people regret when they are old, and most of them tell you – among a lot of other things – to “work less, travel more”! So if you miss out on living your dream right now, you might regret it until the end of your days.
Of course, I have just quit my job and haven’t even started travelling, so who am I to tell really? But as I described above, the mere idea of leaving my job in order to travel is giving me more of an energy boost than any weekend getaway between two weeks of work ever could. I am so looking forward to my big adverture and who knows, maybe I will be back in a few months with even more good reasons to quit or job. There is still a small chance I will come back telling you that this trip was the biggest mistake in my life. But at least as of now, it certainly doesn’t feel like it!
This week, I finally booked the first flight for my upcoming trip to Asia: ONE WAY TO BANGKOK, BABY! My original plan was to fly to Colombo directly. However, Paris > Bangkok > Colombo was just the same prize as Paris > Colombo, minus a super boring six-hour layover in Dubai. So changing my schedule a bit was not a difficult decision to make, especially as I only heard great things about Bangkok.
After a few days in Bangkok, I will finally head to Sri Lanka, where I already booked this FANTASTIC looking surf/yoga retreat!!
This place looks like heaven on earth and the mere thought of being there in less than fifty days is motivation enough to get all the boring stuff sorted over the next few weeks. After all, I still have to figure out how to move my stuff from Paris to Austria, take care of all the Visas, prepare three more classes for Uni etc.
So while I was trying to figure out how to get there from Colombo, I came across these transportation options offered by Sri Lankan Railways:
I am beyond excited about this train ride along the Sri Lankan coast – but also hope that I won’t end up in a ventilated box with all the other chicks and/or encounter too many nasty accompanied fish…
Also, I will make sure to listen to this song while on the train :)
PS: I also bought a lot of travel gear this week and am planning on doing a proper post on it soon, so make sure to stop by soon again!
(Photo credits: Talalla)
„You are one old gypsy“, my grandfather often tells me. I am twenty-six years old and have lived in three countries. Yet I feel I have nowhere to call home. I am twenty-six years old and I have dealt with more shit than most people do in an entire lifetime – even though I did come to realise that all of us have some sort of plainful baggage to carry or another. At twenty-six, I live in Paris – which I used to consider the city of my dreams for almost half my life – in a not too crappy, not too expensive apartment. (Even though the neighbourhood is fairly shitty and I can hear my upstairs neighbours having sex way too often). I have a master’s degree in a pretty fancy sounding subject. I even teach lectures at my alma mater – something I didn’t believe I would do before thirty-five. I have a job I enjoy and that pays fairly well, in a company I believe in and which has always believed in me. I have seen many parts of Europe and also some further away places. I have had more lovers than I can count on two hands – some lasting just one night, others staying around for several years. I have the best friends in the world, some of which I have known for 16 years. Even though many of them live in faraway places, I know we share a special bond that will endure many more years of ups and downs to come. Yet when I recently came across one of this silly quotes on Pinterest, I felt truly shaken. It said: “Are you really happy or are you really comfortable?” I have been giving the question of personal happiness a lot of thought in the past years, but at this very moment I realised that while I was indeed leading a pretty comfortable life, inside I was deeply unhappy and have been so for much too long.
In Vienna, I recently went to a reading by Stefanie Sargnagel, who accurately noted that we are the generation who at thirty still ask ourselves: “What do you want to do when you grow up?” And while I have absolutely no clue what I want to do or where I want to be when I “grow up”, I know very well what I DO NOT want the rest of my life to look like. I swore myself to never regret the things I did – only those I didn’t do. At the end of their lives, nobody says “I wish I had spent more time at the office”, “I wish I would have been less adventurous” or “I should not have travelled the world”. And I do not want to end up like this either. So I decided to quit my job, to quit my apartment, my phone, my Netflix and my fancy tights subscription and to leave my Parisian life behind. I have no idea where I will be in one year, and I have only a vague plan of what this year will bring for me. But for the first time in my life, at twenty six I choose to not have a plan. I choose to travel, to see places I have wanted to see for too long, to be adventurous, to go out and to leave old habits behind. Stay tuned for my own version of #eat #pray #love!
*Image: Where the magic happens