Home again

Hello lovely readers out there,

it’s been a very long time since we’ve heard from each other but it’s a pleasure for me to announce that I’m finally back! My last post was published August 26th and a lot of things happened since then.
Actually, I can’t believe that I managed to prepare at least 14 posts to be published during my time in the United States, but I didn’t manage to write a single one since I came home in September.

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On a temple market in Bali (October 2017)

Here is a quick update, just that you know what to expect the next weeks or months.
Ten days after I returned from New York, I started my studies in Economics in a foreign country! Yes, I am lucky enough to be able to study abroad, even though I am still living at home. Ironic, isn’t it?
However, I travel 4 hours each day in order to educate myself but I love it! This is something I’ve missed the past 18 months: going to an institution where inspiringly  intelligent people share their knowledge with you.
To be honest, I really missed studying. 😀
Don’t get me wrong, travelling enriched my life and my general knowledge to such a huge extent. Taking a Gap Year was, without question, the best decision I’ve made so far in my life.
Those who know me personally, will probably confirm that I am a pretty talkative person and very interested in meeting people.
Now imagine how many different faces you see each day when you’re exploring the big cities of this world, or the great conversations you can have with inspiring people (while desperately trying to solve the common travel problems like accommodation, food or transport :D). I spend my money on memories that will always have an impact on my life.

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Me in my garden, pretending to be somewhere else.

I learned so many things about living, human behaviour, society, gratitude, standards and – about myself.
Wow, that was deep. One important lesson I’ve learned is, you can’t just leave, explore the world, come back and continue as you are used to do.
Your life will be different and it is pretty unlikely that you will be „satisfied“ with what you’ve just seen.
A very kind woman from Ireland I met in Langkawi (click) on my first evening in Malaysia told me, that once the travel bug has bitten you, you will want more!
She was right.

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Rice Terrace in Bali (October 2017)

After coming back from South East Asia and Australia, I was very happy and still so thrilled by what I’ve experienced.
However, I got used to my old life really quickly and I started working again straight away. But the „travel-bug-bite“ started itching again and three months later I was, almost unexpectedly, back on the road. Or to be more specific, on the plane to Long Island, NY.
As you may know, I worked as a camp counsellor in a Summer Camp and it was a very rewarding experience. I will certainly publish a separate review of my camp experience any time soon.

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Golden Gate Bridge, San Francisco – August 2018

Alright, turns out this „quick update“ is not as short as originally planned, but after not having written a single thing in two months, it feels good to be finally producing content again. Sadly, I won’t be travelling a lot the next few months, but I really hope that I will travel next summer. I am very tempted to go to South East Asia again and maybe spend some weeks in my Surf Camp in Bali.
For now, University is my priority and I still have some time to make the decision and to save some money for the next trip.
Content-wise, I still have some destinations and photographs up my sleeve that I haven’t shared with you yet- so stay tuned!

Thank you very much for reading, I wish you a lovely weekend!

Sophie

 

PS: The header picture shows the current, foggy, autumn weather in Germany. Time for cozy socks, hot tea and pumpkin soup!

Camping with Kangaroos |Crowdy Bay National Park

When I think of our road trip in Australia, the first thing coming to my mind is the kangaroos in Crowdy Bay National Park. We camped in the park for two nights and were surrounded by kangaroos all the time. They came so close and sat two meters in front of our tent, they even turned their backs on us. It was great!

Well, as you can probably imagine, I took tons of pictures of these funny, cute creatures. They usually are really friendly but don’t get too close, they can kick you! The red kangaroos in central Australia are even able to kill you. These ones were not that dangerous, fortunately 😄

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I hope you enjoyed looking at these pictures.

Have a great week!

Sophie

Camp America – An Announcement

Note: When you read this, I will already be on my way to the USA.

Camp America is an organisation that provides cultural exchange programs for young people from the age of 18. Every year thousands of people from all around the world travel to the US in order to work in a summer camp for kids and teens.
Since American students have 12 weeks of summer vacation, it is very common to spend some weeks in a summer camp.

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In camp there are different job positions, you can be a lifeguard, a general counsellor or a specialist.
As it is a cultural exchange program, you will be working with Americans who are often former campers at their camp, probably many Britons (everyone in Great Britain knows this program), people from western Europe and even Australians and New Zealanders often take part.

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Types of Camps

There are different types of Camps and if you have preferences, you will be able to add this in you application. These are the camp types:

  • Private Camps
  • Jewish Camps
  • Christian Camps
  • Special Needs Camps (e.g. working with children and adults who have a disability)
  • Underprivileged Camps (Free of charge for the campers)
  • Girl Scout Camps
  • Day Camps
  • Single Sex Camps

I had no preferences in my application and I know have the honor to work in an underprivileged camp in New York.

YES, I WILL SPEND NINE WEEKS IN FREAKING NEW YORK!

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Working at Camp

You can either work as a counsellor, or as Campower.
Working as a counsellor means looking after the kids and you usually share a bunk with them and your co-counsellors. You will also be involved in different activities the campers have every day. Another option is being a specialist and teaching the kids something. You can basically be a specialist for every kind of sports.
Dance, soccer, basketball, equestrian, ropes, tennis etc.
But camps need also specialists for arts and crafts, nature, they need lifeguards, or even specialists for girl power.
In general, working at camp can be a very, very rewarding experience!

Campower staff can be working in a kitchen or be part of the maintenance staff. Basically they experience camp in a different way than the counsellors, since they are not responsible for the kids.

I will be working as a general counsellor and also as an arts and crafts specialist, which means I will be doing arts projects with the kids and also be a counsellor.
I really hope that I can also occasionally teach ballet or jazz modern classes, but the dance counsellor job in our camp mainly focussed on hip hop and street dance, which I am definitely not good at 😂

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How to apply for Camp America

If you want to spend your summer working at a camp in the USA, you need to apply on the CA-website or if you are German, at AIFS. You also need to be free at least from mid June till September. The application process is quite extensive.

You have to write a lot about yourself, why you want to work at a camp, tell them about the experience you have with children, you need at least two skills you can write about (sports, art etc.) and need two references from your teacher or trainer (must not be part of your family).
Additionally, you need to film a video about yourself, presenting your skills and your life, you have to fill in a medical form with your doctor’s signature, you need a certificate of good conduct and CA or AIFS will interview you.

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After your interview with your organization where they will make sure that you are capable of doing such a job, your application will be uploaded and all camp directors have access to it. If they are interested in hiring you, they will contact you and arrange a interview via skype. If they think you are suitable for a job at their camp they will ask if they can hire you. Now that you are hired, you have to apply for a VISA and go to a local embassy to get it approved. During your summer, you will have a medical insurance and if you are a „first year“, they will also book your flights and care of almost everything.
Now you can prepare yourself for camp, get in touch with other counsellors and be over excited for the hopefully best summer of your life 😄!

After your time at camp, you will have another four weeks to travel in the country, usually internationals will travel together, but you can also travel alone or book a Camp America-Track. This part is of course optional and you can choose the amount of days you would like to spend travelling.

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What do you think about this program? Would you be interested in working in a summer camp in the United States?

xx, (overly-excited) Sophie

 

Pictures in this post are not mine, they are from the movie „The Parent Trap“ with Lindsay Lohan from 1998. If you click on the images, you will directly get to the source where I found them.

Zero Waste Project – A Brief Introduction

img_0030Did you know that there exists a huge island consisting of plastic trash in the pacific ocean?
Probably yes, many people know that we produce and use way too much plastic in our daily lives and that this lifestyle damages our beloved earth.
However, there is still no solution for this problem besides from reducing the use of plastic.

 

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Visiting Indonesia was eye opening. I’ve never seen so much trash lying around and it was heartbreaking to see plastic bottles floating in the ocean and stepping into plastic bags while surfing in paradise. During rain season, all the trash gets flushed into the ocean and beaches are full of trash every morning. We need to change.

 

img_0029Why do I need a straw to have a drink?
Why do I have to buy food to-go wrapped in plastic?
Why should I get a new plastic bag every time I go shopping?
Why do I buy packaged food even though processed food isn’t even good for us (in many cases)?
Why do we rely on plastic?

 

Two weeks ago I watched a Ted Talks about Zero Waste, the speech was held by Lauren Singer, a young women who inspires other people to „go Zero Waste“.
I was so excited about this idea to reduce waste and immediately made a plan how I can stop producing so much waste and improve my ecological footprint.

img_0015The first step is probably to become aware of how much plastic we are actually using. It’s a lot.
Toothbrush? Made of plastic.
Toothpaste? Plastic.
Shampoo? Plastic container.
Even most „eco-friendly“ products are packaged in plastic.
Yes, it is really hard to completely stop using plastic, but we can at least give it a try.

 

Here are some of my ideas, on which I will elaborate in future posts:

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  1. Minimalism, having less and buying less leads to a decrease of demand, consequently less stuff will be produced.
  2. Buy unpackaged food, f.e. in package-free-stores, use your own bags and go to your local market
  3. Shop second hand
  4. Go digital and try to use less paper
  5. Learn to recycle and to compost

6. Grow your own veggies (might be a bit difficult, depending on where you live)
7. Make your own beauty products and use hair and body soap instead of buying big shampoo plastic bottles.
8. Make it a hobby, reducing waste should not be a burden, you are doing something great today that our earth will thank you for in the future! 🙂

 

img_0006I am very excited to start this new project and can’t wait to tell you more about it. I hope you enjoyed reading this and be prepared for my next „Zero Waste-themed“ articles.

Have a good week,

Sophie

 

Sendepause, Jubiläum und fünf Tage in Sydney

Guten Morgen Ihr Lieben,

ich bin heute Morgen um fünf Uhr aufgestanden, einfach so weil Morgenstund‘ hat ja Gold im Mund. Oder auch „Der frühe Vogel fängt den Wurm“… meine ich mal gehört zu haben. Das Projekt, um fünf Uhr morgens aufzustehen, gehört zu meinem „Changing my Life“ Projekt, welches ich gerade gestern gestartet habe.
Etwas ironisch oder? Ich glaube sein Leben verändern ist heutzutage ein Trend, genau so wie jeden Tag grüne Smoothies zu trinken, Instagram zu seinem Tagebuch zu machen und Reisen zum Inhalt seines Lebens.
No offense, ich finde mich ja selbst darin wieder. Wie auch immer, ich werde in Zukunft sicherlich über diese -um fünf Uhr morgens aufstehen- Tortur schreiben und darüber, wie sich jetzt alles in meinem Leben zum positiven wendet (okay das hört sich gerade sehr sehr deprimierend an, vielleicht eher „noch mehr zum positiven“…).

Spaß bei Seite. Ich bin nun seit fast zehn Wochen wieder Zuhause, das ist fast schon die Hälfte der Zeit die ich weg war – schon ziemlich traurig.
Seitdem habe ich mir einen Job gesucht, wieder angefangen zu Tanzen, meine Ballett Stange repariert und mir 120cm breite Spiegel ins Zimmer gehängt, acht Bücher gelesen und das Reisen sehr vermisst. Auf der anderen Seite habe ich bemerkt, wie sehr ich mein „Zuhause“ zu schätzen gelernt habe und wie wichtig es für mich geworden ist, einen place to be zu haben.

Arbeiten ist anstrengender Reisen und meiner Meinung nach auch anstrengender als Schule, was vielleicht auch einfach daran liegt, dass ich nicht für die Gastronomie gemacht bin. Sophie arbeitet jetzt nämlich im Bio Gewerbe und das nicht wenige Stunden die Woche.
Daher fehlte es mir die letzten Tage, oder auch Wochen, oft an Kraft und Motivation mich hinzusetzen und etwas zu schreiben.
Die Motivation und die Ideen kommen zwar wieder, aber wie einige vielleicht beim Lesen bemerkt haben, schreibe ich gerade auf Deutsch und nicht wie sonst, auf Englisch.
Immerhin möchte ich auch nicht meinen Blog gerade nachdem er ein Jahr alt geworden ist (jaa, am 28. März hatte Aperture & Wanderlust Geburtstag) schon wieder hängen lassen.
Außerdem erstaunt es mich immer wieder, dass es tatsächlich so viele liebe Menschen im Internet gibt, die mein Gedanken- und Reisewirrwarr doch tatsächlich lesen mögen. Für manche mag es natürlich nicht viel sein, aber ich bin sehr glücklich und dankbar für die positive Resonanz die mich im letzten Jahr erreicht hat.

Passend zum Thema beendete Reise, hier ein paar Fotos aus Sydney, unsem letzter Stopp in Australien. Sydney hat mir wirklich sehr gut gefallen, unser Hostel war super schön, günstig- und es gab sogar Frühstück.
Zwar gab es verschiedene Zimmer Kategorien und nachdem wir in zwei schönen Zimmern geschlafen haben, landeten wir in einem acht-Bett Zimmer.
In jenem wachte ich eines Morgens auf und musste eine platt gelegene Kakerlake auf meiner Matratze finden. Doch Gott sei Dank war ich nach fast fünf Monaten relativ abgehärtet was sowas angeht und bekam keinen Schreianfall oder ähnliches.
Außerdem war es ja nicht ich, die von einem Riesen im Schlaf zerquetscht wurde…trotzdem nicht sehr appetitlich.

Sydney an sich ist eine sehr schöne und aktive Stadt, wir konnten viele Ziele zu Fuß erreichen, oder auch mit Bus und Bahn. Infrastrukturell ist Sydney meiner Meinung nach auch sehr gut ausgerüstet und man kommt schnell von A nach B.
An sich reichen auch drei Tage in der Hafenstadt, denke ich, durchaus aus.
Immerhin gibt es auch nicht unendlich viel zu sehen.
Ein Muss für mich als Ballettliebhaberin war natürlich das Amateur Tanz Foto vor dem Opera House!

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Danke fürs Lesen und HAVE A GOOD WEEK ♥️!

Sophie

A Morning in Lamington National Park {German}

My dear readers,

today I will announce a new „project“ of mine, which is expressing feelings and moments through writing.
Two weeks ago, I have been to Lamington National Park in southern Queensland and it was a magical experience. The nature was really beautiful, when we woke up in the morning, there were Wallabies all around us, the campground was a bit remote which enables you to connect with nature and to embrace all the beautiful things this national park has to offer. As you probably know, German is my mother tongue, which is why my english writing is more „basic“ than advanced. This is why I wrote my „creative“ text in German. I hope you still want to have a look at the pictures, I took them during our hikes in Lamington and in the early mornings when we had breakfast with the Wallabies.
For my English readers: Stay tuned, my next post will be in English as usual, for the Germans: I hope you enjoy my little writing!

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5:53, Lamington National Park Queensland. Der Boden des Autos ist so hart, dass ich nicht mehr liegen kann. Trotz der Decke und dem Handtuch was sich unter meinem verspannten Rücken befindet, schmerzt mein ganzer Körper und ich beschließe aufzustehen. Die Fenster des Autos sind beschlagen und etwas klopft am Metall. Ich wische das Kondenswasser an der Scheibe vom Rücksitz weg und erblicke ein kleines Wallaby welches neben unserem Auto sitzt.

Meine Füße sind kalt, ich schlüpfe mit meinen Socken in meine FlipFlops und überlege noch wie komisch es aussehen muss, als plötzlich das Wallaby zwei Meter neben mir an mir vorbei hüpft, anhält, mich anschaut und weiter in den Busch springt. Momente wie dieser sind einfach wertvoll denke ich.

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Ich laufe den nassen Weg entlang zu den Toilettenhäuschen, als der von uns benannte Ufo-Vogel, ein Vogel der sich haargenau anhört als würde ein Ufo landen, laut schreit und ich mich augenblicklich wie in einem Film fühle.

Es ist noch sehr kühl, so kühl dass ich mir meine Ärmel über die Hände ziehe und ich eine Gänsehaut bekomme. Ich lege mir meine Kapuze um den Hals, wobei ich das Stechen meines Sonnenbrands am Hals und Nacken spüre, welchen ich mir an der Gold Coast zugezogen habe. Wer hätte auch gedacht dass man sich trotz T-Shirt dermaßen den Hals verbrennen kann, immerhin halten wir uns jetzt schon eine ganze Weile täglich in der Sonne auf.

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Die Sonne sucht sich langsam den Weg durch die grünen Blätter der Bäume und lässt mich leicht blinzeln, zu gerne würde ich davon jetzt ein Bokeh Foto machen denke ich.
Ich atme tief ein und es duftet wie an einem frischen Frühlingsmorgen, der Tau noch auf den Blättern und die Vögel geben ihr Konzert.

Auf meinem Weg zurück höre ich das merkwürdige Klopfen erneut und meine Beine lassen mich ein wenig schneller zurück zum Auto laufen. Ich blicke langsam um die Ecke und entdecke einen Truthahn der an unserer Mülltüte herumpickt, daneben auf dem Tisch sitzend, ein runder grauer Vogel mit einer gelben Kehle und einem gelben Bauch, welcher den Truthahn interessiert beobachtet. Als sie mich entdecken laufen und fliegen sie beide weg.

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Zum Frühstück kochen wir Haferflocken auf mit Banane und Erdnussbutter. Es tut so gut etwas warmes im Magen zu haben. Wir sitzen beide in unseren Campingstühlen, eingeschlungen in unseren Decken, blicken auf das dampfende Frühstück und ich überlege ob es nicht immer so sein könnte.

Während wir darauf warten dass die Sonne über den Baumen aufgeht, bekommen wir besuch von zwei Papageien. Sie setzen sich auf die offen stehende Kofferraumtür, ihren Kopf seitlich zu uns geneigt und schielen auf unser Essen.
So langsam verstehe ich warum man wilde Tiere nich füttern soll, denn nach zehn Minuten sitzen die zwei immer noch da und warten gespannt dass wir unser Essen für einen winzigen Augenblick aus den Augen lassen.

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Wenn ich darüber nachdenke dass uns nur noch wenige Wochen Reise bevorstehen, werde ich leicht melancholisch. Kann dieser Traum denn wirklich ein Ende haben? Diese angenehme Freiheit die man als Reisender hat, die interessanten Gespräche die man mit Menschen aus der ganzen Welt führt und diesen Schub von süßen Endorphinen und heißem Adrenalin den man erlebt wenn man gerade auf einem Boot über den Ozean braust, sich die Sterne anguckt, oder morgens im National Park zwischen Papageien und Wallabies frühstückt? Ich will nicht dass es aufhört.

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Have a magical week!
xx, Sophie

Watching the Stars in Byron Bay, Australia

Hello from Sydney, Australia!

I am finally staying in a hostel that has free internet access so I am now able to upload something. The past few weeks have been amazing, though I am really sad that I have to go back home quite soon. However, I travelled the whole East Coast from Cairns to Sydney and experienced some amazing things and saw beautiful places as Byron Bay.

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We rented a station wagon from Brisbane to Sydney and stayed on a campground in Byron, where we met some awesome Australian guys who showed us the town and spend two days with us. One night we drove up to the famous lighthouse and watched the sunset, which was really beautiful.
Next to the lighthouse there is a path that leads to the easternmost point of the mainland of Australia in Cape Byron.

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This post is probably more about the pictures than the text, but to be honest, I think I am better at taking pictures than at writing.
However, I love how these pictures turned out, since some of them have that old camera look I really like. I had to turn up the ISO which created this look, it was just too dark for my lens out there!
I loved running around, watching the ocean and listening to all the animals around us.
It may sound very cliché but watching the ocean really calms me down and I could spend hours doing it. (I think I will miss this a lot when I am back home…)

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Speaking of going home, I am still not quite sure what will happen to this blog after I have published all my travel posts, do not worry – I still have loads of things up my sleeve!
I will go to University in October and I do not get paid to travel so I will probably continue using this blog for photography and personal things, as well as for occasional travel posts. By the way, I have a “project“ going on which has something to do with the United States, but I do not want to go into detail, since nothing is fixed yet.
However, I guess I will just use this blog as my creative space, maybe also for writing and arts or even for university and book stuff. I like the idea of having a creative space where I can express myself. That is what blogs are for, right?

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Even though it breaks my heart that my amazing journey is almost over, I am so excited for the upcoming months, I have so many plans, dreams and wishes and I also like the thought of spending some months with my family before I will move out.
Additionally, my friend and I are already planning our next Australia and New Zealand trip, we want to do the Great Ocean Road, visit Melbourne and do the Kiwi Experience in New Zealand.
I am sure I will write some additional posts about my other travel plans. I am simply obsessed with planning…

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However, I hope you enjoyed these pictures, especially the last one. After we had returned from the lighthouse, I laid down next to our tent and watched the stars until one in the morning, it was so beautiful! To be honest, my camera managed to photograph even more stars than I actually saw which is so magical! I love to watch the stars, it is so thrilling to think about all the things we do not know about the universe…

Greetings from a happy Sophie!
xx