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!

Travel „Mistakes“ And Things I Will Avoid Next Time

There are certain „mistakes“ we made during our travels and things I will avoid next time I will be travelling. This is post is not supposed to be a guide or something, it is rather me reflecting and sharing my thoughts.

Too much planning

Looking back, I realised we did TOO MUCH planning. I planned almost everything.
Just because I am usually an extremely organised person and I really enjoy it.
However, I noticed that I have not actually followed my plan and I missed most of the things I wanted to do. But this was totally fine. If you give yourself the choice of deciding spontaneously what you want to do every day, you will experience this special being-an-independent-traveler-feeling which is really thrilling.
If we had obsessively followed all of our plans, we would have missed so many great adventures, for example spending two days in Byron Bay with three cool Australian guys or we would not have quitted our job in Darwin and travelled the East Coast instead.
The best adventures we had where the spontaneous ones.

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Booking all flights in advance

We booked all our flights in advance. Frankfurt-London-Kuala Lumpur-Bali-Bangkok-Darwin and from Sydney back to Germany. I also booked a flight from Kuala Lumpur to Langkawi and back and I did not even attend the flight back to KL because I took a ferry to Penang and a bus back to Malaysia’s capital.
We realised that you do not even have to book international flights in advance when you are travelling South East Asia, since the tickets are very cheap.
I wish we’d had the time to visit another country in South East Asia, it would have been affordable and probably cheaper than booking six months in advance.
I also regretted booking a return flight from Australia since we had to pay a lot of money to change flights. Next time I go to South East Asia, I will resist the urge to book all of the flights in advance and maybe even choose the overland route.

Don’t be a lone wolf

This one is not really a mistake we made, but especially when you are travelling with another person, it is likely that it will always be only the two of you and the so-called bonding with other travellers does not happen as easily as when you are travelling solo.
This is not particularly bad but if you ARE travelling on your own, you might want to change this „habit“.
I met so many people when I travelled in Malaysia, because I had to. I did not want to spend the evening alone, so I just talked to other people and we spent the evening or even the following days together. Some people might not be very interested in meeting other travellers but I definitely am, so I always told myself „Don’t be a lone wolf and start bonding!“
Even though those bonds do not last very long, it is still an extremely cool experience because it only takes a day and you and your new travel buddy will behave like best friends.

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Don’t book too many nights in your accommodation

When we arrived in Darwin, Northern Territory Australia, we booked a private room in an AirBnB for four (!!!) weeks, since we planned to work for at least six weeks in Darwin. Well, the job search turned out to be more difficult than expected and we had to stay in Darwin without a job and in the end, tried to reverse the booking.
Fortunately, we got some of the money back but in the end we were not able to go to Cairns as early as we would have liked to.

Traveling is no competition

Something that really annoyed me was that some travellers, especially Germans, tend to make a competition out of travelling. To my mind it is not about how many countries you visited or how many things you did, it is about you.
How you feel whilst travelling, your personal development and also if you are satisfied with what you are doing, is what really matters.
It is your time and nobody makes the same experiences you make.
We talked to two German girls in Sydney and our conversation ended with them criticising us, telling us that we have not tried hard enough to find a job and of course their experience was soo much cooler than ours.
This. Is. Not. The. Idea. Of. Travelling.

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Don’t travel on a „too-tight“ budget

During our time in Australia, both of our credit cards got hacked. We had no access to my friend’s money and they drawed out over 300€ from my account.
What I want to say is that you should make sure that you have enough money for any unpredictable cases.
Additionally, as naive as I am, I expected travelling in South East Asia and especially Australia to be a bit cheaper- so be prepared 😀

I hope you found some of these tips helpful, please let me know if you have any other ideas on how to be well-prepared for travelling :)!

xx, 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

Self-Discovery or Self-REdiscovery – Nusa Lembongan

Many people go traveling in order to find themselves and to achieve happiness.
Through all these different influences, cultural experiences, inspirations and new ways of living, people do change during their travels.

Some people hope that they may find out what kind of job they want to do because after graduation they had no idea,
others hope that they can break bad habits and start something completely new,
some try new things and find new passions.

What if I tell you that in thirteen weeks of traveling, I have experienced „self-rediscovery“ rather than self-discovery?
Actually, I cannot completely explain this but I just feel more like myself.
When I left my town I thought that I would leave many things behind. Former hobbies, my old mind-set, stress and insecurity. And yes, I feel that through traveling I became more stress-resistant and I gained self-confidence. I learned a lot about myself and I know what I am capable of and what I should not do, or either what I do not need.

I rediscovered myself because I found hope that I can actually keep doing certain things and that I can trust myself.
For example, when I left I thought I would also leave my passion for dance behind. I assumed that I have to move on, try something new – I thought I was not good enough at ballet and dance in general and that even if I put a lot of effort into it, I would get nothing in return.
I was wrong. For thirteen years, dance has always played a big role in my life.
How could I expect my body to give up this passion that has always fulfilled me, a passion that guided me through good and bad times?
I cannot just let go of it and I do not have to. I love ballet and I cannot wait to start dancing again when I am back in Germany.

Additionally, I realized that I do not have to search for escape because there is nothing to escape from.
I love my family and I love my friends, which is most important because these people will always give their best to help and protect you.

I learned to love „home“ but I also appreciate being elsewhere, or even far away from home. As I already stated in my birthday blogpost, it will not matter where you are as long as there are your people surrounding you and you are able to do the things you love.
Of course, memories are often linked to certain places and situations, but maybe we must have to take a step forward and create new ones.

Sorry for this labyrinth of thoughts, which might cause some confusion, but I just had to put some thoughts on paper.
However, I hope you enjoy these pictures of Nusa Lembongan (click here to read my last post about this small island)!

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Have a good week!

xx, Sophie

Koh Lanta, spending my 19th Birthday in Paradise

Hello together,

I hope you are alright and had a good weekend. I am already in Christmas mood, even though it is still November. What can I say? I just love Christmas.
Family time, baking cookies all Sunday long, lightening candles, eating ginger bread, listening to Christmas music, watching American Christmas movies and drinking hot tea. Anyway, I am in Darwin at the moment and 34°C and 75% air humidity make it quite difficult to stick to my German Christmas traditions.
I mean, we will probably celebrate Christmas in Brisbane at the beach, which will be very exciting I guess.
I even have to admit that we already bought a small plastic Christmas tree in KMart for 5$, all Aussies buy plastic Christmas trees – we had to adopt this tradition.
We will take this tree with us while we will be travelling the Australia’s East Coast…stupid, I know.

However, I did not plan to talk about my Christmas obsession, actually I wanted to tell you about my time in Koh Lanta.
Koh Lanta is an island on the west coast of Thailand, located in the south of Krabi.
This beautiful island was our last stop before we took a flight back to Bangkok and from Bangkok to Australia. We spent four nights in two nice bungalows and celebrated my birthday on our last day.

I never thought of celebrating my birthday in Thailand, but it turned out to be really cool. We rented a scooter and had breakfast in our favourite french breakfast place „Faim de Loup“. After we had asian food for two month, we were really excited about western food again and enjoyed good bread, croissants and cheese omelettes. It was delicious!
Unfortunately I had a cold because of the air con and took a for three-hour nap before we went on our scooter beach hopping trip.
At this point, I would like to recommend my favourite app „Maps.me“ which really helped us discovering beautiful, hidden places in Thailand and Indonesia.
The app is free and you can download maps and use them offline.
The second beach we explored was really beautiful, there were only two other travelers and the scenery was magical. We took some photos and I daydreamed a lot while watching the sunset.

On this day, I realised that it only matters to a certain extent where you are on a day like your birthday. What matters the most is the people with whom you are spending your day. I am still really happy that I was able to celebrate my birthday with Lina, I missed my family a lot that day but she put a lot of effort into this day and made it really special.
We had a great day together, even though it is not the same as waking up early in the morning and having cake for breakfast with my family.
However, Lina and I enjoyed it to the fullest. After we had spent our afternoon at the beach, we had dinner at our favourite beach bar, the so called „Moonwalk Bar“, where we enjoyed cheesy Pizza. The evening was great and I will always remember it as the most extraordinary birthday I had in my life so far.

Now, I proudly introduce you to Nui Bay, my birthday beach:

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Have a good week!

Love, Sophie

Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Hello World,

this is gonna be a quick Kuala Lumpur Update, since I have to admit that I do not really have a real „KL-Travel-Guide“ for you. To be honest, I am often too lazy to bring my Reflex Camera, consequently my KL pictures are not the best.

Anyway, I booked a „Nice Bus“ for 44RM to KL on Easybook, the company is seriously called „Nice Busses“. However, these busses are really cool, since you have a huge seat with a tablet where you can watch movies and TV shows. I really enjoyed the ride.
Additionally, I can highly recommend taking busses, as you will be able to see some nice forests and plantations.

I arrived at 4:00pm and took a Grab to my hostel Reggae Mansion. The hostel is really nice, is has a rooftop bar, a good restaurant, a cinema, nice bedrooms and you can do your laundry in 3 hours for only 15RM.
After I had checked in, I walked around KL and later went to the restaurant, where I met four very nice girls from the UK.
Later in the evening I went up to the rooftop bar and met Roger, a guy from Holland and we planned to explore KL together.

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I woke up quite early the next morning because one of the staff members came into the room and started to sing. I was slightly confused and thought it was my roommate.
I slept in a 16 bed room and shard the room with only one girl the first night, her name is Charlotte.
We met Roger for breakfast and went to a local food court where we had Nasi Goreng for only 5RM. I love the food courts in Malaysia, they offer amazing and fresh dishes!
Later we decided to walk to the Petronas Towers, which takes approximately 30-40minutes from Reggae Mansion.
There is a huge mall inside the towers which is called Suria KLCC. I had to buy two shirts and a pair of shorts there, since the laundry turned my white T-Shirts yellow/brown.

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Around the Petronas Towers you will find a nice park surrounded by many business buildings. There is even a swimming pool near the towers, but only children are allowed to use it.

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The next day Charlotte and I went to the Batu Caves together, I will write a separate post about it, since I finally brought my camera!!

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Furthermore, we had to buy sneakers and explored China Town while looking for a nice pair of shoes. It is really impressive how many different markets, people and cultures they have in Kuala Lumpur.

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In the evening we went up to the rooftop bar again, where we met other nice people from all over the world. Our little group of six people decided to go to the main road for food in Malaysia and I can just encourage you to do this!

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There are so many different stands and restaurants where you can get every type of asian food and also western food. I ordered Nasi Goreng and it was delicious! Unfortunately there are many Salesman who want you to buy little accessories while you are having dinner, which really got on my nerves after a whie.

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I only spent two days in KL and then took a bus to the airport because I promised my friend Lina to pick her up from the airport. So far so good, we booked an accommodation near the airport which was also really good. Although taking the flight to Bali was a little complicated, we finally made it!!

Stay tuned

Batu Ferringhi, Penang – and what I’ve learned in two weeks of Solo Traveling

As you know from my Solo Traveling Post, I planned to go to Malaysia on my own. My first stop was Langkawi, two days later I went to Georgetown, Penang.
Although Georgetown is a really nice city with great food an amazing street art, I was not able to enjoy it as much as I wanted to.
Why? Because I did not give myself the time to settle in, to deal with my culture shock and to calm down.
I have always been very enthusiastic when I came to another country.
When I arrived in Langkawi I wanted to do everything at once and totally forgot to care for myself and to listen to my body.
Please do not get me wrong, I really enjoyed my time, but there were two days in Penang where I felt really lost, lonely and overwhelmed. Even though I have never suffered from homesickness before, I started to miss the people around me.
I met really nice people in Penang, but it just makes a big difference if you are traveling alone or with a friend.
These two days I was afraid to walk around alone.
Many people will talk to you in Malaysia, since they are really friendly. But it also happened to me that groups of men were asking me where I was staying and if I was traveling alone, which made me feel quite uncomfortable. I always answered that I am traveling with my boyfriend and smiled. Fortunately they just smiled back and said „Okay, good bye!“.

Do not get me wrong, I do not think that every stranger might be dangerous, but it is still very important to be cautious and do not take to many risks when you are alone.

The next thing that caused a little bit of trouble was transportation.
Personally I feel that it is so much easier to take busses, planes, taxis or an Uber with a friend. At the beginning it really scared me to do all these things on my own but you know what? I got out of my comfort zone and now I know that you can also just walk to a hostel and ask if they have a bed for you, I can take busses, planes, ferries and Ubers on my own because I got used to it.
You will learn to deal with new situations every day! The moment when you realize that you have spent a certain time completely on your own, that you met new people and went out with them and that nobody but you makes the decisions is simply amazing.
After a while you know how to negotiate and how to deal with weird taxi drivers. It is an adventure and you are doing this challenge completely on your own.
If you go on a trip on your own, you will not regret it! Embrace the moment, be aware what you are doing and what you have accomplished.

Additionally, traveling alone does not mean that you will be alone. I recently talked to a friend from the UK about this. People are not the same when they are traveling. They make friends within minutes and behave like they already know each other for years.
When I was in Penang at the beach, Anna from Langkawi texted me and gave me the number of a girl from Holland. We met in Penang and had a great time. She showed me that I do not have to me the highly organized girl from Germany, but that I should be more spontaneous and enjoy the moment. While I planned my whole trip, she just decides from day to day what she wants to do and where she wants to go, which is really cool.
Now I slightly regret that all my flights are already booked and that I will probably not be able to go to Vietnam or Myanmar this year, even though I would love to go there!
On my next trip to Asia, I will just book my long distance flights from Germany to Asia and back. This can save money and you can actually go wherever you want.

Anyway, after having explored Georgetown, I went to Batu Ferringhi, which is located at the beach. The beach in Penang is nice in general, but it also depends on the weather.
I can highly recommend watching the sunset there!
Hope you enjoy the pictures, my next post about Penang will be published very soon!

xx, Sophie

 

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