I stumbled over a post like this on another blog and thought it might be a fun way to let you know a bit more about me.
I spent a year from November 1998- December 1999 in Michigan, USA as an Au-Pair. While it wasn’t all easy,( watching someone else’s children 9 hours a day just isn’t) it was one of the best years of my life! I’ve made great friends, travelled, really improved my English (though these days I’d argue it wasn’t English that I was learning there) and pretty much immersed myself into another culture. And in retrospect, I believe this experience has really shaped the way I like to travel. Of course, I like to sightsee as much as the next person, but my true travel love lies in immersing myself into another culture. I’ve got glimpses of that when working in a hospital on Zanzibar in 2003, any of course during my year in Australia as well as now in Morocco.
Do I have a bucket list? Yes, I do! But it changed over the years. It used to have all the major sights on them, and the only thing left from those times is Angkor Wat in Cambodia. These days it’s more about experiences, seeing the northern lights, swimming with whale sharks, etc. I also have a few countries on that list, Ethiopia, Madagascar, Mauretania, Lebanon, just to name some.
As some of you already know, I bought a camel baby! Well, he’s not really a baby anymore, more like a toddler I think. I want to train him for independent riding. Most camels here in Morocco are only trained to carry people in a line of camels with a person in the front. If you are interested in seeing more about this, follow me on Instagram, where I post stories frequently.
One of my biggest weaknesses/problems is, I seriously lack self-discipline. Which is not very good if you are a blogger and trying to build a business.
I’m a classic extrovert, according to any personality test I’ve ever taken. But, the older I get, the more I seem to need and enjoy time by myself. Especially at home (wherever that is at the time) I love just hanging out reading or watching Netflix.
I’m a big foodie! I love to eat, and I love to eat good quality food. I guess you can call me a flexitarian, at home I eat mostly vegetarian, but I will eat meat and love eating fish when I’m going out. I don’t think I can name a favourite food, as there are just too many things I love! Here are a few: my father’s spaghetti sauce, sushi, Thai curry and pad thai, gnocchi with truffle sauce, grilled salmon, tiramisu, lemon chicken made by Hassan, a good burger, Schokoladenpudding, warm bread with amlou, and now I’m really hungry and want to get out of Merzouga just to eat something different!!
Probably my biggest guilty pleasure is watching Netflix. I really have to stop myself frequently from binge-watching some new series for hours, or days, at a time.
Hamburg is my favourite city in Germany! I used to live there, 6 years of med school and lots of partying. It’s a beautiful city with lots of water, plenty of history and great food. My favourite international city is London. I got to know the city first from a local perfective when I had a boyfriend there in 2003. I went back at least once a year and just love the vibe. But in general, I’m not as much of a big city girl as I used to. These days I prefer smaller places where is easier to make friends. Although in my current, very small, home village, it’s hard to make friends due to a big language barrier.
What I value most in my friends (and other people in general) is integrity. For me, it’s a combination of honesty, trust and loyalty and I really hate being around people who don’t have any.
I quit my last job early in 2019. I was working as a healthcare consultant travelling a lot internationally but also got a bit bored between projects. I was going to travel for a year or a few but got stuck living in Morocco. I still travel, in the summer when it’s too hot here, or when friends ask me to travel with them, like recently in Oman.
As a child, I put ketchup on everything, literally. I even put it in soup. Nowadays I only eat it with fries or on my favourite pasta bake.
I love to learn languages. Although in school I was totally convinced that I have no language talent whatsoever. I hated it. But I think that was mostly due to bad teachers. I can’t understand with how little knowledge you are allowed to teach a language in Germany. So, these days I’m pretty much bilingual in German and English, can understand some and speak a little of French, Spanish and Italian and am learning Arabic. I would love to learn Berber, but it’s really hard and my brain is a little overwhelmed with all the languages around me at the moment, I think.
I love visiting mosques. They are so beautiful! I know there are also nice churches, but in my head they are all dark and cold. Maybe that’s because my catholic childhood church was like that. But anyway, the big mosques are always really pretty, light coloured places that make you feel free. They are also bigger than most churches and have beautiful surroundings. My favourite is the Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque in Muscat, Oman, followed by the Sheik Sayed Grand Mosque in Abu Dhabi.
I am a big nature fan! I love being outside, camping, hiking. And I hate seeing all the plastic lying around, killing animals and sooner or later probably also plants. So I started to reduce my plastic use as much as possible. I use a reusable metal bottle with a filter, so I don’t have to buy bottled water. I use bamboo toothbrushes and toothpaste tabs that come in a biodegradable packing. I use soap and shampoo bars. And, maybe the most important, I annoy everyone around me to do the same. And it works! I already “converted” a few of my friends.
My trip to Oman in 2017 changed my life. I fell in love with this country and almost felt “homesick” when I was back in Germany. It made me completely question my life at home with this sudden urge to change everything about it. I spent months researching ways to move and live there (not really possible though). It was the starting point to learning how to write a blog, saving money and finally quitting my job. A month ago I went to Oman again, this time to see a little more of the country than the desert. And I must say, it is still one of my favourite countries in the world! It is so diverse in nature, everything from high mountains to deserts and the ocean. The people are lovely, very open and communicative and not just trying to go after your money. I guess it is safe to say, Oman, I will be back!
One of the first, and definitely one of my favourite podcasts I ever listened to is The Thoughtful Travel Podcast. I’ve been interviewed for it twice and appeared in quite a few episodes by now (e.g. 157 Iraq, 124 hiking, 122 talking to locals). Amanda usually talks to 3 people per episode about the same topic and it makes for a nice mix of different perspectives. It is also pretty much responsible for my move to Morocco. The hiking trip I did in 2018 was organized by a woman who talked about her plan on this podcast and Amanda put us in touch.
I always get in trouble for asking too many questions. Especially questions that are uncomfortable and no one wants to hear. But to me, they are a good thing! They make people think again. Reconsider. Make things better. I love playing devil’s advocate, I think it is my biggest talent. Also, I am really good at saying NO. Another thing most people don’t love about me. But for me, it is healthy to set clear boundaries. And I hear so many people say they completely lack this skill and need to learn to say no. So maybe I should start a course and teach people. I could be rich!
Reading has always been my biggest hobby. Although there are times when I spend way more hours watching Netflix than reading. It was one of my goals for the time I’m travelling, to read more again. But for some reason, I’ve actually read less books last year than in the 10 years before. So this year that has to change. Anyone have recommendations? I enjoy thrillers and crime, easy to read novels with interesting topics, and the classics like Jane Austen. My favourite book of all times is The Lord of the Rings and my pick for the best book of the last decade would be The Pilgrim.
So my ultimate favourite dessert is Sticky Toffee Pudding. Every time I’m in the UK I have to eat some. I annoy and amuse my friends and colleagues with it quite frequently. I will run around for an hour or more just to find a place to eat this. My love started in Australia, where they have something very similar called Sticky Date Pudding. I’ve seen what goes in it, and in my head I know I shouldn’t eat it, as it must be the most unhealthy dish ever! But my stomach, and my heart, ask for it whenever I can get it, so I don’t think about too much and just enjoy.
My favourite animal when I was little were turtles. We had an aquarium full of them and I even dressed up as one for carnival when I was in primary school.
I love the underwater world. I am a passionate scuba diver, but I do way too little of it lately. No idea how I ended up living in the desert when I have such a big love for the sea. It all started, when I was snorkelling for the first time in my life in Zanzibar. All the beauty under the surface, coral, fishes, turtles! I love exploring it all! When I came back home I started a diving course and went to explore the lakes around northern Germany. But it is so much more fun diving in the tropics, where the fish are colourful and the water is warm. And one of the things left on my bucket list is diving (or snorkelling) with whale sharks.
My current vision for my future is building a successful business here in Morocco organizing tours and events in the desert. From hiking trips to yoga retreats and workshops of any kind. So wish me luck! And tell all your friends about it!
What I do sometimes miss here in Merzouga is a nice glass of cold white wine! Not that I never get to drink wine here, it’s just not that good. For some reason, the Moroccan wines don’t put the name of the grape they use on the bottle. You just know it’s white wine. There are some decent ones, but nothing even close to the nice Rieslings and Pinot Biancos I like so much.
Of course, for X I go with X-rays. I am a professional X-ray reader but chose to leave that career path behind. After only 3 years in Radiology, I knew I didn’t want to do this forever, so I started looking around for something to do after specializing after 5 years. And I ended up being a hospital consultant for 5.5 years before starting to travel. My background was really relevant and necessary for the work I did, so I definitely didn’t waste my career as some people said.
If there is one thing I wished I was disciplined enough to do it would be Yoga. I took some classes in Indonesia last summer and really loved it, but for some reason I never really get into a routine with it. I know it would be so good for my mental and physical health, but still I slack.
My zodiac sign is Gemini. And even though I don’t believe in horoscopes, all the things I read about Geminis fit me. All of them. Good and bad. What can you do. Also, my MBTI fits me perfectly, I am an ESTJ if I do the test in German, and an ESTP in English. But in the J/P, I am very close to the middle, so it’s not much different.