This page is still a work in progress! For up to date blog posts, please look in the Main Menu. Thank you!
I only started writing this blog semi-properly in 2017, and It still remains a much loved hobby while I work full time in a field unrelated to travel and leisure. I have visited 58 countries so far, most of them after 2000. Not that I am rushing to reach a certain number of countries, but I do like to visit a new country every year…. sometimes two!.
And there’s a reason for this: I was born and raised in a country that no longer exists, the German Democratic Republic, where international travel was extremely restricted. And I lived there until its re-unification with the Federal Republic of Germany in 1990.
So, this travel story is bisected into pre-November 1989, when we were not allowed to travel freely anywhere except nationally and to the Czech Republic. And it was adterNovember 1989, when all of a sudden, we could go wherever we wanted! Mind you, I was a shy teenager with no money then, but come summer 1990, I scraped all I had and went camping in Rome for a week with my best friend and climbed Mount Vesuvius. Oh, the adventure! Within 18 months, I managed to travel to Amsterdam, Rome, Lake Garda, Naples and London. I still don’t know how I managed, because I was in High School then, but I guess I must have worked my butt off with my hospital job and begged my parents for spare pennies.
When living in Eastern Germany, Travelling was really limited
So, the German Democratic Republic Republic Travel Story is reasonably short and includes Czechoslovakia, Hungary, Poland, Romania, Bulgaria and the Soviet Union. And that’s relatively privileged – although my parents weren’t big party cheeses my dad worked more than one job and made it his special business to apply for a foreign visa every other year and take us on a foreign holiday, then we would hire a small caravan, and explore our small world! Soviet Union was a class trip to Moscow in… 1989.
Travel in the Western World
That all changed in November 1989! Of course, in the first year I barely had any money, as what little savings we had was only partially converted in 1990’s currency union. I took 4000 shiny D-Marks (about 2000EURO in today’s money) and everything else was exchanged at a poor rate. Obviously, as a teenager I did not have huge savings, but some older people who had been saving a lifetime were hit quite hard.
Once I made some money from jobs after school, the travelling started!
My first trip in Western Europe was a school trip to Utrecht.
Followed by another school trip to London (which a friend and I organised)
Before starting uni, in 1991, I travelled to London and Ireland with a friend.
Uni was mostly hard work. But I did not pay a cent for my education, just living expenses. My parents were unemployed for some of the time post Eastern Germany collapse, so the German state gave those poor students a bursary/loan and I had a part time job. This has formed me in many ways. I don’t think I will ever give up my primary job, not just do I love it, but I also was given the opportunity of a thorough education.
So, it goes without saying that I have worked in the field I studied and received a bloody great education at the taxpayers expense. It’s not always fun, but I see working and serving the community, including many unpaid hours, teaching and research in my spare time, as a way of paying back for the opportunities I have been given.
Years of hard work and rare holidays
Starting a blog
Recent travels – since I started writing the blog
Starting with a 26-hour flight to Waikoloa on the Big Island of Hawaii in the winter of 2016. I spent five days lounging round in a Mega-Resort on the Waikoloa Coast, then drove around the island and cracked my finger trying to surf.
2017 was a poor travel year, as work took over life in a way I did not really have in mind, but one drastic job swap later, I had a little free time and managed a (cheap) week of backpacking in Israel
By the end of 2017 the need for another outing, however short, led to three days in Budapest
Followed by an unexpected trip to Florence, Italy. Just 48 hours, with minimal warning, but as we say in Germany, you celebrate those glad occasions as they arise.
I am daydreaming about where to go in summer or later in autumn. I have a bit of annual leave here and there left.
The reality look somewhat different. I will probably move house, and summer really is too good here, no need to go away, plus upgrading our home will eat our funds in a way I have rarely experienced before. I have booked a very cheap flight to Bucharest later in the year and I am dreaming about re-visiting Japan. Considering I wasn’t going to go anywhere last year, I think I might squeeze in a short trip or two or at least come up with a few lovely places to see in my home state.