I am Anja, and thank you for visiting!
I am a German ex-transplant to Great Britain (and the United States, for a very brief period). With advancing middle age, I remembered my roots and returned to the fold of the fatherland. My English was going down the drain, and I got asked a lot about good places to visit as I was the only one of my peers to go off with a backpack beyond my Twenties, and this blog was born out of a desire to stay literate in the English language.
It also serves as a home of travel tales, travel tips, and photographs. I try to minimise junk but I love abandoned buildings, old aircraft dumping sites, shipwrecks and stuff like that, so they may find their way in here.
Suffering from homesickness as a child, I was not a born traveller – and growing up in the Eastern Block, your choices were somewhat limited. I did my first “big” trip only between university and my first job – fourteen days of backpacking in Thailand – I felt like I was conquering the world! And I still like that feeling of setting off, seeing new places, not necessarily keeping the comforts of home, but seeking out new places and experiences takes priority over luxury and holiday vibes. I tend to stay off the beaten track and look for little-visited places with history and culture that deserve more recognition, eat and buy local and not have a huge carbon footprint.
But what’s with the Holiday Golightly title?
Well… Breakfast at Tiffany’s reference, obviously! This is one of my favourite films since I was 10. A cute classic. You could even buy the book in the German Democratic Republic. Its witty bittersweetness was cunningly disguised as a weirdo avant-garde Gothic-styled “Spectrum Library Short Prose” Edition of 1974. The edition was an odd mix of mainly Soviet authors and some less regime-conformist works – such as the first ever print of anything by Sigmund Freud in Eastern Germany (“Mourning and Melancholia”).
Post-1989, I was finally able to read more Truman Capote works, although, compared to the heavily subsidised books in Eastern Germany, books seemed terribly expensive, and I grew to love his works. Like others collect “Le Petit Prince” in different languages and different editions, I have a “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” shelf. I only have this obsession with Evelyn Waugh, Patrick Hamilton and T.S. Eliot, but they all have heroines less likely to go with leisure travel. Is it wise to name this blog after a thinly disguised Callgirl? Or, as Capote would say, an “American Geisha”? Probably not, but I don’t care. I think it’s genius to have a first name associated with leisure and travel, and a second name associated with an intestinal cleaner. Long may it last.
I’m writing this for fun, and I will keep this free from too much selling stuff. Yes, it’s fun to do a bit of advertising – if I tell you “whoa, this restaurant is great” it’s advertising, right? but if I receive any benefits out if it, I will clearly mark such content as paid advertisement, and trust me, it’s not going to happen too often. A few articles may contain affiliate links but I work a full-time non-travel, non-marketing, non-blogging show for income – it probably shows, and this isn’t the place for slick photos and sponsored content. All trips are booked by and paid for by myself, so will always be completely honest about a place because I can afford to. If I remember the prices for things, I will tell you, too, and all prices are accurate at the time of writing, but please remember, most of our planet had applied the Capitalist system, so prices are likely to go up over time. If I stay anywhere without paying because I may have tagged along with my partner or went on a business trip and post pictures, I will say so.
Feel free to drop me a line at mail (at) holiday-golightly (dot) com
(apologies to all of you who made it past the SEO-friendly 300 words – what follows is still very much a work in progress)
My travel story – or why write this?
I have visited 48 countries so far but only started writing this blog semi-properly in 2017. I was born and raised in a country that no longer exists, the German Democratic Republic, 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 post-November 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 Pfennige.
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
And 2018? We visited two new countries, Armenia and Georgia, and I am daydreaming about where to go in summer. The reality look somewhat different. I hope to 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.