In 2016 I cancelled my apartment, put all my belongings into a storage and went on what was supposed to be a year long hike around the world. This travel has been cut short due to an accident after a few months in, that made me unfit to continue my hike.
So I took up cycling
Here are my low-budget, freeloading, solo traveller adventures.
On August 13th, two days before my planned flight to New York, I snapped my ankle in a Danish forest. And I snapped it bad.
Practically being immobile I had to let go of my flight and crawled back to Berlin to recover for 2 weeks until I could put some weight on my foot again – and another week later I landed in Mexico, Cancun. With my backpack and crutches, determined to not let this get into my way. But it did. My daily walking pensum was reduced to 5 km with a following 3 days recovery time. I kinda make-it break-it through central America until I understood this will not get any better. Let alone that this was not the kind of travel I planned it to be.
So I took the next flight back to Brussels, hiked a bit, gave up and took a bus and finally stranded in Bonn, Germany. The place where I storaged my boxes in a cellar. And this was where I stood. Desperate, defeated, frustrated and ashamed of my short lived journey.
I didn’t tell anyone of my friends that I was supposed to meet in the states. I pulled back from this page. All the doors that stood wide open just before this fucking millisecond of a moment in Denmark seemed to have closed. I felt like sitting in a dark and empty room and that the world was gone. Suddenly I understood the whole impact of all the things I have left behind and all the bridges I cut for the big adventure – and now without the adventure I was left with nothing.
What I will know later is that although my ankle thankfully didn’t snap any tendons, it was left heavily scarred and permanently swollen. The outer tendon has flicked out of place and hurt my knee as well as my hip, The bones inside my ankle went loose and drifted to places they didn’t belong, therefore blocking my movement nearly completely. In this my heel lost its balance and is not able to support my walking movement correctly any more, as well as 3 of my toes that shifted to another position to complete this fuckload of a mess.
It took long to get doctors appointments, longer even to get therapy and nearly forever to get MRT results to give my ankle proper handling. It got better, but it still isn’t good. Right now when I type this I can feel my ankle being sore, blocked and stressed out by a laughable amount of walking I did the last days. So I have to make another decision now.
My journey is hereby officially cancelled.
I will look for an apartment to stay for an unknown amount of time – basically until I feel better again. And I will give the ankle the time it needs to heal fully, which I can only do if I stay at one place throughout the whole therapy. I am scared now that this injury will last forever. This thought drives me crazy, I cannot even imagine a life without walking and hiking and the freedom that comes along with it. I am genuinely scared. And I am making plans to continue my travels on a bicycle because fuck you. But despite my decision to cancel the original journey this page will be resurrected. Setbacks are part of the game and right now my game has just changed (as has my foot haha). There are many stories still untold, and many experiences to be put into art and projects. I think this is the time now to put them all together.
Yesterday I had a dream, that I went to get my backpack. The sun was shining and I stood outside breathing the fresh air. And instead of following my plans to catch a train I decided to just go, to where the sun is and follow the road. Inthis momentI felt it again, the Wanderlust calling me to its beaches and paths, mountains with endless skies and scents of wild herbs. That night, of all the doors that closed for me in that dark empty room after my return, one of them opened again. My neverending love for the hike.
PS.: Yes I did walk up to that volcano in Guatemala with my ankle. It took me 2 days to get up, and 1 full day to get down. But it was fucking worth it! Look!
Every now and then I get a “How can you afford this?” or “IDK where you got that money from” in my comment box. And I think there is a misunderstanding, that my words alone cannot solve.
Since I dont have an apartment anymore I am actually saving some money compared to my previous lifestyle – even with the flight tickets! And living in a tent is so beautiful that by now I miss the wind when I sleep in closed rooms.
So here is an incomplete diary of my homes all over the world – as far as I documented them.
It takes two chicken buses from the border of Guatemala to Lake Atitlan in the center. We stood two days at an open house and decided to leave pretty quickly when one guest left immediately after the arrival of a new guy, saying the new one would be a serial killer in Guatemala. No idea how much alcohol and paranoia was involved but it was enough for us to second guess and change to another city.
Anyhow everything turned out good for us because here I found an apartment to stay, it is very simple with cold water but it has this beautiful view. Now I sit here sometimes and wonder, was this guy crazy or did we really just meet a crime celeb? Should we have stayed?
I left home on 20th April 2017. Now I sit here, wrting this content and a minute ago the clock shifted from Wednesday 21st June to tomorrow, Thursday the 22nd. I have been travelling for 61 days now. Actually I checked it in Google Calendar and counted the days several times. I am really bad with numbers.
These last 61 days have been the most shifting, changing, and mindful days in my adult life. I have found peace and beauty, endured the voices and chaos raging in my head while climbing northern mountains, I have felt my heart open up to love again and have lost the most important love a child can have, the love of my mother. I am alone now, but I feel like a part of the world for the first time. I am abandoned, and found myself. But enough of this emo-talk, down to business.
What the fuck happened?!
I took the train from Germany, Bonn to Viborg, Denmark. It took about 9 hours and 21EUR to arrive in Tomas’s arms who gladly welcomed me back to his little town. After crashing here and there I found a stable home at a messy but lovable community right next to the VIA. The VIA is that crazy animation school that is source to nearly every viral animated short movie on the internet. You remember The Reward?
They also hosted one of my talks which was generously visited. I also got drunk a bit with a danish guy and a dutch guy. Nevermind, off I go…
To The Coast of Denmark! and somewhere beyond…
It was at the coast of Hirtshals in the very North of Denmark, where I survived my first rainstorm. And where I found the first beauty in the stones and marbles of the shore. In the sun of the next morning I packed my backpack and hiked East to the ferry that’s supposed to bring me up to Faroe Islands and Iceland. I walked for nearly 2 hours in the labyrinth of the industrial harbor until a group of Workers In A Van (c) picked me up and drove me to the check-in for the ferry. The wrong one, but close enough. Two hours later the ship departed and my journey finally began.
Good News! I don’t get seasick. Actually I fu-fucking LOVE the sea, give me a nutshell and a seastorm and I’m a happy woman. A trait that later would give me precious memories of dodging vomiting bodies rolling on the floor of Icelandic ships.
It took 2 nights to arrive on Faroe Islands.
In the peace of the earliest morning I saw gentle, grassy cliffs passing the ship. The only sound was the constant and calm humming of the engine, none of the few passengers on deck said a word while we slowly entered the harbor of Torshavn.
I stood 2 weeks on Faroe Islands, took the ferry to Iceland to hike there for 11 days. From Reykjavik I took the plane to Zagreb, Croatia on 27th May – to stay and talk at the IFCC 2017. Those were crazy 10 days. Followed up by a week of beautiful Istanbul in mid June. Let’s give each of them the post they deserve, but for now the most important question:
How do I afford all this?
I am not spending more money than I did before. My budget is 36EUR a day, that includes housing and food as well as on-going costs like insurance, mobile phone, taxes and so on. I sleep on camping places or at the side of the street. I dumpster-dive or eat simple, high calorie food. I don’t do fashion, souvenirs, hotels, groups – if I can walk I skip the bus. I am not on vacation. I am on travel. In the last 61 days I have lost 6 kg in total and turned a significant amount of fat into muscle weight. Or as Marek says: I’m a fucking hobo. And I’m lovin’ it.
For those keen on trying out the Hobo Lifestyle (c) themselves, there will be a post about my backpack, equipment, troubleshooting and some more numbers on the whole experience. But for now: enough words.
Thanks for reading and joining me on my travels. You are always invited to use me as an excuse to travel alongside for some time. Check my sticky post to see my next destination. See you Soon!
Five months ago I yelled into the internet that I will sell all my stuff, pack my luggage, flip off my clients and go travel the world. Free as a bird with a head full of dreams, unmaintained beachbod and a daily updated Instagram account I wanted to hold tight to my top10 best places to travel list from Buzzfeed and jump into colorful taxis and nostalgic trains. Yeah, how did that turn out?
Everything that ought to last, has to be prepared cautiously.
Little did I know that the first mountain I had to climb was made of paperwork. Taxes, official state of living, renewing nationalities and papers, fixing up an international money flow so I can get to my savings from everywhere and trying to get global WiFi wuuaaat? But I did sell all my stuff. That means besides 15 boxes of books I just couldn’t let go of. And my wardrobe for example has reduced to one box, winter jackets included, which surprisingly turned out to be the most freeing and most rewarding part of my break-free. Wearing treasures instead of fashion has dramatically improved my quality of life and self esteem. Who would’ve guessed?
All of my remaining belongings are stuffed into a garage 600km from Berlin, while I stuffed myself onto couches, guest beds, sleeping bags and a very short & disastrous shared flat room. Brief shoutout: Didn’t even get my money back after I had to move out to avoid tittie-cream offers for breakfast. WTF is wrong with you?
But I managed to do my drivers license and plan my travels. And I have to tell you, between being „flirted“ into social isolation, getting my bank account hacked, falling down the stairs and breaking my arm, what always cheered me up was to put together My Google Map © and planing my travels. Thanks to all of you out there who invited me and opened the world to me. Every pin that went down My Google Map © made me happier. No, seriously, thank you.
Now I sit here, look at my map, my printed tickets and I am scared and relieved that tomorrow is the day. Tomorrow at 9.45 goes the train to Denmark, my first stop of this weird new life I chose to have. What I save in rent I will spend in tickets, at least that’s what I have in mind. Until June I will travel with backpack, carrying a tent and sleeping bag and I will try to be as autonome as possible.
I have always dreamt of this.
This. Hiking by myself, being free, going wherever I want to go. It will be cold AF and rainy and snowing but I am prepared, and I have no intention of getting comfortable. I want to suffer and be rewarded with freedom, re-wire my brain from Netflix to pushing through. The couch should never be in my way again.
First Travels to the North, then meet up with some of you at IFCC in Croatia. I will post an article for every travels I have done, but also I will send you little videos on the way. And if you are in Faroe or Iceland, please invite me for a hot coffee, I will need it.