Category Archives: Blog in english

4 Weeks / 4 Wochen

(fuer deutsche Version nach unten scrollen)

Coincidentally I’m in Malaysia at the moment. Enjoying the warmth and unbelievable amounts of fascinating streetfood. Even more coincidentally we learn that visa-runs (after 12 months of stay) are a bit harder in New Zealand as you either have to fly out of the country or do lots of expensive health tests. So – tada – we’ll be in Australia in 4 weeks! Without our car but with touring bicycles. With panniers and backpack (let’s see how that goes).

So long did we talk about bicycle touring and now it finally becomes reality. A bit scary, I admit. Thinking of the 1000 things we still need to do (like selling our car, mount racks and panniers, clean the bike thoroughly again, and go hiking and sleeping in huts in New Zealand at least several times again…) can be a bit overwhelming.

But today I woke with a smile on my face, feeling the exitement of new beginnings in general and this one in particular. It is only cycling after all. I’ve done it since I was 4 years old. And all the other stuff will figure itself out.


4 Wochen

Wie es der Zufall so will, bin ich gerade in Malaysia und geniesse die Waerme und unglaublich viel tolles Essen. Und wie es noch mehr Zufaelle wollen, erfahren wir dass Visum verlaengern in Neuseeland nicht so einfach ist. Daher – tamtam – geht es in 4 Wochen nach Australien! Ohne Auto und mit Fahrrad. Mit Packtaschen – und der Rucksack kommt auch erst mal noch mit. Wir haben so lange von dieser Fahrradtour geredet und jetzt wird es also ploetzlich real.

Gefuehlt geht das gerade alles wahnsinnig schnell und ich bin etwas ueberfordert, wenn ich an die 1000 Dinge denke, die noch erledigt werden muessen (Auto verkaufen, Packtaschen montieren, Rad wiedermal putzen, in Neuseeland mindestens noch mehrmals wandern gehen und auf Huetten schlafen…).

Aber heute bin ich mit einem Grinsen auf dem Gesicht aufgewacht und habe mich einfach gefreut, dass es bald losgeht. Immerhin, es ist nur Fahrradfahren. Das mache ich schon seit ich 4 Jahre alt bin. Und alles andere wird sich auch irgendwie klaeren.

Ideas and Change: Longterm Bike Touring

When I first heard this idea of longterm bike-touring, I was silently fascinated. A little at first and then more and more. Silently, because I didn’t share this fascination with anybody in the beginning. I was starting to think things like: “Would that be something for me? Could I be a person who cycles for years, cycles in sunshine and in rain, through cold and warmth? Would I be willing to give up many of the comforts and nice little things of my life at the time? Could I keep travelling for such a long time and not ever meet the same people twice?

Aaaah, all these questions… But then, the idea of cycling through all these different pathways, trails, tracks, roads, lifes, worlds really stuck and kept growing: Wouldn’t it be wonderful to travel so slowly, to really experience everything around me? To meet people I wouldn’t usually meet, to really feel the weather, the air, the sun, the wind, the rain around me? To be outside a lot of the time, to get a lot of exercise. And of course, to see different lifestyles, hear about hopes and dreams and difficulties, be part of some, many lifes for a time.

It’s not just about the romance of seeing beautiful sunsets or letting the waves of the ocean set your mind at ease, though. Because at some point nature is going to suck and I might get wet for days on end and curse this whole idea. It’s not about the sexyness of hanging on beautiful beaches with a drink in each hand and enjoying a lifelong holiday either. Because – as much as I appreciate beautiful beaches, this is not a holiday, this is my life and that means all of it. Happiness, frustration, hopes, longings, soreness, relationships, people, ideas.

So, maybe in the end, this is about change. And I have no idea what that really means or rather will mean down the road. But the one thing I know is, that the idea of longterm bike travel still totally inspires me and this fascination just keeps on growing. In the meantime I am trying to answer some of the questions above, thinking about the route and what to pack. And getting some musical inspiration (whilst the song is not originally about travelling, but oh well…):

“(…) It’s somewhere I can taste the salty sea
There’s a kite blowing out of control on the breeze
I wonder what’s gonna happen to you
You wonder what has happened to me

(…) Who’s to say where the wind will take you
Who’s to say what it is will break you
I don’t know
Which way the wind will blow (…)”

(U2 – Kite)



Time difference

It’s late at night and I’m sitting in front of my computer after having spent a wonderful day with my parents who are currently here to visit. Suddenly everything is so easy again. We don’t have to call early in the morning or late at night and we don’t have to calculate the exact time difference between Germany and New Zealand. We just talk and connect. And that feels wonderful.

Somehow time difference is one of the hardest things for me to cope with while being so far away from everyone. Or maybe not time difference itself but what it stands for? I never really get used to people eating breakfast when I am already tired and want to go to bed. I am not in my chattiest mode then either. And in the mornings I usually like to start the day slowly, fully wake up, have some coffee and then eventually be ready for the world. If I however want to talk to friends or family on the other half of the world, I have to just get over my waking up process and make some calls because they are going to go to bed soon.

All in all, not that hard, sure. But it’s just hard enough so that keeping in touch is often just a wee bit unconvenient. Calling later or tomorrow sounds like a good option only that later is no good because they are in bed then and tomorrow is no different from today. It somehow makes it very clear to me that the world I live in at the moment is a long way from the one I used to live in. And that’s with internet, email and cheap international phone rates. But still, a long way.



Couchsurfing with Brett and Janice in Hokitika

At the moment I’m sitting in the library in Hokitika and trying to capture some of the beautiful moments of our last couchsurfing experience. For those who are not familiar with the concept of couchsurfing: It is basically an online platform where people have profiles (a little bit like facebook). But then the purpose is different from facebook: Mainly with couchsurfing people areĀ  open to meet others – that might include having a coffee together or going out for drinks or when you travel to a place you might write a request to someone to stay with them. That someone may answer yes to your request and then subsequently host you for a couple of days. What your stay looks like is entirely up to both the host and the guest. You could go out hiking together or knit sweaters or just relax in front of the TV. Or you could each do your own thing and just meet up during the evening. Or whatever else works for you. But the important thing is that couchsurfing is not just staying for free at someone’s place but it’s about getting to know one another. And giving something back to the host.

Couchsurfing with Brett and Janice

After having some rainy days out T and I both felt the need to be inside for a bit and spend some time with nice people. So I sent out a request to Brett and Janice to which they responded quickly that we were welcome to their house. A few days later we arrived at their home which is surrounded by peaceful nature and a big dairy farm. So we sat together, had a few drinks and got to know each other. Over the next few days this conversation would continue, sometimes during the day when Brett took a break from carving greenstone or when Janice finished her first shift of milking cows for the day. We usually went to the library at some point during the day to work a little and then came back in the evening.

One of the fascinating things with couchsurfing is to me that you often get to spend time with people you wouldn’t otherwise meet – at least not for that long. Brett and Janice are not – at the moment – travelling or staying at campsites or using internet cafes. But we still got to met them and be part of their lives for a few days. Janice is by the way one of the few women in New Zealand that run a huge dairy farm – because otherwise that is still mainly a male domain. And Brett carves beautiful greenstone jewellery – a business which developed out of a hobby. And the both of them didn’t always do what they do now, quite some time ago they travelled all over New Zealand for several years and had all kinds of jobs. This is a concept which really speaks to me: Why have one job and continue doing that for the rest of your life? Why not try out different things and different concepts of living, different lifestyles to see if they fit you?