Here is my short story of my travels:
I have been travelling for a while. Exactly since 1952. I was around two years old and walking down the street to our grocery shop for bananas. At that time bananas were still very expensive, but the shop owner – and not only he – liked the little, fat girl, who earlier has been at a hospital for around a year, very much. I just disappeared from my parents’ home to go there.
In the age of five I was allowed to follow my father to his sister (my aunt) at the river Rhein, Germany. We were going by a bicycle with a little engine and each trip took a whole day. I enjoyed the boat trip on the river and the fairy tale park.
When I was at primary school, I walked away for some hours some days. I still did not tell my parents, where I was going. I just went away to see horses or other things. Once I also took my little brother and our friends with me.
In 1960 I was sent on vacation for health reasons – most for my parents’ health, they needed some time off. It was a special holiday home for children with poor parents. More than one of the other children were longing home, but not me. One of the nurses asked me to comfort a girl of my age, because she was crying all the time by longing home.
In the age of 14 I finally was allowed to travel all alone for five or more hours by train. My parents brought me to the train station in our home town and my godmother met me at her train station. That was a big adventure for me, but I liked it very much. I was walking around in our home with the – still empty – suitcase the whole week before this trip.
The best time at school were all the excursions and school trips. I was happy to see more than my home town. I was always eager to follow on the trips. We also have been in Munich and – during the last year – in London and Cambridge.
The year I left college I was going on my first own trip – to Berlin. It was my first flight, too. For the former political situation, it was much more comfortable to take a flight from West Germany to Berlin, than to take the train. I also was in the East of Berlin, at that time still belonging to the DDR. In the West I met students at the hostel and we made a day or two together.
Furthermore, my father had the travel bug and I remember the years when we were going by bicycle to the North of Germany or to Lake Lucerne in Switzerland. Especially the trip to Switzerland I remember well. We also visited France on that trip, more exactly Strasbourg. For one or two years, we also were travelling by car.
When I had finished my education and started working, I was requesting brochures about vacation trips to Greece, Spain and Italy, but I did not have the money yet for travelling and I also was too shy to travel by myself. If there had been the couch surfing project I had been on my way. Though I read instead a lot about other countries and other cultures.
Anyway, I started travelling soon, together with a colleague: Once to the South of Germany with a day tour to South Tyrol, another time to Denmark and in 1978 the great adventure to Sweden, Finland and Norway. That was the first time I learned, how bad it is, not to be prepared. We did not know enough about the weather and the routes. Even we were going by car – with me as the only driver – it was not an easy travel, but anyway I like to remember it.
I have got four children and had nearly neither time nor possibility for travelling, but going to my hometown when my father died – and four or five years later, when my mother did.
With the children, we did not have many opportunities to travel. because we did not have the money, but at the beginning of the 1990th my ex-husband and I took a week’s trip to Norway together with our children. Some years later I took all my children to Denmark for three days and visited “Legoland” with them. Even we could not travel a lot, I made day trips with them as often as possible. In addition to that we were moving a lot. By moving around in Sweden, we have seen nearly all of Sweden. The rest I was allowed to see by the costs of the department for unemployment of Sweden. That was the only part of being unemployed I liked ;-). Sweden is a beautiful country!
Like the adventurous soul I am, I took all opportunities to travel – even when I was moving for an employment abroad (Republic of Ireland – November 2007) I travelled throughout different countries. Actually, I had no much time to get there, though for the start I had to take a flight. My first year in Dublin, but during my time off, I was exploring the country. I have lots of nice memories of the 21 month on the island. I was alone for the Connemara National Park during the Easter Holidays and made a day trip on a rainy day to Tipperary with a friend. I was going with my son to a waterfall not far away from Dublin on another rainy day. With my son and his former girlfriend – she became his wife some years ago – we went to the Dingle Peninsula and with my son I went for Donegal. We have been at the Cliffs of Moher and in the Burren, too – of course – and visited Northern Ireland as well. We also visited other destinations and enjoyed. I could not get enough of the freedom to travel.
In July 2009, I left the Republic of Ireland, because I had got a new job – in Hamburg, Germany. I took my last days of vacation leave and drove with my right-hand-driven car by ferry from Dublin to Holyhead in the UK, drove to London – had a very adventurous night in a hostel there – especially for my car with my belongings – and continued to Southampton. On this route, I also was coming through Brighton, which was greatly impressing. In Southampton were another ferry. this time for Le Havre, France. From there to Rouen, Paris, Reims and to Belgium and Brussels. The last two nights I spent in Amsterdam, Netherlands before I was arriving to Hamburg 31st July. I often got the question, if I was not uneasy making the trip all alone, but I was not even not all went well – I did not find the hostel in Brussels, though I drove some extra hours directly to Amsterdam.
In 2010, my son and his wife made me a gift for my 60th birthday. A trip to Rome, Italy, with a travel company. I was allowed to chose by myself, though it was a little other concept. We were using public transport in Rome and also to Tivoli and we have seen the little more unusual places of the town. Our accommodation was a little hotel, run by nuns. The Colosseum one can not miss, of course, but we did not go in. It was in October and Rome not so crowded either.
Apart from some travels home to Sweden I only made some trips around in the North of Germany and to Berlin meanwhile I lived in Hamburg. Fortunately, I got unemployed again, because that is the reason why I moved to Malta. During my unemployment period, I visited Vienna for two weeks. I counted on the days off my assistant would take for Christmas and New Year’s holidays – and it worked well. She did not bother me.
I visited Malta for the first time in February 2014 on my own resources and while finally moving there for a new job, I made another travel throughout Europe: Dresden (Germany), Prague (Czech Republic), Bratislava (Slovakia), Vienna (Austria) again, Graz (Austria), Ljubljana (Slovenia), Motovun (Istria, Croatia), Venice (Italy), San Marcello (Marche, Italy), Naples (Italy) and Sicily (Italy) and by ferry to Malta. It was an amazing trip even I had a big suitcase and some more bags. I was going by train with an Interrail ticket, I had bought in Germany. I can tell you for such a trip you really should have a backpack. It was another budget trip by the way (couch surfing and hostels).
I was happy to be in the Mediterranean and thought, now I can see all of the countries around, but I did not expect the high prices for the flights, but some destinations. Anyway, I travelled as much as possible and have been in Switzerland (Ticino) and the North of Italy, Hungary, Spain and Portugal. Every country with a different experience, of course. All these travels have been budget travels and a good preparation for my trip around the world. By the way I visited most of the interesting and important places on Malta.
In Hamburg, I started to host couch surfers and I continued on Malta. Through this I learned a lot about other countries and my wish to see them all became worse. Now I am travelling the other continents, even I have never been on Mallorca, Ibiza or whatever the touristic paradises in Europe are called – I am not really interested in it either – I will save them for the last travel days of my live. I have been in some capitals, of course, but for the art and architecture. Anyway, when I worked in Portugal for 6 month, I visited the Azores, Madeira and Gran Canary as well as Seville in Spain.
When I brought up my four children I unfortunately was only travelling twice with them (as I told you before). Though, when I started to work abroad, I invited them to respective places and paid their flights.
The relocation travels were horrible, because I had too much luggage, but I made great and useful experiences. I either slept in hostels or was couch surfing. One night I spent in a 5*hotel. Therefore, I know that this is not my way to travel. I need a warm atmosphere with really caring people, interesting travellers and amazing surprises. I like to make new friends and I am sure I will find them all over the world.