In my monthly round-ups, I am looking back at my travels over the past four weeks, what went well and what didn’t, and what’s next for me.
WHERE I’VE BEEN
This has been my busiest travel month in a long time: in Germany I traveled to Berlin, Dusseldorf, Munich, Cologne, Frankfurt, Leipzig and Erfurt, and I took an unexpected trip to the UK, where I returned to two places I’ve spent a lot of time in over the past decade: London and Brighton.
WHAT I’VE BEEN UP TO
I already mentioned in my June round-up that I felt like I hadn’t stopped moving since arriving in Germany, and I didn’t think it was possible to travel even more, but that’s exactly what I did. I had no plans to come to Germany this summer, but unforeseen circumstances forced me to book a one-way ticket (I promise I’ll talk about it as soon as I can – a post about it is already in the works), leaving me also unsure of when I’d be able to return to the States. So I decided to make the most of my trip to my home country and to visit as many friends as possible – it just so happens that my friends live scattered all over Germany.
While trips I was thinking about taking (Switzerland, Croatia, Prague and France) didn’t happen in the end, I managed to sleep in 11 different beds in the past 31 days, plus one night spent on an airport floor (I don’t want to talk about it..) and am even more exhausted than I was at the end of June. Luckily it looks like things are finally slowing down in August – you’ll find out where I’m headed in the What’s next for me section.My trip to the UK wasn’t even on the cards yet when I wrote my last update, but it turned out to be one of the best weeks of the month. Looking back I have to say though that every single week of this month was fantastic: starting July with another week in Berlin, followed by a week visiting German friends in Dusseldorf and Cologne, meeting up with a friend from NYC in Frankfurt, and visiting one of my best friends and her family in Munich (sadly just after the Munich attack which put a damper on our reunion).
And then I got to dog sit for my favorite dog in the world, which turned into a big love fest of cuddles over cuddles over cuddles (and lots of dog selfies, like this one here).
There were a couple of real lows, which I’ll get into in more detail below, but let’s start with the highlights of the month:
What went right
Returning to Brighton and London
I wasn’t sure about taking this trip, but I followed a gut feeling that said ‘go for it.’ And I’ve got absolutely no regrets – on the contrary.. as so often, everything fell into place for me there, I had a great time catching up with old friends in Brighton and meeting a new one, and finishing my trip with a picture-perfect London summer day. I wish I’d allocated more time for this trip, but my trip to Munich was already set in stone before the England trip was starting to evolve. The only downside was that I was working two jobs while I was there, making the goal I set in June – to get more sleep this month! – pretty much impossible. More on that below though – as for the ‘what went right’ part: I always seem to forget how much I love London – a love story that has been going on since my first visit in 1999. I still think that I might want to move back there one day. And Brighton. Same here – ever since I first went there in 2005, I’ve been enamored with the colorful town on England’s south coast, and being able to breathe the fresh sea air for a week was just what I needed.
Returning to Cologne
This is the month of returns to favorite places – another place close to my heart is Cologne, where I went to university for two years in the early 2000s. I don’t know how I’ve never made it back there, but I’m glad I finally got to return and spend a long weekend with a friend there. Speaking of which…
Spending time with people I love
Surrounding myself with people I love was definitely a huge highlight this month and something I don’t take for granted. And it made all the traveling worthwhile.July has been super fulfilling friendship-wise – I nourished friendships that mean a lot to me, got to spend quality time in person with people who I usually only get to hear over whatsapp voicemail or see via FaceTime calls. I don’t have a lot of friends left in Germany who are so close to me that we simply pick up where we left off when we last saw each other, but I feel lucky that I still have a handful of people who I can call ‘true friends’ and who I know will always be there for me, who I can count on.
What went wrong
A lost cat
Remember how I told you last month that I was beyond excited about a housesit in Berlin I’d gotten at the very last minute? Well, that delight didn’t last long: It was the first time ever that a pet escaped during a housesit. The cat didn’t really escape – she simply decided not to return from one of her daily neighborhood exploration tours. The owners’ apartment was located on the ground floor, allowing them to simply open their terrace door and let the cats go play outside for a while (the two cats were outdoor cats), making it super easy for me. In theory. I have never been as freaked out and worried during a housesit and felt terrible having to tell the owners that their cat had gone missing during my time cat sitting for them. To my relief, the cat came back when the owners returned from the festival they’d gone to.
My month was off to a disastrous start when not only the above mentioned incident happened – a cat escaping – but also my iPhone died during what was supposed to be a fun-filled weekend in Berlin. I was two complete days without a phone (horrendous for me, I don’t know how I made it through that alive! And yes, I know I’ve got an addiction problem here..) and when the Apple store tech guys finally had a free slot for me I was told I had to reboot it. For whatever reason, my backup was turned off, and so I lost a bunch of important notes (I tend to take notes for articles on my phone these days, sometimes even write entire articles on my phone when I’m in transit..), all my contacts, and a bunch of media I hadn’t saved anywhere else. Ouch.
Sleep no more
I wish I was referring to the play Sleep No More that I saw in New York City a few years back (and loved!) but I literally don’t seem to sleep no more. Not because of insomnia, but simply because I’m trying to spin too many plates at once. I thought I was going to get more sleep this month when I wrote about it last month, but instead I got even less sleep. I went to bed at 2am every night and got up at 7am, leaving me completely knackered. I took on additional work this month and I have to admit that I am feeling exhausted.
What’s next for me
I’m returning to New York this week! I can’t wait to board the plane across the pond later this week and I have at least three months in the U.S. ahead of me – three months in three different places! While I am not going to spill anything about my October plans yet (they’re not 100% confirmed as of now) I can tell you already that my August round-up will be coming from California! Stay tuned for a month in and around New York, with a possible side trip to Florida (also not confirmed yet, but fingers crossed that it’ll happen!).
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