Last Updated on July 31, 2016 by Dani
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
I spent the first few days of the month in New York before flying to Germany, where I feel like I haven’t stopped moving since arriving. I spent most of my time in Berlin since getting here, but I left in between and also visited family and friends in Leipzig and Erfurt.
What I’ve been up to
I feel like I’ve done so many things this month that it’s hard to believe I fit them all into only 30 days.
I started with hitting up some of my favorite places in New York City, where I enjoyed the beautiful summer weather with runs in prospect park and Central Park, bike rides through Brooklyn, a street art tour of Bushwick, and all my favorite foods.
In Berlin, I welcomed my first visitor from NYC (the second one is due to arrive tomorrow morning!), which was of course the perfect opportunity to show off all the spots that I think make Berlin special, like the remaining part of the Berlin Wall, now filled with street art and murals, Tempelhof, previously an airport, now a massive urban park, the Turkish Market in Maybachufer, Mauerpark for the Sunday flea market and karaoke, Sonnenallee with its many cheap middle eastern eateries, Kreuzberg with its street art and quirky cafes. While this first visit was focused on seeing as much of Berlin as possible, I think my second time showing friends around will be more about going out, exploring Berlin’s nightlife and craft brew scene.
In between my trips to Berlin, I spent time with my nephew, I surprised friends in my hometown (this was an unplanned visit after all – two months ago I was still expecting to spend the whole summer in New York), I took my nieces to the lake, took my beloved Odie (my sister’s dog) on runs through the fields, enjoyed cooking and wine sessions with my sister-in-law and spoiled my family by cooking and baking for them.I also decided to finally deal with the remaining stuff from my last apartment – a dozen moving boxes stored in my mother’s house. These boxes had been there since I left London in 2010 and most of them had never been opened – for over six years now! A look through them and a major clean-out session were long overdue. I am giving away most of our stuff (I lived in an apartment with my girlfriend at the time for three years – most of the things are items we shared) like kitchen stuff which I brought up to Berlin for a friend who is moving into a new apartment today. Refugee help centers will get most of the clothes and bedding stuff, and we’ll see what I can do with the rest, but after six years of not touching any of it, it’s safe to say that I’m probably not going to use any of it again. That said – there are still quite a few things of emotional value which I’d never throw out!
Well, I don’t think a lot of people would get excited about these ‘celebrities’, but in New York I saw two people whose work I deeply appreciate (and who couldn’t be more different from one another!). And I would be surprised if you knew them (if you do, please tell me in the comments!). First I saw Dominique Ansel, who is a celebrity baker raised to fame when he invented the famous cronut. Yup, a baker got me so excited that I acted like a teenager while I was munching on a scrumptious Nutella chocolate swirl croissant in one of his bakeries, Dominique Ansel Kitchen, while he was there too.
The other ‘celeb’ spotting had me even more ‘star struck’ – while my friend and I were marveling at the street art in Bushwick, I saw a guy working on a new giant mural – I didn’t even need to think about who it was because his style is so unmistakably him: Dasic Fernandez. I was beyond excited to see him work on a piece (right across from where he painted one of my all-time favorites last year, which is sadly gone now) but I was too shy to walk up to him.
House sitting luck
I stayed in a beautiful AirBnB studio apartment in Berlin during my first visit, but for my current visit I didn’t really know where to stay. And so I was excited when during my last visit a housesit popped up – right in the neighborhood I was staying in. I applied right away and heard back from the owners a few hours later. The next morning, I walked over there and met them, and less than a week later I moved in with two adorable cats. I love it when things work out like this!
Coworking in Berlin
One thing I keep complaining about is that working for myself can feel lonely sometimes, and I haven’t worked with other people in a while, except for one work session with a fellow nomad in Austin last month. That’s why I was really happy when I ended up having an impromptu blogger work session in Berlin last week – exchanging ideas with other bloggers always leaves me inspired and motivated to take my site to the next level. I wish I could do it more often!
Cycling in Berlin
When I returned to Berlin, it was the first time I didn’t have a bike waiting there for me – I am used to cycle around the city! This month, I was relying on public transportation instead and so I was thrilled when my friend and I rented bikes for a day and cycled all over Berlin. I know the bike lanes so much better than the subway or bus system!
First of all I want to say that while a few things weren’t great over the past few weeks, overall, June was a month without any major incidents – the first time this year that this happened!
I finally tackled something that had been looming over me like a big dark cloud since the beginning of the year but that I kept pushing back – because I knew it wouldn’t go smoothly. And how right I was: when I finally implemented a new website design this month, every imaginable thing that could go wrong went wrong. If you were one of the poor souls who tried to navigate the site mid-June, I apologize! I have spent most of the month trying to iron out errors and bugs but I’m still far from done and I have to admit that the site doesn’t look anything like the image I had in mind, but at least I’ve gotten it to a point where I don’t cringe anymore every time I visit my site, and I think I’ve finally found a WordPress wizard who can help me fix the rest, after hiring someone earlier this month who did a terrible job.
A bike accident
While my cycle day in Berlin was definitely a highlight for this bicycle aficionado, unfortunately it didn’t end without a bruised leg and bloody knee – I fell, and I’m still suffering from the painful incident. However – I am lucky that I didn’t break anything or hit my head!
Emotional roller coaster
This month had me on an emotional roller coaster for various reasons that deserve their own post. I already hinted on some life changing happenings in my May round-up but still can’t say too much about them.. I will share them as soon as everything is set in stone.
Somehow I haven’t managed to sleep for more than five hours a night for most of the month, and I can feel the effects from it.. I am exhausted. I feel just as tired as I was during and after my crazy Europe trip last summer! I hope that July will bring more sleep.
What’s next for me
I will leave Berlin for Düsseldorf and Cologne next week where I’ll be visiting friends, and then continue my Tour de Germany to see friends in Frankfurt and Munich. I am trying to fit in as many friend visits as possible while I’m here because I just don’t know when I’ll be back.
I am also discussing a couple of European trips for July, but everything is still in early stages and I’m not sure if any of those trips will happen, but stay tuned – my next update could come from an exciting (and for me new) destination!
I might share some exclusive news in my summer newsletter which will be sent out in July – if you haven’t signed up for it yet, you can do that here! Exclusive news or not – it will be packed with cool giveaways!
If you want to follow my Berlin and Germany adventures in real time, add me on snapchat: mariposa2711