On 15. December 2017 I came home after 13 months of traveling – 1 year Australia and 1 month Thailand "on the way back" – and so much has changed. Whether I have planned how my life should look like when I come back? Not really. I just knew I wanted to see my family, I wanted to be home for Christmas.
From Tasmania I had already applied for a job and one week after my return to Germany I got the acceptance for it. I gave myself a month to re-acclimatize and meet friends.
January – coming back and arriving
On 15. January I was supposed to start at work. I was at home for two weeks, then Christmas and the first excitement was over and I went with my family over New Year's Eve to France. As soon as I got back home I started again – Berlin and Greifswald, visiting friends. And then started my full time job with 27 vacation days.
Of course I didn't want to give up traveling and so I would like to show you here how I didn't get stuck in the daily grind despite having a full time job, despite working 40+ hours a week, but how I made the best out of it all. The article is called "Traveling despite a full time job", here travel is of course a matter of definition. Because of the probationary period and the busy season at my work I couldn't take a vacation for the time being, so I took it for the 2 weeks before the festival. Half of the year saved. So don't be irritated if I also list day trips here. For me this is part of traveling – just discovering the world, no matter if near or far.
February – Discover home
February 2018 was still all about finding a place to live and getting back to square one financially for the time being. Instead I had a visit from my friend Stina, whom I met in Melbourne, and I was allowed to play tourist guide in Wurzburg. There was also a first time for me: I went bowling for the first time. I have rarely had such sore muscles in my arms.
March – Prague and Middle Franconia
At the beginning of March we went to Prague for 2 days over the weekend. From Wurzburg, where I live, it's about 6 hours by Flixbus. That's one of the great advantages of Europe: everything is so close together. We did not have good weather, but it was my first time in Prague and certainly not my last time.
End of March, over Easter, was 3 days Aufseb on the plan. Here we were in the rock garden Sanspareil hike and have on 2. I went on a beer hike for the first day, because Aufsess is the world record community with the highest density of breweries per inhabitant. On 3. On the first day we went to the "Binghohle", a stalactite cave close to Aufseb.
Hiking in the Sanspareil rock garden
April – Hiking in Franconia
In April there were only two day trips with hiking, first at the monastery Banz near Bad Staffelstein in Upper Franconia and a week later at the Black Moor in the Rhon Mountains. I never realized how many destinations are in my immediate vicinity, and here I'm talking about about an hour drive each, and how much there is still to discover here for me! April was also the opening of the 2018 festival summer for me – one day I graced the Metal Franconia festival, as I had firmly resolved to keep an open mind to new things.
Hiking in the Black Moor
May – Travel Festival and a salt mine
In May, the Travel Festival in Witten was on the agenda over Whitsun. Finally among like-minded travel maniacs again! With Stina I camped for 2 days in Witten, we listened to lectures, took part in a Clean Up and exchanged ideas with many great people. As another event my dad "kidnapped" my siblings and me to the Merkers mine. There we took a tour of the disused salt mine. Really madness, what man has created there! Relatively spontaneously I went to Bamberg, because a girl I met in Thailand just came from Sweden and visited a friend she met in Vietnam. Traveling connects, despite the distance and the short time you mostly only know each other.
Travel Festival in Witten
June – festival summer or what?
June was dominated by festivals – 4 days of Rock im Park and 2 days of Und ab geht die Lutzi (And off goes the Lutzi). Music, camping, a more or less cold beer and friends. More I do not need to feel the freedom that I could also feel during the longer travel every day.
July – The calm before the storm
July was a bit quieter, but July is also THE birthday month in our family, so most of the weekends are already planned from the beginning. But this break was also necessary.
August – Even more festivals
But in August it went on: 5 days Taubertal Festival, 3 days Summerbreeze Festival and one day in Bamberg, staying at a former friend from university times. I also enjoy such trips very much. Visiting friends, who are now spread all over Germany. To exchange ideas again, to bring up to date. Just turn back time a bit and relax.
September – road trip to Croatia… and Hamburg
The 1. September came and with it the road trip with my family to Croatia. Not without a stopover with overnight stay in Ljubljana, Slovenia, to visit the castle there, we drove to Croatia, visited the two highlights Plitvice Lakes and Dubrovnik, spent days at the beach and explored the country by car.
At the end of September we went again for a weekend to Hamburg. We were absolutely not lucky with the weather, but there were several festivals in town, we met friends of mine and had a wonderful time in cold, gray Hamburg despite constant rain. Hamburg is so far my favorite city in Germany. Must be the harbor, the sea access and the pirate flair. Also my favorite Irish Pub is located there. And there was also a first time in September: I went go-karting for the first time.
October – Portugal and Ireland
And in October I took the opportunity that work was less busy, and took two weeks off in a row. First with my friend Christine to Porto, which was my very first time in Portugal! And I am enthusiastic about the country. Even at the end of October it was still really warm there and I had another first time: I stood for the first time on a surfboard in the, admittedly super puny, waves.
Shortly repack and continue the journey, this time with my friend, to Dublin. Pubs, Guinness Brewery, Liberties College, parks, coast with rough wind – the opposite of colorful Porto, yet just wonderful.
Liberties College in Dublin
November – There is still something to do!
You might think that's it for vacations that year, but that's nonsense. In November, I went to the Allgau for a weekend of hiking, where we liked it so much that we have planned two trips to the Allgau for 2019 at once. One day I spent in Heidelberg. In addition, we wanted to redeem a hotel voucher, which are often only valid for 3 years, so we were allowed to spend a weekend in Berlin. There was the first mulled wine on a Christmas market, meeting friends and no tourist program at all.
December – Last but not least
The last vacation in 2018 was also the first in 2019: Over New Year's Eve I went with my family and partners to a (resp. two) vacation home to Middle Franconia. Just 1.5 hours away from home we could relax between the years and recharge our batteries for the new year. Because 2019 will certainly not be quieter with me.
6 countries and 6 festivals in the end. 17 "major" actions and 6 daily actions, plus some "first times", that is, more often than once a month I have experienced something that completely overshadows the everyday in memory. I only needed 25 vacation days for this. And this is what I can recommend – if you love traveling, make a day trip or a (possibly extended) weekend trip at least once a month. It gives so much quality to my life, even if it is sometimes exhausting, especially since I also have professional travel and I was for example at a point where I had to pack for three days at the client's as well as for a training (professional) plus a week's vacation as well as a wedding at the same time.
But the anticipation of the next trip makes these efforts quickly evaporate. Another plus: I'm now a real pro at packing, I'm becoming more and more flexible, and I'm learning to get by with less and less.
So: Find out for example, what offers itself with you in the proximity for day trips. Which friends have you not seen for a long time because they live "so far away"? When are the celebration resp. Bridge days and how to make the most of your vacation days? The internet already offers so many listings for this, z.B. here with sun & clouds (tip #5). There you can also find many tips for planning your trip throughout the year.