This year I’m celebrating my 10th anniversary, away from the cold and moaning Germany where it’s as ever true who complains the loudest or complains the most about his troubles,is the one who lives true life. No thanks, I definitely didn’t want that.
10 years on the road, who would have thought that in 2009?! I certainly didn’t, but then it just happened, and that’s a good thing.
Spain, that was my goal after the high school graduation, first out, see and experience something different, learn Spanish and do an internship. Only condition: It shouldn’t be in the 17th german federal state of Mallorca, that was important. Andalusia, more precisely Córdoba was the final destination.
For someone who comes from the flat land at the Baltic Sea, this was a strong contrast. On my arrival I was greeted with a fiery 45°C, the first taxi ride reminded me of an escape in an action film and when I finally arrived at my accommodation, I was received in temperamental Spanish, of which I understood nothing, and with two besos left and right.
But it only took a few weeks to realize that I had discovered a new world for myself. My stay for 5 months turned into a life plan.
Andalusia became my home for a good four years, here I discovered my passion for its people, the Spanish cuisine, music, culture and recognized my career path in the field of tourism through my trainee program in hotel management. I chose tourism as subject for my studies, but first I had to fight my way through the bureaucratic jungle in Spain, and afterwards I had to assert myself among 150 Spanish students at the regular university in Córdoba. What I have experienced here cannot be summarized in paper. It was an amazing time, from which I could take many friendships, cultural and personal experiences and in which I learned a lot about a positive attitude to life, flexibility and a healthy portion of humor.
Go big, go capital
Despite all this, Andalusia suffers from a big known problem. The weak labour market forces especially the graduates “buscarse la vida” which means to have to find their way to earn a living.
I also had to deal with the issue of “what comes next”. After a short adventure trip to the Caribbean, I returned to my home country for reorientation and organization with a short stopover. Thank God it was July and the people were in a better mood due to the summer season. Nevertheless it did not keep me there for long, because after a short search for a job I received an offer from the Spanish capital.
Since I had lived until this point only in small cities I saw here a good chance for change. Madrid is a multicultural city that often pulls the shorter one beside the direct competition Barcelona, but in my opinion this is completely unjustified. Always on the move, always pulsating, one needs time to really experience this city, and this is what I have done the last four years.
An international meeting place for all cosmopolitan people in search of a stable relationship between work and leisure, a place where bar culture at the end of a day is a fixed rule and where there are many possibilities for personal and professional development.
My first professional experience taught me one thing above all else: what I didn’t want.
As an employee for a large national hotel chain in the reservation and group department I learned a lot about logistics programs, customer service, and marketing strategies, but the mass handling and the little contact to the customer was enough for me quickly.
Fortunately, I was soon able to face a new challenge. “We were very interested in your multidimensional and language profile (I had brought my Spanish to a bilingual level at this point) and would like to invite you to a personal interview,” was the answer to my application to a Spanish event and congress agency in the capital. I had always been interested in this special branch within tourism managment and in Germany I had my first contacts with the planning of smaller events. So, highly motivated, I started my new career as a project manager for scientific and medical congresses & events and within my first year I was introduced to this world, got to know project planning processes and became part of a dynamic and creative team. From my second year onwards, I was asked to occupy an important position here.
work and travel
Faster than expected, I took over the management of all events for a large international client of our agency. This meant the entire logistics and communication planning, including on-site support during the international congresses. Rome, Copenhagen, Nice, Chicago, Kyoto are just some of the destinations I was able to get to know thanks to my work. Sounds like a lottery winner and I have indeed to say that I really like the versatility of this work, the dynamics and opportunity of travelling. Nevertheless, there are always two sides to the coin.
Not for nothing the job as an event manager reaches in many rankings the 3rd place of the most stressful and burdened jobs in the world.
Constant deadline pressure, the dependence on the work and willingness of third parties and the 24/7hrs availability on duty during events should not be underestimated. But even more than that, I saw myself in another dilemma: The controversy Medical congresses, very well, personally I support all intentions and efforts that led to the improvement of health and the treatment of diseases. It is also clear that money is needed to finance education and research, yet it is very ambiguous to observe the role of the pharmaceutical industry and the financial interests behind it.
Just do it…
On the other hand, there had already been a while the desire for a long travel journey, a change and time for myself. Therefore I used the moment to negotiate with my employer and got a 6 month leave permission to embark on this personal adventure.
Costa Rica, I once heard about this country as a child and since then it has burned into my memory. So it is no surprise that my destination for these months is Central America. With the most minimal equipment I start my tour in Guatemala in mid-March and climb Mayan pyramids, swim in jungle springs, conquer the Acatenango volcano, travel between Caribbean and Pacific, via El Salvador and Nicaragua to Costa Rica. What I’ve experienced can fill books or blogs, but they already exist and that’s why I skip that for now.
Don’t you think that at 29 you are too “old” for such an unplanned adventure? I might be asked. On the contrary I say, what better gift can you make for your 10th anniversary than a lifelong wish? my reply.
On this trip there are no fixed plans, everything according to the idea where I like it I stay, if I don’t, I move on. Living moments, sharing experiences and consciously dedicating time to the present.
Now I have been on the road in Costa Rica for 2 and a half months and during this time I have already experienced spectacular things. Costa Rica is such a versatile country for which you should take the time to experience the different facets. Monteverde, Manuel Antonio, Puerto Viejo, Tortuguero, Pacific beaches around Sámara are only a few of the typical destinations, which are indeed all wonderful, but even in their entirety only a small part of the country and its people. It’s also a good idea to stay off the beaten track, mingle with the local people and leave your travel guide behind.
More about a coincidence I have now landed in the small individual private hotel Paraiso del Cocodrilo near Sámara. Owner Rainer has created an oasis where you are invited to relax away from stress and hectic, in the middle of the green forests and close to the beach Buenavista. It’s not surprising to me that many of his guests come back every year and seek a break from their everyday life in a familiar atmosphere.
A wise man once said (J.J. Rousseau) “life is short, less because of the short time it takes, but because we have almost no time left to enjoy it.
And he’s probably right about that.
So, just do it!