3 month Sabbatical / Your questions and my summary

Dear All,

Thank you for your kind messages, I was very touched to read what my photos and lines of my journey meant to you in times of Corona. Also that volatile known traveld with me virtually with such enthusiasm and that we became closer through my journey - I would never have expected that. Thank you also for sending in your questions, which I would like to answer.

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But before I get back to the questions below, here's a surprise:

As a review of my trip, I created a special memory and packed some highlights (certainly not all, but that would again go beyond the scope) into this "Best Of" video. So you can sit back and let the past three months work on you for five minutes - make yourself comfortable, get into the armchair or on the sofa, thoughts off, music on and video off: https://youtu.be/F_Le3twGDhw

And now let`s start with your questions and my summary:

1. What did you miss most on the trip?

My closet 😉 Not because of the clothes, but because everything has its place - the constant packing and unpacking when traveling annoys you after a few weeks, especially if you are always only one, two days in an accommodation. I haven`t had the problem in the end cause I stayed for a while in some accomondations. And of course, I also often thought of my family, Findus and my friends - but I felt connected to them even when I was far away and was just looking forward to seeing them again, so it was (unlike expected) very easy to cope with.

2. did you pack properly?

If I had to answer the question in Switzerland, I would have said: no, too much summer clothing that I could never wear. But now at the end of my trip I realized that I packed very well, because I needed the shorts and tops on the Canary Islands! Whether it was minus 10 degrees or +30 degrees, I was always well equipped.

3. what items did you pack that you didn't need?

I had snow chains in the car and never used them, but I still don't regret that because I didn't know how my route was going to go and I could have definitely used them. And equally unnecessary: multiple earrings and necklaces. I had my two three favorite pieces of jewelry and everything else I could have left home.

I also luckily didn't need the medications except for a few pills for migraines - but again, you never know.

4. what did you buy later, because it was missing in your luggage?

By the many hiking some socks have quickly given up, there it needed more hiking socks.

And in La Palma I did some nice shopping to take one, two pieces of clothing as a souvenir. This became a few parts more 😉 - many thanks in this case to Sonja or her suitcase 😉

5. Which country did you like best?

Hm, difficult question, I can't answer that so easy, because each country was so multifaceted and very special. I have always loved Austria - the mountains and lakes make my heart beat faster. Switzerland also impressed me very much with its nature. Italy was fantastic and I was allowed to get to know so many different sides of the country, I felt in love with South Tyrol and Tuscany. Fuerteventura has always been my place of energy - the long fine sandy beaches and clear water are a dream. But La Palma certainly surprised me the most, because I spent five weeks there and had no expectations of the island. Here I have absolutely "arrived", not least because of the people with whom I was able to experience the island. And I also love the Spaniards and their openness. I think La Palma is certainly one of my highlights.

6. what were your top 10 experiences?

In no order: The flood in Venice, sunrise in Val d Orca in Tuscany, the sea of clouds in Switzerland, ridge walk in Switzerland, Christmas on La Palma, dance lessons with Caro in Fuerteventura, sunrises and beach walks on Fuerteventura, pirate bay on La Palma, the view of the house in which I was allowed to live for a few weeks, Pragser Wildsee in South Tyrol, dolphin tour ... oh that was probably more than 10. I'm already stopping 😊

7. what was your biggest challenge?

I think the hardest decision was to answer in advance the following question: "Can I go on the trip, where can I travel and how safe?" And from that, the learning: I can't answer many questions in advance - I have to act flexibly, learn to listen to my gut and make decisions on my own.

8. did you feel lonely?

No - absolutely no! Not once did I have the feeling of being alone. I enjoyed the trip so much and even though I had less contact with people because of Corona, I appreciated the few encounters all the more. And I absolutely needed the time for myself as well, there were many impressions to process, many thoughts to sort out and decisions to make.

9 How many photos did you take?

There should be about 7,000 releases on my camera, of which I edited 3,000 pictures and archived them in my database. One item I missed a lot and simply forgot at home: An external hard drive for backup. So I had to back everything up to my cloud, which took days depending on my internet connection.

10. When shooting people, did you always ask permission in advance or capture those moments unnoticed? Big compliments, the shots are fantastic.

Thank you for your kind words - it was situation dependent, sometimes I talked to the people, especially when it made close ups of kids and I took several shots e.g. when I watched and captured around 20 minutes of the water play in Venice with the kids. But often the moments were so perfect that I captured them so authentically and spontaneously in the spirit of street photography.

11. when will there be a guidebook or a photo book?

Thank you for your compliments and indeed I have received this question several times. I will take up the thought. I definitely want to publish a book at some point in my life, so maybe it will be about travelling and combined with photos. I am now creating a photo calendar for my family and am happy to offer to order it for others if you are interested. Just let me know. Likewise, I have already received the first canvas orders and am happy to assist with the implementation.

12. How did you find the balance between online and offline while traveling?

I had already thought about it before the trip, had also considered doing without social media completely. But I decided I wanted to share the trip with you and also capture memories for myself in the form of the blog. In addition, I was travelling alone and so it was nice for me to exchange here and there virtually with you. Nevertheless, I made sure to spend a maximum of 15 minutes per day on social media (I set that as a limit and almost always kept it). And what looked very time-consuming for many was routine for me and quickly done. And the texts for the blog posts I wrote very gladly and usually offline, for that I always chose nice places to write.

13. did you keep in touch with your family and friends a lot? My biggest fear would be missing them too much.

You grow with your challenges and I'd like to take that fear away. As mentioned in a previous question I always felt connected to them during the trip as well. It was by no means an easy step for me either. And so, especially at the beginning of my trip, I didn't get in touch much or at all and concentrated fully on myself and my trip - everyone was still informed via my blog. I made phone calls to my friends and family only after several weeks, and in total I can count them on two hands at most. That was also a conscious decision. And one of the most beautiful experiences was the great sympathy of all my loved ones - there were always text messages or ten-minute voice messages (thank you for your perseverance). This touched me so much, because I perceived again much more intensely that I am surrounded by so many wonderful people and that is the most beautiful gift.

14. I think it is very brave how you traveled and really great - but did you also experience negative reactions to your trip - traveling in Corona times is very controversial.

No, not at all. Maybe skepticism from one or the other at the beginning, also from my family. And I understand that too, because in fact it was hard to imagine how it would be possible to travel safely in times of Corona. But also when I talk to people today and explain how I traveled, everyone understands that I handled the situation responsibly and was probably safer traveling than most at home in Germany. I had very few contacts and was in regions where the number of cases was often much lower than in Germany.

15: Have you always felt safe alone as a traveler or especially as a woman?

Now I had to think about this for a moment, but for the most part yes. My biggest concerns were more about my car in the south of Europe than about me, because I was told so often of possible burglaries from all sides. But I covered everything well with my insurance beforehand and also became more relaxed from week to week. As for me, I used an app with my family and a few friends that shared my location so they would have known where I was in case of emergency. By the way, I was once very surprised when my mom wished me a lot of fun in a city in Italy without me telling her where I was - and had to smile when she proudly pointed out this new technical possibility of surveillance 😉 But that gave me a certain security, just like a quick daily "good morning" on Whatsapp with one of my girls, who anxiously contacted me in case I had forgotten (thanks Lorena and Kristina).

16. would you do something differently in retrospect?

I wouldn't worry so much about everything in advance. I can already hear my friend Claudi from Würzburg laughing out loud, who told me just a few days ago that she wished this learning so much for me. I am not only through my profession used to weigh risks in advance in the best possible way and to consider plan A-Z. And on this trip, no plan brought anything, I had to act flexibly and decide from day to day. Partly from hour to hour. And it worked out wonderfully.

17. What was your biggest learning?

There is so much more possible than we think. We should not always just see the problems, but above all the solutions. A certain degree of risk is also part of life. You can't always weigh everything in advance and while we often rack our brains for ages, we lose our dreams and visions during this time. That doesn't mean we should go about everything rashly, but sometimes it just takes a little more courage, spontaneity and a spirit of discovery. Especially the latter has always suprised me with special moments on the trip. It's never too late to try things for the first time or to change opinions - no matter if it's food, activities or communication. Above all, we should listen to our gut feeling more often. In the hustle and bustle of everyday life I haven't noticed that for a long time and often decided out of habit or rationally. And a special experience was also getting to know "strangers" while traveling: There are so many wonderful and interesting people, no matter where they are from, no matter how old, no matter what language they speak - they all share inspiring stories and experiences and are so warm and open - as long as you are too. And I am very grateful that I was able to meet people on my journey who became part of this adventure and are now among my friends. I look forward to seeing them again.

18. Where will you go on your next trip?

I think I can call that a "journey" as well, because it is a great adventure that is now waiting for me: My move to Berlin and before that corresponding travels for the purpose of onboarding, finding an apartment, etc. Actually, I would also have liked to travel with my girls for a few days for my 30th birthday - we have firmly planned that. But unfortunately that won't be possible in February with Corona. But we will make up for it. And where it goes we will see, much more important is that we can all travel together! I am really looking forward to it!

I hope I was able to answer all your questions, if you have any further questions, please feel free to contact me via comments or by sending a message to LauraSturm@gmx.de. The site will continue to exist, maybe I will use it for future trips.

I now end the last lines of this travel section with the closing slogan from the video:

Dream big. Believe big. Results will be big.

Thank you for everything - those were my three months of sabbatical. My dream came true.

Your Laura

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