At the age of 15, I already knew that I wanted to live abroad one day. My dream was to emigrate to Australia.
Maybe because during my childhood we spent our holidays at the ocean. When I was 11 my family and I moved to the island Sylt which is in the North Sea, Germany. There was nothing better than going to the beach after school during my teenage years. The surfers played a big part of it as well; the only downside was the weather.
In my imagination Australia offered everything which I had at home, with the added bonus of sunshine lots of sun. Australia still had to wait a couple of years but my travel dreams were yet to come true.
I spent my student exchange year in Texas, USA. A nightmare for me a beach chick, I was surrounded by cowboys and country music, far away from the coast and living with quite a strict family. Although I had fun during the year, looking back I would have done a lot of things differently.
In the end the experience was very positive for me as I learnt what a strong personality and great endurance I have. I returned to Germany with the attitude:
Never give up!
You can get through anything and accomplish anything!
10 kg heavier back on the island, I repeated the 10th grade as I had not passed it before the exchange. Just before the school year finished I told my parents that I wanted to quit school. I wanted to get out into the world as quickly as possible to travel and live far, far away
Studieren? Näh, lieber früh Geld verdienen und Ärztin, Lehrerin oder so wollte ich eh nicht werden.
University? Nah, I preferred to earn money and I didn’t want to become a doctor, teacher or anything like that anyway. No sooner said than done! My parents and I got together for a brainstorming session: photographer, flight attendant, travel agent, hotel business… Every career that could include traveling, we thought about. In the end I decided for a degree in the hotel industry in one of the best 5-star hotel chains, The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company in Wolfsburg, Germany. My plan was to transfer with the hotel company to other countries. I didn’t just want to visit a country for a short time, no, I wanted to actually live and work there to get to know the culture and be part of it.
After graduating I went back to the US for two years to work at the Ritz-Carlton Laguna Niguel in Orange County and it was perfect! This time everything was just like a 21 year old would imagine. New York, Hawaii, San Francisco, San Diego, L.A., Las Vegas, Florida, Vancouver…. everything you can wish for.
Two years later the plan was to transfer within the company to the Caribbean. Unfortunately the island got hit by hurricane Ivan and therefore the hotel opening had to be rescheduled for a year. This year needed to be filled. And yes:
I spent one year in Oz with a Work & Travel Visa, working at the Marriott Surfers Paradise at the Gold Coast for three months, at a hostel in Fremantle close to Perth and the rest of the time traveling and sleeping in Woody, a Ford station wagon, all around Australia. It was an amazing time. Afterwards I went for almost four years to the Cayman Islands where I worked as Front Office Manager with the Ritz-Carlton. I spent my vacations traveling around Central and South America, Cuba, Jamaica and the Virgin Islands.
During my time working in the hotel industry I got to work in great destinations, made friends for life and had the opportunity to grow within the company, broaden my horizons, help develop other people’s careers and develop my own skills. But despite working in one of the leading hotels worldwide on a beautiful island, I started to get itchy feet. I needed a break from the stressful hotel world and find a new direction.
I started learning Spanish in Colombia, taught English in an eco-lodge in one of the deepest parts of the Brazilian Amazon, sailed from Colombia to Panama and volunteered in a children’s home in South Africa.
Unfortunately I only knew what I did not want to do!
A couple of months later back in Germany I got an offer for what I thought was my dream job – a hotel auditor for luxury hotels. But instead of feeling excited I felt conflicted. Deep down I knew it wasn’t right for me because it would mean always traveling by myself and working very long hours which I wanted to avoid. So instead I decided to become a flight attendant. I have not regretted this decision and I still love it!
I am living in my favourite city Barcelona in an amazing apartment, the beach and the ocean are just a stone’s throw away. I am surrounded by interesting people, great food and a perfect climate. My job as a flight attendant allows me to travel while meeting new people, getting to visit new countries, getting to know new cultures and I can stay in touch with old friends around the world. I love the great quality of life I have and, best of all, I am making a living by doing all of this!
What dreams have you already fulfilled or would you like to fulfill? I am looking forward to your comments.