Well, that's s a good question. Actually I saw myself always in the US, with New York being my favourite city (haha, I know, i'm not the only fan of big apple..) But in January 2009 I was granted a very special travel story: Zurich's prestigious Sunday paper 'Neue Zuercher Zeitung am Sonntag' sent me around the world. Within 42 days I stopped 13 times, except from Bali always in cities. Big cities are for single girls simply easier to handle than New Zealand in a camper. As soon as I felt a tiny little wave of melancholy, I escaped to museums, boutiques or Asia"s magnificently designed shopping malls. I plunged into the excessive beauty of those places – and immediately felt better. The male concept, hanging out in bars and ordering a few drinks, didn't work out for me. In fact, after being the only girl in a Japanese bar, where literally NOBODY would talk to me, I felt even more lost.
As my time was very limited, I posted the itinerary beforehand on Facebook in order to find a cityguide for each city. The idea was to reach out for friends and colleagues, who could connect me with their friends in those cities. To meet up with them – or at least help me out with a list of their preferred places... For Hong Kong I had the number of the brother of a befriended architect from Berlin, which I called upon arrival...
And what was your goal on this trip?
To be honest, there was no greater intention. I simply wanted to travel and to leave Munich behind. At the end of 2008 there was not much to win for writers. The magazines faced hard times themselves, many editors were made redundant. And I too sensed the climate of crisis that had dominated the world since September 2008. My first idea was to escape the word "recession", but as it turned out, the R-word was waiting everywhere. In New York for example, the young and beautiful would order burgers instead of champagne. The beautiful shop assistants of Tokyo stood sad in their beautiful temples of fashion, waiting for costumers who would finally spend some money. Needless to say, my presence didn't help them at all. It was really a strange month. Always in a state of jetlag, confused by the simultaneousness of the dissimilar.... I didn't earn money, but stayed at very courteous journalist conditions in the best hotels of the world. Somebody had to do it, haha. So to speak, from cloud nine I watched the sorrows in those cities below.
At the Peninsula Hong Kong I resided in the 1500 squarefoot Harbour Suite, the lounge was equipped with a fire place. The corner bath tub had a lovely 180 degree panorama view over the stunning harbour.. And at the check out, I was asked whether I have had enough time for breakfast. NO?! In this case they would like to propose to prepare my french toast and cappuccino "to go", so that I could enjoy both on the way to the airport in one of the house's racing green Rolls Royce. That was the moment when I really fell for the Peninsula.
Ok, nice experience. But what else happened in the Pen?
Nothing! I met the ex-Berliner and Hong Konger-by-choice F. at the Sevva, a bar- restaurant with a rooftop terrace, made for a movie. The skyscrapers were illuminated, the ships in the Victoria harbour blowed their horns, the champagne was highly overpriced. And the female guests wore their designer dresses puristic with incredibly expensive designer accessoires of labels that I could afford only every three years on sale. What a crazy show!
The morning after I had a bad hangover. In order to get up and do ANYTHING, I tumbled over to the hotel spa and had a massage. The massage therapist told me that usually I am a straight vata type, always hectic and in a rush. But on this particular morning I was tired, exhausted and very happy. Which was all true! It seemed as if Hong Kong was on my side.
I didn't see F anymore though - until I had another assignment in Asia, only three months later. It was a press trip to Indonesia. By pure chance F spent his holidays there too. And this time our reunion was fairly romantic... When I left, I had a boyfriend who lived 14000 kilometres away. Not ideal, but since my world trip had left me with itchy feet anyway, I packed two suitcases, rented out my office and flat in Munich – and moved in a white bachelor's appartement in the centre of Hong Kong, all in August 2009.
And now you report from China.
Well, one year after my move from Munich, I became mum of Antonia. And since the stroller was bigger than our corridor in one of the most expensive cities of the world, we moved again, to one of the outlying islands in Hong Kong, where we had found a beautiful house with garden. The ferry ride to and from Central takes exactly 23 minutes. But the lifestyle on Lantau is simply the opposite of Hong Kong. We have beaches, hiking trails and a quirky small town vibe... By the way, today I'm a double mum, as in Dec 2011 we added another cohabitant to our family, little Jonathan.
How do you manage your work with a toddler?
The dark circles around my eyes wouldn't go away for a long time. I realized that I couldn't possibly meet my own standards and work properly with two babies. But now, since both kids attend kindergarten and being blessed with a lovely nanny, I'm glad to be completely back to my original profession.
What do you write actually?
Travel stories, so far mostly about Hong Kong and Macau, but I'm definitely up for other, far away locations too...
Reports and features, fragments of reality. What I really enjoy most about my job, is the unpredictability of a hectic day as a reporter.
Portraits. I love to get to know new people and talk to them about their life scripts. How they became what they are.
Have I mentioned it? I'm a sucker for new spots in the city and get thrilled whenever I find a place that is wickedly cool or glamourous.
Short stories (so far unpublished) – as defined by Max Frisch's simple narrative mindset: " I would like to describe this day, only this day, our weekend, what had happened before and how it will continue. I would like to report without making up anything.." (Credit them on my previous restless life as a travel journalist and single girl...)
PS: Interested in a cooperation? Please feel free to email me anytime. I've written professionally for more than 20 years, thus I'm endued with a bit of experience. You might also find some "unpublished texts" under the main menu which are meant for immediate sale.