Today’s Tuesday interview is with a woman who has gotten bit by the “go go travel” bug. Born overseas, but raised in the states, she knew she had to make Germany her home one day after studying abroad in the university town of Heidelberg. She’s now made this dream come true and is living abroad in Germany, Bavaria to be more exact. Read on to see how she made the plunge to move abroad and get some travel inspiration from her Europe bucket list. If you want to read more about Lori’s experiences you can also check her out on her blog, California Globerotter.
Can you tell us a little about yourself.
I was practically born traveling. My father was in the Marines and my mother followed him to Japan. I was born there and raised in California my whole life. I’m from sunny southern California just outside San Diego. I grew up on the beach or laying out at the pool and then moved to Montana for a change of scenery. I decided I would move back to Germany after having already studied abroad in Heidelberg, mostly to dabble in my passion for traveling, speaking German and scrapbooking my travels.
Currently, I live in Regensburg, Bavaria, Germany. I teach English as a Second Language which helps to pay for my love of traveling. I got my TEFL Certificate in London before moving back to Germany and have taught ever since.
What motivated you to move abroad?
I grew up with a love of traveling from a very young age. My parents dragged me around the States at a young age and by 14, I got to go to England for the first time. That go, go, go travel passion stuck with me and now I have a love of sharing my travel experiences and encouraging others to travel.
When I lived in Montana, I worked in a bank for several years. I felt stuck after a while and decided I had had enough. My mom and stepdad were always there reminding me of my love for Germany and encouraging me to go live my dream. So one day, I quit my job, I sold my car, my belongings and bought a one way ticket to Europe. I never looked back.
Where all have you lived abroad? What place was your favorite and why?
While at University, I studied German and studied abroad in Heidelberg, Germany in 2007. I lost my heart to Germany and promised I would come back. Since learning that I have German heritage I have always had a special place in my heart for all things German.
Now I live in Regensburg, Bavaria which is considered “the most Northern Italian city” because of our beautiful cobbled stone streets, medieval buildings and cafés which line the alleys.
Both Heidelberg and Regensburg will always have my heart. Both are equally beautiful. When I was looking to move to Germany, I knew exactly what I wanted out of the town I was going to live in. There needed to be a river with a bridge, a cathedral or castle and the town had to still have that medieval feeling to it. I got lucky both times.
What’s the most difficult part about living abroad?
The distance between family and friends. I am always connected to my phone or Facebook because that’s where my friends and family live. I just always have to remind myself that family is just a plane ticket away and they can always come for a visit. And when that isn’t possible, staying connected via Skype makes it much easier.
I had many friends in Regensburg, but they were expats too and have all returned home. So at the moment, I’m struggling with making new friends. I find that it’s hard to make friends with Germans because of the difficulties in communicating. Denglish can only go so far. I think it’s also difficult because I feel like many Germans don’t want to open up their friendship to someone who might leave again. But I know, I want to stay here for a long time and integrating with the Germans is an important part of staying.
What’s the best part?
The best part is obviously the traveling and experiencing a new culture. I love finding new Bavarian/German cultural traditions to watch or take part in such as Palmator or Erntedanksfest. I love how easy it is to travel around Germany and the rest of Europe. But I find that it is definitely feeding into my addiction of go, go, go all the time!
What have you learned from living abroad?
I learned that everyone everywhere in the world is wrong about their country. We are all proud of where we come from and some might even say that “Our country is the best”, but they would be wrong. I think every country has many amazing things which makes a country great, but no one country is the best.
I’ve also learned that everyone is jealous about where everyone else is from. When people ask me where I am from and when I respond, “from sunny southern California” they immediately say “booah” and are jealous that I am from there. Little do they know, I am jealous that they are from Germany or Spain. We all want to be where from where that person is from.
What is your secret to keeping a positive attitude while living abroad?
Walking through the city center of Regensburg, sitting down at a café directly in front of the cathedral and sipping on a Café Latte with Baileys is my secret to staying happy living abroad. When I feel like it’s been a long day of teaching English or speaking a very difficult German language, I just need a moment to sit down and stare up at the cathedral to remind me why I moved here in the first place. Just simply enjoying the beauty, architecture and history is enough to make me thankful for this chance to live abroad.
What´s the best place you´ve ever traveled to?
This is probably one of the most difficult questions you could possibly ask me. I love absolutely everywhere I have been. Budapest, Hungary was by far one of the most historically interesting cities to visit. My boyfriend and I fell in love with the history. We loved the cliffs of Cinque Terre, Italy and would love to go back again. Our favorite trip has been our road trip through Belgium. We absolutely fell in love with the beer, the waffles, and the food in general. Bruges was by far our favorite city yet, quaint, under rated and romantic. In fact, at the moment I am even trying to convince my boyfriend to move to Belgium!
Do you have a bucket list? Would you share with us a couple of things on that list?
My Bucket List is a mile long, just for Europe. We won’t mention all the places around the world beyond Europe I want to visit. That would take too long. For Europe though, at the moment Croatia is at the top of my list and we will be doing a road trip for 10 day around Croatia in July. After that, Lisbon, Portugal and Seville, Spain are next on my list. After that I’ll hit up the Scandinavian countries!
What advice do you have for people who are considering moving abroad, but are feeling doubtful?
I would say that if it is a dream or a passion of yours, but you’re too afraid to go because of the distance, I would say you are passing up on one of the greatest opportunities life could possibly offer. It has never been easier to travel around the world or move abroad than now. You will make new friends, have amazing experiences such as watching a sunset fall over the Coliseum and riding a double decker bus over the Tower Bridge. There are just some experiences you have to do for yourself. Isn’t it better to see something for yourself than to hear about it or see it in a picture a million times, always wishing you could go? Sometimes, you just have to be brave enough to cross that ocean and do it for yourself. I would never want to get to the end of my life and have nothing to show for it but regret. And should you go and decide it’s not for you, it’s not the end of the world. Nothing is ever permanent and you can always change your situation. But at least try.
If you’re living abroad or love to travel and want to share your story as part of an interview, don’t hesitate to send me a message!