I have been absent for a long time. I didn’t feel like writing. Maybe 2016 will change that? Did you know that there is not much fireworks going on here? In Germany eight year old kids are pyrotechnicians and I never felt quite safe downtown in a big city in Germany (only at New Year’s eve). No harm here. In Flagstaff, Arizona, they drop a pine cone from the historical (well, kind of old, yes, for America it is!) Weatherford Hotel. The first countdown is at 10 pm – how convenient for families and those who love to go to bed early, as this is 12 o clock at the East Coast. The second countdown and dropping is finally at midnight local time. Hugging, cheering, alcohol. music and dancing – I guess this is immanent for most cultures. And for the German in me they actually do have a tiny firework going on, controlled and safely done by some experts;)
A year later, a lot of fun and a lot of hard work. Most of the time I am just too busy with our two websites and Infinite Adventures’ blog. Hopefully you have been following me anyways on facebook, twitter and all the other internet stuff. Here comes a short wrap up with my favourite shots from the last year.
And don’t forget to check out our new German website: Alaska Abenteuerurlaub
Nothing can be more exciting than seeing how your ideas about the perfect overland vehicle are coming true – at least for me. There are still some things to be done, but we are finally getting excited after a lot of work. The paint job was a huge step in seeing how our vehicle (it is still missing a name) will look like and I am so excited to share it.
I can’t wait to be on the road and outdoors again. Looking forward to an amazing summer in Alaska. Beautiful scenery and hopefully lot’s of wildlife. Especially I can’t wait to see my first bear. I have never seen one before and it’s high on my bucket list. You can read about my excitement for bears in my article for the Monkeys and Mountains Blog.
Our overland vehicle will have a viewing platform on top, so everybody can climb up and take great shots of volcanoes, glaciers and the abundant wildlife. And the rag on the back will be carrying our wood for campfires!
We will have gas cylinder racks on each side along with external storage as well as hinged locking door for gas rack and a cover for the door will be added. These doors can hold 500 lbs!! So while we are cooking we can use this as an additional table! You also can see the back locker where all our main luggage will be stored securely.
And here is the inside of the vehicle! Comfortable seats, overhead lockers for daily stuff like cameras or daypacks. A few tables for the seats facing each other and of course speakers for some good tunes on our roadtrips (and my famous cab dance)! Stay tuned for some more pictures soon to come!
It´s almost half a year ago since we bought an old yellow school bus. Our aim is to have a great adventure-overland-vehicle. We got a CAD-drawing done last autumn and since then we trying to tell people with this little drawing what we are actually talking about when we say: “Hey, come with us on our great overland vehicle and enjoy Alaska´s scenery and wildlife with us!”
But finally it´s coming along and getting in shape. The overhead lockers are finished. Every passenger will have their own little storage to put books, camera equipment or day packs. And still many more things to come. Tables for playing cards or writing jounals during the ride, the backlocker for the big luggage and our camping gear as well as a woodrack in the back: We don´t want to miss cozy campfires in the evening! But what I like best is our little model, I gave Dave for christmas. Soon the little truck will sit on the dashboard and go on new adventures with us! You should see the big smile on my face right now:)
Want to come on an Adventure Holidays to Alaska with me? www.infiniteadv.com
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The entire last year people were staring at me because I was driving a big truck. Girls don´t drive trucks especially not in Africa and South America. In the United States I had to find out that this is different. Here (in Arizona) people stare at me when I am riding a bike. Riding bikes is something for kids or doing workout. If you are riding your bike to the shopping mall and coming home with several bags on your handles people do stare at you. I haven´t found out what they are really thinking about me: Maybe they think I must be really poor not owning a car or they just think I am crazy…
“Have a great holiday” – this is what you hear these days everywhere. And every single time I ask myself for a second: I am not going on holidays? argh – oh, that´s their synonym for christmas… In the end I don´t care how you call christmas. But I do ask myself why the president of the United States mentions God in every single speach he directs to the Nation but at the same time it is not political correct to wish someone a merry christmas?
I should not forget to mention the countless plastic bags, paper plates and styrofoam cups. I have never been a fundamental environmental freak. And every single time I went shopping in Germany I forgot to take bags and had to buy plastic bags…And I don´t even know if you waste more energy and ressources washing up your dishes and using detergents or throwing away your plates and cups. But for some reason I started taking bags to go shopping. And everytime I am at the checkout I feel guilty confusing the checkout girl or guy. They are puzzled as they have to break up their “scanning and packing things in plastic bags routine”.
Not to mention my frustration asking for “normal milk”. What is “normal milk”? Well, I meant milk without any additional vitamins and non-fat reduced. But when I was thinking about my question I realised that “normal” is a pretty vague description: In Germany we usually dont drink milk directly from the cow either… (which some of my friends here assumed when I was talking about normal milk)
So I guess the definition of “normal” or “crazy” is a matter of where you are coming from. But some things I will always judge. And hopefully this will then be a political judgement or let´s say: A judgment derived from my values…
I was so sure that nobody has big flat screen TVs in Germany. I was also convinced that all kinds of bread you buy are fresh and super crispy and tasty in Germany. We don’t have big shopping malls in Germany either and public transport is the easiest and best system ever…
Well, I had to realize that since I left this country time was not standing still. Not only Americans have big flat screen TVs, also in German living rooms you will mostly find this new technology nowadays.
For the bread: Yes, the variety of bread is definitely huge and I still like German bread a lot, but I had to find out that lots of sandwiches and bread you buy in the supermarket is not crisp and fresh at all…
…The REAL-supermarket in Berlin is almost as big as Walmart and every city has big shopping malls.
And yes: the public transport is fantastic in big cities. But to get a ticket out of a vending machine if you only have a credit card and a 50-Euro-note is quite a challenge.
I loved my stay in Germany, seeing friends and family and I still think that Berlin is one of the greatest cities of the world. But I will never say again “but in Germany its like that…”. It actually is the same for every place in this world: You always live certain moments and you get impressions that other people will experience very different as things change and you see it through different eyes. It is the same for the US as for Africa as for Germany. Maybe there are certain things very common, but it’s always what you make out of it and how you see certain things… It’s your choice!
Check out my latest adventures on www.infiniteadv.com and come and travel with us in Summer 2013!!!
Take an old yellow school bus, remodel it into an overland vehicle, stick two tour leaders in the driver’s seat and bring together a small group of adventure travelers to explore the wilderness of Alaska and Western America. Add to this amazing views and encounters with an abundance of wildlife, glaciers and volcanoes! Enjoy the ride and take pictures out of our big windows, play cards or games on the tables and join in the group adventure preparing dinner with us around the campfire. Overlanding at its best with beautifully situated campsites and outdoor activities like kayaking, hiking, mountain biking, whitewater rafting or scenic flights.
I basically decided to go a step further and set up my own tour company…
The Villages in Florida: friendliest retirement hometown.
Finally I am back to my motto: I travel to see how people live around the world. And here more than 50000 people live their life after 55. It is a reality but surreal…
They built village after village surrounded by golf courses for people only allowed over the age of 55. To visit Dave’s dad we have to register and we get IDs. Since 2000 the population of this place has grown by around 500%! The median resident age is around 68 years old.
They have their own stores, fake town centres, hospitals, cafes, more than enough restaurants, recreation centres, entertainment programmes and more than 500 holes for golfing… even the trees and the grass and the lake look fake – they are real, but it feels that they are put in a specific order…
They have the neighbour watch patrol who looks suspiciously at me (walking barefoot) and Dave strolling around at dusk to go for a walk (who the hell walks here: use your golf cart or one of your two cars!)
I am walking around in one of their artificial village centres with Starbucks cafes; they play their own radio via loudspeakers and advertise new stores and new offers on houses to rent or buy. I fear like any time a giant light might fall from the sky just as in “The Truman Show”…
America’s retirement population is active: fully booked days with golf, shopping, dance classes, swimming and going out.
And I agree that this might be a better option than sitting alone in your house all day in a big city and doing cross word puzzles. And every one of us lives in a bubble and creates a certain shelter and enjoys the comfort of safety. There is nothing wrong with enjoying life after you have worked your ass off – especially in the States with almost no holidays. It’s great for them to have the money to be active and social.
But this is bigger and greater than anything I have seen in my whole life. This is “The Truman Show” in reality: Utopia… Everything is owned by the developer so nobody tells these inhabitants in “The Village Newspaper” that they should rubber up before having sex: The Village has one of the highest HIV rates in the country…
Three months in South America: Brazil, Argentina, Chile, Bolivia, Peru and Ecuador. Now I am sitting in between: at the airport in Houston looking forward to my next adventures in North America…
…I landed in Rio de Janeiro a day before my 31st birthday. I was completely lost in Rio, stumbling around between Christ the Redeemer and the Sugar Loaf in culture shock: Rio de Janeiro and Brazil are basically first world: Fantastic western food, beautiful roads, men cutting the grass along the dual carriage way and I kept on wandering why the hell it is necessary to cut grass alongside a motorway… I could not identify locals and tourists by their skin colour anymore and the Mercedes Workshop in Rio de Janeiro was shiny and incredible organised and horrible expensive…
On our journey to Buenos Aires the Iguaçu Falls: definitely impressive! And Buenos Aires for sure one of my favourite cities in South America.
Crossing the Altiplano between Chile and Bolivia: off road at 5000 m altitude: no roads, crossing small rivers, ice blue lagoons, hot springs: This is what I do the job for: finally a bit of freedom and adventure in the wilderness.
At the same time six weeks of hostels and hotels: no camping, every day towns and freezing temperatures. I miss sleeping on my truck and being outside all day long.
The trek to Machu Picchu is breath taking (literally as of lacking oxygen and landscape wise), the Andes regardless if Bolivia, Peru or Ecuador are amazing, breathtaking and with their lakes, waterfalls and friendly people a definite highlight.
But for three months now I mostly have only seen the beautiful places, convenient hotels, nice cafes and restaurants, bars with mostly westerners… but I travel because I want to see the world in all aspects:
“Adventure is a path. Real adventure – self-determined, self-motivated, often risky – forces you to have firsthand encounters with the world. The world the way it is, not the way you imagine it. Your body will collide with the earth and you will bear witness. In this way you will be compelled to grapple with the limitless kindness and bottomless cruelty of humankind – and perhaps realize that you yourself are capable of both. This will change you. Nothing will ever again be black-and-white.” – Mark Jenkins
My passengers I have taken across the continent are amazing people and made my trip definitely very enjoyable. Driving a truck and being on the road is fantastic and I cant get enough of it. Definitely many more road trips to come: for the near future en los Estados Unidos!