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Learning about life on the balcony

By | Costa Rica, India, USA | No Comments

UCLA

At times life can be truly challenging – personally and professionally. Although most of the issues are usually not life threating, they can be very upsetting. Apart from talking to close friends and family, traveling in particular has always helped me to take a “balcony moment” – to look at my life and everyday challenges from a distance. Not only has discovering other cultures helped me to appreciate the luxurious life I live back home, but it has also taught me very different ways of how to go about it.

Journeys for Change team @Jaipur RugA couple of years ago I went on a trip called “Journey for Change” to India to meet Social Entrepreneurs with ten people from around the world interested in social impact. I was overwhelmed and energized by the eagerness to learn, discover and reflect of this group of socially engaged people. The learning experience was incredible and getting to know people from various countries with a common interest was a huge inspiration. After this trip I decided to dedicate one week every year for a “learning-journey” with people from around the world to take an intense “balcony moment” diving into a topic I am interested in.

Transformation Made Easy in Costa RicaMy next trip was a one-week immersion course to transformation in Costa Rica to discover new ways of how to live a happier life saying “yes” to the challenges that show up. It was hosted by the American couple, Arial & Shya Kane, who have built a large and inspiring international community of people who are interested in discovering new ways of how to approach life’s challenges in a practical, light and happy way. I got to know the Kanes through a friend from Hong Kong, who had been visiting me in Hamburg to attend their weekend seminars in Hamburg.

Yesterday I returned from my most recent trip, which was professionally oriented. I applied for the W50 Program, a scholarship of the Banco Santander and the University of Los Angeles (UCLA) for 50 women from around the globe. For one week we were provided with a tight schedule of excellent classes on strategy, leadership, corporate governance and personal development. Also this group of smart, ambitious and open-minded women from around the world has provided me with new perspectives, knowledge and solutions to professional and personal challenges.

UCLA W50W50 Scholarship UCLA

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I want to encourage you to find your journey on a topic you are interested in to learn, share, reflect and purely enjoy life with an international group. These intense one-week experiences have helped me to grow personally, look at life differently, learn new things and meet incredible inspiring, knowledgeable and fun people.

I do not expect life to become less challenging, but I have discovered more efficient perspectives and ways to look at it. On top of that, with every journey I became more aware of myself – my needs, strength, fears and culture.

So go online and find YOUR one-week journey. And don’t forget to share it … I am still looking for ideas for my next “balcony moment”.

Yoga at the pool, Tunisia

Inspiring Workout: Yoga classes around the world

By | Costa Rica, Indonesia, USA | No Comments
Yoga at the pool, Tunisia

UBUD - BALI

Radiantly Alive

Radiantly Alive: This is the only Yoga studio I attended classes at in Yoga Mekka Ubud. I was told it was the best in town and all I can say is, that I had the best classes ever in this place. I was sweating like I had hardly ever sweat before and felt amazing afterwards. It is an open classroom facing the jungle with showers in the basement. The level of the classes are pretty high and many people get their yoga teacher license here. They offer a wide range of class passes form single class to week pass to privat classes.

Before or after make sure you drop by the famous Bali Buda Cafe, where I had the best cinnamon role of my life. It is a tranquil place to hang out, eat great food and meet tourists, long time travelers and dropouts.

NEW YORK - USA

Pure Yoga

Pure Yoga: This studio really has an unbeatable yoga schedule. Never ever had I to decide between two tempting classes at the same time! This luxurious studios offers everything from amazing teachers, to great facilities and even assistants, who help lesser experienced people to find their pose. Not only did I enjoy my own Ashtanga workout, but my heart jumped up and down, when I glanced over to some far more experienced people getting gently in crazy poses. Such a treat. You do not have to bring anything but your yoga clothes. Matt, Towls, Shampoo… everything is provided.

Rooftop Yoga NYC
Pure Yoga New York

SAN FRANCISCO - USA

Yoga Tree Hays Valley: I went to a couple of classes in this place, which were all great. It is a small and simple studio without showers. I tried my first hot Yoga class in this place. Yoga Tree has several studios across town.

Yoga to the People: All classes are donation based (10 USD is recommended) and therefore the courses are pretty crowded, which I did not mind. Big class room, no showers. Also great experience with any class I attended. They also have studios in New York and Berkeley.

Holis Spa

MANUEL ANTONIO - COSTA RICA

Holis Spa: A small place on the Manuel Antonio hill area with ventilators only, giving a great and absolutely bearable sweat in the costa rica heat. They offer a wide range of classes from Ariel to Ashtanga and Belly Dance, some classes are donation based. Before or after the class make sure you stop around the corner at Emilio’s Cafe. A dream place with the best coffee in the area.

DSC_7082

Cairns: international trail marker

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Cairns (German: Steinmännchen) exist all over the world in all sorts of shapes from small piles to artificial hills or delicately balanced sculptures and sizes to mark trails and special areas. Sometimes they are painted or decorated for increased visibility or religious reasons.

I love these little architectural masterpieces which seem so beautifully balanced.

They have existed for centuries and whenever I see one it looks as if they have been exactly in this place forever. This cairn I saw at the beachside of Monterey, California.

Cairn
Teatro Colón, Buenos Aires

Don’t miss the best opera houses around the world

By | Argentina, Australia, USA | No Comments

Throughout all my travels, I never got a ticket for an opera abroad. I either felt I did not have the money (Sydney Opera House), there wasn’t a play during my stay (La Scala, Milan), the affordable tickets were sold out (Teatro Colón, Buenos Aires) or I simply forgot about it (Lincoln Center, New York).  For the future, I decided, that this is going to change – next time I will do my very best to get a ticket once I am near one of the best opera houses of the world.

Sydney Opera House

Every opera house has unique challenges, when it comes to acoustics. Even cultural customs have an influence on the acoustics, like in Italy, where architects have to the effect into account that people bring their jackets into the room instead of giving it to the wardrobe.

Lincoln Center, New York

If you are not fancy for operas, I would still advise you to take a guided tour. Opera houses are an architectural masterpiece. I was amazed by the effort it took, to provide “perfect acoustics”. There are numerous components when it comes to perfect sound: The shape of the room, the material the wall, ceiling and floor are built of and even the cloth of the seats. In order to provide the same acoustic during rehearsals like during the actual performance, the material and shape of the seats have to absorb the same amount of sound, as if a person was sitting on it.

Teatro Colón, Buenos Aires
Blue Bottle Coffee

Blue Bottle Coffee: The new coffee era

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I first discovered Blue Bottle Coffee in San Francisco and it’s been my favorite coffee place ever since.

Named after one of the first Viennese Coffee Shops “Zur blauen Flasche” (engl. “Blue Bottle”) founded in 17th century, it is known as “Apple” in the world of coffee shops. Supported by well known investors such as founders of Twitter, Instagram and Google-Ventures (46 Million Dollars after three investment rounds), the precious coffee will not only be available in the existing coffee shops in San Francisco, New York and Los Angeles, but for sure beyond the US, starting a new era of coffee shops. Former clarinet player and since 2002 Blue Bottle Coffee founder, James Freeman, started a new coffee era without to-go-cups, wifi and weird extra flavors.  “I will only sell coffee less than 48 hours out of the roaster to my customers, so they may enjoy coffee at its peak of flavor. I will only use the finest, most delicious and responsibly sourced beans.”

So if you happen to spend some time in one of these cities, make sure you check out one of their coffee shops. When I went to New York, I accidentally bumped into one of their coffee shops in Brooklyn around the corner of Smith Street. It’s been the most relaxing and peaceful moment of my entire New York trip.

If you are not planning a trip to these cities in the near future, you can still learn a lot about coffee reading the Blue Bottle Frequency Blog or even have some coffee shipped to your place if you are lucky.

Enjoy!

Brooklyn Bridge

Brooklyn Bridge Boot Camp: The toughest way of experiencing it

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Brooklyn Bridge is an experience just the way it is and I guess nearly every New York tourist has it on his “To-See-List! As the best time to walk it is sun set and you can perfectly combine it with a walk through Brooklyn. Make sure to get the best coffee in town at Blue Bottle Coffee on 85 Dean Street to then stroll along diverse and fun shops on Smith Street.

What I did not know, but would have loved to experience, is the Brooklyn Bridge Bootcamp. We saw a couple of groups woking out with a personal trainer making their way through all the tourists crossing the bridge. Only a couple of days ago I accidentally found out that it was set up by the German lady, Ariane Hundt, who moved to the US many years ago. Making a living as personal trainer in New York, she came up with the idea to set up a bootcamp on the Brooklyn Bridge. I am sure, it is an unforgettable experience. As it is not at all a tourist thing, but rather a workout for locals, you have to plan your workout in advance and get in touch with the team.

Super exited to get feedback from those taking part in the challenge.

 

Kicking Butt at Brooklyn Bridge

NY Skyline

THE Skyline

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There is not much to say. If you ever go to New York – get your free ride on the Staten Island Ferry and enjoy a beautiful view of THE Skyline.

The Staten Island Ferry is a free passenger ferry. In Manhattan it departs from the Staten Island Ferry Whitehall Terminal at South Ferry near Battery Park. On Staten Island, the ferry departs from the St. George Ferry Terminal on Richmond Terrace. To be honest… we only got of the ferry to reenter directly through the terminal and did not get to see anything of Staten Island. Service is provided 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. The Staten Island Ferry currently carries over 21 million passengers annually on the 5.2-mile (8.4 km) run, which takes about 25 minutes each way.

Make sure to put this on your list for your – whenever – New York trip.

New York

New York: How to push the “Pause-Button”

By | Uncategorized, USA | No Comments

Frank Sinatra made New York famous for the fact, that it never sleeps. Well, I was not too sure about that, but it felt as if it was impossible to sleep during day time. I had seen busy cities all over the world, but somehow it felt as if I had never experienced such a noisy and busy place. Even in India, where people honk their horns every other second, the noise felt different.

The rush of everyone around me, infected my own speed and somehow taking pictures, did not fit in this environment – simply because I had to stop, which usually annoyed people around me.

New York in black and white without a single sound does not at all reflect, what the city is like. Though looking at the pictures, it feels as if I had managed to push the “pause button”.

Making of the beautiful etkie bracelets

Etkie: Invest in Women’s Talent from New Mexico

By | USA | 2 Comments

A couple of months ago, I attended a TEDx Event in Hamburg, where I listened to the inspiring talk of Sydney Alfonso. Sydney was born in New Mexico, yet moved to San Francisco a couple of years ago. She was amazed by the handcraft talent of the native American women in her home area making jewelry and wanted to find a way to promote their talent by delivering access to international markets and thus financially and socially empower these women.

She funded etkie, a social jewelry company, partnering with Kiva, providing business opportunities to the native women to preserve their rich and diverse culture. Etkie is an online sales platform, that helps underserved women sell their products at fair prices to earn a higher income and eventually attain financial independence.

Through this blog post I want to reach out to all my readers in more than 100 countries to support Sydney launch a new wrap collection and continue on this amazing journey with more artisans! She has just started an Indiegogo crowdfunding campaign to collect 20.000 USD for this important next step. The Indiegogo community has already funded an amazing 10.000 USD. If you are interested in supporting these women and want one of these beautiful unique bracelets, check out the campaign HERE.

Golden Gate Bridge

Golden Gate Bridge – Goose Bumps Experience

By | USA | 2 Comments

There are these big world-known monuments we have seen on postcards, magazines and TV many, many times. Golden Gate Bridge for sure is one of them. So when I went to San Francisco, I was so excited to see it “live”.

This picture captures the first time I saw Golden Gate Bridge and I can still feel the goose bumps I had all over my skin. It was a quiet moment as the sun set and it felt as if the sea gull and I shared this very special moment, looking at a far.

The Golden Gate Bridge is named after the straits of waterway known as the Golden Gate. There are different opinions on whether the pathway was named Golden Gate due to the Golf Rush in California or the Greek word for harbor in Istanbul, Turkey.

The “red” color of the bridge is the famous international orange, used as a sealant for the bridge. Initially it was meant to be colored grey afterwards, but because it fit perfectly to the landscape and people liked it a lot, it stayed that way.