I live alone almost 1200 meters above the sea level in the mountains. It’s quite isolated from society, but I like that. Especially because it’s cold here. Well, I’m not really alone. I have more than 30 cats and three dogs living with me. I have eleven children with two different women. I was a constructing engineer and lived with my wife for 30 years in Mallorca. Thereupon eleven years in Granada and one year in Orgiva, a community that consists almost entirely of hippies. That was a good time. Yes, I worked a lot. Still, there is just one thing which really bothers me. I am looking for a woman. I am looking for someone with whom I can share everything that I still have in life. Someone who is there, who loves me and whom I can love. A life partner. Oh, and I believe that this person will come. Now I’m 71 years old and can fully focus on what I’ve been looking for my entire life.
I left home when I was 15 years old. I had lots of problems with my family, and was soon moved to a foster home which was horrible as well. Then they tried to integrate me into a foster care group home. That was the final trigger. I didn’t want to stay in Germany anymore. Well, basically I was supposed to stay there for 1 1/2 years. They were cruel. In the first three months, you are not allowed to go out alone, if you do it must be with a guardian. Well, I once had a chance. I had to take out the trash and I ran away. I got caught by the police and they brought me back. I tried to escape another time and it worked out. That was in summer 2016.
My ex-boyfriend, his friend, and I took the bus to Granada but we had an argument and our group separated. Suddenly I was in Spain. Alone.
At the time I bumped into Beneficio. It is a big hippie group. Sadly the term “hippie” has a completely different meaning there. It is a nice euphemism for a fucked up hole run by drug addicts.
The good thing was that I met Erik, my boyfriend. We did not want to stay there and despite sharing the mutual dream to go to Portugal, we got stuck here in Nerja. We found those street dogs, first one then two and so on. In total, we take care of six now. The first couple of weeks we lived in a cave on the beach but soon got pressured by the police. They wanted us to leave. One of the policemen hit our dog in the face with a stick. Besides that, it was pretty disgusting in the cave because the tourists always pissed there. We were lucky to have a friend who relinquished us his cave. We lived there for two months.
During my time in Spain, I returned back to Germany once but not freely. The police caught me again and I was taken to a foster care group in Granada. My mother came here and picked me up. Together we flew back to Munich. I missed my boyfriend and the dogs so much that I decided to return.
Since then I have been in regular contact with my mother via WhatsApp. She is okay with the fact that I am living here now.
Here in Spain, we collect donations to castrate or sterilize the dogs.
On September 14th, 2014, I flew to Mallorca for a year as an exchange student. At that point, I could not imagine how painful it would be to go back home at the end of the year.
Once, I was back in Taiwan everything changed. I felt this strong desire of heading back to Spain. I missed it so much that it hurt. Literally. Those strong emotions made it hard for me to move on. I feel like I have grown. Mallorca made me strong and now I get the impact everything is slowly fading away. Friendships, relationships and also secret parts I discovered on myself. I knew, time will let it dissappear. Slowly. Patiently.
Realizing this made me so sad. Three years passed.
I finished my studies and decided to fly back to Mallorca in November 2017. My friends offered me a place to stay for 2 months but I declined and instead planned to stay for only four days. I was so afraid to go through this pain again. Well, I came to Mallorca and it turned out that I stayed for two weeks. I visited all familiar places, my favorite shops and went out in the night. Everything seemed to be the same.
But it was not at all. A lot has changed. My feelings and the familiar atmosphere which I missed so much did not longer exist. Everything I got used to was weirdly different.
Same but different.
I was born in the eastern part of Ukraine and studied in Kyiv. When the revolution came, I was not far away from these atrocities. I had a leadership position in our class. One of my tasks was to control the presence of my fellow students. That’s something we did every day in our universities. And of course, many people were absent at university. It was normal. On some days, when the revolution took place, the teachers asked me to call all the students who were not present, just to make sure no one died the night before.
Then tanks rolled through my mother city, Mariupol. It’s pretty close to the front line but it’s not a city that’s in flames. Many people ran away from the war and sought refuge in my city. I think that’s why I decided to become a backpacker.
It seems to me as if it all happened in a previous life. I walked through the streets of Mariupol. It was late. From the public radio, I heard news about the war. Where it was currently taking place, which government buildings were blown up, etc. There were the people who supported Ukraine and the others who were for Russia. Personally, I stood on the side of Ukraine.
Once I was walking through the street and came across a woman. She was completely drunk and not far from her I saw a few men, also drunk. We talked a bit and yes, sometimes it was quite hard for me not to laugh at her. She looked a little neglected. Worn clothes, heavily intoxicated…well…
However, it turned out that she lost her child, Danil. Barely six years old. Her home collapsed and her son was buried in it. Her husband is in the war and she is homeless. Then, what stayed was the alcohol. The only thing which allowed her to forget all of her grief for a moment. I remember how she asked me so naively and confidently where her son was. What happened?
“You are wise,” she said. “You have to know it.”
I didn’t know it.The next day, I packed everything I owned and brought it to the Red Cross. I wanted to make sure that it came to the people who needed it
I am now 58 years old. So, my motto is: do it now or it will be too late.
Sometimes you just need a break from your normal daily routine. I worked for more than 30 years as a journalist for a newspaper in Sweden. The industry has changed a lot in the past years. Nowadays, everyone can publish everything on different platforms. Once I was young things were not not like that. They are changing constantly and that’s a good, I guess.
I love to travel. I did it several times when I was in your age. Have been to Africa, Asia, and South America.
So, now my two children are grown up and moved out. My daughter lives in Italy and my son in Indonesia. I’m divorced, so the responsibility that has kept me in Sweden for the last few years has not disappeared but definitely shrunk. I rented my apartment and decided to escape from the gray and cold winters in Sweden and come to Spain. New places are always a great inspiration, especially for the writing process. All in all, I try to see as many things as possible now. I am trying to avoid procrastinating them because, at the age of forty, time is flying. For example, I imagine a straight path with a corner. You must go to that corner at least once and take the risk looking around it. That’s the point when things will start to change. Many people, however, spend their entire lives sitting in front of this corner without having the courage to look around it. Hoping that something will change on its own, talking about what they want to do someday. That is exactly the opposite of what I want. At the end of my life I don’t wanna look back and say with regret; why didn’t you even try?
When I was 16, I shaved my head. It only took me a moment to decide, and I really didn’t think too much about it. It happened after a little argument with my parents… basically, I wanted to visit a friend in New York but my parents didn’t feel comfortable with that idea because as a young woman, I am automatically in a vulnerable position travelling alone. I was frustrated that my brother had so many more liberties than I did, simply because of his gender. I wondered how gender had so many tangible social implications when it is only a social construct. I wondered what would happen if I defied one of the most visible indicators of gender– hair. For years I had relied on my hair as a security blanket to make me feel beautiful, so I thought, what the hell! I’ll do my little gender experiment as well as a self esteem experiment. It was exhilarating. After the argument, I went up to my room and when I came back downstairs, I no longer had hair.
The following few months were amazing, although I went through some awkward stages in growing out my hair. At one point, I really looked like Kim Jong Un. But overall, I felt more me than I ever had before. I felt strong and I felt beautiful. It’s been three years since I shaved it and now, I’m re-exploring life with long hair and the experience of being very visibly feminine.
We all have a need to fulfill the hole in our heart, and there’s no job, no ideal place and no material security that can make us ‘full’. It has been seven years since I left the Ukraine and in the meantime I have been living in four countries. My question was: How can I benefit from this country, from the people… What would be my reason to stay? At some point I realized that this way of living does not fulfill me, I am trying to ask another question: What can I give, what should I share, what do I have to give up?
It’s a time when your mind is battling with the heart. I decided to stay when my heart told me so. If the pain makes your heart softer. If you become more vulnerable. If you are not attempting to be always right. If you are trying to shut your ego up. If each person is considered as the unique and precious gift – then the answer is yes, for the moment it’s your place and the smile arise and you know the reason to continue.
I have been a dance teacher for 12 years. I teach tango. Dancing has a very special meaning for me– it gives me the opportunity to experience freedom. To connect with people. Feeling this connection, as well as creating that connection between a dance couple, is something truly beautiful. Tango induces a whole new energy between dancers. Often, when I danced with a beginner, I realized that I had to reduce my own energy. The better you get, the faster your energy will grow.
As I said, it’s been 12 years since I became a dance teacher. It all started in the Netherlands when Tango became a small hobby of mine. After some time, my former dance teacher realized that I have talent, and that’s how I got promoted. Suddenly it clicked and I knew, that’s my dream job. Honestly, I can imagine doing that for the rest of my life. So I spent six more years in Holland before moving to Belgium for another six years to teach there. You know, just enjoying the show-life. However, it has downsides as well. In this industry is also a lot of competition between dance teachers and dance schools. And overtime it becomes heavy, so I distanced myself from it.
Here in Spain I have different expectations. I want to do it for myself. It should be something nice and quiet, these comparisons don’t interest me anymore. It should remain a freedom for me. I want to teach other people how to dance. I want to see how their levels are rising. How their energy is changing.
I’m from Denmark and a passionate chef. Would say that I am not one who follows the recipe. I read them, but when I cook, I listen to my instincts. Well, with this dedication, I travel all over the world and have already worked in many different kitchen around the globe. Spent a long time in Australia, but also in New Zealand. Well, an interesting experience happened in Thailand.
In Ban Nong Pong, which is a small village outside of Udon Thani, I participated in a volunteer program. I worked as an English teacher in a school. Incidentally, the founder of the school came from Austria. He has been running the school for 25 years now together with his wife from Thailand. This man was an interesting person. In the beginning, I expected the job to be quite easy. But it turned out that classes consisted of 10 to 15 students who didn’t speak English at all. The owner simply guided me to the classroom and said: “teach!”
Okay, I thought. Then let’s try that with very simple remedies.
I stayed there for one month then I flew to Vietnam, had a short stay there and continued traveling to Cambodia. Finally, I came back to Thailand to visit the school and my students again. It was so nice to see how happy they were when I returned. Absolutely beautiful.
My life now consists only of traveling. In between I work occasionally in the kitchen and in the summer on a cruise ship in Denmark. I am always on the go. This is my life and I’m happy with that.
When I finished high school I had no idea what I should study. So in the first year of university, I tried different things to figure out what I wanna do. I finally settled on math, so for the upcoming five years, I studied that subject at the University of Alberta in Edmonton. My favorite part about studying, in general, is „discrete mathematics“, because it does not require a lot of prior knowledge. It’s more about creativity than theorems. Math to me is the way the world works. It’s great that these patterns and relationships exist in this “world,” independent of people. After graduating, I worked for four years in a high school as a math and physics teacher.
I teached there for four years, but somehow I felt that this job was not really meant for me. I felt that I needed a break to overthink my situation about whether I really wanted to continue this profession or not. So I spontaneously booked a ticket to Spain and work for one month in Nerja. In the next year 2018 I would like to go to South / Central America. Where exactly & for how long, and well .. what I will do when I am back in Canada- I don’t know.
He told me that every day he got to know me better, he started to like me more. Isn’t one of the most magical things that can happen in life? Being loved for who you truly are? Deep inside me exists a sphinx. For a long time I thought that people are labelling me as being little and cute, and in best case, shut my mouth. If people treated me like this I pushed them away. But he looked and said: I know you are here. Please, would you step in the daylight?”
And just like that, the sphinx turned into a kitten.
I live in Spain to write my novel. I’ve been traveling the world for two years and working on my book for quite some time. The interesting thing for me is not only the work or the process of writing itself, but moreover that there are certain parallels between how the novel progresses and where it falters and becomes difficult. It seems to relate to the ups and downs in my life. And writing taught me a lot about myself.
For example, the first version of my novel worried me a bit at first. Whether I had enough experience to make my story sound credible, whether the choice of language was the right one, and of course specific things such as dialogues; that everything didn’t just sound the same. I knew that the first chapters weren’t quite optimal, but eventually I managed to get all the chapters more or less on the same level. Imagine: I was even quite satisfied.
However, after some time it turned out that I had a problem.
The story did not captivate me. Not at all. Maybe it was because I knew the plots inside out.
Or maybe there was just something missing? Figuring out that “something” was harder than I thought and gave me quite a headache. At first I started adding or taking away certain chapters, trying to make it sound better. But nothing really changed. So I went over it again and again. All of a sudden, it all made sense. But of course … the reaction and action of the characters was simply missing. Their emotional development. I recognized familiar patterns, that drew certain parallels to my own life. I’m good at analyzing and at making structured decisions. I think I use and apply that too often in my life because it gives me security. I realized I needed to be honest with my feelings. So I decided to rewrite large parts to show the reader more of the emotional development of the characters, and suddenly it became much more … open. After all, I know the characters well, I know how they feel.
Deep inside I always knew that I want to sing, trying to find another way to communicate, connect… But I was aware of the fact, that it would require a lot of responsibilities, compromises, and dedication. Once you realize what you’re capable of it’s difficult to ignore it. Even impossible. So I decided to make a change and spent my free time writing and playing music, driven by the dream to publish it one day. This process helped me to see life differently. It was an amazing feeling but at the same time, it was also difficult to keep the balance between experiencing, growing and learning how to handle difficulties and problems. Looking back, it was such an interesting and exciting journey. I would love to continue this way of living for the upcoming years. I wish that the music will reach people’s mind and that they can feel it in their body. One day, I truly wish I can afford my life with this profession.
I was born in Scotland, but I lived in England for a long time. After a while, I realized that this life was not meant for me. It became increasingly difficult for me to live in a society with which I no longer shared any common interests. I did not feel accepted. Traveling was the best way to avoid all this superficial small talk and minor judgments. I’ve been traveling all over Europe since I was sixteen. I experienced the real meaning of freedom for myself. For me it has nothing to do with a fancy lifestyle, I was living on the street – was reusing things that people throw away. All you need is less and while experiencing that I realized how fulfilling it was. For a few years, I was traveling with my van. In between, I also returned to England and lived this free lifestyle there. But the big problem was the winter. The cold was awful. And when the Brexit came, I just wanted to leave the country permanently. There was nothing left that held me. Since then I lived in the Netherlands, France and now in Spain. How long can I stay here, I do not know. Every day is a new day.
Already at a young age Instruments and music were fascinating me. I loved listening to music intensively, identifying sounds and nuances. I was really lucky that my parents gave me the opportunity to learn an instrument. I didn’t know which one I should choose. I started learning to play the piano because we already had one at home. That’s when I started to compose melodies, although I didn’t know a lot about music yet. I remember that I was dreaming to compose my own music for people to listen, feel and enjoy it. I went to the conservatory where I got a basic knowledge of music theory but I was not encouraged to develop my own creativity. When I was at university I continue to learn and develop, so I left the conservatory. I started to listen to different styles of music and learned other instruments like electric guitar, bass, synthesizer.
And the list got longer and longer over the years. This process of learning has always been an adventure for me.