A lot has happened in my life and with Wake Up Stoked in the last six years since I started this platform. I have changed and so has my blog, so here is a little update for all of you that maybe don’t follow my instagram closely.
I started out this beautiful platform (read about my beginnings here) while simultaneously launching my graphic design business, combining my two biggest passions as a digital nomad. In the last few years, a lot has changed and I would like to write about the two biggest shifts because I love it when other people tell the story of how they got to where they are nowadays, how random and surprising life can sometimes be! So here we go 🙂
Six years of traveling and exploring
I traveled fast and plenty, discovered the most amazing places and people, built a network of kitesurfing digital nomads around a lot of kite spots, dealt with a lot of shitty wifi and learned a lot about myself and what I needed in my life to be happy. Over the years I slowed down and kept revisiting my favorite spots and when the pandemic hit, the life I had built stopped from one day to the other like for so many of us.
Chapter “the pause button”: the big C
For the past two years a lot of things we took for granted were put on hold. Traveling as I used to know it – stopped. I got stuck in Cape Town during the first lockdown, airports being closed from one day to another (but thanks to the efforts of the German embassy I got out after two weeks).
Going with the flow
However this experience shaped me and while I couldn’t stay home, because my home wasn’t my home anymore, I was looking for a way to move around and still not constantly freaking out about everchanging restrictions and new rules. My dad had coincidentally bought a camper right before all of this started, so we borrowed it from him for a trip with my brother from Mallorca to Spain and then Portugal.
I say we borrowed it but in fact, I was so scared to drive this 7-meter-long camper that it was only my brother driving. Until at some point, he decided to leave and I either had to bring the camper home with him to Germany or stay in Tarifa and learn to drive it on my own. As you may now know, I stayed and I learned to drive it.
How it started with van life vs how it’s going
I have to laugh so hard about this now but while for months, in the beginning, I didn’t use the toilet inside the camper (because I didn’t know how to empty it and thought it was gross, I would rather get up in the middle of the night and walk to the toilet of the camping?!) – I have now driven it the 36-hour drive from Tarifa to Germany and back again, completely on my own. I repaired a lot of things and learned a lot on how to take care of a camper and optimize van life and working online simultaneously.
The vanlife Chapter or how I suddenly came to own a camper
Two years later, my dad surprisingly passed. I started loving to live in this camper but it was always temporary because I knew once my dad, who had just retired but still wanted to finish some projects and then start traveling, would take over. It was his dream since he was a student and like all of us, he thought he still had all the time in the world and that he was only at the beginning of enjoying all of them.
The camper is now connected to so much more for me, my dad and his dream he never got to live (he did live a lot of other dreams, but not this one) and whenever I am in there I am constantly reminded how short life is, that as cheesy as it sounds we should live our dreams in the moment because we never know how much is left.
Why I love vanlife
That being said I absolutely love the freedom of “having your house with you”, being completely flexible and not dependent on flights or prearranging accommodations, and having your many toys with you, all of them, without having to weigh and repack a million times (surfboards, kite gear, foil, bike) and my favorite kitchen appliances (yes after 6 years on the road I got comfortable 😉 ). I would have probably never bought a camper but as it literally made its way into my life I am fully enjoying it. While I once didn’t spend almost any time in Europe I now enjoy the spring, summer and autumn traveling in the camper.
Chapter “breathwork and injury”: How I completely changed my work and why
Now another thing that happened to me now already over 1.5 years ago is a kitesurfing accident. A really stupid one, I was already tired and wanted to leave the water but then thought I would keep on practicing the board off. At some point I was about to land, aiming at putting my feet back into the board but only got one foot in and crashed super weirdly, with the board twisting my complete leg/knee. The result was an almost completely torn inner ligament and months of not being able to walk, let alone kite.
The kitesurf accident: how it happened
I love pushing my limits. I was already tired and wanted to leave but I really also wanted to learn the board off (and I am doing it now, saw the profile pic of this post? 🙂 ). Until I was tired, just putting the board back down as I was coming down from a board off, only got in with one foot and crashed, the board twisting my foot and entire knee/leg. A pretty stupid mistake I could have avoided by respecting my limits, but we learn hey 😉
The kitesurf accident: wrong assessment
I had treated the injury wrong (found out after that the inner ligament was almost entirely torn) because I didn’t think it was too bad, so for 3 weeks while still being in Tenerife and not having seen a proper doctor, I used it and bent it.
During my stopover in Germany, I had literally one day before I continued flying to Cape Town, I saw an orthopedist who told me the last thing I wanted to hear: I needed to wear a knee brace, keeping my leg completely straight without bending, also while sleeping, for 6 weeks (including crutches) and could then slowly start physio. I still boarded that plane to Cape Town because I thought recovering in the sun would be better than being in the winter in Germany.
Being injured for months and how I dealt with it
I wouldn’t have thought that an injury would send me into such a downward spiral. Suddenly all I could do was lay around, even just walking to the bathroom was painful. All the things I so loved to do and spend my time with, kitesurfing, working out, beach walks, swimming – I couldn’t do anymore.
What to do with all this time I had?
While I still tried to make the best of it, do online courses, learn new things, get creative in the kitchen, trying other things I usually didn’t have the time to do – I was still feeling low. I was missing the movement and that inner satisfaction after a good kite session or workout, I didn’t feel like myself anymore.
So I used my time, the plenty of time I had, to go to a nomad meetup. I talked to a girl who was giving a breathwork session the next day and decided to give it a try without knowing anything of it, because why not.
How everything changed within a one-hour breathwork session
What happened throughout this one-hour breathing session, and the way I felt after, was so insane and transformative to me that I couldn’t believe it. All I wanted was to not feel myself and my body and yet the breath brought me right back into my body, feeling alive, content, happy, and naturally high. I was so blissed out after the session, floating on clouds.
How could such a simple thing as breathing have such an amazing impact? And I could do it while not being able to do anything else and it would completely transform my mood.
That evening I researched breathwork teacher trainings online and booked one the next day. I simply wanted to do it for myself, to dive into this amazing practice and learn more about it. It was the first time since learning to kitesurf that I had experienced such an urge to learn something, and I would have never thought that it would be something that is not sports-related 😉
The role that breathwork had and has in my life
Fast-forwarding this story: breathwork has completely transformed my rehab time and my life in general. While every session is different, it has given me so much more than I would have ever imagined. In some sessions I had clear visions (that I wanted to actually start sharing this gift and facilitate breathwork sessions for others), some I would cry and release some old things and memories, some I would feel completely high, some I would feel like I am in another world, floating around an indescribable place. It has become a regular practice to me and it makes me so unbelievably fulfilled to share this amazing tool with others.
So I have started facilitating breathwork sessions both online as well as the beautiful places I am going. I would have never thought this, but this has become one of my biggest passions and my work.
Join me for a breathwork session
- Find the next breathwork events here
- Breathwork insta page Spark Your Fire
- I also wrote a post on breathwork “How to get high on your own supply” if you want to dive deeper into the topic.
My biggest learning in the last two years
As they say, there are no coincidences and life has the most interesting ways of (sometimes not so) gently nudging you towards a direction you were always meant to be. The hardest moments of my life have always brought a beautiful shift, even if it was the most painful thing yet like losing my dad. So as cheesy as it sounds, roll and flow with life, listen or look at the clues that life hands you and start breaking out of your own prison, your head, of should/need to/can’t. Stop overthinking and overplanning and just try out things without attaching an outcome or a clear plan on where this will lead you. Let life take you on that magic ride.
Spark Your Fire Links
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Photo Credit: Kitesurf Photos shot by Malena Harig | Vanlife/Lifestyle Photos by Sebastian Kanzler