Role Play

We all play different roles in our life. Today you might be a middle-class person, but tomorrow you could be a traveler. In the morning you are a business women, in the afternoon you are playing the role of a wife and mother.

But while we switch from one role to another, sometimes we forget who we really are.

You need to open our eyes and see in which roles or categories you have been put into by others and which roles you chose by yourself.

Who are you when no one is watching?

Maybe it does not matter that much who you are, maybe it matters more who you want to be. I think we need to try different roles to figure out which one fits the best.

And if you really want to change the part you are currently playing you might have to change your environment too.

When you are traveling solo, you can become a new person everyday. No matter where you go no one will know you. This can be scary at first but it can be also really liberating once you started. No one will be able to put you into a certain category, because you might be surrounded by different people every day.

Or you could move to another city and start to be whoever you want to.

I have played a lot of different roles by myself and I am still not sure who I want to be.

I used to be a student and a employee, I am trying to be a good girlfriend and daughter.
I played the role of a solo traveler for three months before I went back to be an employee again. Since I moved from Stuttgart to Hamburg I am a (desperate) housewife trying to find a job 😉

Now my challenge is to figure out who I want to be next. A full-time blogger? A photographer? Or a normal employee again? Well, I hope I will find out soon…

This picture has been taken in a train station in Hamburg, Germany in January 2017.



The barber

Yes this is another picture of a cuban person and it has also been taken in the streets of Trinidad.

If you love taking photos you should definitely go to Cuba and see Trinidad and Havana. Those were the two cities if found most interesting and picturesque.

At the beginning of my Cuba trip I was tired and not used to the heat so I did not take many pictures. I was also afraid that people will get angry if I take photos of them without asking. But once I got to Trinidad I forgot about all that and I started taking tons of pictures and could not stop anymore. There was so much to see, so many interesting people and things behind every corner.

While I was walking around I saw this barbershop with open doors, almost on the street. I took a picture, the barber recognized it and he did not get angry at all, instead we started talking to each other.

Actually no one ever got really angry at me (so far) by taking pictures of them. Some people start posing and enjoy the attention, some smile and some just look at me a little confused. No one ever shouted at me or forced me to delete the picture, which is a constant fear of mine while doing street photography.

That is the same when you are traveling. You might be scared to get robbed or hurt by someone. Of course that can happen. But most of the time you will see how kind people are even if you are foreigner and sometimes just because you are a foreigner.

So never let yourself be held back by your fear. If you just start traveling (or taking pictures) you will experience help and kindness by strangers much more often that you could have imagined.


Barbershop in Trinidad, Cuba in September 2016.

You are free!

Do you think you are free? Do you think you can do whatever you want to?

Your answer is probably “Hm no, not really. I have to go to work, I have to take care of my children, I have to take care of my parents, I have to pay for my house, I have to clean, I have to…”

Yes everyone thinks he has to do something. Because we need to earn money, because we have responsibilites, because we are used to do something and do not think about it anymore or because society expects us to do it.

Well, I am going to tell you something: THIS IS NOT TRUE! You do not have to do anything you do not want to!

You are free – you just do not know it or you forgot about it.

You do not believe me? Okay I will explain it to you.

You think you need to work and earn money? But it is possible to live without money, if you want to know how that could work read the book “Happy without money” by Raphael Fellmer or ask a homeless person. Yes it might be hard, but it is possible if you just really want to. At the point in your life when you got your first job you decided to do that because you wanted to, not because someone forced you, right? You decided to live with money, because you chose to live that way and you decided on having your job because you wanted it.

You think you have to take care of your children? Okay that might be what other people expect you to do. But you were the one that decided to have children and you also decided to keep them. Yes could have decided not to have children, you could have had an abortion, you could have given away your children. That sounds cruel? Maybe, but this is the truth.

Most of the time you decide based on what consequences your decision might have. You ask yourself if you can live with these consequences and then you make a decision. There is a saying that even if you do not make decision you made one.

You decide everyday on your children, you decide everyday to go to work. You have a choice to do that or not do that everyday and every minute of your life – because you are free!

Freedom is not something you can touch or really proof – it is all in your mind, you just need to be aware of it.

Elbphilharmonie in Hamburg, Germany in October 2016.

Why do we work?

The main reason why most people work is to earn money. With the money you can take care of essential needs like paying for rent and food. But depending on which country you live in, work may have a very different meaning.

In Vietnam where this picture has been taken, there is a very small amount of unemployed people (2,4% in 2015 and 2016). The communistic government is doing pretty well in giving jobs to everyone, even if the job itself might be unnecessary.

So you could end up in restaurant where there are more employees than costumers. One waitress will take your order, the next waiter will bring the food, another waitress will bring the bill and the last one will give you back your change.

Do the vietnamese really work just to earn money? Or does the government also wants to keep their citizens busy to prevent them from doing something else?

In Germany people do not only work to get money either. They work to have a certain kind of prestige. They want to be able to afford a certain kind of lifestyle.

Maybe some of them are doing their job because they really like what they are doing or because they see a lot of sense in their work – but that seems to be really rare. It seems like most Germans even do not care to much about having enough money to eat – because compared to their salaries they spend a very little amount on food.

Germans rather spend their money on luxury goods like a nice car. But does it make sense to eat low quality food and have a high quality car?

Why do you work?

Because you love your job? Because you want to make a lot of money? Because it gives you the ability to take care of your essential needs? Because you want to gain prestige? Because you find a greater sense in doing your work?


This picture has been taken in DaLat, Vietnam in October 2015.

What is happiness?

For some people happiness might be money and consumption.

For others it is to love and to be loved.

For someone else it could be success and prestige.

For you it may be your family.

For me happiness is traveling.

For the lady on the picture it is obviously smoking a cigar.


But why is it sometimes so hard to be happy even when we have everything we wanted?

Sometimes we reach for a big thing in our life and expect that to make us happy – like a new house or a new job.

So we have to see poorness or terrible things happening to get reminded of how happy we are already.

Sometimes we have to be reminded how small things can be happiness – like smoking a cigar.


This picture has been taken in Havana, Cuba.

¡De Madrid al cielo!

I shot this musician last year in Madrid (Spain) in a park.

In generell the Spanish seem as if they knew how to enjoy life – they hang out in bars or restaurants all the time and have fun with their friends and family, some go for party every night.

It was December when I have been there and it was still quite warm and sunny so I was walking around the city, sitting outside in nice cafes and enjoy the Spanish lifestyle. But this is just one site of the truth.

Although most people there seem as if they do not have to worry about anything, there are also a lot of homeless people in the streets of Madrid. The men on the picture did not seem very happy and wealthy either.




If you think about Cuba…

Whenever you see pictures about Cuba you might see nice old cars, impressive colonial buildings or happy cubans dancing salsa and singing. Well all this can definitely be found on Cuba for sure, but if this is the only thing you see about the island you just know the half of the truth.

If you think about Cuba…

…you may imagine a lot of rum and cigars. But no one tells you that the rum is almost cheaper than water and how many alcoholics there may be.

…you may think that everyone drives a cool old-timer car. But you do not know that there are even more people that cannot afford any car and have to walk instead.

…you may believe that there are great old colonial buildings wherever you go. But if you leave this one street that is made up for tourists there are people living in ruins and poorly build houses. may imagine the cubans as happy people that are dancing and singing all the time. But no one sees what is happening behind closed doors.


In the streets of Trinidad

Julio Muñoz is a street photographer in Trinidad (Cuba). When I read about him in my guidebook I wanted to meet him as soon as we got there.

Whenever I travel I really love taking photos walking around foreign streets and places. Taking photos of local people during that is the most interesting thing.

Therefore I took some photography lessons with Mr. Muñoz and they were really helpful. He showed me how to combine different settings on my camera, how to create interesting composition s and strategies to get a good shot on the street.

After the workshop I took even more pictures than normal and I think this is one of my better photos. It shows some boys kidding around on the way back from school. I really like their uniforms and their facial expressions.


In Cuba education is free, even university. But when I talked to a local guy he said that education is not really worth anything, because many people do not get a job after graduating. And even if they get a job, they will not earn more than $ 20-40 a month.

Mr. Muñoz said that a photo is good when it tells a story – and I think this one does.

What do you think about this picture? I would be happy to hear your opinion about my photos in the comments!


Nos une el barrio

Last week I just came back from my holiday in Cuba. I traveled around the island for three weeks with my sister.

This picture has been taken in the streets of the nice town Trinidad, which is in central Cuba right next to the southern coast. The houses there are much better kept than in other cities and there are a lot of nice bars and restaurants to hang out.

After being in South Africa where white and black people live separated from each other, this is completely different in Cuba. There is about 64% white people, 9% black and 37% mulattos and they seem to live quite peaceful together.



The man on the picture would be considered white and he is polishing shoes. In South Africa these kind of job would definitely be done by  a black person while in Cuba it just does not matter. You see mixed groups on the streets, mixed couples and families.

Furthermore there is not really any violence or crime in Cuba. The worst thing that could happen to you is probably that someone is stealing your bag because you look like a rich tourist (which can happen to you in any other place as well).

I guess the reason for all this is that there is no big difference between rich and poor people. Just everyone seems to be kind of poor due to the countries political and economical situation.

The isolation of the island could be another reason why cubans have no other choice just than accepting each other, because no one can hardly leave the country. This is also reflected in slogans like “nos une el barrio” (engl. our neighborhood unifies us) that can be found all over the place.

Next week I will publish another post about people in Cuba.



Last year I traveled from south to north Vietnam. One of my last stops there was Sapa a small town in the mountains. Sapa was way much too touristy but from there you can do hiking trips to smaller villages where the Hmong minority lives.

The woman on the picture was the guide of our small hiking group. All the way through green rice fields up to little villages she was talking about the Hmong and their life.

The Hmong are an ethnic group from the mountainous regions of China, Laos, Vietnam and Thailand. She told us that family is the most important thing and that every tribe there has a old wise person that gives advises. They mostly live in very small cottages with one room where everything is done: cooking, sleeping, living. So we went to her own house where we meet her children and her husband and cooked together. The family didn’t have a bathroom or toilets nor electricity. “The kitchen” is a hole in the ground where you can make a fire to cook.

But the food was actually really good, we had rice (of course) with cabbage and other vegetables.

The men are normally working on the rice fields to get food for their family. Cows and pigs are running around, as well as water buffalos. The women take care of the children and sew these  nice colorful clothes.

This hiking trips was one of my best experiences in south east asia and just another example that you do not luxury to be happy.

Hmong Women