In our #storiesofWonderers series, I sit down (or hop on Skype) with women who we admire. Today we catch up with Inga – blogger and surfer at German Mermaid Diary & full time #Wonderer.
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Inga, can you tell our #Wonderers a bit about yourself
I’m originally from Germany, but have been living in Bali for three years. Before that, I studied British and American Studies and Historyin Germany and Melbourne, Australia (2 years Oz in total). I work online as a freelance writer and am currently building my blog about surfing, living and travelling in Indonesia.
Related blog posts on how to start and run a profitable blog:
When did you start to surf?
When I was 17, so 10 years ago
How did you discover this passion? Friends, family?
Our family was always going on holidays by the sea. Especially my Mum needs the ocean to be happy. Then we went on a holiday to Cornwall in 2006 and i saw some surfers in a tiny fishing town called Polzeath. They were the only two people out there, braving cold, stormy the autumn weather and choppy waves. The moment i saw them i knew that i felt a strong desire to be like them. The next summer, i went to a surfcamp in france with my friends during the school holidays. And from the moment i was first gliding on a wave (still on my belly) i was stoked and wanted to surf every day of my life.
When and why did you decide to move to Indonesia?
I moved here in 2013, for the waves and mainly my Indonesian boyfriend. I first met him at a surfcamp on my first Bali holiday in 2012, after I finished my year in Australia as an exchange student (Australian Studies and Creative Writing at Melbourne Uni).
At first we were just good friends and surf buddies, but when I returned to Germany I was sure that I wanted to see him again. We kept in touch via Facebook and four months later I visited him again. That’s when we got together. I even moved in with him and a Balinese family into a tiny room near Padang-Padang beach – after only four weeks together haha! It all worked out even better than expected and I stayed with him for 3 months. After that I had to return to Germany to finish my last classes at Uni.
We survived 4 months of long-distance relationship and I eventually moved here for good in February 2013. I brought along all my books and materials for the last Uni papers – and my Bachelor thesis, which I wrote at a tiny ‘desk’ in the shelf and several (more or less disappointing) cafés.
While I was writing my thesis, I started working full-time as an English teacher at a local/international school (kindergarten, primary and high school). I was there for 2,5 years before I finally had the guts to follow my heart, start a blog and start writing for a living (since December 2016).
You really had the courage to move from your country just to follow your heart and your dreams, that’s amazing! So what advices will you give to young women (or even elder women who are afraid to travel) to empower them? Any tips they should have in mind if they travel, with company or alone?
Yes, thank you. It didn’t feel so much like a big sacrifice, or like I was giving up my homecountry. It was more like following my heart and realizing the dream i had had for a long time while growing up in Germany.
To any women who want to travel, but may hesitate for the various reasons that hold us back from realizing our dreams (fear of the unknown and leaving our comfortzone, self-doubt, bias, pessimism, family and other bonds, or even negative comments from others, etc.)
...I recommend to truly listen to their own hearts, block any outside noise. To believe in themselves or take the leap to start believing. I believe that travel is the most enriching experience any human can experience (and I don’t mean a luxurious all-inclusive resort that is completely removed from any local culture). It will teach you life lessons and offer you gifts nothing else in this life can offer- it is almost more worthy than any school education.
So many areas and countries of this planet have been extremely well-established as tourist destinations that it is extremely safe to travel for women. I recommend to travel to safe regions with a similar culture at first and later on venture out to exotic, mystified places which are not as well established, yet. Really, the worst thing that can ever happen when you travel is that you will not like the place- in that case you can always move on or return home. Thanks to travel agencies and insurance, travelling is now easier and safer than ever before. Just dare yourself to take the first step; I promise that you will never regret it!
Great advices! I totally agree with the idea that traveling teaches you lessons you won’t get by staying in your comfort zone. It’s something that everyone should have the chance to experience.We talked about advices you would give to others female travellers, but which ones would you give to your younger self?
To be honest I don’t really have any regrets with my life decisions so far…because they have led me where I want to be and where I am happy. Perhaps something I could say is: Listen to your heart and have the courage to follow it.
Last question: what are your plans for the near future?
To surf as much as possible haha- if I can everyday, because I’ve been dying to do this since I was 17 🙂 And also build my portfolio as a freelance writer online, along with my blog www.germanmermaiddiary.com ! Besides that, I want to live happily and fulfilled, love and be loved back, continue to follow my heart and inspire other girls to do so too! I look forward to some great cooperations-like here with GoWonder– …and I wanna explore more of the 17,000 islands of Indonesia!