So- I am sitting here in the living room of this amazing apartment in a super cool/hip neighborhood of Berlin- Kreuzberg waiting for the cab to come pick us up and take us onto our next destination. (No spoilers!)
It’s making me think about this traveling, and looking back on my time here in Berlin.
My flat mate Shannon and I went out to breakfast this morning at a little cafe we really like- just around the corner from our place- called Le Bon. As we sipped our large double shot lattes and waited for our breakfast- we were discussing our time here in Berlin.
We got talking about how when you “live/stay” in a new place for a whole month- it is easy to kind of settle in and slow down a little, maybe not do all the touristy things we planned. Plus there is always that little thing called “work” (paying the bills is kind of important!) so you have to try to strike this weird balance between being a “tourist” and “living” in a place. A month is not really long enough. (I think six weeks! But that is another post.)
We asked each other- How did we do? Did we get the most out of it? Did we do it the way we meant to?
Would we do it differently? How so?
I was actually kind of going through that myself yesterday as I took one final stroll through the “hood” with my camera. I was doing a “post-mortem” of sorts with myself, and wondering what I might do differently in the next place. These are a few of the questions I asked myself- and my answers.
Did you see everything you wanted to see while in Berlin? I am terrible about checking out a lot of information ahead of time. I tend to be a go “see what happens” kind of traveller. But once I got to Berlin I did put together a plan of sorts- and I really did do most of what I thought would be good to do. I did three different walking tours. I would have liked to go to Potsdam and see the castles etc and I also would have liked to maybe go on a river tour/cruise on the river Spree… but since I am 100% sure that I will be back in Berlin- I feel ok with what I did this trip!
How was my work/life balance? Back in the US, and even in Costa Rica, I didn’t always do a very good job of balancing work and fun. I would be “too available” for work and not available enough for my life. I have been really working hard at making this more balanced and being more flexible with both. I really really enjoyed a pretty active social life here in Berlin, so I think I have made it work for me. I went out with friends, went on dates, walked around the city exploring by myself- and still managed to get all my work done and not feel like I was constantly tied down to work. Of course, work ebbs and flows and this past week has been SUPER BUSY, but that’s ok. I will make it work!
What kind of schedule am I keeping? Does it work for me? I am blessed that while I try to be available during primary US/Canada working hours (at least the morning hours) my work doesn’t have to be done between 9-5. Also here in Europe, the hours are so late for dinner and drinks and going out etc.. it all kind of backs up. So where in Costa Rica I would be up and on my computer by 6:30AM! (UGH!) Here I am not even awake most days until at least 9. 🙂 Shifting everything back allows me to have that balance and still meet the needs of conference calls etc.
Will I do something different the next place? Not sure. Seriously. I feel like this is a good “groove” but we’ll see once I get there if there is anything the city or culture itself does or has that might make this current schedule, plan, balance not work for me. I feel pretty content to go do a few tours up front to get a good feel for the place and then just “live” my life there. We’ll see. But nothing jumps out at me as a glaring change I must make.
So there we go. I love love love Berlin and I don’t usually want to do “repeat” locations (So much out there to see and do!) but I will be leaving a significant chunk of my wanderlusting heart right here in Kreuzberg and I expect it will still be there when I get back again!
Where have you travelled that you just can’t wait to go back to? Would you do it differently the next time?