Oct 2, 2017 - Claire Busse for SoGerman
When Katharina and Henryk’s work-life-balance was not satisfying anymore they decided to reevaluate what was important for them in life. Both shared a passion for travelling and so they started their own travel blog OUT OF OFFICE – www.oooyeah.de We had the chance to talk to them about their travels to Canada and what connects the two cities of Toronto and Berlin.
(SoGerman) What is your blog OUT OF OFFICE about?
(Katharina and Henryk) It’s all about inspiration how to escape the everyday routines. While following us around the world we ask our readers to open their minds for its diversity and its beauty while being outdoors. It’s not only a blog about travelling; it’s about mindfulness and thereby meeting the unexpected, about micro adventures and once-in-a-lifetime experiences…
(SG) What is the story behind OUT OF OFFICE?
(K&H) Four years ago we both were stuck in our daily business, working each and every day for hours and hours, and we began to feel scared about loosing ourselves in those routines. So we decide to change something, quit our jobs and start travelling around the world. During this time we talked a lot with others about what drives us – and we realized that we were not the only ones finding it hard to define a balance between ambitious career goals and quality time out of office. So we started to write about it: about our thoughts and threats, about our feelings while travelling and about our experiences on the road and how it felt coming back into our regular job life afterwards. Today, we’ve found a good balance between being in and out of the office. Today the key message is: You do not have to decide between career and freedom – it’s more a question about the quality time apart from your business.
(SG) So far, what has been the most exciting place you have travelled to?
(K&H) The most exciting trips are the ones that force us out of our comfort zone. The Trip to Svalbard last November was very special, for example, as it was Arctic winter with minus 30° degrees: no daylight at all and lots of polar bears around. The trekking tour in Tibet and Mount Everest also was very special because of the Chinese authority – you never know if you are allowed to spend another day in the country or if you have to leave due to any irrational reason.
(SG) Canada has been one of your destinations as well. What was your most exciting adventure during your visit to Canada?
(K&H) We’ve been to Alberta last winter to go skiing and snowboarding in the Rocky Mountains. This was something both of us had been dreaming of for a long time. So the first time skiing in Canadian Powder was quite exciting for the both of us– and we enjoyed it a lot! Another true adventure in Canada was the Edge Walk outside the CN tower in Toronto last summer. It was just really, really high!
(SG) For many people Canada is a place of longing. In your opinion, what makes Canada so special for many people?
(K&H) For Europeans it’s hard imagining the dimensions of Canada’s expanses. For us Germans it’s already far to go from the northern to the southern border within seven or eight hours by car. The size of your country and its density of population are just totally different to what we know. And therefore, traveling through Canada for miles and miles, through wilderness, lonesome nature and remote areas without seeing anyone for hours comes up as the pure feeling of freedom and adventure.
(SG) You visited the Canadian Rockies on your trip. How would you compare them to the German Alps?
(K&H) For us, the Rockies and the Alps are just not comparable. The peaks of the Alps are quite close to each other with steep valleys in between. The Canadian Rockies seem to extend on a wider surface. But maybe that’s just a gut feeling! When talking about tourism like Skiing or hiking, the resorts in the Alps are definitely more developed, meaning more people on the slopes, more runs etc.… So, if you are searching for an extended touristic infrastructure, the Alps might be the better choice, but if you are searching for some runs on your very own, the Rockies might be the better place.
(SG) Last year you, Katharina, had the chance to visit Toronto, ON. How would you describe your typical Torontonian?
(K&H) The Torontonians are just lovely people, very open-minded with a huge heart! I went to see a baseball match, for example, and wanted to buy a team shirt before going to the arena but I had no idea which player was successful at the moment. So I asked some other fans in the shop and they did not only advise me which shirt to buy, they also invited me to join them for the match. I had a great afternoon! But besides sports I got the feeling that culture, especially music and film, are very important for Torontonians.
(SG) In your opinion, what makes Toronto a special place for many people?
(K&H) Although Toronto is a City with millions of inhabitants, it still feels like a city where people get to know each other. Different cultures live next to each other, mingle up and therefore provide a variety of social and cultural events which invite everyone to join in. As a visitor you can feel that spirit and you feel invited yourself. I never felt lost in Toronto. I’d rather say I always felt welcome.
(SG) You live in Germany’s capital Berlin (3,5 million). Can Toronto (2,6 million) learn something from Berlin or vice versa?
(K&H) In Berlin we have a growing number of people who cannot afford living in the city center anymore due to rising rents. I know that Toronto has a similar challenge to fight, but I have heard that in Toronto there are many public initiatives running to remain private owned condos in the city center and thereby keep up a social community. That’s very smart and Berlin could definitely learn from Toronto.
(SG) Do you think that Canada and Germany, as diverse as both countries are, have something in common?
(K&H) Both countries attract many people from all over the world – for touristic reasons but also in terms of migration. I am convinced that a country becomes stronger with growing diversity although it is not always easy to integrate different cultures and religions into one nation. Canada and Germany should both hold on to the attitude of welcoming strangers rather than being afraid of them. That’s what makes the countries even richer.
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