The Nomad is a series of stories, fascinations, encounters, observations, experiences, joy of the moments by me, Ulrike Reinhard – all around my travels. Stay tuned!

Ulrike Reinhard is The Nomad πŸ™‚

Many people are asking me WHERE are you travelling next? Maybe one out of a hundred is asking me WHY are you travelling? I find the latter the much more interesting question.

I don’t have a bucket list. I don’t travel to cross destinations off a list.

I rather travel to understand better and learn as I go. Being at a place and experiencing it with the local people provides me a much better “picture” of the specific location than any news reports or travel guides – they can only provide some kind of orientation. I always try to be as open and “naive” (in a sense of naked) as possible, having neither prejudices nor judgements in mind. That is not always easy and I have to remind myself sometimes – yet I believe it is crucial for understanding different perspectives and cultures. And I quite often return to places with this better understanding to dig deeper. So over the years I’ve experiences places / cities during different seasons, economic areas and cultural hypes. It’s like a puzzle and slowly a more complete picture emerges.

There are cities, for examples La Paz, Bolivia, which I didn’t appreciate at all during my first visit. And then all of a sudden I find “new” spots and a different feeling comes up. In the case of La Paz this change of feelings was caused by a book – Marching Powder. Today La Paz for me is an incredible moloch with a pretty unique city landscape and lots of young people with an interesting social capitalistic approach. It really has its very own character.

For me, travelling is not an option, it’sΒ an obligation. An obligation I belief I owe to myself in order to achieve a more complete worldview and a better understanding of what is going on – inside myself and in the world. It is enriching my life, helping me to open my mind and getting me out of my comfort zone because I have to adapt to new circumstances and surroundings and engage with new people. It helps me to understand how diverse and rich the world is and what a small role I play in it. It’s good for my ego πŸ™‚

I always try to engage on all social levels – it’s all of us who make the world going around. I trust the people and so far I hardly had any bad experiences. It’s very often basic instict or intuition which is guiding me and surprise, surprise – people are GOOD in general, not bad. They are as curious to learn and hear from me as I am to hear and learn from them. And they are not as different in their basic needs and demands as they might look at first hand. These interactions expose me to different cultures and therefore different worldviews – I become more sensitive and aware. And it turns out I usually find that people/nations have much more in common than politicians, media and companies are telling us.

Travelling and living in different countries and environment has changed my relationship to animals and nature. To experience first hand the impact of consumerism and an economy of maximizing shareholder values and optimizing inputs has made me aware how fragile how environment and nature are and how stupid we as humans are to NOT understand that there is only ONE planet and ENDLESS ressources. Each and every animal plays a role in the circle of nature and if we take ONE WHEEL out it cannot simply be replaced by an “artificial” product. Everything plays a role in nature and helps us to survive. Seeing is understanding and I see my role once in a while to provide friends&family with first hand examples and stories to make them think! It has taught me to be ONE with nature and not to try and dominate it.

It also helped me to see connections between things you otherwise only read about or hear of. For example if you see the working conditions of labourers in the fabrics of China, Bangladesh, Pakistan or India (especially in the tea plantations there) you will much better understand how the consumerism in the West is affecting other parts of the world … just to give you one example. Same holds true for the intense ressource consumptions and its affects on climate change in rather poor areas …. river pollution, deforestation, floods and so on !

Travelling is a lifestyle, I believe. While I am travelling I once in a while ask myself: Do I need a base? I mean an apartment where I return to, a place which so many people consider “home”? This implies that a space you rent or own, which you design as you like and wish, provides you comfort and security in a sense that you call it “home”. I intentionally decided, no, I don’t need such a “home”. On my way I understood (this doesn’t mean that I am always successful in doing so) that this comfort and security can ONLY be provided within myself. So I feel travelling make me a more complete human being πŸ™‚

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