WHEN YOUR HOMELAND IS NOT ENOUGH…
While being a child everything seems to be huge, impenetrable, just limitless. Going to the playground becomes an amazing adventure, and a fortress built out of some pillows and blankets becomes a place impossible to be conquered by the knights belonging to the enemy forces. While growing up not only our clothes start to shrink, but the earlier mentioned adventures seem to lose their charm, the same happens to things that used to be a mystery, the one which we have already managed to explore.
It’s not unusual that we want to gain new knowledge or new experiences. Everyone has one’s own limits, which are placed on different heights for each of us. I used to dream of taking long journeys into the unknown, conquering the world, traveling to new countries. Today I appreciate what I have and the place I live in, knowing that my life will be too short to see and experience everything in my homeland – it’s my own limit, whose discovery has brought me some peace.
However, there are people whose ambitions and skills allow them to move to a completely new country on a permanent basis. The country in which they find their new home and new possibilities, which wouldn’t be available for them if they hadn’t taken that difficult decision, but the necessary one, about changing their environment and leaving everything that they knew so well. They don’t stop on changing their address, but they live their lives to the fullest by developing their professional skills and following their passions. Despite the fact that each of us has different needs and something else gives us happiness, personally I admire my today’s interviewee – Sandra Ans – who decided to reach for more. Nay! She didn’t only make a decision, but she has also made her plans become a reality. Sandra will tell us today about the reasons for moving out of Latvia and staying in Germany, as well as about the things she deals with and her canine companion – Chico.
Passion Piece: Could you tell my readers a few words about yourself?
Sandra: Hi to everyone! My name is Sandra Ans. I am a marketing communication and real estate manager, travel blogger, dog owner, and open-minded person with an artistic personality.
Almost 30 years ago I was born in Latvia, a small, but very beautiful city near Riga. In 2017 I decided to change my life, so I moved to Germany and started a new life in Berlin. That’s where all my adventures begin!
Besides that, I am a huge travel lover and blogger. I like to read good books, try myself in painting and listen to inspiring music. But, most of all, I love to spend my time with my small pomeranian – Chico. I met and adopted him 1 year ago when his last family abandoned him. Now we are inseparable.
Passion Piece: You’re an adventurous woman who decided to leave her homeland and move to Germany. What made you change your life that drastically?
Sandra: That was my willingness for something more. For something bigger and better, but I didn’t know yet for what exactly.
Before I finally decided to move to Germany, I had worked and had traveled in my homeland Latvia like crazy. Only in 2 years, I explored all 9 cities and more than 60 towns! I lived in a small travel trailer and enjoyed every moment and challenge that life brought to me. Overall, I had everything – contacts, family, friends, education, job, car, money.
But then it just happened. One day I woke up and understood that besides all the material things I had, I had also big potential. I wanted to learn and explore more, to do and see more. I wanted to add more colors to my life. Somehow, my homeland felt too small for that all. I needed a place for new education and job possibilities, higher living standards,and new travel plans. In June 2017, I moved to Germany and have never regretted it!
Passion Piece: What challenges did you have to face at the very beginning? Were you surprised with anything in that new country you decided to call your home?
Sandra: Firstly, it was very hard to leave all my friends and family. I felt very excited about moving to Germany, but it was also a very scary and hard decision. I understood that the first time I would be alone. It was very challenging and many times I was thinking about going back to the place I knew the best – my homeland. Nevertheless, I always wanted to fight till the end and try to overcome all my fears and obstacles on my road.
Secondly, I needed to change everything I had known before – my thoughts, actions, standards,driving culture, lifestyle, eating habits, just everything. When we all live in one Europe, it may seem that all countries are more or less similar, but that’s one of the most incorrect beliefs. I was very surprised by how different Germany and everything around it is! Moving to another country was a start to a new, different life.
Passion Piece: Have you always been an avid traveler? When was your love for traveling born?
Sandra: Thanks to my parents, my love for travel began already in my childhood. They loved to travel all around the globe and when I was old enough (about 10 years old), my parents started to take me with them. We traveled a minimum of 2 times a year. They showed me how colorful our world is and how many benefits traveling may have. With time I started to travel by myself, with my friends and boyfriend. I learned how to travel even if you have a full-time job and in 2019 I created the ”My Small Travel Guide” blog.
Passion Piece: You travel mainly through Europe. Which places impressed you the most and why?
Sandra: Yes, if my homeland, Latvia, for me was too small, then Europe for me is a big deal! And before I go somewhere further, I want to explore it to the maximum. That’s why I mainly travel through Europe.
Till now, including Latvia and Germany, I have been to 15 countries of which Germany and Turkey impressed me the most. I like that both countries have a little bit of everything – the sea, mountains, forests, meadows, cities, and history. There is something for everyone and that makes these countries so special in my eyes.
Passion Piece: You also decided to set up your blog – My Small Travel Guide. What’s the purpose of your website and what goals would you like to achieve thanks to your blog?
Sandra: My blog is true and real. I write about trips that are accessible to everyone and travels where you don’t need millions to fly and take a hotel. I like to talk about the practical sides of traveling and how to make it easier and more fun. I adore free sights and delicious food. I write what I see and feel, but if I don’t like something, I say it! I don’t pretend and lie because my blog is my passion and the opportunity to help others to travel better, cheaper, and smarter.
Of course, I would like to see more followers and readers on my blog. I would be happy if thanks to my blog, I could do more interesting collaborations, meet more fantastic people, and explore new destinations. I don’t have a specific goal. I feel that I am on the right path with my blog and I can’t wait to see what the future will bring to me and My Small Travel Guide.
Passion Piece: What tips would you give to everyone who would like to travel through Europe in the near future?
Sandra: As the situation in the travel sphere, because of the covid pandemic has changed a lot, it is very hard to tell how it will change shortly, for example, in the next 2 years. I was never thinking about changing my travel habits, but it happened. Now I travel differently than 2 years ago. Nevertheless, I can’t say whether it is good or bad. The world just changes and we need to change too!
That is why I really would like to advise everyone before going somewhere in Europe to check the information 2, 3 and 5 times. In Europe, rules are different in every country, and restrictions change every week. When one country has a total lockdown, then another opens restaurants and museums. When in one country all you need is a mask on your face, then another requires to have a vaccine. And I want to tell you even more – not only every country has different regulations, but also regions, cities, and restaurants. From my last experience, I really can say that if you want to protect yourself from unwanted surprises and choose the type of trip that suits your wishes the most, check the information many times and never be shy to ask for more info.
Passion Piece: Can being a blogger be a full-time job? Is it so in your case? If not, what else do you do?
Sandra: As far as I know, a full-time blogger can be a full-time job and bring a good amount of money every month. Nevertheless, blogging for me is my hobby. I have never dreamed about being a full-time blogger and earning money with that. I love to write and connect with people and as long as it makes me happy, I will do it for myself and my readers.
Besides my love of blogging and traveling, I like to learn new things and try myself in different professions and sectors. I have more than 10 years of experience in the areas such as hotel and restaurant management, sales, and event organization. But this year, I finished my studies and started working in a new field – real estate.
Passion Piece: What passions do you follow in your free time? Does your dog accompany you then?
Sandra: In my free time, I love to travel and meet my friends. But, if I meet my friends, it means cooking together, having game evenings, small trips, and late-night talks with cocktails. As I already mentioned, I like to try myself in new areas, that’s why you can also see me in my free time painting, reading books, solving crossword puzzles, trying new recipes, enjoying sushi, and doing gel nails at home.
No matter what I will do, but my dog, small pomeranian Chico will almost always accompany me. We go together to work and visit our friends, we go shopping and travel around Europe. Chico is my small supporter and family member. I think that he is also one of my passions because I love spending time with him and I believe that somehow we both complement each other.
Passion Piece: Where do you see yourself in the 10 years’ time? Drinking beer during the Oktoberfest or maybe having a drink on a tropical beach far from civilization?
Sandra: What a good question! As I love to live in the moment and enjoy things I am having now, I don’t concentrate on and think about the far future. Even if I am having plans after 2 months, I am still keeping in mind that also in only 60 days can happen a lot.
Life is unpredictable and, if I only concentrate on the future, I will never really feel the touch of the sun, the smell of the rose, and the sadness of the rain. That’s why in 10 years I see myself somewhere on this plane enjoying the moment, whether it will be at the Oktoberfest or on a tropical beach!
Passion Piece: Which motto would you like to share with my readers?
Sandra: To never stop going! No matter how hard it is and how much you have to overcome. As long as you move, you live!
Passion Piece: Thank you for this truly inspiring conversation and I wish you only interesting trips in the near future!
See you around!
Photos by: Sandra Ans