How I Became A Citizen Of The World

How did I become a Citizen of the World? Why do I have these itchy feet? Where does this greed for exploring come from? Why this fascination with foreign customs’n’cultures? Was there a specific moment? Or did I get injected this yearning for travel in homeopathic doses?

Renata Green on the Beach in Split, Croati
For the first time on Croatian beaches.

I’ve put together five anecdotes about my earliest – and most impressive – travel memories that might explain a thing or two.

It’s really amazing what my brain remembers, how these trips sank in and anchored in my mind and soul.

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Coming to America: From Northern Germany to the “New World”

In the 19th and 20th century, millions of people were coming to America. They left Europe via the North German ports in search of a better life in the “New World”, mostly the USA.

sculpture called Die Auswanderer, emigrants, on emigrants coming to America
This sculpture called Die Auswanderer, emigrants, is standing on the shore of the river Weser. It remembers the seven million passing through the port of Bremerhaven. Actually, this statue by Frank Varga was donated by the German-American Memorial Association.

As a counterpart to the arrival halls in Ellis Island, several museums in German cities remember the adventurous journeys of the emigrants in transit.

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The Ski Instructor of Sri Lanka

I’m often asked how it is to travel by myself. If I’m not scared. If I don’t get lonely. If I’m not afraid that the sky may fall on my head tomorrow.

A Ski Instructor by himself in a snowy landscape
No, Sri Lanka looks nothing like this. Definitely not.
(Photo: Sondrekv, Påske, detail, cropped to 2:3, , CC0 1.0)

The answer has always been no – and meeting Sri Lanka’s only ski instructor was clearly another proof that travelling solo is a great chance to come across people that open up to you in a blink of an eye.

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A night at the KAGURA

When travelling, I love to attend folkloristic spectacles – due to the language barrier preferably dance shows: In Kandy on the island of Sri Lanka, I saw a dance show, in Chang Mai in Thailand it even came with a traditional dinner and on Bali I witnessed Kecak in Uluwatu and went to see a performance every single night during my stay in Ubud.

The main character of the Kagura spectacle in action
Good against evil – a classic in performing arts.

You can imagine my excitement when I found out that on Saturdays, there is a Kagura performance at the Hiroshima Prefectural Art Museum. Saturday – perfect, I’ll be in Hiroshima on Saturday, so nothing will hold me back from spending a night at the Kagura.

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HAKONE OPEN AIR MUSEUM – at the height of beauty

Mount Fuji is certainly one of Japan’s most mesmerizing and iconic sight. A perfectly shaped cone, its top coated by a hood of snow – no wonder this sacred mountain is on top of every visitor’s list.

Sunnyside up: At Hakone’s outdoor gallery, visitors are invited to become one with the art – literally.

Although on clear days, you can be lucky to spot it all the way from Tokyo, most people take a day trip either to the Fujigoko Fuji Five Lake region at the northern foot of the mountain or to Hakone, a hot spring region with many grand places to experience….like the Hakone Open Air Museum, an outdoor gallery at the height of beauty.

World-famous Mount Fuji, probably Japan’s most iconic landmark, is a still active volcano, albeit, it erupted for the last time in 1707, so no worries.

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Elgiz Museum of Contemporary Art – Istanbul ‘s best-hidden Gem

Hardly anyone I know has ever heard of the Elgiz Museum of Contemporary Art, so I really think it’s Istanbul ‘s best-hidden Gem.

Coming to this grand city on the Bosporus river, obviously, everybody is standing in line to see the antique masterpieces at Hagia Sophia and the Topkapı Palace. Or – if they venture away from Sultanahmet – the very ‘French’ Dolmabahçe.

Terrace of the Proje4L/Elgiz Museum of Contemporary Art - Istanbul's best-hidden Gem
Homage to Masters of Sculpture, against the backdrop of Istanbul’s financial center view,
Photo: Kayhan Kaygusuz

But hardly anyone comes to Istanbul to see the young, fresh, and daring Turkish contemporary art.

Big mistake!

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Language Learning in Izmir

Since my two weeks of educational vacation in Rome were of such a great personal gain, two years later it was time to go back on the language horse. After many hours in front of the computer screen talking in rudimentary Turkish to a learning program, I decided to give Izmir a shot.

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Nestled between palm trees and lamp posts: Izmir proudly presents the Saat Kulesi – its major tourist attraction.
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Language Learning in Milan

Learning Italian in Milan – when taking a language course in the country of origin, you obviously learn much more than just the local tongue.

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Class of 2016: my wonderful interesting, sophisticated, talented, and creative co-students and our sweet teacher Claudia (kneeling in the middle). In the back you see my classmate Ji Hun Yeo from South Korea who came to Italy to study – take a wild guess – lyrical singing. One time we had the great pleasure to get a mini-concerto.
Click here to enjoy it, too.
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