I feel a bit anxious to write this post, because I am about to commit to something that I’m not sure I am actually able to commit to. I have never been what you would call a consistent or even prolific blogger, but this winter I fell off the bandwagon so hard that I seriously contemplated once or twice whether blogging was still a thing that I should be doing. This post and the four other articles that I have published on the blog this year are a testament to the fact that I never wanted my online space to lie abandoned forever – and yet it has taken me until today to sit down and admit to myself that it is time for me to properly revive this blog again.
I have missed being an active part of the blogging community. I may have continued to read all of my favorite blogs and I am pretty sure that I have never been as active on Instagram as I have been these past five months, but there is just something about sharing your thoughts on your own personal blog that feels more rewarding than just quickly posting a picture with a short caption or passively consuming the things other people have created, as amazing as they may be.
I feel the need to push myself to be creative again: I have missed challenging myself to get pictures edited and posts written in a timely manner and I have also missed sharing stories from my travels, but - to be perfectly honest - I just didn't have the energy and the drive to do so this winter.
Towards the end of last year, a lot of things happened that made me seriously doubt my abilities and my ambition and almost without realizing I found myself drifting to a place where not only my self-confidence, but also my optimism took a huge beating. At times, it seemed like winter was never going to end, but as the first delicate leaves have started to grace the tree outside of my window and the days slowly, but surely become longer again, I also feel a weight lift from my shoulders.
Just like the year, we go through different seasons in our lives. There are times when our path seems clear and we feel full of confidence in our work and our purpose, but there are also times when the obstacles in our way seem too high to pass and we run the risk of losing sight of what we truly hold dear. I believe that each and every season in our life is there for a reason, just as the coldness of the winter is just as essential for nature as the heat of the summer, and to both recognize and accept that life is always in movement might just be the most important lesson I take with me from the last few months.
I feel a certain sense of trepidation when I look at the gym clothes I haven’t touched in too long or notice the staggering amount of pictures and stories from the last year that I still feel the need to tell and then realize that there is so little time to play catch up with all that I feel I have missed. But I have come to realize that for me acceptance of who I am and where I am is the first step to a more positive outlook and so I try to let go and begin anew instead – and what could be a more suitable time for fresh beginnings then spring?
Spring is a time for rejuvenation and renewal and I am trying to feed off this energy by getting back into a routine of writing and photographing from a place of joy and enthusiasm. I sat down the other day and drafted a blogging schedule that makes me feel truly excited and while I have no idea if I am actually able to make it happen – this post is already one day behind my self-imposed deadline! – I think feeling passionate about what you are doing is certainly the first step into the right direction.
In the spirit of new beginnings, I have also decided to finally switch up the name of my blog again. If you follow me on Instagram, you probably already noticed that I changed my handle to journeyandcamera a few months ago and now I have gone ahead and done the same with the blog. I feel that Journey + Camera fits the personality of my blog and my current interests so much better than my old name ever did and so I’m excited to see where it will take me in the future.
Now, you may have noticed already that the title of this post is somewhat misleading since of all of the pictures in this post were not taken lately, but last November during a visit to Münster. My boyfriend and me visited his little sister who goes to university there and spend a lot of time eating and drinking coffee in places that were so hipster Portland would be proud and seeing more bicycles than I have ever seen anywhere else, including Amsterdam, and it was the perfect weekend break from stressful law school life.
Münster is a lively university town in the state of North Rhine - Westphalia (I have been told not to say that it is in North Germany, even though that is totally what it looks like to me on a map!) and from what we could see in two days it is a rather lovely place to live and study.
Münster has a beautiful cathedral and an even more beautiful shopping street lined with medieval buildings and the Old Town is an easy place to get lost in for a few relaxing hours, but for us, the biggest charms of Münster didn’t come from its sights, but from the local places my boyfriend’s little sister introduced us to. Since the main objective of our visit wasn’t touristic, our weekend there ended up being one of the most relaxing trips we have taken in a long time and allowed us to recharge a bit, though we did head out into the countryside for a walk one afternoon:
I think when many people think of Germany, they often imagine half-timbered houses, quaint Bavarian mountain villages and people in Lederhosen at Oktoberfest. This view isn’t completely off, but disregards that as one of the largest countries in Europe both in area and population there can be vast differences both in culture and geography depending on which region of Germany you’re in. Not only do the people tend to have different mentalities and to speak different dialects, but the architecture and the landscape looks different as well and this is especially apparent when you compare the south and the north of Germany to each other.
The farther up north you get in Germany, the flater the landscape becomes: Low mountain ranges give way for large pastures and quiet country streets and aside from a few trees or wind turbines, the eye is left free to roam until the horizon appears in the distance. My soul may feel most at home in the mountains, but there is just something about the countryside in the north of Germany that feels open and free in ways that you just cannot experience in the mountains.
Our walk took us to Burg Hülshoff, a stunnigly picturesque water castle and once the home of one of Germany’s most renowned female poets, Annette von Droste-Hülshoff. While castles in the south of Germany were typically built on places of high elevation so that the surrounding countryside could be watched for approaching enemies, the flat landscape rendered this an impossibility in the north. Instead, castles were surrounded by water-filled moats that created a barrier for potential invadors.
The castle wasn’t big, but full of character and because the interior hasn’t changed a lot since the 19th century, it permitted a vivid view back in time. We also had the castle completely to ourselves which made the experience even more intimate. If you ever find yourself in the area, I definitely recommend a visit!
In other news, we have also just gotten back from nine fantastic days in North Wales! If you’ve been reading my blog since the early days, then you know that the UK is one of my absolute favorite places on earth: There is just something about the British countryside that calls out to my heart and every time I visit, I fall more in love. I’ve travelled to many different places in both England and Scotland, but this was the first time I have visited Wales and I can already tell you that it for sure won’t be the last! I will tell you more about our journey next week, but in the meantime you can check in on Instagram where I have just started recapping our trip.
Now it's your turn: What have you been up to lately? It's been so long since my last blog update that I feel totally out of the loop!