Category Archives: Life Journey

Joy

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My intensity has always been my greatest strength. But it has also always been my greatest weakness. The line between passion and obsession is razor-thin…
Like recently, I finally woke up and realized I was making myself miserable by pushing way too hard to get my book out there.
I forgot to remember the most important part of this journey:
Writing Paralian had been a dream ever since I was a kid. I worked hard and made my dream come true. Writing this book was an awesome journey in and of itself. In the end, it really doesn’t matter how many people read it. It doesn’t have to become a bestseller. Many people I care deeply about have already read it – and even better – enjoyed it.
I gave it all I had. Now I’ll let nature take its course before I lose myself and become someone I am not.
I’ll keep on writing… at a slower pace. Stories about life, what it means to be human… tales that will make you laugh out loud and touch your heart when you read in the train, tears rolling down your cheeks, catching your breath, making everyone in the carriage wonder who the loony is who is riding into town with them. Or maybe you’ll never see my next books. And that’s ok, too.
I’m finding the joy in writing again. For myself. Then there is the joy of being myself. No labels. No constraints. Just the wide open sky and a whole planet – offering dreams, destinations, and a myriad of possibilities. Life is good. And art is not an emergency 🙂

Unforgettable Journeys

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Good stories touch you so deeply, your heart rate accelerates. You feel enchanted, glimpsing the entire meaning of existence for the briefest of moments.
I’m addicted to finding those kind of tales. It can be anything from true life stories to fantasy. Be it immersing myself in 3D cinematic bliss, watching movies at home, binge-watching TV series, or devouring book after book.
I don’t want to be educated too bluntly, don’t want a narrow view of existence. Instead, I want to read about all kinds of backgrounds. I want to be surprised, taken on adventures. I want to broaden my mind and be able to identify with the main characters to such an extent, I disappear for a while, imagining myself in their shoes so thoroughly the “real” world fades away.
Lately, dabbling in writing stories myself, these are the kind of unforgettable journeys I want to take you on as well. I began by sharing my own odyssey in ‘Paralian’… now what to do next? I can’t imagine only writing about being trans. It would mean going right back into the prison I escaped from so many years ago. Wide, open horizons are what I crave, what I’ve always craved…

Remembering Oma

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Remembering my dear oma, who was born on this day in 1909 and passed away on 26th of December, 1996. What would I have done without you?

“Frida carried herself with dignity. She was delicate, and small, but very strong. When she made spaetzle, a Southern German pasta delicacy, the recipe called for her to beat the dough continuously for half an hour. She did so without a problem while I barely managed five minutes before it felt as if my arm was falling off. Her skin felt like soft, warm leather with thousands of fine wrinkles. When she smiled, her entire face seemed to shine with her strong but tender soul.

My dear oma (as we lovingly call our grandmas in Germany) was modest. All of her clothes were handmade. Her kitchen was cozy and stocked with very few items for herself. The shelf dedicated for me overflowed with cookies and other delicacies she knew I loved. Oma was calm and had a German proverb for every occasion. The one I still remind myself of, whenever life seems to spiral out of control, is: “The stew is never eaten as hot as it is cooked.” Sometimes Oma got upset. On those occasions she would clap her hands together above her head and exclaim, “Ay-ay-ay-ay-ay-ay-ay-ay!” The effect would be so comical, I wouldn’t know what to do – laugh at her or fold my arms around her in an attempt to comfort her. When Frida listened to me, the world stood still and gave me a chance to catch my breath. When she took me in her arms, I felt safe and loved unconditionally.

Frida was my guiding star. She was strict, yet generous. She was serious, yet had a beautiful sense of humor. Most importantly, she was loyal and had the biggest heart of anyone I have ever known. She became my knight, or rather, dame in shining armor and made it her purpose in life to make time for me whenever Konrad and Hildegard did not. She quietly saved my soul, by being an indestructible protectress who was always there no matter what happened to me, no matter what I did, no matter how devastated she felt herself. My oma became the only rock in the raging tide, keeping me sane throughout my childhood and teenage years.”

(Excerpt from Paralian, Chapter 3, “North Sea”)

You’re always with me, never to be forgotten.

Bookmuse Review of Paralian

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Wonderful review of Paralian by Bookmuse.
Take a timeout from whatever you’re doing right now and read it here 🙂
Heartfelt thanks to Bookmuse and reviewer JJ Marsh!

Salt on my Skin

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One week since I got back from the Red Sea… I still feel the gentle swaying of the boat under my feet, salt on my lips and skin. Need to get back to the ocean soon!

Bedouin Brothers

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I’d never been to Egypt before and wasn’t quite sure what I’d find. One thing was sure though: after thirteen months of working full time while at the same time publishing my book ‘Paralian’ I was more than ready for a bit of adventure as well as relaxation.

Arriving at Lahami Bay resort three weeks ago, I found myself wrapped securely inside a miniature Germany-Switzerland – everything regulated and ordered, with hardly a trace of Egyptian culture detectable. The overall atmosphere was relaxing however and I hooked up with some old dive buddies to boot. Still, I had to almost force myself to ease into resort life and my traveler’s heart caught itself sighing deeply and counting the days. This place lacked authenticity, and the soul of the local people.

So my wife and I escaped the artificial resort world as much as we could and immersed ourselves underwater at the Housereef or dove in several times a day from the boat. The ocean was its deepest, most cerulean blue, with bits of sparkling turquoise twinkling around the edges.

Back on the boat for breaks between dives, I was delighted to discover the good-naturedness and fine sense of humor of our local boat crews. We got to talking and a few days later Hanna and I found ourselves walking along the beach late in the afternoon, sidestepping an armada of large hunting crabs, until we reached the small marina where all boats were anchored for the night. Ali, one of the captains had invited us to come over. As soon as we arrived, he introduced us to everyone and began preparing traditional hot beverages.

From then on we were with our Bedouin friends and brothers at the marina every day. We sat and listened, exchanged stories, cooked dinner together, learned how to roast, grind, and brew the most delicious Bedouin coffee. We marveled at the generosity and good humor of our hosts, even gazed up at the stars together late at night and shared our hopes and dreams.

This is how I like to travel, how I like to be. All that counts is the person. There is no judgment, no prejudice. There are no stereotypes, no boundaries, no labels – just human beings meeting each other with open hearts and minds. Intense eye-contact. Being fully invested in the moment. Individuals enjoying to learn from each other. Laughter, firm handshakes, sincerity, and a strong sense of self. May we meet again my brothers. Inshallah.

Help Me Reach The Front Page!

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Look at what Bored Panda just sent me, dear friends and supporters!!! Can we try together and create one more large wave of shares of this link please?

Please take a minute to go there, SHARE on your social media pages, and click the “UP-VOTE” arrow!

We’re only a couple thousand k views and a few dozen up-votes away from landing this important post on the front page! Then millions will see it and we can make a real difference.

I already received so many emails from people sharing their own stories after they visited the Bored Panda story. Beautiful comments coming in, but also calls for help and advice. I am doing my very best to answer them all. And I’m ready to receive even more! So let’s go for it. We’ve come so far already. Thanks in advance!!!

You’re Not Alone!

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At the moment I am sharing this story on Bored Panda to reach as many people as possible – with your help. Can you please share this link, and also go on the page and give it an “up” vote?

We got about 3’000k views so far and many good responses. I’ve received emails from people with all kinds of backgrounds, including trans people and parents of trans kids. I was touched to hear their personal stories and they told me my post helped them during a difficult time and gave them hope. So I hope we’ll be able to reach out even further.

Thanks so much for all of your support already! Truly couldn’t do it without all of you xxx

Turbulent Seas

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Another short excerpt for you from Paralian. I was only days away from saying goodbye to my Indian Ocean home when a group of experienced divers and I were out on a full-day boat trip to a neighboring atoll. Then a storm hit us full force:

“… We clambered back onboard, which was no small feat, considering the heavy scuba equipment on our backs and the heaving deck. As we secured our equipment, Captain Ibrahim moved the boat towards the edge of the atoll. Maldivian dhonis aren’t built to brave stormy seas. Their flat-bottomed keels are constructed to enable them to slip easily over shallow reefs.
“The heavy waves we are experiencing now, are nothing compared to what’ll await us once we leave the shelter of the atoll,” a resigned Esa explained.
In good weather, crossing the channel of deep ocean between the Noonu and Lhaviyani atoll usually took two hours. There was no telling how long it would take us in this tempest. We briefly considered waiting out the storm and taking shelter in a harbor right where we were. Then our captain made the decision to forge ahead.
The full seriousness of our situation finally hit me as I watched Captain Ibrahim clutch the steering wheel. In all my time on Kuredu, I had never seen a captain afraid. Captain Ibrahim was the best, utterly fearless and wise, way beyond his years. He now held on to the steering wheel for dear life, his body language radiating tension, his knuckles white from the strain.
Our small dhoni was lost in an ocean of giant waves. Either watery walls rose up before us, or deep troughs opened up behind us…”

Want to know more? Grab your own copy of Paralian as paperback or ebook at any of the following online stores: Amazon, Waterstones, WHSmith, Troubador UK, Apple iBooks store, Google Play, Nook, Kobo, etc. Thanks in advance for diving in!!

Indian Ocean Mementos

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Just yesterday, I re-discovered this picture from 2008. It used to be posted on the staff board of the Maldivian dive center where I spent four profoundly inspiring years. Consequently, today, I am feeling even more nostalgic than usual about those turquoise years. Let me share another little tidbit from my book with you from those times:

“With my clumsiness gone, water became my ally. Amidst the turquoise depths of the Indian Ocean, I gracefully floated, somersaulted, vaulted, stopped, and turned at my leisure. I was weightless and graceful in body – yet even more important, I was weightless and graceful in soul as well. This was the true sanctuary I had always searched and hoped for.

In addition to the Indian Ocean wrapping its strong, tender arms around me, I was blown away by the underwater life. Now that my uncoordinated struggles didn’t scare them into flight anymore, most reef inhabitants ignored my presence entirely. During every dive, hundreds of brightly-colored, graceful creatures went about their daily routines without so much as a glance towards the little guy hovering peacefully in front of them with a tank on his back. My first encounters with fully grown sharks took my breath away. Amazingly, while immersed in the Big Blue, I wasn’t scared of anything – respectful yes, but not fearful. I felt at home.”

If you want to dive in deeper, you can find Paralian in all major online book stores (Amazon, Waterstones, WHSmith, Google ebooks, Apple iBooks, Nook, Kobo, etc. as well as directly from my publisher, Troubador), or you can have your local book store order it… What better time to let yourself be whisked away on an odyssey than the middle of summer?