Want to know more about the girl behind Pigtails and a Passport? Then you’ve come to the right place! Here are a dozen things about me (I threw in an extra one to make it a baker’s dozen!):

  1. I was 8 years old when I first travelled in an airplane. I flew to Germany with my father. This would be the first of many, many, MANY trips to Deutschland. My father and my husband are both from Germany, and their/my relatives still live there.
  2. I took summer classes in Germany and the United States, and I completed my master’s program in Hungary. While I was in university, I loved using schooling as an excuse to travel. Tip: Look for niche courses that also offer stipends or scholarships. I studied Yiddish in Indiana, and my master’s degree is in Nationalism Studies.
  3. I met my husband, Heinrich, while I was travelling. When I was in Berlin in 2005, my passport was stolen (someone broke into my locker at the youth hostel I was staying at and stole my passport—yes, I was stupid enough to leave my passport in a youth hostel locker), and I was staying with his parents while waiting for a new passport to be issued. When Heinrich came to visit over the weekend, sparks flew, and the rest is history.
  4. The farthest I have ever been from home (so far) is Perth, Australia (15 400 km).
  5. My old passport was filled with all kinds of different border crossing stamps. I’ve crossed a border by plane, train, bicycle, boat, and on foot. Tragically, I had to surrender my passport when I got a new one, and I haven’t collected nearly as many cool stamps since them.
  6. I never travel without comprehensive travel insurance. I’ve had my luggage lost so many times that it’s more than paid for itself on numerous occasions.
  7. I’m obsessed with different modes of travel, especially ones that involve animals. My preferred modes of travel are horseback, camelback, and dog sled.
  8. To add on to #7, I LOVE ANIMALS! One of my happiest moments was spent while visiting a sled-dog kennel, getting jumped on from every angle by happy (I should also mention clean) canines. Other highlights of my travels include a trip to Australia Zoo near Brisbane, where I participated in a few “animal encounters.” I held a Tasmanian devil, echidna, and koala, and I took a harnessed wombat out to graze!
  9. I have a strange need to swim with different kinds of marine animals. I learned how to scuba dive because I’m not a strong swimmer and have so far been underwater with manta rays (Kona, Hawaii), great white sharks (Port Lincoln, Australia), Galapagos sharks (North Shore, Hawaii), and nurse and whale sharks (Australia). Still on my bucket list: whale sharks, orcas, and manatees.
  10. One of my dreams is to move to Australia (temporarily) and see the entire country from the point of view of a road train (Heinrich is an oilfield fluids driver, so this isn’t completely unrealistic). For some reason, I adore long road trips with stagnant scenery.
  11. I enjoy going to unconventional vacation destinations. That’s why I’ve been to Minsk and Belgrade, and I haven’t been to Barcelona or Rome. (Although I do want to see the more typical locations too!)
  12. I am not a resort person. Heinrich and I stayed at a resort in Cuba for the first time last year, and in order to keep sane, I had to find a project to work on. That project turned out to be swimming. I swam for four hours. Every.single.day. (And I could barely keep afloat when I first started!)
  13. After my passport was stolen (see #2) during my first solo trip across Europe, I almost called the whole trip off and went home. An e-mail from my brother changed my mind (and the course of my life).