#StoriesOfMyReaders: Book Reviews from Barcelona, Düsseldorf & Eindhoven

The #StoriesOfMyReaders is a new series of blog posts based on the feedback I have received from readers all over the world, enjoying “The Creative Traveler’s Handbook”. They are set to inspire you for your own creativity, take you on a trip around the world and naturally, make you want to read the book yourself – whether as a paperback or as an ebook!

In this post, I would like to introduce you to Nicole Biarnes, Janett Schindler, and Sabine Mey-Gordeyns. Over the past couple of months and years, I have met all of them through either blogging, creative traveling and/or writing “The Creative Traveler’s Handbook”.


Let’s start with Nicole Biarnes.

Nicole bears witness to being one of those true world citizens. Having lived in Barcelona for almost twenty years and married to her Catalan husband, she continues to publish her view of the (travel) world in German, paying tribute to her Hamburg origins with her blog “Freibeuter Reisen. Nicole and I first met on a ship from Copenhagen to Oslo, sat next to each other on a plane from Barcelona to Berlin, and generally love to be creative in places like Mosaiccos, her now home city Barcelona, together.

Nicole Biarnes reading "The Creative Traveler's Handbook" back home on her couch in Barcelona.

Nicole Biarnes reading “The Creative Traveler’s Handbook” back home on her couch in Barcelona.


Here is what Nicole has to say after reading “The Creative Traveler’s Handbook”, including her favourite quotes from different parts of the book in the headline:


” … A growing desire to connect with others. A real preference for being in touch with the local communities. … Experiences are available in many countries if you take the time and effort to seek for it.”

“Basically, Elena exactly expresses what travel means to me. It is not about ticking sights off a list, but really diving into this sea of foreign emotions, languages, and conversations, to meet the people. To understand a little bit better, what their everyday life is all about. I know, I am no artist, but if I learn how to do something, no matter how good or bad it results, my sense of appreciation and respect deepens.

Those types of experiences can be short or long, sometimes less or more intensive, but definitely they are the best that can happen to you when you travel. When I become actively involved in something, in doing it myself, I get to live a unique kind of local experience – be it making a small piece of art, learning how to cook some traditional food or practicing a ritual dance.

Elena has a point in saying that these kind of experiences can be found everywhere and that basically, it is all about being open and actively seeking them out. You simply have to lift yourself off the comfy couch of home and get ready to start the journey.”


Next up, meet my lovely friend & travel partner Janett Schindler.

Janett has been one of my first “blog loves”. Ever since her and I met on our first creative blog/press trip together in Burgenland, we are simply inseparable. Four years later, her and I are above all friends, then also “partners in blogging crime”! To this end, I have asked Janett, who since has published tons of tips & articles about creative travel on her own blog, to submit a short story to my book encouraging readers to “dare to be creative”.

Janett and I during our "creative" meeting at the "Bergische Kaffeetafel" in Mettmann, Germany last year.

Janett and I during our “creative” meeting at the “Bergische Kaffeetafel” in Mettmann, Germany last year.


Here is what Janett has to say in her contribution to “The Creative Traveler’s Handbook”, relating and encouraging us to let go of the “fear of the unknown”:


Meeting the artists can involve managing a personal threshold. … “What if I’m not comfortable? What if I’m not good at this? What if I don’t like it, or worse – what if they don’t like me or fail to understand me?”

“Creative travel takes some courage. Most of the time, I don’t know the people I will be spending my day with. However, the nature of the creative activity always surpasses these limitations. My advice is to start off by striking some common ground: introduce yourself and explain why you are there and what else you may already have experienced that relates to what you are going to do.

Working together on anything from carving a piece of wood to rolling out dough for strudel to singing songs in a choir creates a bond. It allows me to connect with people who are like-minded – people who are just like me. You really can’t go wrong. Everything you create is unique, no matter how simple or imperfect it might appear. That’s it. Creative travel is never about being right or wrong. It’s about the joy of the activity.”


Last but not least, listen to Sabine Mey-Gordeyns.

Sabine and I met during last year’s First Austrian Travel Blogger Slam at such a prestigious location as the Vienna Hofburg Palace, feeling utterly extraordinary and special. Sabine and her partner Tom are true intrepid travelers with a wealth of knowledge and experience from around the world. Sabine, too, has taken it on herself to publish a complete book review of “The Creative Traveler’s Handbook” on her own blog (in German), which I encourage you to take a look at. Thank you so much for all this passion and support, dear Sabine!

Sabine & I shortly after meeting for the first time in Vienna.

Sabine & I shortly after meeting for the first time in Vienna.


Here is what Sabine has to say after reading “The Creative Traveler’s Handbook”, including quotes from her favourite chapter on “Beating the myth ‘I am not creative'”:


“The warmth of a local person’s home. The inspiration of a creative space. The time to stop, to look around, and to feel. The many patient little demonstrations. The sense of liberty that comes from beating the myth ‘Oh no … This is not for me … I am not creative.’ Well, no. The truth is, we are all creative.”

“The content about how to research and find your very own way to enjoy creative travel is great, but I enjoyed the more – let’s call them, “psychological parts”, even better.

One of my favorite sections of Elena’s book is the chapter where she talks about “Beating the myth: I am not creative!”. The setting: A cold morning in the high desert of Santa Fe in USA. Elena gives a vivid report of how to handle that last obstacle, which is only in our minds.

To continue in the same spirit, Elena encourages in the last chapters to “Embrace the new you” and appeals to the reader to continue on the way of creation.

And you, what’s your take on creative travel? 🙂

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