MK 60 badgesI started with a bang by organising a week-long, multi-activity big birthday bash for 45 friends and family in Germany, without knowing a word of the language.

This was followed by several seasons of bad hotels, gruesome B&Bs and sodden campsites that all pointed to a motorhome as the next purchase. This can feel like a home from home – but my interests in travel and the need to respond to the place I was in were beginning to need all the stuff I had left behind at home – the books, materials and research to make meaning of the journey.

Our motor home

Sirius Workshop and Director Torsten Schmidt
The Sirius Workshop and Director Torsten Schmidt
Sirius Launch
Sirius Launch Day

In 2007 we bought a sailing cruiser from a small shipyard in Northern Germany. 

We had a great boat launch party and made many friends in the charming resort of Travemunde.

As a baby boomer, it was my first real contact with Germany, previously shrouded by the historical fog of the Second World War. And now I found so much to delight me! The people, the soft Baltic landscapes – and the German way of doing things.

However, I was mortified during one of many delightful conversations, to realise that apart from the horrors of Hitler and the Blitz, I knew virtually nothing about this country. This galvanised my interest and kick started my retirement research projects – and the rest is history, geography, literature, art…