....is my joy and my destiny  
For something like 25 years, I traveled and lived in various places in Asia, Africa, the Middle East and South America.  
I can't say when I first got bitten by the travel bug. As a child, I wasn't in a position to do any traveling, but I was a voracious devourer of books on exotic cultures and adventures in strange, faraway lands.
  From about twelve years onwards I also was an aficionada of the Science Fiction classics, written by the likes of Isaac Asimov, Arthur C. Clarke or Philip K. Dick, whose stories took me right off the edge of our planet to the realms of the unknown.  
  I believe the longing for places far from where I was born and raised has been with me all along; I like to think that I was born with it. Even as a mere child, I never felt really comfortable in my home country; when I finally left, I soon found that I felt far more at home in places thousands of miles away.  
  For a great part of my life I harbored the belief that I was born in the wrong place, until the day it dawned on me that, had I been born in some poverty stricken third world country, it would have been very unlikely for me to have had a chance to obtain a passport and leave.  
  In 1988, fate forced me to return to my home country. I hoped it would be for only three months, but, alas, I'm still here. And I'm not even sure anymore if I ever will be able to get away again. My family is growing by the year, my first grandson was born in 2005, followed 4 years later by a little sister.  
So for the time being, I at least try to get away for short spells once in a while. In a financially weak year it might be no more than a cheap four days charter to Istanbul, to replenish my stock of henna, rose essence, myrrh and the like. In luckier years, it can amount to a few weeks in Morocco, Nepal, Syria or any other place I feel like visiting yet another time, or a country yet unknown that catches my fancy. Every time I manage to escape from here, I'm as happy as a stranded fish thrown back into the water.  
  The pages about my trip to Pakistan in March of 2001 are the first entry in the travel section of my homepage. The second is an extensive section on Brazil, telling about my 4 years in Bahia, about people, customs, history, flora and fauna. About building our house and the pousada buildings and starting a restaurant. And how the kids grew up in a true paradise. The last part ready is the Sahel part, on which I was working for nearly two years. Currently, I've started on my Egyptian stories. I'm very unhappy about the fact that for about 8 years I didn't find the time to continue with my travel stories. There is so much yet to be remembered and told. God willing, I will be able to accomplish that task yet before all my memories have faded.  
Coming yet :  
My early adventures in Istanbul  
  Thrice overland to Asia between 1970 and 1980, with about 5 years spent in India and 3 years in Nepal  
  A magical year spent in Cairo, the "Mother of all Cities"  
  And lots of stories about places we just passed through or only spent a few months, places like Afghanistan, Iran, Mali, Ghana, Lebanon, Syria and many more.  
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  All photos in the traveling section of my site not marked otherwise were shot either by myself or some travel companion. When own photos are not availible, I search the web for substitutes. I invest much time to find the right pictures, it is necessary for them to ring a bell, to correspond with my own memories. In most cases I manage to find what I look for, though the water-filled goat skins photos I needed for the Sahel story eluded me for near to a year.  
I don't understand much about photography, but I love taking pictures. In the earlier traveling years I didn't own a camera. From about 1970 onwards I usually had some cheap Kodak Instamatic along; later something a bit better, but nothing special. Many photos from before 1980 have lost their colors, some completely deteriorated. Same with the negatives, they didn't fancy the subtropical Brazilian climate, and when I checked on them one day, to my dismay they were stuck together in solid blocks. Some negatives survived though, and the damaged pics that aren't too far gone I'll restore in Photoshop. I have a huge amount of better photos from the past fifteen or so years. During that time, I was able to go for short trips only and could bring the pics back to the safety of Western European climate.
  I take pictures mainly to be able to remember years later what I'd otherwise forget, to show to friends and also to send back to the people I met on my trips. And nowadays for my homepage of course.  
One of the biggest mistakes of my life was not keeping a diary during my travels. Hundreds of strange encounters, crazy adventures and fantastic occurrences are either lost or only remembered in fragments. The many stories I do remember are just a tiny fragment of the lot. I did jot down some notes in Africa for a while, and I was only too happy on finding them in a torn notebook among some old stuff twenty years later.  
  A personal note:  
  For more than 20 years I traveled and lived with the father of my children, a Swiss national from Germany who'd spotted me (I'd never even noticed him) in Istanbul in 1967. Despite his impressive intellectual capabilities he was, and still is, an abusive and mentally unbalanced individual. Both me and the children suffered extremely under his erratic behavior and his violent temper. To get away from him was the most difficult thing I ever accomplished.  
  The less I'll have to mention him in my accounts, the better. It will be impossible though to completely exclude him, as he was my constant travel companion until 1988.  
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