I don’t just want to tell my story. I want to give people the space to tell their own stories. Stories in which people followed their own inner voice. Went in new directions. Broke rules. Grew. Because there are so many unbelievable stories that need to be told!
The story of Steffi and Jens
Who are you?
We are Steffi and Jens, we’re both 31, and at the moment, we’re traveling the world together. We see ourselves as a team. Everyone has their strengths and weaknesses and we balance each other out very well. We met 10 years ago, and we’ve been together for 6 years. We’ve also lived in Munich, Berlin and Vienna for work.
What is your calling?
Calling is a strong word, and it’s not really possible for us to give a general answer to that because over the course of your life, your calling might change and your goals might shift. At present, our calling is traveling and learning about other cultures, beliefs and ways of life. We believe that we really need to broaden our horizons to even understand what one’s calling means. On our journey, we’ve already met some people who are following their calling, and doing something either for themselves, their families or their environment. The question we’re more focused on at the moment is, what can we do for the world? Or what can we give back so that we are remembered?
When did you decide to follow your inner voices?
In recent years, we’d always go on big trips for three, four weeks, and would try to go somewhere on every long weekend. After our last holiday in June 2018, we realized that we were just going in circles: working too much, not really using our time, and in the places we went on vacation, we were just running from place to place without really meeting the people.
What were the stumbling blocks on your journey?
If, at 30, you decide to quit your well-paying jobs as an architect and digital conceptor and consultant because you want to travel the world for more than a year, then everyone’s going to have some strong words to say to you. We live in a time where many social constraints or outdated norms are being upheld and those who leave the mass are ostracized. The real stumbling blocks appear when you decide to disengage from the system entirely, because unlike moving overseas, you don’t have an address to check in to, and that’s where negotiating everything with the insurance companies, mobile service providers and authorities really gets started.
Are there parallels between your path and the Stranger’s project?
There are definitely a lot of parallels, the most salient being perhaps the cry for complete liberation because only when the spirit is truly free is there room for something new. The place we understood that most strongly was probably in the Salar de Uyuni in Bolivia. When you are completely surrounded with white salt, with no reference point, it’s impossible for your eyes to gage distance.
How would you encourage other people to follow their inner voices?
We are both very realistic and we try to consider every situation or event from different perspectives. Of course you can’t generalize, but it extends your personal field of vision and you get to know yourself better when you are able to empathize with the other side. For example, if we’re talking with friends and want to motivate them, we always try to show them additional possibilities or just give them different perspectives on their issues. So if there’s something that’s really close to you heart then believe in yourself and stand up for it because you are responsible for your happiness in life and only you can put value on yourself.
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