“And how do you do it with your Berlin blog?” This is the big question that I am always confronted with when I announce that I am moving into my sunny exile in Buenos Aires for a few months in Winter. My simple answer, which, surprisingly, is never further debated: “It just keeps on going like nothing has changed.”
It’s the beauty of working digitally. I am free to do it from wherever I am. And I’m so eternally grateful that this is possible nowadays. Of course it’s not a concept that works in every industry, but for bloggers it’s definitely an option, and I love to take advantage of it. Back in the day, I would have to give up my job if I wanted to experience other parts of the world. Today I just pack my laptop and continue whatever I’m doing in a completely new surrounding.
Why go into exile? It’s simple: A creative mind wants to be stimulated. After living in Berlin for such a long time, I was craving the feeling of getting to know a new place. I don’t think I would ever indefinitely leave Berlin. But at the same time I don’t want to miss out on the experience of living abroad, at least for a few months. Get to know a new culture, make new friends with other backgrounds, maybe even learn a new language. And I don’t want to have to give up everything in my life to achieve that. I want to be able to come back without having to start again from zero.
And I must tell you: Getting to know a new city, a new country – and I mean not just like a tourist for a few weeks, but really immerse in it for a long time – is amazing. It’s not only about the new things I learn; it’s also what I realize about my home city in the process. I learn to appreciate my home base for things I was not even aware of before. And in the end, I have a second place to call home. This is something that can give a lot of confidence.
“But how do you work on a localized project from the other side of the world?” It is indeed a bit more complicated than just opening my laptop and typing. Being away from my main subject for so long it is in a certain way a challenge, but it’s not beyond control.
In the case of my blog, I feel really lucky. Thankfully I have a couple of team members who stay in Berlin and keep me updated. We get a lot of submissions from our readers, so a good part of the editorial material practically produces itself. Through my beloved Berlin Instagramers, I never lose touch with the current mood, weather and goings-on in the city. Of course it also makes me miss it, seeing the cherry trees blossom now in Spring… I would love to be there for that. But for the most part it gives me comfort – knowing Berlin is still there, like always, for me to return to.
When it comes to the photos I publish on the blog and on Instagram, this is something that I have learned to prepare myself for. During my time in Berlin I take many more photos than I actually publish on my channels. So when I’m in exile I can rely on a big archive of images, that have been previously unreleased. For other specific projects and collaborations, I can rely on a couple of photographer colleagues who take over the jobs in my absence.
But this is the easy part. Things get more uncomfortable when it comes to accommodation, different time zones, logistics when I need something from home, possibly bad internet connections, living in an improvised state. There are definitely problems that I have faced in the past years. Missed job opportunities, Skype conferences with frozen screens, the struggle of finding a subtenant, not getting important mail. But to be honest, so far the good has always outweighed the bad for me.
Digital content creators have evolved so much from the norms and traditions of the industry that they grew out of. Blogging in exile is just one of many examples. As a Blogger I am not simply a freelancer – I am a digital nomad that has the possibility to operate from all over the world. I can combine experiences from different cultures and countries in my work, charge my creative batteries in new surroundings. Equipped with as little as my laptop, smartphone and camera, I am ready whenever, wherever. Plug and play – worldwide.
All images: Frank Schröder