About

 

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Outback Explorer

Welcome! If you’ve come to this site, chances are you will agree with me that travel is the best medicine for ailments of the heart and soul, large or small.  I am your travel doctor, Kerstin Pilz Phd, a recovering academic and a life-long traveller. I caught the travel bug in my teens, in the days before internet and Skype. Travel saved me from small-town blues in my native Germany and opened my eyes to the world. I hit the road fresh out of high school and wandered the world solo, doing all sorts of jobs to keep alive. At $5 a minute, the phone call to tell my parents I wasn’t coming home, hurt my wallet but not my soul.

I settled in Australia, calling Melbourne, Perth, Sydney and now the tropical Far North home. University life became my family and a career as lecturer in Foreign Languages and International Studies allowed me to continue to indulge my passion for travel. After a semester at sea aboard The Scholar Ship, an oceangoing university campus, I knew it was time to cut the ropes and set sail again for unknown shores.

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The Scholar Ship in Shanghai

But as a mature-age nomad, I went with caution, giving myself a year leave-of-absence from my job to travel the world with my husband. I started the original travelpilz blog back then, as a diary for friends and family, and to force myself to become what I’d always wanted to be: a writer, photographer, and professional globetrotter.

But things didn’t go according to plan, as so often happens. We’d just stepped into the sticky humidity of the Wet Tropics, the first leg of our trip, wearing unflattering quick-dry explorer outfits, and carrying everything we needed for a year on the road in matching backpacks, when my husband discovered a pea sized lump in his neck. We never left for the Easter Islands, I never ended up taking that Spanish course in Buenos Aires, we never hiked through Patagonia. Instead we went on another kind of journey,  one I couldn’t write about in public and my blog died along with my husband.

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The restless academic

I cured my wounded soul with extended trips to India, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Laos, Cambodia and Hawaii, places where I could find peace through Buddhism and meditation. And then something very strange happened. All of a sudden I felt the urge to stand still and watch my garden grow. Several seasons have passed now and I am back to my default settings. Itchy feet give me sleepless nights. I long to travel, to explore, to move.

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In Hawaii, my spiritual home

So here I am, ready to hit the road again as a grown-up backpacker, a newbie blogger, an emerging digital nomad. I am about to sell my house and let go of my belongings.  At 51 I don’t have time to waste. I need to set sail and follow my dreams now! Come with me, see how the journey unfolds.

What’s in a name:
In case you wondered (and because I  just can’t help myself) Pilz actually means mushroom in English. In German it can also mean fungus, including ‘foot fungus’ or Fusspilz, the hilarious nickname I had at school (at least my classmates thought so) . What a relief then, as a grown-up to live amongst people who generally belief Pilz to mean beer, or when said quickly, pills as in medicine. That suits me just fine, because combined with travel it makes for a nickname I can finally own up to.

 

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