This post is also available in: Deutsch (German)
I am Stefanie. My passion is my passport and travelling makes me smile since I started exploring the world on my own back in 2007. I have travelled in and around more than 50 countries and made the world my living room and travel hub. Now based in Portland, Oregon, I create helpful itineraries and travel guides of destinations in the US, my former country of residence China, adjacent Asian travel destinations, as well as my home country, Germany, and beyond. As a travel enthusiast with a big love for writing and photography my mission is to inspire and empower people to pursue their wanderlust and travel dreams by sharing individual experiences and personal insights combined with hands-on travel tips and eye-catching pictures on my bilingual blog (English & German) and Instagram.
Born in Thuringia (Germany), literally on the borderline of Franconia, I am a nature kid, who enjoys the idyllic sceneries and the beauty of my home country Germany. At the same time I feel the constant urge to be carried away into foreign countries and big metropolises of the world. That´s one reason why I loved to call Frankfurt / Main my home for six years (2009 – 2015), while working as a Content Marketing Specialist and PR Manager for one of the biggest German travel companies and explore the world from Germany´s largest aviation turnstile. Not only travelling, but living abroad, has always been my dream. So I packed my bags for the first time back in 2007 to live in Cape Town (South Africa) while completing my studies of Media Management. In 2015 I moved back to Franconia (Nuremberg) for private and professional purposes, before shifting my life and travel hub to Asia: In January 2018 my hubbie and I moved to the bustling Chinese metropolis Shanghai, from where we made our way to Portland, Oregon in summer 2019, where we are currently living and exploring.
How it all began
I discovered my passion for travelling long before I had the opportunity to explore the world through my job. Travelling, preferably individual-style, only equiped with backpack and camera, has always fascinated me. Since I left to explore the world on my own for the very first time, I am driven by getting to know foreign cultures and ways of living, trying out the unknown and growing beyond myself – something back then I only knew from and admired out of (picture) books and documentaries.
My first big transcontinental trip all by myself in 2007 took me to picturesque Cape Town for an internship. I was only 21 years young and hungry for an escape, distance, freedom and something extraordinary – which I found in South Africa. For the first few months I went in-and-out the parliament on a daily basis. In the further course of my engagement I worked for a documentary-making agency and had the opportunity to enter the local townships, met the poorest of the poor and joined the campaign-team for local elections. I cannot really state how much it benefitted my studies of Media Management, but one thing is for sure: This journey helped me to see my own life with different eyes. I felt this was my first real journey – but definitely not my last to countries far far away.
Post graduation in spring/summer 2009 I went on a four-month backpacking trip across Central America. While travelling through Guatemala, Belize, Mexico, Honduras, Nicaragua, and Panama I started documenting my experiences in a personal travel blog, basically for family and friends as an opportunity to follow me along my trip.
After entering worklife, my potential time for vacation days decreased to shorter periods and weekend-trips. But this didn´t hold me back from travelling. In 2013 I estbablished Smile4Travel, first-and-foremost to share my travel experiences, but even more to prove that also with only a few time at your hands everyone can explore the world and discover its beauty. In the meantime I turned Smile4Travel to an inspiration platform and research source for fellow travellers and everyone who wants to pursue their wanderlust. With travel hacks, practical tips and self-tested itineraries combined with personal insights and inspirational footage, I empower people to fulfill their own travel dreams. As someone who lives far away from home I will also continue to make you a part of my daily discoveries, challenges and cultural insights in and around the Pacific Northwest and China. To learn more about my mission and work, check my references, media mentions and opportunities to collaborate with me.