HELLO, NICE TO MEET YOU!
Hi, I’m Lili. In August 2017 I sold everything I didn’t need, packed what was left in a suitcase, and left home with only a one-way ticket to Tanzania. No plan, no bucket list, no end date.
This is my story.
It’s the stories of the people I meet on my journey. It’s laughter and tears, joy and pain, excitement and frustrations, and the real (mis)adventures of a girl who’s too busy living to even THINK about looking perfect for her daily Instagram shot.
Meet the old me
For more than 10 years I worked my ass off. Always trying to be the best. Always waiting for that next promotion. Always aiming to earn more money.
And I did. I got the fancy job and the promotions, the good salary and the oh-so-important big car. I bought myself some designer handbags and a house full of other useless shit, traveled whenever I could and thought I had it all. I also spent 10 hours a day at work and turned my computer back on as soon as I’d finished having dinner at home… The days I wouldn’t just work through dinner, that is…
I got a nice house with a garden. Spent a small fortune on ‘stuff’… curtains, plants and decorations – as if I was gonna die if I had to put the same decorations in my Christmas tree two years in a row… I also spent 90% of my free time renovating and plucking weeds…
Then I realized that NONE of my most memorable moments involved ANY of the possessions and ‘accomplishments’ mentioned above. That I was happier sleeping in a € 5 dorm room, spending 15 hours in a shabby bus and carrying my stuff around in a € 25 fake leather handbag that was holding together with safety-pins…
So I decided to leave
My perfect job, my boyfriend of 8,5 years, my house, my comfort, the pressure of always having to be the best, the constant need to prove myself, everything… No more dreaming about getting the hell out of there. No more convincing myself that ‘everybody lives like this, so you can too! ‘. No more waiting for someday…
‘Someday I’ll make that trip I’ve always dreamed about. Someday I’ll work less and enjoy life more. Someday I’ll do whatever the hell I want without worrying about what everybody else thinks.’
MY SOMEDAY WAS GOING TO BE RIGHT NOW!
It took me a while to get everything sorted – getting through a burnout and selling a house takes time! You can read a bit more about the burnout here, or read this article that I wrote a few years ago for my 1st blog anniversary if you want to have some more background.
Welcome to Lili's travel plans!
I could probably write half a novel here. About how I love to travel (surpriiiiise!!), all the places I’ve been to and all the ones I still want to visit. About all the check marks on my ’30 things to do before I’m 30’ list and the exact number of countries and continents I’ve traveled to. I could then write you a bunch of articles about the 10 best things to do in all those places, and call it a travel blog.
Instead I’ll tell you the stories behind the place, in words or in pictures. What it did to me. How it made me feel. From laughing my ass off to crying my eyes out and everything in between.
I’m not a bucket list kind of girl. I prefer living for the moment to ticking activities off some list I pinned to my refrigerator 10 years ago and I don’t want to lose out on actually enjoying my adventures because I was too busy rushing to finish those 745 things I still need to do before the appearance of my first wrinkle.
You’ll find me where the people are. Where there’s stories to be told and emotions to be felt. I hardly care about seeing as many famous sights as possible or getting the biggest kick jumping out of an airplane. I’d much rather spend time trying to communicate with my Tanzanian watchman Balthazar who only speaks Swahili, or walking around the tiniest Spanish town with a 84-year old man named Ernesto, listening to his stories.
I DON’T DO BORING LISTS, I DON’T DO #INSPIRATIONAL AND I DON’T DO GLAMOUROUS
In an industry where everything seems to be more and more about glitter and glamour and people spend more time curling their hair for the perfect Instagram shot than actually enjoying the moment, I am the sweaty mess that’s probably busy falling over her own feet/backpack/whatever, and I wouldn’t want it any other way. Traveling’s not perfect. It can be fucking hard or frustrating at times, and that’s exactly why I love it. I’d rather take a tuktuk than a limousine and I prefer a local home without running water to a 5-star hotel, so don’t worry, I won’t be spamming your feed with #HotelRoomGoalsThatNobodyThatHasToPayForItThemselvesEverAchieves either.
Boring top 10 kinda articles are also not my idea of fun, so if that’s what you’re looking for, you’ll probably be better off if you just google on. Of course I’ll give you the practical details about the place, but don’t count on me to just stick to the facts and be the 7398th blogger to tell you how to get to the Grand Palace in Bangkok. #LetMeGoogleThatForYou
I’m not into #inspirational bullshit. Of course I hope to make you discover new places, and maybe a new way of traveling that isn’t just focused on places and ‘achievements’, but I’m not here to tell you to walk in my exact footsteps. I don’t think everyone in this world should / wants to be like me, and I’m not gonna write 74 articles about how I quit my job to travel the world, and how you should do it too with $ 34 in your pocket. For anyone who believes this crap, I’m NOT doing it with just $ 34 in my pocket. Either you save before you go, or you find a job you can do whilst being on the road.
Where I am now
A few years but not a single country later, I’m still in Tanzania. Don’t ask me what happened exactly, I just never left again. I took about a year and a half to just relax, travel around and enjoy life, after which I felt like doing something else again and decided to start my own tour business. Mawenzi Adventures was officially registered in May 2019 and its start was better than I could have ever imagined. Then of course Covid came and we’re only just very slowly going back to normal.
Somewhere in the process of dealing with dozens of cancelled and postponed trips I got a liiiiiiiiiittle bit tired of it, bought a 20 USD second-hand sewing machine and before I knew it I’d sewn together so many handbags that I decided to turn it into a business. Cause even I don’t need THAT many for my personal collection. Mawenzi Accessories was born and is still doing great.
And because it’s so much fun and so stress-free (bahahahahaha) to start and run businesses here in Tanzania, I decided to top it off with a furniture and home decor shop called Mawenzi Interiors, which was only founded mid-2021 but is already going pretty well!
At the end of 2019 I met my Tanzanian partner Chim, who was a professional footballer at the time but who also had a bit of experience climbing Kilimanjaro and working with tourists. We now run the tour business together and I also
forced taught him how to sew so we also run that business together now. The home decor shop is a project of me and my sister who followed me to Tanzania in 2019. Can you blame the girl for missing me?!
In all these projects we have one big common goal: to work ethically and create as many extra opportunities for local craftsmen, guides etc. as we can. There’s a lot to say about this and I’m happy to share if you want to know more, just leave me a message
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I'm happy to meet you!
Hi, I’m Lili and this is my story. It’s the stories of the people I meet on my journey. It’s laughter and tears, joy and pain, excitement and frustrations, and the real (mis)adventures of a girl who’s too busy having fun to be spending 2 hours getting ready for the perfect Instagram shot.
But the best stories are the ones you share. Online, but even better offline! Keep an eye on my sidebar to know where I am, and let me know if you’re around via my contact page or drop me an e-mail at email@example.com. You can obviously also write me with any other question!
Happy travels, I hope to meet you somewhere on this wonderful journey!