How to work 9-5 and travel the rest of the time

A full-time job shouldn’t stop you from satisfying your wanderlust. The Local spoke to Travel After 5 blogger Alline Waldhelm to find out her tips and tricks for travellers who only have 25 days of annual leave.

How to work 9-5 and travel the rest of the time
Photo: Alline in Lisbon, Portugal

Feel like your day job is thwarting your travel plans? Keep telling yourself you don’t have the time (or cash) to take a trip? Where there’s a will, there’s a way, says travel aficionado Alline Waldhelm.

“It’s really a mindset. I love to do it and, on average, I travel somewhere once a month. In the summer, I fly every single weekend.”

Alline, who is originally from Brazil, caught the travel bug when she first visited Germany 12 years ago. It's a trip that changed her life; she resolved to live in Europe one day and sure enough returned several years later to study in Munich before settling in Vienna.

“I always really liked traveling to Europe. When I was living in Brazil, I managed to come four times before moving to Munich to study German,” she tells The Local.

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Photo: Alline in Budapest last year

Although she works full time as a financial analyst, Alline doesn’t let her job get in the way of her adventures. In Austria, she explains, overtime is discouraged so it gives her plenty of time and the flexibility to take a flight on a Friday evening and return on the Sunday night.

“It’s actually really manageable,” she says. “For me, it’s so important to have these breaks. Of course, you don’t disconnect from your life in two or three days but that’s not the point. There’s so much to explore; you might be physically tired but it’s a mental break and you go back to the office on Monday with a lighter mood.”

While she reserves the bulk of her annual leave for travelling back to Brazil, she still takes a couple of weeks over summer to plan a longer trip. This year, she’s heading to Costa Smeralda in Sardinia – “The beaches are unbelievable and I want to explore more parts of the La Maddalena archipelago” – before spending a week in the south of Portugal which she describes as “full of history and culture, welcoming people and delicious food.”

Photo: Alline in Sicily during summer 2018

Where to find travel inspiration

When looking for new places to travel, Alline often turns to her most trusted resource: her friends and ex-classmates who are scattered across Europe. Or, if there’s a specific city or country that she is keen to visit, she’ll follow news sites like The Local or Time Out to keep up with local events. She’s also an active member of Facebook groups like European Travellers #WhereToNext? that are dedicated to travel tips and inspiration.

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When Alline is feeling really adventurous she’ll use a feature like Skyscanner’s ‘Everywhere’ search to find the best deals on cheap flights. It’s how she stumbled on a great return flight to Larnaca, a pretty port city in southern Cyprus, last Christmas. Often, she starts with the destination, whether it’s a recommendation or her own find, and then pads out the trip once she’s booked.

She believes it’s still possible to ‘get off the beaten track’ even if you only have a couple of days to explore. In her experience, the best way to do this is to not plan too rigidly. Instead, pick a couple of things you really want to see or do and then play the rest of the trip by ear.

Photo: Alline in Lake Garda

“I try to be spontaneous. I really enjoy arriving in a city and just walking around and seeing what people are doing. I don’t plan every minute because usually you can meet someone and they suggest something to do. Leaving your time open means you may run into something more interesting or discover something different along the way.”

The best advice she can offer full-time workers who are keen to travel more is to think logistically when booking flights and hotels. For short weekend trips, Alline mostly sticks to Europe and limits flight time to under a couple of hours so that the journey itself doesn’t eat too much into her precious exploring time.

The same goes once she’s touched down at her destination.

“Take London, for example, there are five airports and some of them it takes hours to get from the airport to the city centre. So I always find the airport that is closest. If it’s a small saving but it means I I lose an hour getting to the hotel, that’s something I won’t do.”

Alline adds that although you may be able to find a nicer hotel further out of the city “it’s not doable” when you only have a couple of days. Instead, she advises staying somewhere that may not be as plush but is more conveniently located. This way, you won’t “lose time, which is very precious on a short trip”.

Finally, she says: “Always be half ready to travel”. Alline always keeps a bag packed with the essentials like her passport, camera and tripod. This way, it only takes half an hour to pack so she can set off at short notice.

“If you have these things in your suitcase, you won’t forget anything. Everything is in the same place, half the work is already done.”

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Alline’s top travel tips

  • Keep a bag packed with all your travel essentials

  • Check flight comparison sites to find new destinations 

  • Ask friends who live locally for insider tips

  • Look to Facebook groups and local news outlets for inspiration

  • If a public holiday falls on a Tuesday or Thursday, take a ‘bridging day’ to turn it into a four-day weekend

This article was produced by The Local and sponsored by Lufthansa.



10 influential Black people who have made their mark on German history

To celebrate Black History Month, The Local has put together a list of some influential Black people who have made their mark on Germany.

10 influential Black people who have made their mark on German history

Black History Month takes place every February and is celebrated across the globe – including here in Germany.

It was introduced in Germany in1990 by the Initiative Schwarze Deutsche (Initiative of Black People in Germany or ISD).

Tahir Della, of the ISD, told The Local about the importance of recognising the contributions of Black people in Germany throughout history and modern times. 

“Resistance is an important part of the Black movement and also has a long tradition in Germany,” he said. 

“Despite the fact that people of the African Diaspora – including Black Germans – have lived in this region for over 300 years, Germany is still understood by many people as a white nation.

“Black resistance is therefore first and foremost a struggle for recognition. For this reason, Black History Month has been held in numerous cities in Germany.”

Della added that the event is used to remember German history in a more inclusive way. 

READ ALSO: Black people in Germany face widespread racism, survey finds

Participants at a Black Lives Matter march in Berlin in July 2021.

Participants at a Black Lives Matter march in Berlin in July 2021. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Fabian Sommer

While far from being an exhaustive list, here are 10 Black people who have made their mark on German history and the modern day. 

Louis Brody (1892-1951) was a Cameroonian-born German actor who co-founded and was actively involved with Afrikanischer Hilfsversein (African Relief Organisation), an organisation that spoke out against racial discrimination in Germany during the 1920s. 

His film career was plagued by several racist roles in propaganda films during the Nazi regime which enabled him to support himself financially. Nevertheless, he paved the way for other Afro-German actors, and he continued working in film in Berlin up until his death. 

Cameroonian-born German actor Louis Brody. Photo: Yva/Wikimedia Commons

Theodor Michael (1925-2019), at 18, was forced into working in Nazi labour camps after being declared stateless as a result of his skin colour. He was also often featured in Nazi propaganda films as means of survival. 

After the war, he went on to study political science and became a prominent journalist, notably as head editor of the “African Bulletin” magazine. 

He was also a civil servant and was actively involved in the Black community throughout his life, pushing for the recognition of Black people as Germans.

READ ALSO: ‘Black lives need to matter in Germany’ New project to uncover racism in everyday life

Audre Lorde (1934-1992), although originally from the United States, made a profound impact on the Black German movement and became an influence on many Black German female writers. 

A writer, feminist and civil rights activist, Lorde came to Germany in the 1980s and spent most of her time in Berlin organising community events and bringing Black German women together. 

The award-winning documentary “Audre Lorde: The Berlin Years 1984–1992” explores her influence on the movement. 

May Ayim (1960-1996) was one such writer, as well as a poet, educator and activist. She published her thesis as a renowned collection of personal essays under the title Farbe bekennen (English title: Showing Our Colours: Afro-German Women Speak Out), which recounted the experiences of many Afro-German women in German society. She also helped co-found the Berlin chapter of the ISD. 

The May-Ayim-Ufer along the Spree River in Berlin-Kreuzberg is named after her.

Other writers include Ika Hügel-Marshall, who wrote about her experience growing up black in post-war Germany. All were active in the ADEFRA (Afro-Deutsche Frauen) organisation.

Vera Heyer (1946-1995) began collecting and cataloguing the works of African, Afro-diasporic, and Black authors in the 1970s and invited members of the Black community into her small apartment in Mainz, where she created a makeshift library. 

Her vision of turning them into a permanent library came to fruition after her death, with the opening of the Vera Heyer Archive in 2014. 

The collection is now housed in the Each One Teach One (EOTO) Library in Berlin’s African Quarter.

Karamba Diaby (1961-) is an SPD politician who, in 2013, made history by becoming the first member of the German Bundestag of African descent alongside Charles Huber of the CDU. 

German MP Karamba Diaby speaks at the party conference of the SPD Saxony-Anhalt in Magdeburg in September 2021.

German MP Karamba Diaby speaks at the party conference of the SPD Saxony-Anhalt in Magdeburg in September 2021. Photo: picture alliance/dpa/dpa-Zentralbild | Ronny Hartmann

Both politicians paved the way for many other Afro-Germans to make their way into the Bundestag, with four being elected to the role in 2021, including the first Black woman, Awet Tesfaiesus

Steffi Jones (1972-) is former football player who played for, and went on to manage, Germany’s women’s national team. 

She featured in the documentary film Schwarze Adler in 2021, speaking on her experiences as an Afro-German woman in football and bringing attention to the racism she’s faced. She has since become an advocate and role model for women and Black people in sports.