Traveling To my Identity – Maskarm Haile

‘An empath—but what are you really?’

This was Maskarm’s question to herself before she embarked on that first ride out of Ethiopia. She knew she always had this incredible gift of being able to put herself in someone else’s shoes and feel things as if she was them. She understood her ability to see, hear and feel things. But in her world back in Ethiopia, there was no place for such. And so she went out to fly.

Deeply sensitive, intuitive, good listener, self-sufficient. These were the qualities that had let her successfully sail across pan-Africa and beyond as a couch-surfer, meeting people along the way who either challenge her chosen way of life or think alike. But more importantly, it was indeed an outer travel to journey towards what within her.

Maski was born and raised in a religious and traditional Ethiopian family. From the very start, traveling was her dream but it was not something comprehensible in her family and their culture. But she knew she had to be someplace and went for it. To her, it felt as if someone left her here on Earth by mistake and that being in one place for a prolonged period of time is not her safe space.

Traveling gave her inspiration and a feeling of oneness. It unpacked for her so many things about herself, her childhood and traumas, her connection with her family, especially her mother. Traveling was her healing until she arrived and became ready to recognize her identity and share it with others (through writing and her book, Abyssinian Nomad).

But it wasn’t all happy and exciting. Along her journey, Maski found out she has fibromyalgia, a disorder characterized by widespread musculoskeletal pain accompanied by fatigue, sleep, memory, and mood issues. To her, maybe it was a way of saying ‘I’m done here and now it’s the body’s time to heal.

For years of searching, Maskarm lived in total freedom. But she also learned that there are things that needed to happen and shouldn’t be refused and ignored to preserve that perceived freedom. Especially if that comes from within—a voice that wants to be heard, a thought that needs to be shared and read, or even a feeling or pain that has to be tended to. Letting it all out is freedom in itself.

Links mention in the podcast


Podcast Highlights

  • I felt like someone left me here on Earth by mistake and they’re going to come back and take me. I felt this is not my place. That was the feeling the entire time except when I’m traveling. – Maskarm Haile
  • It was my dream to travel. But it also became like a pilgrimage for me. Most of the time, I don’t know why I’m in one place, I just know I have to be there. It just unfolds. The experience of it makes me feel I need this more. – Maskarm Haile
  • During the lockdown, I do miss some things but I also see it as a grace to us. It’s like an opportunity given to us to go within and search for more.  – Maskarm Haile
  • If it keeps showing up, don’t ignore it because it will catch up. – Maskarm Haile
  • Being wise is about listening, sharing, and being sensitive. Not just knowledge. – Alexandra Kreis

Guest Bio:

Maskarm Haile is an empath and traveler from Ethiopia who wandered across pan-Africa and the world in search of her identity. She is the woman behind the book Abyssinian Nomad. Maskarm, in her book, incredibly wrote about her priceless memories and experience.

Wandering The Forgotten Path – Jolanda Todt

Traveling never ends, when you are wandering the forgotten path. It’s the curiosity and bewilderment that propels us forward, not the one thing that we want to solve. But as we go into our inner sanctuary, we realize there is nothing to resolve. It’s just all a play of life. After all, life is so hard to fit into a shoe.

This week’s guest – a fellow traveler – wandered to the forgotten spaces wanting to learn more about life and the life that exists beyond her experience.

Jolanda Todt, an artist, designer, cultural educator, went around getting away from and, eventually, wanting to reconnect to her memory of her father. Jolanda became a spiritual researcher, a truth-seeker in her own right.

Losing her father to suicide as a result of his long-running mental health situation, Jolanda realized how difficult situations in our lives make us reach out and reach deeper. And these experiences are what sailed her through life and brought her to immerse in the indigenous community and culture of shamans—something her father wouldn’t have thought she will do but she certainly has grown to love doing. She learned that psychological illnesses have complementary spiritual counterparts.

But the ceremonies in these communities forged a strong connection to Jolanda and her experiential understanding of life. The two women singing, praying, and chanting for hours left a strong impact on Jolanda. In her culture, women are fighting for their space and place. But in these indigenous cultures, women have such a beautiful space, expressing their spirituality, in such a very authentic way.

Being part of this community gave Jolanda invaluable nuggets of wisdom – the like that doesn’t resolve questions but moves you through the unending quest for learning. The like that she proudly brings in her journey from sorrow to understanding the life that her father had.

Links mention in the podcast     

Podcast Highlights

  • Difficult situations in our lives make us reach out and reach deeper at the best times. – Alexandra Kreis
  • Trauma can be passed on to generations. – Jolanda Todt
  •  In our culture, women are fighting for their space and place. But in this culture, these women have such a beautiful space; they are expressing their spirituality, in such a very authentic way. – Jolanda Todt
  •  The bigger the questions are, the bigger answers required. – Jolanda Todt
  • Life is so hard to fit into a shoe. Travelling never ends. It’s the curiosity and bewilderment that propels us forward, not the one thing that we want to solve. But as we go into the inner sanctuary, we realize there is really nothing to resolve. It’s just all a play of life. – Alexandra Kreis

Guest Bio

ForgottenJolanda Todt, an artist, designer, and cultural educator from Berlin. She studied communication design and has done exhibitions, performances, and lectures in Germany, Iceland, and London

Jutta Patis – Traveling is Discovering the World and the Self

In this podcast, a yoga and Ayurveda lifestyle junkie who intelligently incorporates her practice to her unrelated business shares her extraordinary journey to discovering her practice and lifestyle.

Meet Jutta Patis. She discovered her identity while traveling and exploring the world– on her own!

At 13, her parents, who were so protective, but also wanted Jutta to explore the beautiful world, sent her to Italy. Traveling at such a young age made her feel significant ‘cut off’ from her comfort zone, with no internet whatsoever. But this pushed her to step out of that small, pampered world she had in Austria. And just as early as she was about to discover her teenage self, she already had to figure herself out of the cultural overwhelm and language disconnect. Still, all of these helped shape her identity.

Jutta shares how she would keep her thoughts to herself and wander like a scared little girl in the middle of a beautiful country. But she knew why her parents sent her ‘out into the world’: to train her to break the bubble of her reality. Something she now practices masterfully in meditation and yoga: being present and ever-expanding inwardly.

In this episode, Jutta and I will take you to the exploration and adventure that Jutta did in her younger years. It was not all magic– she recalls how traveling alone can be so scary and lonely. But everything figured out to be the more essential and treasurable inward journey that led her to the current lifestyle that she has.

Her strange encounter in Spain and her stay in the US, led her to discover the beauty of Yoga and Ayurveda. Those miles and miles of travels brought her closer inch by inch to a deeper understanding of herself. Every stop in this journey, she shares, revealed reflections of herself that she picked up, and brought to where she is right now.

To Jutta, when you travel or live in a foreign land, you have this borderless feeling. And now, more people are choosing to isolate all at once. But they are missing the chance and experience. It’s one thing to have experienced that outer travel, but it’s also another to live in solitary by choice to sail on the inner journey. And Jutta proves you can do both!


Links mention in the podcast

Podcast Highlights

  • Solitary practice makes me tap into my potentiality more. It helps me find talents and strengths I didn’t know I have– strengths I can put in my business and endeavors for my community. Sometimes you can’t detect this when you are flooded with information from the outside. But it brings you to reconnect with nature and all the life forces around us. – Jutta Patis
  • Some people travel purposely for self-discovery and realization. Some to escape. It’s for everybody to discover. But I think it’s always about escaping to find what you haven’t found yet. – Jutta Patis
  • We have the freedom to choose who we are, which we can do freely for a moment. But when we choose to be completely different because we move to a new society, it can be daunting without an inner guideline or format. – Alexandra Kreis
  • Whatever comes along your way, you have to open your eyes for opportunities. Sometimes we overthink things when we want to do something huge for the world. But opportunities may just be standing there in front of you. – Jutta Patis
  • Don’t overthink and let go of the attachments. Choose a practice that will help you evolve and expand. Even when you don’t have the chance to travel, you can expand and see the world from an angle you haven’t seen before. – Jutta Patis


Guest BIO: 

Jutta Patis was born and raised in Austria near Vienna. She is a former consultant for businesses but not the owner of two companies in Berlin and Potsdam. She lives in Potsdam with her family and her four dogs. Jutta loves writing and is a Yoga and Ayurveda, lifestyle junkie.


Shira & Ulli Helmstetter: A Young Traveler’s Take on Arriving, Fears and Life

In this podcast, meet Shira and Ulli– my dear family that has come to live together in a patchwork format. And we will talk about and share how our experiences of moving (together and apart) helped us build a more open outlook in our lives. With so much clarity for a very young mind, Shira leads us to share how we are dancing between control and direction and letting ‘life happen through us’.

Traveling and living in different places has been part of Shira as she grows up. She shares here how she was able to manage through that even at a young age and the things that she does to make herself feel ‘at home’.

As tiring as traveling can get, Shira and Ulli share strategies to rest and settle. They also fondly recall the perks of being in a new place such as trying out new food and eventually loving what thrives in the place they are in, especially mangoes for Shira!

Shira also narrates how music helps her let out every kind of emotion she is feeling. To her, music was one of her outlets and companion to get along. Music has been her friend amid the momentary loneliness of traveling to different places every so often.

And part of everybody’s journey is fear. But for a very young Shira, strange as it may initially seem, her greatest fear is the internet! Here, she also talks about the internet’s dark side, the unknowns in the deep web, like the monster under the ocean while Ulli reveals his trivial stage fright. From this, the two enthusiastically delved into a deeper conversation on fear and their shared experiences which taught them more about themselves.

There’s a lot to reflect upon and learn as the young Shira and Ulli give out their thoughts on fear, death, and, more importantly, on life. Ulli tells how he is amazed that Shira, even at a young age, has that clarity. She’s an alchemist!


Links mention in the podcast

Podcast Highlights

  • Strategies to Arrive:
    “After I travel, I just want to find a place to throw myself in bed and just do my own thing there.” – Shira
  • “When I come to a new place, I always bring a batik, hung it on the wall, arrange my stuff around it and it makes me feel more at home. I always try to get rest with other people, to get into talk with the people around, slowly increasing my radius.” – Ulli
  • “Shira is an earth person, she likes to ground, lie down, and feel herself. Ulli, on the other hand, likes to connect to the space around him.” -Alexandra Kreis
  • “When I feel lonely, music is my escape. When I’m happy, sad, even angry, music is my friend. It expresses how I feel and helps me get along.” – Shira
  • “In Ayurveda, music expresses the rasa or the juice that flows through us. It’s like the ebbing of the tide; you feel like you’re in a big ocean when you’re listening to music.” -Alexandra Kreis
  • “I’m not afraid of dying. I don’t think of dying as me vanishing but more of the people I will leave behind. This I think is what the fear of dying really means.” – Ulli
  • “Even at a young age, we can die any minute. But we should not think about that right now. And also not if you’re older. Don’t force yourself to think about thinks and give yourself an answer.” – Shira
  • “Have trust. If we don’t, we often try to control things, our lives. Life happens to you.” – Ulli