• Josh Garman

Solo Trip To Nuremburg Germany

Updated: Apr 4, 2020

Over the past year I had been on a few solo trips and was starting to plan a year of solo travel. After visiting China and falling in love with the country my desire to travel was only going stronger. After China I had visited Nuremburg in Germany and Chicago. Before I explain my next travel plans I want to briefly talk about these two trips.

The first place I was to visit was Nuremburg for an aquarium show. As talked about in my previous blogs I had become obsessed with aquariums and so I set out to Germany with the hopes of joining the aquatics world as a new business idea. I took the short flight over and prepared for Interzoo which is the biggest aquarium and pet show in Europe. It was taking place over 2 days and all of the people I idolised were going to be there. They had gained a presence through Instagram , youtube and so on. To me they were fish gods (son’s of Poseidon, fishkeeping celebs among other names…) and the chance of meeting these niche celebrities was an opportunity I wouldn’t pass up. I arrived the morning of the first day the show began, hopped off the plain taking a deep breath now I was on firm ground. From there I took a train which arrived directly outside the exhibition hall. The location was made up of aircraft carriers, they had a total of 11 of these filled with aquariums and pet products. What I’m trying to say here really is that it was huge!

To gain access to this event you had to apply as a business as it was for traders only. I had a website, some business cards and my logo on a t-shirt. That’s a business right? I headed in, picked up my corporate pass and headed in. Inside I was welcomed by one of the most amazing places I had ever visited and even got a chance to meet some of my idols (including some embarrassing selfies.) Now as your probably here to read about traveling and not about fish I won’t go into anymore detail in the hopes that your still reading. The first day went great and I had networked with a few individuals that could help me in this new found world. For me it was great to find a place that I could nerd out and converse with people who knew what a nitrate filter was. In fact I had come up against more than I expected even to the point that these people were challenging me. Their wealth of information made me realise how intricate these systems were. After I finished I left excited and had a sense of purpose to my life again. I headed to my pre planned hostel to check in through the centre of the town. A wonderfully idyllic German town, one that would suit a postcard quite nicely. With castle grounds, wooden buildings and various markets there was a lot to experience.

Down a small side street I came to a set of steps leading up a dark entryway. Above it a wooden sign creaked and swayed lightly in the wind. It reminded me of an old pub sign, I hesitantly began climbing the stairs. Was this my hostel? Now I would like to point out to those that know me now versus back then. At the time of writing this was almost 2 years ago and I was a lot more sensitive. After extensive travelling I am now happy to boast my ability to sleep literally anywhere; my needs have become significantly lower and a lot of hostels I have staid at would give people nightmares. Bed bugs okay I’m talking about bed bugs. So being a little more sensitive I headed up, check in and was surprised when I was told to look around. Hmmm I wonder what this place is like. I wondered round the small building and found my room. Inside was a number of beds stacked on top of each other. No problem there I had done this before in China. As far as I could see however there was no lockers to put my stuff in and worst of all no showers. I had brought my laptop and camera gear so no locker was a bit worrying. No showers? Terrifying.

It was still early in the afternoon so I grabbed my bag and headed back out. I decided that I would forget about it and see how the day went. If I hadn’t thought of a better plan by the end of the day then I would return. Oh how the aquarium world would love me after a few days of no showering. I used to run an aquarium page on Instagram and would post daily of my fish adventures. At the time of the event I was around 8-9k followers and had lots of people following along with my trip. A lot has changed with how I view the world and social media. Back then I would always do the typical influencer action of editing my life and making it appear better than it was. Now I am as transparent as possible as I want people to understand the realities of traveling. I personally think the bad bits are just as fun, just as important as the good ones! Funny enough my hostel was not mentioned on my Instagram story that day. Some people on my Instagram had been fans for a long time and I had been working on the page for almost 2 years.

Two of my earliest followers on the page were Kosi and Tobias. They had followed me from when I had less than 500 followers and would always message me for advice, part-take in my quizzes and basically become some of my biggest supporters. Where did they happen to live? Erlangen, which was 15 minutes on the train from Nuremburg. We had been talking on Instagram and I headed on the train to meet them, it amazed me the idea of potential contacts around the world. On the other end of the train I met Kosi and was elated to have a friend in a new country. We walked around the town for a while chatting, I got the chance to see her university and gain some insight into the culture here. I feel for people of the same age in Europe life is not vastly different, we think mostly the same about things. I did learn over the next few days that there is still big cultural differences between our countries that are often not noticed at the beginning. After we were done exploring Kosi invited me back to their apartment to stay the night.

Overwhelmed with joy my hostel problem had fixed itself, hence why it is always important to go with the flow (aren’t you clever josh, saved by luck once again…) We headed back and I met Tobias. Together we had a fantastic evening and they were great hosts! I got to see their fish tank, Tobias made us pizza from scratch as we chatted. We spent the rest of the evening watching one of my favourite thriller Netflix seasons which happened to be German and drank a local beer late into the night. I fell into some dreamy beer induced sleep on the sofa and had set no alarm. Content as getting into a warm sleeping bag after a day of walking. My natural sleep wake cycle gets me up quite early so I gradually stirred and got to have a warm shower. Yes! While having breakfast I was hit by a fantastic idea, it was the weekend so I enquired into what they had planned. They were free that day so were up for anything. They had given me so much support and were equally into aquariums as I was so I hatched a plan to break them into the show. I went on my laptop and added them as employees of the business, added a few photos of them and names to my website to make it look official. We headed together to the giant entrance hall and went to try and get some more passes. They were like gold dust round here.

We chatted to the lady at the front desk and tried desperately to convince her that these were my employees. After describing our pre planned job roles and what they did as part of my company we managed to get the passes! To this day I don’t think she actually believed a bunch of 19 year olds ran an aquarium company but she probably liked our persistence. We grabbed some more passes and went round to see the show. This was my final day in Germany and It was great to spend it with such amazing friends. We checked out some of the many intricate displays prepared for the festival, coral and plant tanks constructed in ways far beyond my imagination. After a long day of aquatic goodness we parted ways and I headed for my flight home. My short trip abroad was over and once again I knew this life was for me.

I had one more trip ahead of me before I would make the decision to head away for an entire year. I was headed to Chicago. A wonderfully busy place full of culture and more amazing people. Once again I was headed over for an aquarium show. A hobby and business idea which would drop off shortly afterwards as I realised that I was committed to a travel lifestyle and would have to make a choice between seeing the world or staying at home keeping fish tanks. It was a great passion of mine for a long time but the choice was obvious. But more about Chicago in the next blog and how I plan to spend a year on the road. I was to learn the hard way during my travels that events never go to plan and no matter how much control you try to have, your efforts will never bring you anything but stress. I was going to learn the hard lesson of not planning, not overthinking and was going to learn what it really takes to be on the road for a long time.

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