What inspired the creation of The Berlin Sustainable Getaway?
We founded The Berlin Sustainable Getaway earlier this year after a nice brainstorming session in November. We are two friends and met each other during our Master’s course – Sustainability in Fashion in Berlin.
We were looking for a nice way to be able to combine our sustainable lifestyle, sharing knowledge, networking and our love for Berlin together. The answer for this was the idea of hosting our own sustainable getaways in the city. Throughout the whole experience, and even after, it is all about exchanging knowledge and empowering each other to work towards a sustainable world.
Where do you typically show people around Berlin on your Airbnb experience, or does it vary?
For our tour, we have created a route through the neighborhoods of Kreuzberg and Neukölln. There, we will explore the best places with a green and fair mindset. During the tour, we visit different stores and places with whom we collaborate. The owners of these places welcome our guests with a nice introduction followed by the amazing background stories behind their concepts.
What are some exciting companies that you work with to feature on the experience? Why these cafes and stores?
Before creating our tour, we already knew some nice places around which we would love to collaborate with. However, during the creation, we also did some great discoveries ourselves which are now one of our favorite highlights of the tour.
For instance, we discovered Erica’s Naturkosmetik in Weserstrasse, where the owner Antje Thomsen sells a wonderful selection of natural cosmetics. Walking into the store is each week very pleasant as it smells like a natural candy store. What is also so great about the place is that a lot of the soaps are handmade by Antje her mother Erica and that all products are produced under ethical and environmental friendly circumstances.
Another great discovery for us was Upcycling by François Rossier in Hobrechtstrasse. We are delighted that we have the chance to visit his atelier and see his latest creations weekly. With his artistic designer view he creates the most unique furniture pieces out of unwanted products. An interesting part of his work is that every piece contains historical elements but combined they have a new story to tell.
With our tour we would wanted to feature both well-known sustainable companies as also interesting smaller local companies. It is important for us to provide a platform for these local initiatives and build up a strong network between the owners and guests.
When it comes to your personal travels, how do you think exploring the local culture of a destination helps you discover its story and layers of history?
Bodil: I really enjoy seeing what people their daily life’s look like in other places. It is so interesting that just with a few hours of traveling you can already end up in a completely different world. In most places, you can really tell that the local people are very proud of their cultural heritage and are happy to share this with everyone.
Luna: I think diving into the local cultures of the places you are exploring is the most important – and fun – part of a trip. Getting in contact with what local people do, buy, the places they hang out in, and what they eat, is what makes a trip. You always go back home feeling richer and more open to seeing the world with its all differences. Also, I love talking with locals and sharing stories and facts.
Share about a particularly memorable trip you’ve been on! Why was it so special?
Bodil: For me, this was the road trip I took through Cuba in 2016. It was two weeks of discovering the island while passing through it with an old car. What I loved so much about this trip was that there were always surprises along the way. I loved how the local people were so welcoming and how everything was still like time had stopped. I did not do too much research about Cuba beforehand (on purpose), as I also always like to be surprised in the moment. The diversity of the nature on the island was one of these beautiful surprises. From a rainforest to a cave and from bounty beaches to the mountains.
Luna: A couple of years ago, I went to Stromboli, a small volcanic island in Italy. For the first time, I got completed immersed in the local culture. The hospitality of the people I met there really shocked me. There were some girls who took my friends and me to their parent’s house to have dinner, they offered us one delicious dish after the other and they engaged us in incredibly interesting conversations.
The next day the grandpa of one of the girls, a professional fisherman for some local restaurants, took us fishing for octopuses that we then cooked and ate on the same boat. He taught us the importance of using local resources and how to connect with the specific piece of world you are living in. Also, we witnessed the power of nature by climbing the volcano to the top and seeing the lava getting into the sea in red flames and black steams. This trip really changed something inside of me.
What advice would you share with a budding travel entrepreneur?
Bodil: Sometimes just go to a place that would not seem the first, obvious, place you would like to visit. It can lead to a travel experience that will leave you with the most unexpected impressions and memories.
Luna: Try experiences that you would never be comfortable doing at home or that it is a lifetime you want to do, but never had the courage to. They could really change your perspective of the world – or, at least, you would have a great story to tell once back home!