Anne SF, 1546
Japanese Garden (San Francisco CA, USA, 2012); copyright: Jennifer Zee, Gingko Photos

Hello! My name is Anne – 32-year old athlete / blogger / scientist, currently based in Berlin, Germany.

In a way, my childhood primed me for taking unusual paths. I grew up in Southwestern Germany (nearby Heidelberg), with a low mountain range in easy reach for exploring. My younger brother and me never understood when other children complained about hiking or going on vacation with their parents. We never did any of that. Instead, our family went out to have adventures. When we did what others call hiking, we rarely followed paths, but ventured crosscountry. When we did what others called going on vacation, we crossed Europe in our orange VW transporter – sleeping in our bus, our tents, or underneath the stars.

family on bus, 1546
Childhood memories of exploring Europe with our VW transporter

At the tender age of 16, an extended student exchange program brought me to Brazil – one of the best experiences in my life and one that forever fired my imagination of the beautiful places out there to be explored. Ever since I turned 18, this is exactly what I have done. Since that day, I was fortunate enough to live in a number of countries (USA, China, South Korea), have travelled all over Asia, crossed Russia, explored parts of South America and its Northern neighbor, started to venture out to Africa and kept being on the move in Europe. Relationships and friendships, studies and jobs came and went, the travel bug stayed and has led me to more than 40 countries so far. Reporting from my journeys in words and photos became a hobby early on and an addiction only shortly later – an addiction that turned, eight years ago, from sending e-mails to friends into blogging.

In my non-nomadic life, I studied Computer Science and Biomedical Engineering, both in Germany and the US (Karlsruhe Institute of Technology, University of Michigan, Carnegie Mellon University). My path in research continued towards pursuing a PhD, exploring brain functions with Machine Learning methods. Another opportunity to move – and in my case, to move to Berlin.

anne beach world championships 2015
Playing for the German national team (women’s) at World Championships in beach ultimate frisbee (Dubai, UAE, 2015)

Sports has played an exceptional role throughout my life. After 17 years in track and field, I encountered the American team sport ultimate frisbee while studying in Michigan – and immediately became hooked. I decided to trade running in one direction on a track by myself with running in all sorts of directions with 13 other people on a field. What started as a trial ‘just while living in the US’ became one of my deepest passions that has lasted 10 years so far, culminating in playing for the German womens national team in beach ultimate frisbee (finishing 3rd at Europeans 2013 and 5th at worlds 2015). Apart from that, I love playing for my Berlin-based team jinX – a wonderful group of ladies, with whom we regularly vie for titles both on the German and the European level.

This summer, however, will neither bring tournaments in ultimate frisbee, nor scientific conferences. Instead, there will be a lot of traveling and writing. And even more cycling ;-). Am I ready for that? You bet! And I would enjoy your virtual company on the road.

3 comments

  1. Jene, Sonja says:

    Liebe Anne, wie geht es Dir inzwischen. Von Rita hörte ich, dass Ihr jetzt am Himalaya seid. Ist es nicht schrecklich kalt? Ich friere hier schon. Gerade habe ich meinen 63.Geburtstag gefeiert mit Rita, Josef, Carola und Freunden. Julian musste fliegen. Wir feiern morgen nach. Kommst Du über Weihnachten nach Hause, ich meine zu Deinen Eltern. Ich würde mich sehr freuen, Dich zu sehen und von Deiner Reise zu hören. Vielleicht magst Du ja ein bisschen erzählen oder sogar Bilder zeigen? Ich kann mir auch gut vorstellen, dass Du nach so tiefgreifenden Erlebnissen erst mal Zeit brauchst zu verdauen. Wo immer Du gerade bist mit Deinem Freund, ich wünsche Euch wunderbare Erlebnisse und eine glückliche Zeit
    Bis bald, herzliche Umarmung von Sonja

    • annewestwards says:

      Liebe Sonja,

      schoen von dir zu hoeren! Ja, ich bin momentan im indischen Himalaya und hatte die letzten Wochen daher auch keinen internet-Zugang. Es stimmt, die Temperaturen nachts werden langsam sehr kalt – dafuer waermt einen tagsueber die Sonne wieder schoen auf. Die Zeit mit Christian war sehr schoen, aber ich geniesse jetzt auch wieder die Zeit mir mir selbst.
      Es freut mich, dass du eine schoene Feier hattest! Ich werde an Weihnachten vorraussichtlich nach Hause kommen – klar, ich berichte dann gerne auch mit Fotos (davon gibt es inzwischen jede Menge).

      Eine Umarmung zurueck,
      Anne

  2. Scott Bolden says:

    Super cool Anna!

    I am really proud of you for living life fully and documenting it so artfully! You are awesome.

    Looking forward to seeing you soon enough…

    Maybe even telling your stories at the Baumhaus!

    Peace,
    Scott

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