Acazia Official Germany Blog – Hannover Hangover

For 7 nights I stayed in Hannover and in the company of my host, Azad It was more of a learning experience than an exploratory endeavor. Hannover, with one n, is the English spelling; double n’s is German. Some secondary schools in Germany rise to Grade 13, a German driver’s license cost upwards of $2000 (yes, you read that correctly) and include mandatory driver’s education. That being said, foodstuffs are incredibly cheap, trains run between and trams within cities and bicycles bearing helmetless riders are everywhere.

For days I wandered around the outskirts of the city, sitting in parks and working on Acazia. Mornings and nights I stayed at my little place, still writing, clocking work hours, watching German and occasionally English speaking TV and chatting of matters little and large with Azad. To some disappointment, nothing much happened in Hannover, as I didn’t pursue it, yet it was as I wanted. I was still getting used to this place and this new lifestyle.

Traveling day was a little different. After leaving Azad’s a little while after noon I stopped at the corner grocery store I’d been to before. I had been told that in Germany, ‘cash is king,’ meaning most stores don’t take bank cards. Yet everywhere I have been so far, does; chip only, not swipe. Another guy and I approached the cash resisted at the same time. I let him go first. He spied my purchase, a piece of fruit and a single baked good and told me to go ahead of his full cart. The lady rang me through, and I swiped my card. It didn’t work. I struggled to get out another card and must have slipped up speaking something English, for the guy behind me smiled and shook his head. He paid for my lunch, in full; 0.99 euros.

After returning to Hannover’s main train station I started a march to another station 8 km away. I figured it wasn’t too far; after all I had all day, but I gravely underestimated the weight of my pack after a few hours on foot. Down the manmade lake, the maschsee, I sweated and panted in the noon warmth. My feet hurt and my mouth was parched, but my legs kept surprisingly strong; until a sat for a while to eat and drink and upon standing again, a weariness formed. The last 2 km was back through city streets, suburbs of brick buildings and cars both old and new. Then, up the last hill was the station, to wait and to rest. And rest I did, down the street at the golden arches of cheeseburgers and cold drinks.

The station, Messe/Laatzen, was tiny, pitiful and looked forgotten. There were maybe four rails, opposed to Hannover stations dozen or so. There were no grand electronic screens like at an airport, except a tiny one on each platform. Instead the schedule was tacked to a cork board behind Plexiglas. And just as my luck seems to be, the train was late, by 45 minutes.

On the train it hit me, as it had once before, a bout of doubt. What am I doing here? Why am I doing this? Am I trying to prove something to myself, or someone else? It is hard, harder than it appears. I have to find a new place to live every few days and carrying my heavy pack between cities. I cannot eat what I would like, if not by cost then by the limitation of fridge space and the cooking power of small kitchens. Everyone appears from afar to be native to this country, and I’m embarrassed, ashamed as to not speak their language. I have never been homesick, but at that moment felt unwell. Families, friends and couples brushed past me, and I just sat there, letting the train rumble along the track. The train was packed, so I was jammed on an extra seat in the bicycle cargo area. I felt alone.

“Do you want me to move my bag?” she asked in perfect English.

I looked up. She gestured to a huge black suitcase against another chain. We moved it. I laughed.

“It’s quite heavy,” I said.

She said she was moving, and for some reason that snapped me out of my slump. I didn’t know her situation or her story, but it gave me some comfort knowing I was not the only one alone on that train. We hopped off, and I helped her with her suitcase. There was a subtle exchange of smiles, thank yous and good lucks, and then, she walked the other way. (And yes I am absolutely kicking myself for not getting her number, but that’s not the point.)

The hostel had a key code for the door since I’d gotten there so late and an envelope was left with my name on it. Key in the door, bag-o-bullsh*t down, shoe’s off. Lock everything up, bathroom break and bed. Now that I’m getting more comfortable and used to the situation, perhaps I’ll explore a little more. Perhaps, in Berlin, I’ll find my reason.


  • Your Biggest Fan

    Such a great story Ty and beautiful words, as usual. It was as funny as it was touching; sad even in parts. You only need to do this for you, no one else. Give it time; adjusting and change is hard. Just think of all the positives aspects that this journey will bring you and the negative you can leave behind. As you can see, and as Ray said, the people of Germany are kind. I am glad you met a man like Azad and the gentleman at the corner store. These are the people that will aid you through the rough times, people who care for the well being of others, even strangers. Just as you helped the young girl with her luggage. Restores our faith in humanity, right? Enjoy Berlin, I cannot wait to read the blog on this experience!

  • Ray

    Ty, I am glad you are seeing what I know, people over there generally are old school and kind. As we discussed don’t be surprised when you get invited to dinner after dinner. They will want to know about your travels, your book and your country. It’s normal to feel homesick, and you have a wonderful support network of people who care for you and want to see you succeed. You are doing something that few have done, selling everything to travel is NOT mainstream, and embracing a life of adventure can be tough.

    I am so happy to hear that you connected with a young lady, yet sad you did not try to get her number. As you travel, you WILL meet more lady’s just like her, and I am sure that the right one will come along at exactly the right time! I am guessing you are really going to love Berlin, so much history to explore, enjoy!!!

  • Dad

    Sounds like adventure.
    With adventure there will be trials and tribulations take them all in stride.
    Learn to love them both as they will make you stronger.
    So proud of you Ty

  • Jody

    Hi Ty! I love reading your blog! Again you made me feel like I was there beside you on your journey.
    My heart hurts and my tears flow for you. I know first handed how hard it is to leave all you have known, and all of your friends and family behind. I does and will get easier as time goes by, just make sure in your heart that you are doing this for you, and you alone. Your friends and family are all hear for you, sending our love and routing you on, you are not alone.
    I am so excited to read about Berlin. Be safe and have fun.

  • A.M.

    Hi Tyler,

    What a beautiful piece, honest and sincere and heartfelt, thank you for sharing that.

    The journey you are on is probably going to be one of the harder things you will encounter in life. Being alone is something everyone fears and yet few tackle. Be strong, be wise, keep your eyes open and your heart full knowing that you always have a home to return to. As you move through new situations and encounters you will expand your world, your eyes will open, your heart will fill and your memories will last you a lifetime. You will return with a different outlook and life will fall into place as it should for you.

    “Expose yourself to your deepest fear; after that, fear has no power, and the fear of freedom shrinks and vanishes. You are free.” JIM MORRISON

  • Gram

    You are never alone Ty. Every single member of your family, every person you call friend, are all with you in your heart and each and every one of us carry you in ours. We all think about you every day and are so very proud of this great adventure you are embarking on. Remember that strangers are just friends you’ve not met yet. Dur de dur dee dur Carl poppa XX

  • Linda Jones

    Hi grandson.
    One thing I find entertaining and funny is looking at the world through your eyes.
    You have brought back memories for me of my childhood and years spent in Germany that were buried for quite some time.
    I found the German people quite friendly and kind. My memories are happy ones and thank you for stirring them.
    You are fulfilling a dream and nourishing your soul by seeking out and pursuing your thirst for travel, knowledge and new experiences. Many happy travels Tink.
    I know leaving friends and family for the unfamiliar is sometimes daunting but thrilling at the same time. Rest assured you are in our hearts and minds.
    As for the young lady, you have much living to do and it (love) will fall in your lap when you aren’t thinking about it and least expect it !

  • Grandpa

    Your writing is amazing, I feel that I’m there with you, I remember all the good times and friends I made. You have started a new chapter in your own life making new friends and acquaintance and loves.
    I look forward to reading all your blogs and hear the excitement, wonderment and even the disappointments, they are all good caracter and story builders.
    Dit do Tink be safe but have fun on your way.

  • Nanna

    Hi Ty – sounds like an awesome adventure. It takes time to come to terms being alone. Just remember you have lots of people who love you. It hasn’t been very long and it will pass as you start to get involved and meet more people. Yes you should have got the number of the girl on the train. Hostels are a great place to meet other young people who are traveling. You got this shot honey. Keep busy, enjoy your adventure and most of all keep safe. Love you. Nanna