Q: What inspired you to start Local Insiders?
A: Years ago, a private guide taking me through Xi’an wouldn’t take me to a local restaurant famous for their spicy noodles to taste a local delicacy I was dying to try. “Europeans don’t like the spicy food they have there,” she said. “It would be too overwhelming for you.” Maybe she was right but maybe she was wrong! Years later, I still feel like I missed out on an opportunity—and I don’t want other people to feel the same.
I created Local Insiders so travelers never have to worry on their flight home that they missed out on an authentic experience. So often a hotel concierge or guidebook will point you in the direction of luxury malls or tourist traps when you want to discover small concept stores on a trip to Moscow or an up and coming neighborhood on a European vacation. Local Insiders points you in the right direction with locals that act as your “guides” that you’ll never forget.
»I‘ve always found traveling to be more meaningful
when I get to meet and interact with real locals «
Q: What’s your background?
A: I grew up in Germany but as soon as I finished my education, I started traveling the world. I moved to Switzerland and have been hopping from city to city meeting people that I have brought into my company for decades. I have a vast network of contacts from all over the world that I would trust with any of my clients.
Q: I’ve heard you call yourself an “Experience Matchmaker.” Why?
A: I believe that people make the best travel memories. That’s why I connect my customers with like-minded locals on their vacations. Like a matchmaker but for travel. It gives me great joy as I believe in the power of human connections.
Q: What do you love most about your job?
A: I never know what comes next. It all starts with a white canvas as my customers’ interests are what drive my work. Sometimes they come up with things I hadn’t thought of before, which is great fun! And most importantly, I get to meet and work with many amazing people from around the world.
Q: What have been your favorite travel experiences?
A: Last year I attended the Royal Ascot, a week of horse racing that draws hundreds of thousands of people to Berkshire, England every summer. I get goosebumps thinking about how I watched the Queen arrive in her carriage while the national anthem was playing and people were cheering. In Geneva, I sat on stage to hear Russian classical pianist Evgeny Kissin play at Victoria Hall. I could feel the notes vibrating through the air and the stage. Or I once went on a tour of a coffee farm in Colombia where we got to handpick the beans and see the old way they would grow, harvest, handle and brew a pot of coffee. Every time I have a cup of coffee now, I appreciate the hard work that goes into it. Another truly memorable experience was an epic Renzo Piano exhibition that I saw at the Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris. I left feeling deeply inspired, and it sparked my interest in architecture that makes me travel places today.
Basically, I love any kind of behind the scenes access, unique encounter or different experience. I also have great memories of baby turtles making their way into the ocean on a moonlit night on a beach in North Carolina. And I’ll never forget my visit to the Golden Temple in Amritsar, India – a truly magical place. The Longji Rice Terraces were stunning, too, and so was the Waimea Canyon and the Napali Coast. And I have had great fun ice skating high up in the Swiss Alps on the frozen Lago Bianco, another experience of a lifetime (but, to hear the ice crack was a bit scary, too).
Q: Do you prefer to travel solo or with a partner?
A: While I have to do a lot of solo travel for business, I take my big vacations of the year with my partner (we like to combine culture and beach if possible, and we both love Asia and beautiful luxury hotels). I occasionally travel with friends who share certain interests such as a friend who loves classical music and Opera as much as I do and we will visit festivals such as the Bayreuth Festival together which is great fun as she is a true Wagner expert and sings the motifs to me. Or I will travel to Dessau with a friend who is a true Bauhaus expert and Dessau insider. These are the kind of insider experiences that make me travel anywhere in the world just to experience them.
Q: What’s your dream destination? Where haven’t you been yet?
A: I love animals, so I would love to see the mountain gorillas in Rwanda or the orangutans in Borneo. To attend an haute couture fashion show in Paris, to do New Year’s Eve in Sydney and to travel to Melbourne to explore its much talked about food scene, or to get tickets to Wimbledon would also be an experience of a lifetime for me. I love architecture, too. Therefore the Olympic House, the Olympic’s new headquarter in Lausanne is on my list. So is the new building on Adidas Campus’ that they are building to house the German soccer team during the European championship 2020. As a soccer fan, being from that part of Germany, and as a fan of modern architecture, this is high up on my list. I hope to plan one of those trips for myself soon!
What are you dreaming about? What’s on your bucket list? I’d love to have a chat!
Keep traveling & exploring,
PS: For questions regarding how Local Insiders works, please visit the frequently asked questions page.