Hi! I’m Cansel (it’s pronounced Jancell, NOT “cancel”!). I didn’t know how difficult it is to write about yourself. I’ll give it a try anyway… Let’s start with why I called my blog Citizen on Earth?
Born in Berlin
I was born in Berlin, Germany. A crazy city. I remember… I was 5 years old, holding my mom’s hand, waiting for the bus and saw couple of punks. Their colorful spiky hairs just fascinated me. I don’t remember much from those years in Berlin but I never forgot this moment.
Then my parents decided to go back to Istanbul, Turkey. I don’t know if they were just homesick or fed up of being the “ausländer” (foreigner) as it was a difficult time in Germany for non-Germans. Or maybe all of it together. All I know I started school that summer in Istanbul and I couldn’t speak a single word in Turkish. It was difficult. I didn’t like our new house, street, and neighborhood. The kids were different. But I managed to make friends. I learned Turkish quickly. But I kept swearing in German. This made my new friends crazy.
Grew up in Istanbul
When I think back, I know now to appreciate it how lucky I’m for growing up in such an awesome city. Istanbul taught me a lot. It taught me to be careful at all times. It taught me how to across busy streets. It taught me how to party. It taught me how to melt different cultures in one person. It taught me to be modest and helpful. It made me an open minded person. Istanbul’s Bosporus Bridge connecting Asia and Europe meant a lot more than just a bridge for vehicles to me. It symbolised a lifestyle for me.
Read my blog posts about Istanbul.
A lifestyle I could not keep under control anymore. I wanted to cross bridges to see the world. But it was difficult to travel with a Turkish passport. I needed visa for all the European and western countries. And Turkish Lira was not worth anything. So I had to find other ways to travel and see the world.
Au-Pair in London
I decided to go to London as Au-Pair. I lived there for a year. It was awesome. I loved it. I experienced a whole new level of me. I learned how to cope with everything on my own. I became an adult. I met so many cool people. I had the chance to see a Michelangelo, a Van Gogh, a Picasso and many many more in real. In my English class there were people from all around the world. Germany, Argentina, France, Italy, Spain, Czech Republic, Macedonia, Japan, oh my god, from everywhere. Every day I learned more and more about other cultures. And I got even hungrier for the world.
Read my blog posts about London
I came back home to Istanbul. I knew I was changed. Or maybe it were my friends who didn’t change. I knew I wanted to go out there. I finished my studies (Spanish Literature) and checked my possibilities of studying abroad. London was too expensive. Spain, not that much but still expensive for me. Germany, wow only 250-300€ per semester and even the costs for public transport are included. Perfect! I’ll go to Germany then. First I registered for a German class. Yes, I had to learn German all over again. Luckily I learned it quickly. Anyways, I applied for the University in Germany for a master program. I got invited and after a lot of struggle for visa I did it. I came to Hanover.
Studying in Hanover…
I have very mixed feelings about this city. It was a culture shock for me. It is such a small city, I asked myself where all the people were gone? And why are they so reserved? “I’m not going to do anything wrong to you! I just want to know where the bank is.” The people I met, no matter young or old, they all asked me why I came to Germany from Turkey. Why not? They all wanted to know if I (have to) wear a headscarf in Istanbul? If I have a big family? If I’m allowed to drink alcohol. If my father would ask for a camel when I marry. My professor didn’t believe me that I wrote that work on my own, because my German couldn’t be possibly that good.
I felt tired and depressed. I wanted to go back home to Istanbul where I only needed to answer questions like if I like Tim Buckley or Nick Cave better.
I moved out from the depressing student dormitory and moved to a shared flat in Linden with two German gals. I immediately felt in love with Linden. I met people from all around the world. At the end, no matter where they were from they all made their choice to live in this lovely neighbourhood.
Internship in Tarragona
I left Hanover for 3 months and lived in Tarragona, Spain. I thought finally a chance to refresh my Spanish after years again. I enjoyed the nice weather and the luxury of living 5 minutes away from beach. I went swimming every day after work. Barcelona was only an hour away and thanks to the job I had the chance to travel all over in Spain. I’ve been to the north and south, to Catalonia, Basque Country and Castile region, to Madrid, Toledo, Bilbao, San Sebastian and many other beautiful places of Spain.
Read my posts about travel destinations in Spain
Chasing love in Frankfurt am Main
After spending 3 years in Hanover I moved to Frankfurt to be near to my love. Frankfurt was different. It’s known with its bankers. Not really something to be proud of, right? It was awkward to see homeless people sitting on the street, directly in front of the European Central Bank. But Frankfurt is more than that.
Frankfurt has some very good local traditional pubs/restaurants in Sachsenhausen. It has a nice skyline, yummy cider (ebbelwoi), Grüne Soße (green sauce) and Handkäs mit Musik (sour milk cheese with onions – that’s why the music).
I made a lot of good friends here. After living here for 1,5 years we moved away to Hamburg, because of a job offer.
Getting Nordic in Hamburg
I lived in Hamburg for 7 years and enjoyed every second of it. First time I felt home in Germany. First time I called a city other than Istanbul, my home town. I love Hamburg, not only because it is the second biggest city of Germany (yes I admit I have an obsession of living in big cities), but also because of its open-minded residents and maybe because of its culture influenced by the North and Baltic Sea.
Read my insider travel guide to Hamburg
New in Cologne
A new job took me to Cologne. It’s too early to say anything about the city, but I’m already planing a lot of day trips, as it is perfectly connected and very closed to Netherlands, Belgium and Luxemburg.
Me? Travel blogger?
I’m not the kind of travel blogger who quit the 9-5 office job to be on the road all the time. Nope. I’m sorry, unfortunately not. I have a regular job and work every day from 9 to 6 (sometimes longer…). I have 27 work days off which I use all to travel.
Each year I plan an overseas long-distance destination for 2-3 weeks, and a couple of 2-3 days city trips around Europe to where the flight is no longer than 3 hours. And I try to visit my family in Istanbul every 3-6 months. And in sunny summer weekends I try to plan day trips to explore the region around.
Under destinations you can find a list of countries I've been to.
So as you see my main challenge is to find time to travel as a full-time employee. Therefore I always plan in advance and choose very carefully where to go, when to go and for how long. I mostly have rough plans for the next 12 months. I hope I’ll have a healthy and long life to see as much as possible from this beautiful planet Earth.
Read my tips to find more time to travel while having a full time job