Allow me to introduce myself to you, especially since you are considering to spend some of your valuable free time on a tour with me.
For all of you with little time and a love for quick facts, here the bullet-point version of my story, for those of you with a little more time and a love for detail, scroll further down to the more elaborate version.
I’m a true Berliner, born at a time when the Berlin Wall was most likely the biggest graffiti and street art canvas in the world
Always loved to travel, which I did extensively as a university student and as flight attendant
In 2010, I came to Hong Kong for my job as a flight attendant but stayed out of love to my husband and the city.
After getting married in 2011, I started working part-time and shuttled between Hong Kong, Germany and the world on a three-month alternating basis until I hung up my uniform completely in 2017 and moved to HK for good.
Classic German “Abitur” (German high school diploma), spending a year abroad as a high school student in the USA (in small town Iowa), that year also kickstarted my love for travel and living abroad
During university, traveling and living abroad continued with summer sessions at UC Berkeley and 2 semesters at Montreal’s McGill university, as well as language classes in Granada, Spain and Paris, France.
I graduated with an M.A. from Berlin’s Freie Universität (majoring in North American Studies and minoring in Art History and Economics), writing my final paper on “Transculturalism in the movie businesses of Hollywood, Japan and Hong Kong”
To earn my way through university, I mainly worked as an instructor for ballroom dancing at my university and as a tour guide for the Allied Forces Museum Berlin
Internships at the Talent Campus of the Berlinale Film Festival
My first job after graduation took me to Cologne to work for a small film distribution company specialized in Asian movies
In 2009, I followed the call of the wide world and exchanged my office attire for a blue uniform and became a flight attendant with Lufthansa
2014 worked as a German teacher at the Goethe-Institut in Hong Kong (after acquiring a certificate for teaching German as a foreign language)
2017 acquired my HK tour guide license (with the HK Travel Industry Council)
Since 2018, I've been the Chief Storyteller of Wanderlust Walks Hong Kong Street Art Tours
I’m also the official tour guide of HK’s one and only street art festival HKWalls
Street Art Enthusiasm:
Around 2010, my love for street art was also born in my hometown when on a rainy Berlin summer day, I felt that some kindred soul had been reading my mind and transferred my thoughts about the weather onto the pavement by having sprayed in big white letters on a wet gray pavement “Das ist doch kein Wetter” (roughly: What crappy weather”)
Hunting street art around the globe while working as a flight attendant
Still hunting street art around the globe, these days most of my trips are motivated by and revolve around street art (sometimes, a little to the dismay, to the ones traveling with me)
Continuously capturing street art in Hong Kong since 2010, currently working on a book about HK’s street art scene.
AND... here's the more elaborate version, I am a storyteller after all! :)
My name is Alex and I was born and bred in Berlin, Germany at a time when Berlin was most likely the city with the biggest continuous graffiti canvas in the world, the Berlin Wall.
Nevertheless, it wasn’t until around 2010 that I started paying close attention to street art. I still vividly remember the moment that got me hooked: It was one of those gray and rainy Berlin summer days that had me hunched under my umbrella, paying very close attention to where I was stepping if I didn’t want to end up knee-deep in a puddle. What stopped me in my place wasn’t a puddle after all but bright white letters on the gray wet sidewalk spelling out “Das ist doch kein Wetter”, roughly translated: “What crappy weather”. Suddenly, the gray rainy weather was forgotten, instead I had a big smile on my face thinking “Someone is on the very same page as I am”. I felt understood and not alone anymore in my grumpiness towards this “summer weather”. It was simply wonderful. From then onwards, I was paying close attention to my surroundings, hoping there would be other cool messages or other cool things on the street or in those little side alleys. And that was where my life as street art hunter began...
Granted, quite a bit of time passed between my childhood days and the "trigger" of my interest for street art. So what happened in the meantime? How did I end up in Hong Kong running street art tours? Well, let’s look at some of the key events that got me here, doing what I love.
I’ve always loved to travel, very much looking forward to those summer vacations camping with my family somewhere in Southern Europe. The “event” that really got me hooked about travel and living abroad, though, was my foreign exchange year in the USA. Whereabouts? Small town Iowa became my home for about a year at the age of sixteen, attending high school. Being there before the emergence of the internet, it allowed me to really dive into the experience of living in a foreign country and learning a new language. Aside from the knowledge of English and an American high school diploma, I took home a lot of valuable insights and life lessons, one being: nothing is better or worse, just different.
After that high school year, it always felt a little bit like having ants in my pants when thinking about traveling and so I took every opportunity I was given during my student years to go travel or study abroad.
Doing a masters degree of arts with North American studies as major, art history and economics as minors offered many great opportunities to travel and live abroad: summer sessions at UC Berkeley, two semesters at Montreal’s McGill university, language classes in Spain and France and travels all across Europe to visit friends and family.
To earn my way through university, I was mainly teaching ballroom dancing (yup like "Dancing with the Stars" but without the stars) and doing guided tours at Berlin’s Allied Forces Museum.
When I graduated with a masters degree from Freie Universität Berlin, with my final paper focusing on transculturalism in the movie businesses of Hollywood, Japan and Hong Kong, my first job led me to the city of Cologne, following my passion for moving images. I worked for a small film distribution company that specialized in Asian films. Although working with a great team of wonderful people, I simply wasn’t made for days on days in an office and I also missed traveling. Solution: Being a flight attendant! In 2009, I put on a blue uniform and started working with Lufthansa as flight attendant. That profession proved to be the almost perfect job for a street art lover since it was possible to go, explore and snap pictures of street art all around the globe. Come rain or shine, I always tried to fit in a little bit of street art hunting, even during only short layover times, ending up snapping thousands of (street art) pictures from São Paulo to L.A., Miami to Boston, all across Europe and selected cities in Asia. One of those being Hong Kong, where early on into my new career, I met my husband (no, not on board but during a night of swing dancing). In 2011, we got married and Hong Kong became my part-time home and in 2017 my full-time home. My initial part-time months were spend exploring my new home with all its fascinating aspects from its colorful temples, delicious food offerings and fascinating customs, always paying special attention to its street art scene, keeping my eyes open while roaming the city. I quickly started looking into making most of my available free time in Hong Kong. First, I did a German language teaching certificate, which resulted in me teaching German at the Goethe Institute (the German cultural institute) for a bit, before I turned my attention to sharing my fascination for Hong Kong and especially its street art scene with visitors and locals alike. I acquired my Hong Kong tour guide license and started running cultural tours. With a growing network into the HK street art scene, I started to focus more and more on doing street art tours. By now, having run the official tours for Hong Kong’s one and only street art festival HKWalls, as well as numerous tours for international journalists through the HKTB (Hong Kong Tourism Board), Hong Kong International School and Hong Kong cultural initiatives (Design District Hong Kong) and of course for many interested individual visitors and locals alike.
I hope to welcome you soon to one of my tours too, it will be a pleasure showing you around the colorful and artsy side of this fascinating city.
If you have any questions about the tours, please feel free to contact me.