A combination of wanderlust and creativity are the perfect match for a photographer and a travel writer, who are not just interested in travelling and seeing the world; they want to explore and be a part of the places they visit. These ingredients yielded the brilliant concept ‘For 91 Days’: exploring the world by moving to a new ‘random’ city every 91 days… And until May that place is Buenos Aires.
The latter happened: the couple replaced the big and artsy Berlin for a picturesque little fishing town on the west coast of Ireland. However, one and a half years of rain was more then enough, so the next place had to be sunny and warm. With this in mind and upon advice from some friends, they decided on Valencia, Spain, the place where their ‘master idea’ was born.
Enjoying the pleasure of a bottle of wine in a French restaurant in the Spanish coastal city the idea of For 91 Days was said aloud for the first time. Jürgen explains: “For a while we were thinking about a manner to not only travel, but also merge into the life of the local citizens. Moreover, we have to do it long-term since we both want to maintain our daily work. That is how we end up with these 91 days; a perfect time to make a city your own, explore it and get in touch with the local people. In a way you are really feeling at home!” Michael adds: “You can see it as a kind of ‘slow travelling’. And to be honest, we mainly chose for this exact 91 days for the simple reason that 365 days in year divided by four makes 91.”
After two and a half years of Valencia’s pleasant climate, they were still not done with Spain, so they decided that Oviedo would be their first place to start For 91 Days. Jürgen explains: “We thought Oviedo is quite original and seemed a good mix between a travel and local-oriented destination, since the place is a famous holiday destination for especially Spanish people. It is not that touristy and besides, a totally different kind of Spain than Valencia.”
When it came to choosing the second place the couple would spend their 91 days, it was more of a family affair, as Michael explains: “Since my brother [who lives in the US] was having a baby it was already sure that we would spend our next 91 days at least somewhere in the United States.” Since the climate remained an important factor for the two men, they created a list of approximately ten places in the States with a suitable climate and where they had both never been before. They narrowed it down to Savannah, Georgia; the second destination for their next 91 days.
A For 91 Days destination is based on a few key factors including climate, culture, originality, language and atmosphere. Also the men like a place is not yet that well known. “Taking this into account, our third for 91days’ destination of Buenos Aires is actually a bit strange. It is an exception to our ‘rules’; Buenos Aires is just a place that has always been fascinating the both of us. So it’s more a ‘just for us’ destination,” Michael says.
However, the slow travellers do not have a particular list of places or continents that they necessarily have to tick off. Michael illustrates: “Actually it all happens very spontaneously and naturally. For example when we read something about a place in a travel magazine and we get totally excited by that, we say to each other; ‘maybe a nice one for our next 91days’!”
Given that both men can work online to maintain their websites, the place where they spend 91 days can be purely random, as long as it has a proper internet connection. Although, a little bit of comfort and dog-friendliness will be appreciated too. “Because we do not only live but also work from home, we quite fancy a kind of comfortable home. Moreover, the place has to be dog-friendly, since our dog is travelling with us,” Jürgen says. “We are so lucky with our jobs; that we are able to live our lives in this manner; exploring different places of the world while we can still continue our work and earning our money.”
Due to the fact that they are earning a living from websites, a blog – where you can find everything about their For 91 Days’ destinations – was inevitable. On this blog, the perfect matchup of Jürgen and Michael bears fruits again: photographer Jürgen takes care of all the images on the site and travel writer Michael provides the stories. Michael: “Our For 91 Days blog is actually just a sort of expensive hobby!” They currently have roughly 900 people following the blog on a regular basis and 2000 people are following ‘for 91 days’ on twitter.
The blog contains the experiences of the two world citizens, but you can also find special features and reviews of things you can do and see in the concerning For 91 Days place. Recommendations of restaurants, clubs, museums, cafes and all things you can also find in a guidebook, you will discover on the website. However, in this case the difference is that these are written and suggested based on the real life experiences and opinions of two locally minded travellers.
Michael illustrated: “The first thing we do when we are arrive at our new destination is make a list of all that we want to see, do and explore in the city. The entire list, with more on top, has to be completed before we leave the city in question. That is a requisite and an immediate motivator to be busy the whole time.” Jürgen added: “The website makes us do things and gives us the feeling we have to do that. In here we attempt to be original too and not only cover the standard touristy things. The biggest compliment for us is when a local states he has not even been there (to a specific place/sightseeing).”
It is not only the daily life of the couple, but also the way they explore the world and decide their route contains a certain structure. Since both men are working and are travelling with their dog, they can not just stop any old hostel. “The first month of our 91 days we get used to the place. At the end of the first month we are already deciding on our next destination, in a way we can use the two other months to arrange and organise things concerning our stay there,” explained Jürgen. So the couple already know now that their next 91 days will be spent in Bolivia.
It is obvious that these men are not made to lead regular, ‘normal’ lives. They get triggered by seeing and experiencing new places all the time. Besides, they are used to moving around; they also spent their childhood in various places around the world. As Michael said: “We cannot just sit at home all day long or live a life that is all set out. It is like a disease or a sickness, that we can not stay in a certain place for too much time. Five years living in one place would simply drive us crazy.”