Welcome to my page!
Behind nicepaths hides Nicole Guether, former gallery assistant, research assistant, tutor at University of Heidelberg, co-curator, current art historian, PhD candidate, public speaker, art educator, art & exhibition critic, as well as adventurer, yogi and nomadic world travelling writer.
In 2018, I made the final steps to change the way I was living. I quit my job at Heidelberger Kunstverein, signed up for workaway and booked a one-way flight to Lisbon, Portugal. I had 2 and a half months before I had to return to Germany for a freelance job at Art Karlsruhe. At that time, I didn’t really know what I would do afterwards, but I already had the feeling that I definitely wouldn’t just go back to continue what I had been doing for too long.
After graduating in art history at the University of Heidelberg, I began a PhD project because I worked on the topic just for interest anyway. To avoid being overqualified without any professional experience and in need of money I worked in a gallery, and for a museum. I also worked at the university for some time, and did some freelance jobs when I could. I started holding opening speeches for exhibitions shortly after I graduated, and later I also guided visitors through exhibitions at Kunsthalle Mannheim. At one point I found myself with 3 jobs and my PhD barely progressing due to the little time I actually had. All this and only to keep my head above water. Vacations haven’t been possible in years with my slim wallet.
However, my actual wish to travel the world became less and less likely. As probably many of us I kept on saying that I still could travel later in life, after studies, after entering into professional life, after doctorate, after… but there is always something to do, something to finish. But since I was a child, I had imagined myself exploring and experiencing distant places while studying my atlas. My desired student exchange failed due to a lack of permission from my parents. After graduating from school I intended to embark on a year of work & travel in Australia but it didn’t happen, this time due to a lack of money. Then I got stuck in a life I didn’t want to be living. Even when I finally had only one job my situation had not changed fundamentally. The payment in Germany’s cultural sector is just too bad. My life was completely the opposite to what I imagined. I felt depressed and overburdened, exhausted because of all my commitments and also the impossible goals I was striving for.
But life is constantly changing and suddenly I realised that it was me who had driven myself into a dead end. It has been the little moments in life that opened my mind to what I really wanted as well as people I had met, one in particular, with an unconditional enthusiasm for life who made me aware of what I was doing wasn’t what I wanted anymore. But the losses in life are those moments that take away the fears and concerns. A switch had flipped. I had finally lost my fear about what could happen if… and I realised that all my considerations about my future in the past few years were just rubbish. Would I really quit a well paid job for travelling? And, for god sake, how old would I be when this happened? And even if I did quit everything in the moment that I achieved my goals, would it be what I had wanted for all those years or just another compromise?
In my first week back home from Portugal, I decided to quit the flat I had lived in for the previous 9 years at the end of the same week. In under a month, I managed my work on the art fair in Karlsruhe, while receiving twice a week vaccinations for the tropics, organised my moving out and storage for all my belongings, made my de-registration from Germany and got a travel insurance. I left the city where I had lived for 14 years within three weeks of making that decision and booked an one-way-ticket to Thailand. So easy is changing life.
Since then I am travelling full time. With just a 40 litre bag. And on my own, but never alone.
This journey is not just a gap year but an escape from all the restrictions in Germany that makes it impossible to make a living from creativity when you don’t have any financial independance.
I learnd so far that in life you always will have to choose between freedom and security but that there is only the illusion of safety.
Thanks for visiting, I am grateful for each of you who wants to join my journey on the nice paths of our beautiful earth.
P.S. My life is bilingual – so is my blog!