Life is all about balance - Maarten Schafer
Life is all about balance - Maarten Schafer
Life is all about balance - Maarten Schafer

Life is a balance between what we can control and what we cannot. Learn to live life between effort and letting go.

The most gratifying moments in my life were when I found the courage to let go of what I couldn’t change.


We are having breakfast on a terrace in Doha’s Old Town when we meet Charne, a South African woman working in Qatar. “What do expats do in their spare time?” we ask her. “Most people work six days a week, with a day off on Fridays,” she says. “There are things to do out of town: beaches, dunes, and an old fort but most people stay in Doha and go shopping.” She explains that the air-conditioned malls are popular with expats, especially in summer when temperatures regularly hit 40ºC.

Maarten Schafer - Around the World in 80 Brands - CoolBrands
Maarten Schafer - Around the World in 80 Brands - CoolBrands

She proposes to take us to Souk Waqif, the city’s traditional…


I’m off to Dubai again…
People asked me what I think of Dubai and why I visit the place so often. The real answer is, that I find it extremely interesting that there are soo many different nationalities in one place. The answer I give is a story… and it goes like this: “Driving through Dubai is like leafing through The Guinness Book of World Records.

The biggest shopping mall, the biggest dancing fountain, the biggest indoor ski slopes; if it ain’t larger than life, you’re probably not in Dubai. …


We are in downtown New York. We have been here several times before and know Manhattan pretty well.

We are discussing our plans for the day while enjoying a caramel macchiato in one of the zillions of Starbucks cafés that help keep New Yorkers awake.

“Let’s see, what will it be this afternoon?” I ask. “We could take some pics from the top of the Empire State Building!” “Again?” says Anouk.

“Skating in Central Park?” I suggest.

“Done that!” Anouk replies.

“Check out the Bronx?” I try.

“Hmmm, maybe not,” is the answer.

“A helicopter flight…?” I persist. Anouk is…


Swimming with a whale shark - One down on my bucket list - Maarten Schäfer

We are sailing in the Gulf of Aden towards Djibouti. Our captain, Maurizio, who is a barista in his spare time, is standing behind his espresso machine preparing a caffè latte macchiato. Suddenly the calm is disturbed by one of the crew: “Whale shark!” Leaning over the rail of the 38-metre schooner, we scan the water’s surface but can see nothing but waves.

“Whale shark!” the sailor calls out again and gestures towards the waves. Suddenly we see part of a tail fin emerging above the surface, slowly cutting through the water.

We abandon our coffee and upon Maurizio’s directions…


I’m traveling from Santiago de Chile to the South… I’m on my way to Patagonia. This morning I arrived in Chile’s lake region, which is famous for its spectacular scenery. Deep-blue mountain lakes, snow-capped volcanoes and dense forests. I decided to make a stop at a biological reserve called Huilo-Huilo, which consists of 600 km2 of native rainforest and many waterfalls. My goal for today is to reach and admire the Huilo-Huilo waterfall.

I park my car at the start of the Puma trail, which leads to the ‘salto’, which means waterfall in Spanish. While I climb the rocky trail…


Maarten Schafer — Author and Storyteller
Maarten Schafer — Author and Storyteller
Maarten Schafer — Author and Storyteller

I have this joke I use to make a lasting impression when I first meet people.

Instead of saying “I have dyslexia”, I say “I have sex daily”. I say it with a totally straight face, which makes people unsure of what I just said.

“You have what?” they ask.

And with the same straight face I say, “I have dyslexia. You know: difficulties reading, a short attention span, mixing up words…”

Most of the victims think it’s funny and do not forget me easily.

Having a short attention span is not always a disadvantage. It actually helps for storytelling…


The Iguassu river meanders through a rainforest called the Mata Atlantica before reaching its apotheosis in the Iguassu falls.

Iguassu Falls

In the 16th century, when the Spanish explorers reached the current Brazilian coast, the Atlantic Rainforest covered the complete coastline from North to South, much further than the eyes could see.

‘Civilisation’ replaced forest with cities and agriculture leaving only 7% of the primary forest. “Who needs trees, if you can have cities and cars?” I think out loud, while we’re following a track through the wilderness towards the river. “But then again, what will we breath when there are no…


Maarten Schafer - Author and Storyteller
Maarten Schafer - Author and Storyteller

Chad has a chequered history marked by civil unrest, instability, poverty and, more recently, streams of refugees flowing in from neighboring Sudan. Recent developments, however, are bringing the promise of a new era in Chad’s history. For the time being, however, tourism remains virtually non-existent in Chad, making it difficult for visitors like us to discover the country.

At the Kempinski Hotel in N’Djamena, I meet Zaid who gives us some interesting insights into the country. Half-Ethiopian, half-German, Zaid combines European efficiency with an African heart — a perfect mixture in Chad. He suggests I visit the SOS Children’s Village…

Maarten Schäfer

“I travel the world. I Take nothing but pictures, kill nothing but time and leave nothing but footprints.”

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