No need to fly halfway around the globe for an adventure. If you crave a change of scene, try a microadventure instead – a quick after-work getaway. For our film “the berlin microadventure,” Katharina and Henryk Berlet of the travel blog Out of Office explore Berlin’s beautiful surrounding countryside – in the new smart forfour edition crosstown. We caught up with Katharina to hear about the magic of the road, her love of the city, and how our microadventure inspired her.
Hi, Katharina. Let’s start with the obvious: mountains or ocean?
Katharina Berlet: Both! While Henryk loves the sea, I am more drawn to mountains. But we’re both open to the other’s favorite.
Out of Office was born out of a trip around the world in late 2013. Why did you two decide to start the blog?
Katharina Berlet: We thought it would be fun to share our new life “out of office” with others. Back then, and together, we decided to do something for ourselves and travel the world. But we still wanted to do something productive. Soon, we realized that we would really like to start a project together – which turned out to be this blog. Our very first stop was Africa, exploring the island of Zanzibar.
You deliberately took some of your Berlin-based media work with you. Weren’t you planning to drop out and disconnect completely?
Katharina Berlet: Our trip was not meant to be an escape from everyday life. We didn’t actually hate our jobs, but simply wanted to see and experience a lot more – and finetune that elusive work-life balance a little better.
What’s it like working together as a couple, in creative and editorial terms?
Katharina Berlet: The blog allowed both of us to contribute our professional skills. Henryk shaped the visual style and design, I worked on content and editorial aspects. While we’re happy that friends, family, and relatives are following the blog, we knew from the beginning that it should also have an editorial concept to clearly distinguish our project from a private photo album filled with vacation snaps.
When you’re not traveling, Berlin is your main hub and home. But you still get the occasional urge to leave the city, right?
Katharina Berlet: After two or three solid weeks in Berlin – which doesn’t actually happen very often – both of us tend to notice the stress and strain of being in this city. On the other hand, spending so much time on the road heightens the desire for a real retreat – that is, our own home in Berlin. I guess being able to have and enjoy both in a certain way is what truly makes us happy.
Does a road trip conjure up the same sense of distance and liberation as traveling to faraway places?
Katharina Berlet: Personally speaking, I associate cars with a very strong sense of freedom. It makes it quick and easy to just go and get out into nature. Road trips are a wonderful way to experience “slow travel.” You’re free to stop anywhere and anytime, enjoy the passing scenery, or change direction at a moment’s notice to go off and explore.
Our film took you to Brandenburg, in the new smart forfour edition crosstown. What was it like?
Katharina Berlet: Henryk and I both really enjoyed the car. The smart forfour edition crosstown is incredibly versatile: great for the city, but also for a trip to the nearby countryside. It’s nimble, sprightly, comfortable, and excellent at handling urban traffic. Also, it has plenty of power. It’s important to enjoy the ride. And the size is perfect, too. We easily managed to take and pack everything we needed – in the spacious trunk and on the flexible back seat.
What’s the best thing about going on such a microadventure?
Katharina Berlet: It takes very little preparation. We prefer blind dates with the world. If you end up googling images of your destination before you go, you’re more likely to be disappointed. Naturally, we’re on Instagram and take inspiration from all those visual impressions, but we long ago stopped trying to plan all the details. We want to set off with open eyes and simply see what happens. A microadventure is perfect for that: All you need to do is get in the car and go.
So, does a microadventure mean deprivation?
Katharina Berlet: No. Although both of us occasionally enjoy pushing the limits for a few days, with no frills and minimal baggage, we are also not averse to a great meal or beautiful hotel at the end. We really appreciate the right balance.
What do you take away from such a trip?
Katharina Berlet: The most obvious and precious gain is a temporal dimension. Spending a weekend – or even just a single night – outdoors is simply far more complex and intense: It feels like a proper getaway and makes everyday life seem very far away. The new experiences and shared conversations are very enriching. It re-energizes me so much that I feel inspired to drive out again the very next weekend.
What’s next on the agenda for you and Henryk?
Katharina Berlet: Towards the end of this year, we’re off to Morocco, but before that we’ll visit the Alps. Desert and snow – the very best combo to finish off the year in style.
Katharina and Henryk Berlet treated themselves to something most of us can only dream about: a proper gap year. Before taking a trip around the world in 2013, the two Berlin media specialists packed their bags – and a project: the Out of Office travel blog. Ever since, the duo have been documenting their local and faraway travel experiences. Our film “the berlin microadventure” takes them into Berlin’s surroundings – in a smart forfour edition crosstown.
Join Katharina and Henryk on their microadventure and watch the film here.
For more information on the new smart forfour edition crosstown, click here.
Production and creative direction: smart magazine
Direction, camera, editing, and soundtrack: Broken Bloke Production