Kathrin Heckman, aka Fräulein Draußen, is happiest when she’s standing in the middle of a deserted landscape, listening to the rush of the sea outside her tent, or watching the sunrise on a mountain peak. Since taking her first tentative steps into the world of outdoor adventure (literally and figuratively, she’s completed a range of trips from a 1,000 kilometer expedition in Australia to a 4-week solo road trip through the endless expanse of Alaska, and many small multi-day Tours at home in Germany.
Soon after catching the adventure bug, Kathrin began a blog to share her experiences as a beginner in the outdoor and travel world, and perhaps inspire some people to try it for themselves.
We asked her some questions about her approach to adventure, and her responses are pretty insightful. Reason to find out more about Kathrin.
Describe yourself in three words:
Freedom-loving, spontaneous, potato-addict.
Instant hiking meals or DIY? Any favorite snacks?
The classics like mashed potatoes and Asian noodle soups are always good. The main thing is that it is light, fills you up, tastes like something and is vegan! Otherwise I try to eat lots of nuts and dried fruits for the necessary energy and a few nutrients.
Ultralight, yay or nay? Do you cut your toothbrush in half?!
Light yes, but not ultralight. I always pay attention to the weight of my equipment, but I think there’s more potential for saving a few grams than a toothbrush handle.
Summit logbook or IG pic?
The best thing to do is just be happy. The camera only comes out after some summit time, and Instagram is best-opened when back in the valley. I love to record my Tours and experiences and share them online, but I always try to leave enough space for the experience itself. Fortunately, I usually manage this balancing act quite well.
What motivates you to get outside and explore?
There are about 23498230 good reasons. But in the end I’m probably always looking for that very special mixture of feelings: Being close to nature, freedom and adventure. I can find this on a long-distance hike of several months, or on an after-work Tour to a lower Alpine peak. I also enjoy challenging myself physically and mentally, and doing things I never thought I could do. That’s why I sometimes run ultra-marathons or go on a 300 kilometer-long (186 mile) day-tour on a mountain bike.
What’s been your most epic hike yet and what made it so special?
My first long distance hike. Three months alone with a tent on a 1,500-kilometer (932-mile) trek across Great Britain. This trek changed me personally and was also the catalyst for my independence as an outdoor blogger.
What other plans do you have for the rest of the year?
Actually none, thanks to corona. It feels pretty unfamiliar, but somehow also good. I just finished my two month bike tour through Sweden and Norway, and am currently enjoying hitting the road more on foot again hiking and trail running. I hope there will be some more golden autumn days, but I’m also looking forward to Tours in snow and challenging weather! I’ve always wanted to do a winter multi-day hike in the Black Forest or in the Harz Mountains — maybe this is the year!
What do you never hit the trail without?
I wouldn’t say I’d never leave the house without them, but my binoculars have definitely enriched my Tours. Binoculars open up new perspectives and insights into the world out there and at the same time they’re really nice for hiking breaks and evenings in camp.
What has been the biggest hiking game changer or aha-moment for you?
It may sound a bit trite, but for me the breaks are always one of the most beautiful things about hiking. The moments when you pause, at least for a few minutes (or even a few hours ), and just look, listen and smell. I always try to include these moments in my Tours — no matter if the stage is 10 or 40 kilometers long.
Why do you recommend komoot?
I travel a lot and prefer to travel quite spontaneously. Komoot is ideal for this — both in terms of inspiration and concrete route planning on the way. On my two-month bike tour through Scandinavia, for example, I started out in the extreme south of Sweden without a plan and planned my route completely on the road with komoot. It was super reliable and stress-free, and gave me the kind of freedom I look for when I travel. Also, thanks to the Highlights on komoot, you often find things you might have missed otherwise. A nice spot to spend the night, a great view or a hidden café.