Great, that you are part of our trip
We are willing to take you with us into a world full of exciting stories about sustainable travel, breathtaking nature, inspiring people and projects.
We stay on ground, close to nature and people — and therefore do not look down on our world from above sitting in an airplane. For that view we have enough satellite images…. We don’t only travel as sustainably as possible from place to place, but we also try to leave a small ecological travel footprint. For more details check out our Travel Codex.
Marvel at nature
Despite forest destruction, overfishing the oceans and billions of other problems, there still exist those amazingly beautiful natural places on our planet. We want to experience those breath-taking landscapes firsthand, marvel at them and capture them for you!
We meet people, talk with them and tell their stories, especially from people committed to the protection of nature. Our adventures and encounters should make you (more) excited about nature, inspire you to get active and to travel and consume sustainably. It’s more fun!
We also want to dirty our hands and get sour muscles from work supporting those people. We wish to support initiatives, associations and organizations with same goals as we set in our Travel Codex. Planting trees, picking up garbage from beaches, cooking food for refugees… Really, there are (almost) no limits to how we can dirty our hands to make this world a better place.
Our travel experiences
We have been on our sustainable tour since 1 June 2018. Take one was a bike trip from Germany to Montenegro. There we were two months, in order to work for the protection of a bird paradise (take two). Afterwards we supported the open workshop Habibi.Works in Northern Greece for some weeks. On take three we were hitchhiking, taking buses or trains through Albania, Greece, Turkey, Georgia and Armenia. On take four we cycled from Montenegro through Eastern Europe to Poland. On take five we’ll be in Dziemiany at Viviane’s Mum’s place for a few weeks to support her with the holiday cottages.
Have a look at our travel map to see which route we have already been traveled, what our experiences have been and where we are at the moment.
We also published some interviews and blogpost about our trip. There have also been a few reports in the press. Also on facebook and Instagram (@leafandsea) we posting frequently about our experiences in addition to our website.
As you already know, we try to travel sustainably and have even established a sustainable travel codex. We have written some of our blog post specifically about sustainable travel.
We would be happy if you look through our pages and contact us if you have any questions or comments.
Idyllic Danube and mountainous Balkan
On our first stage we cycled from Radolfzell at Lake Constance to Montenegro. Our continous companion until the Romanian-Bulgarian border was the Danube river (EuroVelo 6). We cycled along the Balkan Green Belt which is also the Iron Curtain Trail (EuroVelo 13).
We used our first stage to promote the valuable work of the nature conservation foundation EuroNatur. Various projects along the Balkan Green Belt are implemented by EuroNatur to protect amazing natural landscapes. Two of those projects are the #SaveSalina- and the SaveParadiseForests- campaigns. Please sign the petition to SaveSalina. With this action you support our efforts. Thanks a lot.
EuroNatur is committed to preserving Europes natural beauties with longlasting projects. The projects are mainly located along the Green Belt Balkan, the former iron curtain. EurNatur implements projects in cooperation with local organisations for the protection of the pristine nature in the Balkans. Bears, wolves, lynxes and migratory birds feel at home here. Two of the EuroNatur projects are the protection of Ulcinj Salina and the primary forests of Romania.
Balkan Green Belt
The #SaveSalina campaign was initiated by EuroNatur and partners to protect Ulcinj Salina in Montenegro. The salina is a precious bird paradise which is threatened to be turned into a luxury resort. With our journey we wish to make people aware of this threat. As many people as possible should sign the petition to pressure the government to officially protect Ulcinj Salina. Please sign the petition here!
For salt. For birds. For people.
Save Paradise Forests
Romania is home to the largest area of primary forests in the EU. Sadly, in the last years more and more of these forests were logged, although they are officially protected by law! With the campaign EuroNatur and the Romanian partner Agent Green fight for these valuable forests.
Find out more about the various activities on the campaign website.
Endangered Salina and exciting sea
In September and October 2018 we were at home in Ulcinj in southern Montenegro. Here is Ulcinj Salina located, a true bird paradise. Viviane supported the local nature conservation association MSJA in its activities.
Unfortunately Steffen could not make many dives as planned because the diving school in Ulcinj was closed for technical reasons. Instead, he practiced freediving, worked on our website and continued his education in some eco-activities.
MSJA and the salina
In September and October 2018 Viviane supported the association Dr. Martin Schneider-Jacoby (MSJA) in its efforts to protect the Salina and other natural resources in Ulcinj. The Salina is a very special place as it is an important resting place for birds. At the same time it is part of a tragic history of decline and corruption. Viviane helped to create a folder about Ulcinj Salina, updated the association’s website and helped with numerous activities.
Glimmers of hope for Ulcinj Salina
The land of the black mountains
Since Montenegro, the country of the black mountains, was our home for two months, we could experience many perculiarities of this country and its people. In this pearl of the Adriatic Sea there is much to discover: breathtaking national parks and unique natural treasures, thousands of years old cities with their fortifications and orthodox churches, the extraordinary culture and last but not least the robust people who go their own way in this wild Balkan country.
Montenegro — The country of black mountains
Thumps up and go
From November 2018 until May 2019 we hitchhiked and took public transportation. Therefore following the motto “thumbs up and go”. We decided not to continue with bikes (which was not an easy decision!). That we are not flying has been already clear since the beginning and you can find it also in our travel codex. So we started a new adventure: more waiting, more contact to local people and more support of great projects.
For a week we had to go to the street, thumbs out and wait. But most of the time we were lucky and were taken along relatively fast. Among the drivers were a mafioso, an architect and a convertible lover. We met these and many other interesting people and visited three national parks. Watch a video about the Divjaka-Karavasta National Park here and read about our experiences in Albania in our blog post.
Greece and Habibi.Works
In Greece we supported the project Habibi.Works for 6 weeks. In the creative area and in the metal workshop we’re helping refugees in producing or repairing useful and beautiful objects. Here you can find our blogpost about Habibi.Works. Afterwards we spent a week in Thessaloniki with our lovely couchsurfer friend Orfeas.
Turkey — Part 1
Since Viviane had a cold and we had bad luck with the weather, we took the bus to Istanbul. A metropolis of millions awaited us with great contrasts — and many cats. Since the bad weather remained true to us, long bus rides became routine. But two absolutely great couchsurfers made our time in Turkey unforgettable. Thanks Fatih and Sükrü!
Georgia welcomed us with a day of bad luck, but it made up for it with hospitality, great food and beautiful landscapes. Read the interview with Maka from WWF about nature in Georgia. We love this country with its curved characters, thousands of old stories and oven-fresh Khachapuri! Found out more about Georgia in our blog post.
Armenia was a surprise country for us. And we were very positively surprised! In the capital Yerevan we strolled on historical paths, tasted typical food and watched people playing backgammon. In the Sevan National Park we were able to witness the beginning of a co-living project and were happy about the snow. Read more in our blog post about Armenia.
Turkey — Part 2
From the cold Northeast of Turkey to the warm Southwest we could explore this country much more intense than on our first trip in December. We hitchhiked a lot, couchsurfed at locals couches and fell in love with the vegan national dish Cigköfte. Our video „3 minutes in Turkey“ shows our experiences.
Greece and Workaway
With the ferry from Marmaris our 3‑months affair with the islands Rhodes and Crete began. On Rhodes we just spent one week, however, we could stay on Crete for a lifetime. There we helped two families via the platform www.workaway.info — 2 weeks in Agios Nikolaos and 2 months on an organic farm in Ano Kalesa. Now we can milk goats and make cheese and joghurt!
Cycling through Eastern Europe
We missed our bikes a lot! Starting from 1. of June 2019, exactly one year after we started our tour, we were cycling again! We explored Eastern Europe even more. We cycled through Bosnia, Croatia, Hungary, Austria, Czech Republic, Slovakia and Poland. Our final destination for Take four was Vivis mom in Northern Poland.
Exploring the region of Kashubia
We will explore the unique nature by kayaking on the rivers, swimming in lakes and cycling through the forest. We will also experience the history of the region through visits of farms, museums and factories. We will help Violetta clean the houses and do other projects. Last but not least, we’ll use the time to reflect the last 14 months of travelling and to work on the website, edit and publish pictures and videos.