I was meeting Nora because I know from her passion for traveling and hunting. I was very curious to hear more about it.
When I entered the estate Kastanienhof to interview Nora von Massow a barking dog was running towards me. It’s Oscar, a Bavarian mountain hound. After a short sniffing, he decided to let me in. Nora explained to me that this breed has been utilized to track injured animals.
We sat down beside the lovely old thatched-roof house. The garden is beautifully arranged with roses and lavender. While sitting there you can see the riding hall with stables as well as hens who are sharing a paddock with the sheep.
Nora is only 30 years old and overtook the little riding farm near Kiel/Germany some months ago from her parents. She said:
“This was not my first plan, but now it seems that all comes along with good luck. I am a studied political scientist but now I am owning and managing an agricultural farm. Without my husband, I would never have done that. But together it is a great adventure. It’s just beautiful here and who can afford a house today? In my younger years I could not imagine living in the village I grew up in. After my A level my first target was to go far away and to discover foreign countries. My 8-month trip led me through Canada, the USA, Mexico, Cuba, South Africa, New Zealand, Australia, Costa Rica, and Turkey.
In Cuba, I missed my bus so I was hitchhiking. The guy who gave me a ride had a very rusty van. Besides the gearbox you could see the ground, the hole in the car body was huge, but the vehicle was still driving.
In New Zealand, I rented a camper van and have been surprised by heavy rainfalls. After the rain stopped there were no streets, just big lakes and you didn’t know how deep they were. The whole area was closed and I stuck in it. Some days later a truck came around and rescued me. He drove slowly in front of me to test how deep it was and I followed him.
When I went to Iceland, I rented a small car. The insurance said that I am not allowed to travel all routes, but I thought who can control it?! So I tried to drive a very heavy off-road track without all-wheel drive and gave up. That’s a learning experience I will remember the next time.
Some time ago Hanno and I went to Ireland. It was the prime time and we didn’t get a room. We didn’t have a lot of money. For this reason, we decided to rent a transport vehicle the same kind you would use if you move. We bought two air mattresses and a gas cooker to sleep and to live in it. We underestimated how cold it was at night. So we didn’t hesitate to stop by a heap of paper rubbish and use it to line the hold of the vehicle. We looked like very poor people and it was kind of embarrassing when I opened the door of the car one morning with wild hair brushing my teeth and seeing a group of people in front of the church who were dressed up for Sunday. Unfortunately, they saw me too.
When we were to Jordan we rented a Jeep to discover the spectacular desert. Private vehicles aren’t recommended, because of the chance of getting lost in the sandy terrain. We tried it anyway because we wanted to be on our own. When we realized how fast the desert can change its landscape we understood the warning. The Barways app would be great for such adventures to feel safer and to find back if you drive off-road. There is nobody you can ask for the direction and there are no marked roads or signs you can follow.
After seeing a lot of the world, I moved back to the farm I grew up in. My father is a hunter, and on my 18th birthday, he gave me a voucher for the hunter school to become one too. The voucher was long forgotten, but five years ago, I was ready to start the training. It turned out to be the best decision ever as I met my husband at a hunters event. We are both nature-loving people and spend most of our time outdoors. People always think that hunters don’t love animals, but 80% of the hunter’s job is care work, which means to support the animals. That’s the reason why I am a hunter. We are repairing the huts of the pheasants regularly or building new ones.
In summer, when the farmers want to mow their fields, we wake up at 4:30 a.m. to search after fawns in waist-high grass. A drone with an infrared camera supports us. Because it’s so cold in the morning, the fawns are silhouetted through their warm bodies.
We put them in paper cartons during the mowing and put them back when the farmers are finished. It’s important not to transfer the human smell, so we grab them with grass.
If it’s getting colder, we take heavy bags with us with food or salt-lick stones for the roe deers in the woods.
You can only do this job if you have an off-road car. In our case, hobbies and jobs are merged. That’s the reason why we do have two. Hanno drives a Jeep with a rooftop tent. We are using it very often for our holidays. I have an older Landrover Freelander, and that’s my dream car. Without these cars, we would have trouble getting the heavy bags into the woods, pulling trailers, or going camping outdoors far away from civilization.
The next trip we plan is our honeymoon. We dream of exploring the Baltic Sea Circle with the Jeep and of sleeping in the rooftop tent. The trip leads through the pure wilderness and contains 7500 km of track. We will go through the whole of Scandinavia (Denmark, Sweden, Norway, and Finland), the Arctic Circle, Lapland, and North Cape, Russia (From Murmansk to St. Petersburg) or Finland to Helsinki, the Baltic States: Estonia, Latvia & Lithuania and finally Poland and Germany. Of course, you can make this trip without any navigation system, but we like to plan it. We need to come back on a certain date because work is waiting for us. But in the time we have, we want to see as many places as possible. For that reason, the Bareways solution would be perfect. Today’s navigation apps are either very complex or do not give us the details we need to plan our trips. We are looking forward to using Bareways on our adventure.”
Nora, many thanks for your time. I learned a lot from this interview. And many thanks to Hanno, who showed me the rooftop tent. It’s great to see you both very happy and planning further awesome adventures to come. I can’t wait to hear about your experiences with the Baltic Sea Circle trip.
Last but not least, what would you always take with you on your trips?
“I take with me on my travels: Dry Shampoo, thick woolen pullover, water, a smartphone with a power bank. And Hanno would take underpants, teeth brush, beer, and me.”
Interview and text by Melanie Langenmair
Photos by Nora von Massow and Melanie Langenmair