Interview with Jenna Davis about Düsseldorf
Travel blogging is the ultimate way to discover new places, but it can also lead you to discover your new home. Jenna Davis, the author of "Düsseldorf Like a Local" guide, was born and raised in Canada and moved to Düsseldorf, Germany for love. She started travel blogging in 2012, and soon after took her first ever press trip to South Africa , where she met her husband. A couple years later, she decided to pack up and make the move to Germany. Moving to Europe not only completely changed her personal life but also her work life as well. She created "Life in Düsseldorf," a website to document her local adventures and personal tips to navigate through the city. We caught up with Jenna to talk about making a new home abroad and the hidden qualities of Düsseldorf.
Q: Describe Düsseldorf to someone who has never visited.
Düsseldorf is not always what you read on the major websites, or in the news. Yes, Düsseldorf is a city filled with fabulous architecture, incredible art scenes, and high-class shopping streets. However, I never really had the opportunity to completely understand what exactly Düsseldorf offered until I started living here. Düsseldorf is a magical place, it is whatever you want it to be. While architecture, art and fashion are great, that’s not what I’m interested in. I’m interested in exploring old hideaways, antique shops, nature reserves and flea markets. I love spending my mornings having a tea around the corner at a local cafe with my laptop and the afternoons by the lake. These are the little things that major websites and the news channels don’t tell you about. Düsseldorf is a city filled with hidden gems.
Q: In your eyes, what makes Düsseldorf unique?
I’ve always found Düsseldorf extremely unique because of the opportunities offered in such a little city. You can be who are and do what you want while still finding the perfect place for you. It is a city of 600,000 people and yet you can find at least 100 events taking places on any given evening. In less than an hours walk you can surround yourself around nothing but nature and then end up with the old town surrounded by thousands of local people and German tradition. Düsseldorf has always been the best of both world’s for me.
Q: What is your favourite route to take in Düsseldorf?
My favourite route to take in Düsseldorf is the route that I’ve never explored before. This has always allowed me to perfect my favourite tours for my family and friends who come to visit. Regardless of who comes to visit, I always start our explorations off in the old town (Altstadt) in Düsseldorf to embrace the history, the cobblestone streets and the delicious Altbier. If they’re artsy, I take them on a walk along the Rhine Promenade ending up in the Media Harbour. If they’re adventurous, I take them to explore the cities largest garden or grab a bike and head to the outskirts of the city to explore smaller districts like Kaiserswerth, Benrath or Zons.
Q: What was your experience like moving to Düsseldorf?
To be honest, it was my first time ever (at the age of 22) picking up, leaving home and flying thousands of miles across the world with no intention on returning home permanently. It was terrifying. I hadn’t learned a word of German to prepare myself, I had no friends and all my trust in my decision laid on the fact that I was in love. It took me time to assimilate to the changes and I wish I had a guide or best friend to talk me through all the hard parts of becoming an expat in a new city. This is the entire reason why I decided to start up Life in Düsseldorf.
Q: You took a leap of faith and moved to Germany without knowing anyone, what sort of advice would you like to share with expats or people looking to make a move to a new city?
Rely on others around you. No one is forcing you to make these life decisions all on your own, and there are hundreds of people facing the same changes you are at this very moment, in the exact same city. If it wasn’t for Facebook groups and meetups, I wouldn’t have had a clue where to start. Take it slow, learn the language and don’t push yourself too hard. Find websites like mine (Life in Düsseldorf) that will help guide you through the preparations and setup of your new life in Germany, there are plenty!
Finding a website to partner up with and create a valuable guide for readers is not hard. It’s finding one that is genuine, shares quality content and cares about the success of your business as much as you do. Favoroute is made up of a power squad of people who are always smiling, always working hard and always there to support you when you need anything. They aren’t business partners, they’re friends. That’s when you know you’ve made the right decision.Q: What can travelers expect from your digital travel guide?
Travelers can expect anything other than the ordinary in my digital travel guide. I’m trying to break the boundaries of this “architecture, art and fashion” scene and shine a new light on some hidden gems that make Düsseldorf so special. If you’re looking for a guide that walks you through the entire length of the old town and includes 200 historical facts, this isn’t the guide for you. If you’re looking to turn onto side streets and explore further than the old historical part of the city, you’ve come to the right place!
I’m a travel blogger who is actually more of a homebody than a traveler. Does that even make sense? I love to travel, but it only took me finding that special place (Düsseldorf) to settle down, to lose that wicked passion, to never stop exploring the globe. I still love to explore, I actually do it every day, just on a local level. I now appreciate the hidden gems that are 30 km’s away rather than needing to fly 3,000 km’s away to explore a new hidden gem in another country. In the past couple years, I have amazed myself at how much there is to see right in our own backyards. Now, my dream travel destination is actually Canada. I would like to explore my own country all over again, in a new light.
Suggested reading for Germany:
- The best things you'll ever eat in Düsseldorf
- Fun events in Düsseldorf
- Best neighborhoods in Berlin
- Top 5 things to do in Berlin by night
- Interview with Claudi Sult on Going Green in Berlin
- The Romantic Road in Germany