My name is Samantha Runkel, I'm a recording artist, writer & mom living in southern Germany. I spent over a decade in the music industry as a musician & songwriter, making records and touring with artists such as Ziggy Marley and the Dave Matthews Band.
It was on an expedition ship in Antarctica where I met Michael, (if you're wondering how a musician who's idea of travel was maneuvering a tour van across the American south: a friend had invited me). Amidst glacial landings along the Antarctic shelf and a half-setting sun, he had me at "political podcasts" when I asked him what kind of music he liked. It was obviously meant to be.
Since we travel far & wide for Michael's work, I know I've been given an opportunity (and responsibility) to transmit stories of our planet's beautiful humanity.
I am less interested in the nicest hotels & tastiest eats, although Sia can surely give you a run for your money with her palette of Sriracha and pickled herring.
I am more interested in the paradoxes and the poetry: how countries stigmatized by the media and war are home to the kindest people. What a matriarchal society in Southern Africa can teach us about our own maternal wisdom. The beauty and quirks of being eine Ausländerin, or foreigner, in Germany. And my personal favorite, how traveling with a baby is the best door-opener.
How can we nurture this world with the limited time we have, and even more crucially, leave it a better place for our kids?
When we learn to to reach beyond our borders (at home & afar) and infuse love into every interaction, well, I guess, that is my intention for this blog.
With Gratitude, and Liebe Grüße,
Michael has photographed all of the 193 U.N. countries in the world. His images have appeared in the New York Times, National Geographic Traveller, Conde Nast, Lonely Planet, Rough Guides, Penguin Books & more.
He also has one of the most extensive photo libraries of UNESCO World Heritage Sites to date, making him one of the few people in human history to have traversed almost all the provinces on the planet.
His first book was released in January 2018 with Frederking & Thaler, the German publishing arm of National Geographic. Michael Runkel Photography
Samantha has traveled extensively (mostly because of Michael), either with a backpack or a guitar. She's been featured in the Guardian, Matador Network, Hayo Magazine & more. She's a supporter of Musicians Without Borders bringing music to children in conflict areas & Every Mother Counts helping women access safe maternity care worldwide.
Previously a recording artist in the US, she worked with Grammy-award winning producers & songwriters, toured internationally & collaborated with artists such as Ziggy Marley, the Dave Matthews Band and Mark Foster of Foster the People. She performed on stages at Austin City Limits, Bonnaroo Festival, Sundance Film, Super Bowl XIV and more.
Sia traveled across all continents except Antarctica and almost 25 countries by her first birthday. Her favorite experiences (I think) were meeting the Himba women in Namibia, learning to climb stairs of Balinese temples & eating rice for the first time in Hokkaido.