As much as the eye can sea!

She grew up with digital media and she uses this in her mobile work from abroad - but also to live her analog life to the fullest. Hannah Schürr has change and movement in her veins. She is curious, crazy about sports and loves to travel. Writing and traveling are the passions of this Media Studies graduate. At just under 30, she has already gained a wealth of experience. But she still sees her biggest projects ahead of her.

Hannah Schürr is a digital native. She was born with an affinity for technology. Curiosity must have been next on the list. Her parents met at RWTH Aachen University, where Hannah was born in 1993. "I was always surrounded by computers," she recalls with a laugh. Since she is passionate about writing, her choice of career is only logical: social media manager and copywriter. She is employed by an agency in Berlin, and does freelance work on the side. She is a digital nomad, firmly rooted in southern Hesse and in love with Gran Canaria. She's not yet 30, she's engaged to be married and soon to found a startup. But let's start from the beginning.

After stops in the Netherlands and Munich, the family ended up in southern Hesse, or more precisely in Münster near Dieburg. Hannah graduated from high school in Dieburg in 2012, then studied online journalism at the h_da media campus. From her third semester on, she was part of the h_da's student trainer pool (DE). "I was trained to teach other students skills in workshops that they need for their studies or careers - for example, scientific methods, stress management or project management. In the process, I learned an insane amount and constantly kept going on with my education."

Adventures with Rafael, line for line

Since living with her parents was still cheap, she was able to travel often during semester breaks - always her second passion next to writing. "A four-month internship in Namibia, then on to Taiwan, Thailand, Bali, Singapore, Mexico, Cuba, Dubai, Australia, New Zealand," she lists what she saw during her studies. Europe? Of course. In addition to German and English, Hannah speaks French and some Spanish. Her website Zeilenabenteuer (DE) merges her two passions. On board with her on almost all of her trips: Rafael Mäuer. The two met while studying in Dieburg, have been a couple since 2015 and are now engaged.

On top of her bachelor's degree in online journalism (2015), Hannah earned a master's degree in media development, with a focus on social media management, content creation, and app design. "By then, six of us were living in a house in Darmstadt," she says. In addition to Rafael, Erdem Turan, a fellow student in Rafael's Interactive Media Design program and a good friend of the two of them, was also part of the media-themed co-op apartment. On the basis of Hannah's master's thesis - a travel app specifically for women - Hannah, Rafael and Erdem applied for a scholarship in 2018. The “Social Impact Lab Frankfurt (DE)” a startup consulting initiative, funded the three budding media designers. "We immersed ourselves totally in the startup world with their support," says Hannah. "We learned a lot about branding, marketing, networking and team management.”

Leap into freelancing

From the beginning of 2019, Hannah Schürr was a research assistant in the project ”Alle im digitalen Wandel" (DE) at the h_da for two years. She did public relations, media conception, change communication and she hosted a podcast. She then applied much of what she had learned in her studies, and also made new contacts. Looking back, she says, "I'm super grateful for everything h_da gave me along the way."

In 2020, Hannah started freelancing as a social media manager and copywriter. "I was drawn to writing about what excites me: Outdoor and adventure sports, travel, education, mental health and nutrition." She was at home in Instagram, Tiktok, Facebook, Twitter & Co. anyway. Now she was playing on these channels for her clients. Although her launch coincided with the first Corona lockdown, she was quickly gaining clients and a feel for freelancing. Along the way, she trained as a nutritional consultant via distance learning. "This can become a second mainstay at some point," she says.

“Combining work and travel is exhausting”

In the second lockdown at the beginning of 2021, Hannah and Rafael became digital nomads. They traveled through Europe, moving every few weeks at first, lived with friends in a house in Portugal. Then they stayed at a place in Gran Canaria for a longer period. "This isn’t a vacation, as many might think. Combining work and travel is definitely exhausting." It takes self-motivation and self-discipline, she said. "Off-hours and weekends often didn't exist for us because we were on fire for what we do - sometimes a little too much so. We have to be careful not to burn out." Hannah can rely on family and friends in such situations: "They catch me when I get running too hot."

Sports and nutrition are Hannah's other sources of energy. She surfs, skis and does athletics. "I need a lot of exercise to balance out my mental work, and I try to eat regularly and healthy. Taking good care of my body is a must for me to stay productive in the long run." As a freelancer and digital nomad, she has learned what it takes to combine work and travel. "It's neither crazy nor particularly complicated to earn your money sporadically from abroad! You need a good workspace, good internet connection, good work equipment, and possibly a good office chair."

The couple returned to Darmstadt in early 2022. Hannah has been employed by Buddybrand (DE) for a year now. She works completely remotely for this "creative agency for digital brand management" (Berlin), doing social media management, campaigning and content conception for clients like Red Bull Germany or Toffifee Germany. "As a solo freelancer, it's very tough to get to this kind of big brands," she says. As agreed with the agency, she also now works regularly for a few weeks in Gran Canaria. "Now we always book the same Airbnb in Las Palmas, which is our second home," she explains. "The surrounding nature and climate are amazing. The infrastructure is really great, the local food scene is huge, the people are extremely open and the proximity to the sea, beach and surfing is insane. We just feel comfortable there. It's like coming home."

Calculated risks instead of a playing it safe

"A ship in a harbour is safe, but that is not what ships are built for." The quote by American writer John A. Shedd has stuck with Hannah since she was a teenager. "People are too often guided by their fear, by thoughts like 'But what if...?’" she thinks. "I prefer to take certain risks and can accept falling flat on my face sometimes." Low aspirations, playing it safe - she can't do that. "We can all keep doing new things and reinventing ourselves even into old age!" Employed or working freelance, at the Woog in Darmstadt or in the Canary Islands: Hannah Schürr enjoys her work, is constantly learning and trying out new things. After five intense years in the profession, she knows: "I enjoy working in a team."

The next adventure is just around the corner: "I gave notice as of April 1st. Rafael, Erdem and I are starting our own company," she reveals - and you can sense her anticipation. "As a 'creative house for new media,' we'll develop websites and apps, design social media and formats for content, and romp around in the world of digital media. The focus: equality, education, sustainability and bringing people together." In the process, they know other people in their circle ("young digital natives from the creative industry") who can collaborate or give tips. The connections she made during her studies are now important strands of her personal network.

A camp for digital nomads

And Hannah Schürr already has her sights set on another project: a "Digital Nomad Camp" on Gran Canaria. "People could rent a place there, work together and test this lifestyle for a few weeks. Maybe we'll bring in a local chef, cooperate with a surf school or organize childcare. That would be cool," Hannah enthuses. She also wants to encourage others to go mobile digitally: "I want to be a role model for people who would like to do this, give tips and break down any inhibitions." To this end, she is already busy networking locally, keeping an eye out for suitable accommodations and conducting talks.

Hannah Schürr knows her goals and devotes her energy to making her dreams come true. She also clearly defines her biggest project: "I definitely want to start a family." After all, for all her wanderlust and desire for freedom, she is also a family person: "Spending time together with my partner, friends and family is what's most precious!" A stable base in Darmstadt, a second home on the Canary Islands, her own business, her own family and certainly the one or other spontaneous adventure. Hannah is not afraid of setbacks and detours. But there's one thing she's sure of: "It definitely won't be boring."



Daniel Timme
March 2023