On today’s LeipGlo we debut the feature #LeipzigOnTheWeb – highlighting the people and their Web sites spreading the word about Leipzig – with Dave Murphy, founder of the English-language site Lost in Leipzig (http://lostinleipzig.com). I conducted this Q&A with Dave via e-mail the other day, after he reached out to me very kindly regarding LeipGlo, and from my interaction with him came the idea for this new feature. Having lived in different parts of the world, living among three countries at the moment but feeling connected to Leipzig no matter where he is, he’s probably a good example of our interpretation of what being a “glocal” means.
Q: Thanks for agreeing to participate in our Q&A, Dave! Can you tell us a little about yourself?
A: I’m Dave Murphy, I’m nearly 45 years old (WTF!!) and was born and raised in Dublin. Although I have an Irish passport I’ve travelled and lived all over the world and consider myself a world citizen.
I make a living as a software developer mostly for the Android platform. My partner and I are lucky to have portable jobs. We split our time between Leipzig, the UK and the Costa Blanca (**gratuitous plug for my other blog http://therealcostablanca.com). I’m just starting a new job in Liverpool so we’re moving there for a little while. But keeping the apartment in Leipzig for sanity breaks!
Q: What inspired you to start Lost in Leipzig, and when did you start it?
A: In 2010 a good South African friend of mine bought a flat in Leipzig and was raving about the city. As soon as I arrived at Leipzig Hauptbahnhof I realized what a gem this place was (and still is). So I bought an apartment as well and re-located here from London. So naturally, I thought I’d start a blog about Leipzig, get filthy rich from it and retire. 😉 LostinLeipzig appeared October 2012.
Q: What would you say is the main purpose of your blog?
A: See Q2 about getting rich. 😉 Lol…LostinLeipzig tries to be the type of blog I wanted to read when I was moving here. What’s Leipzig really like? Where can I get a vegan hotdog? Why is nothing open Sundays?
Moving here wasn’t a big deal for me. I didn’t like London much and was begging for something new. I had my EU health card, a cheapo Ryanair ticket and some clients that didn’t care where I worked. Simple. But for someone contemplating a move from, say Australia, it’s a much bigger deal. Hopefully the website is useful to those people.
I believe the boom in Leipzig is getting boomier, I mean, just look at the quality of life on offer here? Sure it’s no longer the big secret it was a few years ago, but we’re still a long way from overkill. I would like LostinLeipzig to grow with and reflect this changing Leipzig.
Oh, plus lots of photos. Leipzig looks fantastic in photos.
Q: What are some of the highlights of your blog in terms of features/content?
A: I think the area guide is useful. Also, I’ve put a lot of effort into the pages on biking. I’ve been accused of encouraging property speculation because of a few posts I did about the booming property market. Anyway, I think the website offers good advice for those considering buying a home here.
Q: Who is your target audience?
A: I think Leipzig and LostinLeipzig appeals to a younger crowd (or young-at-heart anyway)?? But honestly I’m not really sure who reads my stuff. Surprisingly few Germans contact me or interact with the site. Interestingly a lot more women than men like the Facebook page or share photos through Pinterest. Most emails I receive are from Americans. I think Americans like email.
Q: Has your audience been so far made up of more people located in Leipzig or abroad?
A: About 33% of blog traffic is from visitors located in Germany and half of that Leipzig. The next biggest category is UK, then US.
Q: How has the reception of your blog been so far?
A: I’ve had mostly positive comments. Visitor traffic continues to grow consistently. I only wish I had more time to add more content. LostinLeipzig is pretty much just a hobby (sadly). Please everyone click on the ads and make me rich so I can spend all day working on the site!
Q: What do you see as some of the opportunities and challenges for publishing in English in Leipzig?
A: An entirely Leipzig-focused media/blogging site will always be a challenging niche market, I reckon. English is not a terribly limiting factor since, like it or not, English is the world language. Besides Chrome is getting better and better at translating websites.
As for opportunities, well, I have a feeling Leipzig is on the verge of some serious international eyeballs. Until now newcomers have come for a specific job, or to study, or they have location-flexible careers in technology or creative areas, etc. This is going to change as people from inside Germany, from Europe, and from elsewhere are just going to come to Leipzig and figure out what to do after they get here.
Q: What are some of your favorite things to do and places to hang out at in Leipzig?
A: There’s a secluded hill near the Sachsenbrücke in Clara park with a bench and some lovely trees. It’s a great spot to read or chill out. Hanging out at Sachsen Therme on a cold winter’s day. Biking. Leipzig is bicycling heaven. The ride down to Cospudener See through the Auenwald is one my favourites. I also love the Westbesuch’s out in Plagwitz – although I’ll miss the July one this year. 🙁
Q: How friendly would you say Leipzig is for foreigners at the moment?
A: I would say very friendly but I’ve definitely noticed some grumpy locals. Leipzig is changing quickly and this worries some people, I suppose. Speaking German helps; even if you only have a few words, it shows respect and people will warm to you.
Most people I know in Leipzig are ausländers. But that’s just me, I naturally feel more comfortable with expat types anyway!