University of Florida - Berlin 2008 Study-Abroad Photojournalism Program

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by Amelia Harnish

Doreen Kappel
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Young Traveler Finds a Home in Berlin

Doreen Kappel has been traveling since she left home at 14, but she has finally found a place to call home – for now, at least.

“You can wear what you want, you can look how you want,” she said. “You can do everything that you want. This I like about Berlin.” 

Doreen, 19, left her home in Karl-Marx-Stadt, Germany, because of constant fighting with her mother. From then on, she traveled with friends and worked as a street performer and fire-breather for four years before returning to Germany at 18. After spontaneously deciding to come to Berlin, she discovered how inexpensive the city was and decided to stay.

Doreen lived in several squatter houses and on the streets, but grew tired of constantly worrying about where she was staying. She found a job at Wicked Print after the squat she was living in burned to the ground. She moved into an apartment near the T-shirt shop. For the first time in her life, she enjoys the stability of having a real job and a secure place to live.

 Berlin’s vibrant street culture is everywhere, allowing her to enjoy an alternative lifestyle without worry.

 While happy to balance her uninhibited personality with her newfound stability in Berlin, she hasn’t ruled out traveling again. “I’m not a person who can stay in one place for so long,” she said.

 For now, she enjoys going to parties and clubs with her friends and performing with her band, an all-girl, electronic music group called “The Dirty Crack Bitches.”

They’re part of the “bad taste movement,” Doreen said.