How it all began
Myamericanguitar.com is a blog that I started on the occasion of a three months North America Tour with my family in the summer of 2017.
It turned out to be both a travel blog and a personal diary. Travelling through many different parts mostly in the North-West and the Noth-East of the USA and Canada, we explored new places and made many new connections; we reconnected with our American past, including host families and high school friends from our times as exchange students in Michigan and Idaho as well as friends we made later on in our careers in Los Angeles and Atlanta. It was a truly magic time for us as a family and I have safeguarded all our blog memories from that trip in a book called “A Summer in North America”.
Now, two years later, we are picking up My American Guitar again to go on our second big tour, this time through most of the continental west of the European Union, including the Benelux States, France, Spain and Italy. Again, we are on the road to make new discoveries, both personal and professional, and to meet with old friends that have shaped parts of what I would call our European identity. Just as in 2017, I will be combining both family travel and work.
Why “My American Guitar”
The name of this blog came up on the occasion of a brainstorming session prior to our 2017 North America tour with our American friend and rhetoric coach John Faulk, who has been a friend a companion of the firm since 2016.
While collecting thoughts and ideas at the flip chart in our conference room on how to name this blog, we engaged in a profound and very emotional conversation about my American past.
The key memory that triggered “My American Guitar” was a special moment in 2004: One of my closest friends from my time at Emory came to see me in Paris where I was working at the time. We had already been playing the guitar together back in Atlanta and continued to play guitar together in Paris. He had this beautiful Washburn that he carried around with him in a hard case. On the morning of his departure from Paris, he made me a very special gift. He gave me his guitar. I was blown away. He said: “Whenever you play this guitar, think of us.” I do. Every single time I hit those chords.
Since our 2017 roadtrip through North America, “My American Guitar” has been with us ever since. When we came up with the idea to expore the European Union, I asked myself whether “My American Guitar” would still fit. I discussed it with John and found: it does. Because in the end, “My American Guitar” is a state of mind and a travel blog. And I can hit those cords whereever I go.
My wife is the most wonderful and beautiful person I know. We have been married for nearly 15 years now and I thank god and her everyday that we are together. She is a passionate psycholgist, wife and mother to our 7 year old twins and makes me feel that everything is possible and that I need not be afraid of anything. We met on a train on a Christmas Eve and maybe it is also this traveling mode that we were in back then that has motivated our roadtrips.
Our twins, a little browneyed boy who loves nature and pirates and a little greeneyed readhead girl who loves drawing and princesses, are part of the reason why we are doing this trip. They have started elementary school last summer and we take the opportunity of their first school summer holiday to go on tour.
I am a lawyer based in Berlin and running my own show since 2013, meanwhile with a larger team. You can check out our website at wagner-arbiration.com if you want to know more about what we do.