QUESTIONS & ANSWERS WITH INSPIRING PROFESSIONALS
Total Prestige Magazine interviews movers and shakers in the business world, allowing them to discuss their businesses, careers and lives. From presidents of public companies to solo entrepreneurs and CEOs, these men and women from all corners of the globe hope to inspire and share their stories with the world.
Nathalie Guetermann was one of Germany’s most popular television presenters and hosted Nathalie’s Lifestyle for more than 12 years. She is a descendent of one of Europe’s oldest and most affluent entrepreneurial families, whose threads, haberdashery and crafts products are household names in more than 80 countries. Especially “Gütermann’s Nähseide” (silk thread) is a world-wide brand, resulting in Nathalie being titled by Germany’s media as the “Silk Princess”. Now she has taken her role of travel and lifestlye presenting to a new level, as the editor-in-chief of “Thaizeit.de”, Thailand’s largest travel website for German speakers.
Born in New York, but raised in Germany and Switzerland, travel was in Guetermann’s blood from an early age. As a television producer, presenter and travel journalist, Guetermann has experienced life on both sides of the camera, and her passion for travel has helped inspire her latest travel and lifestyle projects.
Totalprestige Magazine caught up with Nathalie Gueterman to learn more about “Thaizeit.de”, and what drives her as a businesswoman.
Tell us about your business. How would you describe it?
I’ve been called a “lifestyle ambassador” by some, and others tease me how I am always on the lookout for “the best of Thailand”.
Well, for me, all this begins here in its capital Bangkok, and especially for all Thailand lovers, with the upcoming launch of my new portal Thailand-Lifestyle.com. Under this umbrella I will offer a Bangkok box filled with cutting-edge tips, including my passport pocket guide to top-secret locations that no competitor will ever reveal, a VIP fast track immigration service at the airport, as well as carefully conceived lifestyle programs in collaboration with a luxury travel agency, designed to explore the kingdom’s genuine highlights even with little time to spare.
What led you to this business?
In a word: demand. Not a day would go by when I wouldn’t find a request in my inbox to divulge some of my ‘best of’ destinations.
“What’s cutting-edge in Bangkok, Nathalie?” “And what is the most deserted beach on your preferred island? Or, “what was the name of that new boutique hotel by the river in Chiang Mai again?” Hindsight is always 20:20, so Thailand-Lifestyle.com, in a way, really created itself.
ow do you define success?
Success is driven by a fire that roars within each and every one of us. My determination to succeed isn’t induced by riches, pomp, or prestige. In fact, its foundation is rooted in my very desire to give back, to share and make people happy by creating dream vacations and unforgettable memories for them.
Were you ever influenced by other entrepreneurs?
Inspired is the word I prefer. I have been told that I am a quintessential optimist and see rainbows in silver linings. As a writer and journalist, most of my days are blessed with a myriad of human interactions of many cultural backgrounds and, given that travel is pretty much my life – I am naturally surrounded by inspiration, be that on a picturesque beach at sunset or at a Buddhist temple during ceremony. I am very grateful for it.
What is the most challenging part of your work?
Covering a country with a megapolis and staying current with all events and novelties at all corners of the land is often daunting. But when my daily challenges are in balance with the prospects of creating real reward that money simply can’t buy by itself – lasting emotions, precious memories and fulfilled dreams – then it’s all put into perspective and any temporary disheartening or fatigue swiftly vanishes into thin air.
What was your most rewarding professional experience?
Where to begin… Perhaps being included in the “300 most influential expats in Thailand” list by Tatler Magazine? Especially since it came as a massive surprise out of nowhere…
What do you have your sights set on next?
Finalizing my Bangkok Box and website “www.Thailand-Lifestyle.com”, due to launch in a few months; initially for the German market but with view to opening this up over time to a more global English-speaking audience.
How is a day in your life?
My first instinct is to say – busy, busy, busy!
But I am aware we all lead busy lives. As I play back the events of every day – no matter if satisfactory or challenging – I become philosophical at times and am mostly filled with gratitude as I remind myself how lucky I am that ‘packaging’ my passion for life and Thailand might just inspire others to dare. I so hope there is truth in Paulo Coelho’s words: “Happiness is contagious and will always manage to find a solution.”
Choose two of your favorite quotes and write them here
Oliver Wendell Holmes resonates nicely with me when he says: “The great thing in this world is not so much where we stand, as in what direction we are moving.” It embodies the acceptance of change. The other quote is above (Paulo Coelho), it’s what I aim to abide by. One of my favorite quotes is also this one: “Only the heart can see well, the essence is hidden from the eyes”. (Antoine de Saint-Exupéry)
Every once in a while, I sneak away from my day-to-day, often at the invitation of good friends, and play a round of golf or two in the stunning settings of Thailand’s golf courses. Don’t take it from me, but the secret’s out that some of them rank up there with the most desirable in the world!
What makes you smile?
You may doubt that Bangkok is truly the City of Angels but like it or not, Thailand is definitely the Land of Smiles. People here smile a lot and if we believe science then smiles – even if faked or forced – always make for happier people, irrespective of whether you are giving or receiving a smile. And since smiling is said to be contagious, need you really ask what makes me smile…? Having said this, I also enjoy an intelligent joke or a charming real-life comedy.
What is your secret talent?
It’s more of a secret wish really, and that is to be talented enough to write a book about my life one of these days.
What are you never without?
My laptop, and, I’m not embarrassed to say, my Blackberry…I can’t live without real keyboards, what can I say!
Which historical figure do you most admire?
Sometimes we may not need history to identify a person that meant the world to us so I may disappoint, if I choose to appoint my late mother to be the subject of highest estimation and admiration.
What scares you?
I’d like to say ‘nothing ever’, but I am human so that would be a blatant lie. I am aware of the concept of fear and I hope it resonates with you when I say: “There is no benefit to succumbing to fear itself”. Common sense is crucial. And most importantly – accepting that we’re imperfect as humans makes us perfect as we are.
What’s your favorite vacation spot?
Thailand, of course. In particular Koh Samui, the island that was once home to me and my young children. I know it like the back of my hand. It’s a dichotomy of experiences – from peace and quiet in the morning to hustle and bustle at night, unbeatable views from mountainous peaks to secluded beaches, private 5* resorts to humming beach bar huts at sunset.
‘Best-kept secrets’ you’d recommend, and why?
Near Bangkok: 1. The temple-style “Sanctuary of Truth” on the seashore at Rachvate Cape (Chon Buri Province). It’s an all-wood building filled with hand carved Buddhist sculptures. Its creator, the late Khun Lek, wanted to use art & culture to reflect the Ancient Vision of Earth and Eastern Philosophy. 2. He also built “Ancient City” (Samut Prakan Province), dubbed as “the world’s largest outdoor museum”, yet hardly known to Bangkok visitors. The huge park is comparable to a Thailand-round journey within a day as it features 116 structures of Thailand’s most famous monuments. Most of them are life-size replicas of existing or former architectural attractions. Island Chic: Drinks at Koh Samui’s “Jungle Club” located at the highest point on a mountain, offering breathtaking views over the ocean. If you like über luxury and seclusion then you’ll be well at home at Samujana Villas (on Samui), or at Kata Rocks (Phuket).
What are three life memories you recall most frequently and why?
Well, truthfully, as for any of my significant life memories, I can promise there’ll be more than three, I’ll get right onto writing this book that I am hoping to have enough talent for…
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