Lara was born in the Siberian city of Ulan-Ude though later her family would move to Irkutsk. During high school Lara studied German and went on an educational excursion to Germany to stay in a small village where aside from studying she was also able to travel around Bavaria. When leaving Lara felt sure she would return to the country one day.
Shortly after Lara finished two years of study of Psychology in Irkutsk, she borrowed money from her grandmother in order to buy a flight to Germany. She gave all her possessions away and took up work as a volunteer in Dresden.
A year later, she moved to Berlin in order “to express her creativity and feel the freedom of a bigger city”. It took her some time to fall in love but she quickly realized that Berlin gives you an opportunity to be free, to accept yourself and others in a way they are. Lara started to explore the city by herself and created an Instagram account in order to share her thoughts and interesting places she discovered in the city. Her Instagram account became very successful and slowly her hobby turned into the job.
Currently Lara lives with her boyfriend in Friedrichshain. Last year they created an interactive map of Lara’s favorite coffee places in Berlin, Amsterdam and Paris. Besides the taste of the coffee itself it is important for Lara that the place has the right atmosphere. “If the place has its owner, it feels like you are a guest at someone’s home” Lara says.
In Lara’s personal coffee map, she posts beautiful pictures and useful hints for coffee lovers. Apart from location, the interactive map contains the opening hours, information about breakfasts and sweets and, of course, availability of Wi-Fi and bank cards acceptance.
The greatest thing about Lara’s coffee map: It changes constantly. Lara finds new places and follow the updates of the marked ones. Now the couple has developed a new design of the map to make it more attractive and user-friendly and they dream of mapping new cities in the future.
Follow Lara on Instagram and Telegram. Visit her coffee map at laraexplores.today.
*Text and photos by guest author Dana Ioffe.