Annika Ziehen-MIdnight Blue Elephant-Vietnam-Pho

Photo by Tam Nguyen. Hanoi, Vietnam – 6am – pho for breakfast.


Hello, my name is Annika Ziehen. I speak English with a Yankee accent, a South African twang, and when I’m tired my German comes through. That sometimes seems to confuse people. Where am I actually from? I’m from Germany and after calling New York and Cape Town my home for many years, I currently live in Hamburg. I work as a freelance photo producer and blogger so I have more time for the one thing that I love more than drink wine and do yoga together – travel.


The Midnight Blue Elephant is a curation of souvenirs from all over the world: stories, moments, visuals, and well, actual souvenirs that I like to take home. It is a growing collection of beautiful things that tell stories about foreign places, exotic smells, new tastes, and of talented people who craft something unique.

The idea was born in Cape Town on one of these sleepless nights when you contemplate what to do with your life and stare at an elephant poster across from your bed. Or at least that’s when it hit me – all I wanted to do with my life was to travel, collect souvenirs from all over the world, take them home, and tell their stories.

Disclaimer: I felt a bit bad when I named the blog, because my favorite animal is actually a giraffe; but the name was set in my mind so all I could do was go along with it and repeatedly apologize to all giraffes out there.




What do you never travel without?
Panama hat, Kindle, face spritz, too many scarves, and hopefully my passport. The one time I tried without it – you can imagine…I didn’t get very far.

What are your favorite destinations?
So far I would say La Reunion for the best rum punch, New York to make my heart beat faster, New Orleans for fried oyster po’boys, Bangkok for a night at The Asadang, St. Martensee for the childhood memories, and Marrakech for a sunset overlooking the medina during the call to maghrib.

Do you have a bucket list?
Is going everywhere a bucket list? But no, not really, however I really want to visit the Giraffe Manor in Nairobi and follow in the footsteps of Magaret Mead and travel the South Pacific islands.

What’s your real job?
I’m a freelance photo producer and advertising consultant. I also do copy and content writing, mainly about home décor, food, and travel. I’m still planning on making traveler my real 9 to 5 job though.

Can you feature my product/souvenir or destination on The Midnight Blue Elephant?
Sure, as long as it is something that I think I and my readers would be genuinely interested in. Please contact me on hello@midnightblueelephant.com and let’s talk! All opinions are my own and I state clearly if content is sponsored.

Do you like riding elephants?
No. On my last trip in Thailand I contemplated it, but after a lot of research I have decided that it is never a humane practice and that I didn’t want to do it. I am very keen however to visit the Elephant Nature Park by Chiang Mai.

But surely you own many pairs of elephant pants from Thailand?
While I have many friends who look great in elephant pants and I’m sure they are very comfy, they are just not for me. I prefer to lounge in my Moroccan djellaba.

I really like a souvenir I found here. How can I get it if I can’t travel there myself?
I am in the planning stages of a shop for all the things you find here. In the meanwhile send me an email to hello@midnightblueelephant.com and I will try to make a plan for you.


  1. Caitlin Jean says

    This is great!
    As far as my collection goes, djellaba 1 – elephant print pants 0
    and agree, I personally do not like that animals are used for human entertainment.


  2. Pingback: BREAKING BAD – THE ELEPHANT IN THE ROOM. | The Midnight Blue Elephant

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