Which countries did you travel during your almost 1.5 year trip around the world in 2014/15?
I’ll better list up the continents. Makes it easier: South America, Oceania, Asia and Africa.
How did you get the idea of being on the road for so long?
It became concrete while I was writing my master thesis. My situation was quite clear to me: one era is coming to an end (student life) – the next is waiting ahead (professional life). But does my life really have to be socially predetermined?
Eating fresh worms in the Amazon Rain Forest
In our society, we’re constantly oriented towards the future. Work hard to live a better life one day. This is an illusion. We should be more concerned with being happy now.
We’re constantly oriented towards the future because we want to live a better life. This is an illusion.
So I didn’t want to wait for 40 years to do my trip around the world. I think it’s a lot more fun in your mid-20s. Moreover, I can keep those experiences for much longer. They’re in my head. And no-one can steal them from me. Of course I had to save some money for a few years, but I didn’t know before how long I’m really going to travel. In the end it was much longer than I ever could imagine. And the most important reason was, that I didn’t plan anything.
When did your passion for traveling arise for the first time?
When I was three years old. I have always looked at my brother’s big globe in our room and I asked myself from a young age if people are also living on Bora Bora for example and what do they look like. For my fifth birthday, I wished for a world atlas.
Brother (Roberto) of Pablo Escobar and Me 😀
When I was six, I was able to assign each capital and each flag to the respective country. I forgot it quickly again because my next 20 years were being used to prepare this young boy for a career life. I think we should do everything we can to ensure that we do not lose this treasure that we have in our first years, this huge desire to discover.
You have traveled to more than 50 countries (2016). Where would you like to go back again?
Everywhere. I mean, the second time everything is different again. Also in terms of the feeling. But to give an example: the Polynesian atolls. The phenomenon of boredom does not exist there.
Survival Try. 5 days, 4 nights. Lonely island.
For a local, a wristwatch would be like a ticking time bomb. There is no watch time, but life time. They think in time cycles, weather periods and therefore maintain a completely different approach to their surroundings. They are incredibly open and lovely and have an immense wealth of time. That was also the reason why I spontaneously cancelled my flight and stayed in the end for two months instead of 1 week.
Is there a specific travel experience that you particularly like to remember?
Well, I’ve faced death quite a few times. And then it went really easy cheesy for a few months. But always having the perfect planning and organization destroys the potential for authentic creativity. The greatest experience comes when you have to solve problems.
Always having the perfect planning and organization destroys the potential for authentic creativity.
Because I didn’t have one, I managed to get a problem: In one of the most inhospitable regions of the world, I spontaneously stopped our tourist bus somewhere on Tierra del Fuego in the middle of the night and just got off the bus. People stared at me. The bus went off. The conditions were extreme: -5°C, subantarctic wind, my 25kg backpack and the next village was 48km away and it was pitch black. Sleeping here was no option. I would have frozen to death with the strong winds. So I started walking. Well, after 15 minutes I already needed my first break. My shoulders already hurt like hell from my heavy backpack.
Freediving in Mykonos
You have two options: getting crazy or enjoy this amazing night sky of the southern hemisphere. I marched on with a grin. My mental stability also made me forget the shoulder pain. Salvation came after 1.5 hours. Suddenly I saw two lights at the horizon! It came closer. I stood in the middle of the street and waved my arms like crazy. It was a struck and he stopped. Truck driver Rodrígo was skeptical first, but finally he allowed me to join. One of the several mental experiments by me, with me and for me.
What have you learned from your previous trips?
That it’s an absolute privilege to be born in Austria. That travel fosters understanding and that judgment becomes irrelevant at some point. That the so-called uncivilized society in third world countries is actually ahead of us in so many ways. That the most important time in life is now.
Travel promotes understanding and makes judgment seem irrelevant at some point.
Making others happy is the best way to make yourself happy. That you should make the best out of your life ingredients. And that for me, time is much more worthy than material wealth.
What shouldn’t be missing in your luggage?
My camera. Sometimes it certainly limits your freedom. But I just really enjoy taking pictures.
What is important to you when choosing a travel destination?
Cities are interesting too. But I am more impressed by the architecture of nature. Remote areas, interesting landscapes and cultures that I hardly know anything about.
Having fun in Argentina
It’s incredibly rewarding to see other people in other countries trying to make the best out of their lives under completely different, difficult and dangerous situations.
What are your next travel destinations?
Our world makes me very curious. A To Do-list could never be ticked off by me. That’s why I never started any. Currently I have the Balkans and the Middle East on my radar.
In French Polynesia, people are rich in time. The phenomenon of boredom does not exist there.
But these large traveling projects are actually not so necessary. I can also have great travel experiences on short trips at weekends.
interviewed by: Werner Müller-Schell © 2016