- Describe the type of traveller you are?
This is a really hard question to answer because I don’t think I fit any stereotype!! I love cities for their history, people, music, street art and parties. I prefer getting out into the wilderness and doing some hiking and camping with my guitar, so basically whatever comes my way really! I have little to no idea what awaits in the next city or country I’m heading to and prefer it this way. Everything becomes more exciting and new, having to find information on my whereabouts and exploring! I make no plans until the day or 2 before and in smaller areas I do lots of hitchhiking. So I find it very hard to label myself, if you like, you could pretty much call me a drifter.
- Who are you travelling with? Why?
I travel alone. I prefer traveling alone because I can really experience the element of adventure and don’t have to worry about other people’s plans, wants and needs. It’s also great traveling with new friends and especially old ones as well. I often find myself meeting people in a hostel, getting into a group and exploring together for a few days. It’s nice to share the experience with others and also each other’s unique experiences from the past. Usually end up becoming quite close to people and it can be hard parting, yet it’s refreshing that I can be happy alone and always connect with new people as nothing but myself. I think it’s an important thing for people to experience.
- How would you describe your travel budget?
My travel budget consists of spending as little as possible each day without sacrificing too much comfort or health. You usually have to spend some money in cities to see whatever marvel of existence is at hand (that’s what we travel for right?) But not all of them are worth it, there’s lots of tourist traps, so I just decide what I really want to see and what's worth spending on! If the hostel has a breakfast I often take some sandwiches or fruit for lunch. Sometimes I get together with some people in the hostel, join forces and cook up a feast. I’ve also got a container so I can cook up a big pasta or whatever for a few nights. I hitchhike, catch cheap torturous overnight busses and drink the cheapest alcohol available. I enjoy camping so in the warmer months I sometimes find a campsite or camp wherever possible (leave no trace). There’s heaps of other things I do to make my money go further but they get more and more embarrassing from here onwards...
- Why do you travel?
I travel because I love adventure and am fascinated and inspired by the world surrounding me! I put myself in pretty rough circumstances when I was a bit younger, partied too hard and made a lot of stupid mistakes. I know a lot of people going down the wrong path or even just an unhappy one, growing up too quick. Hopefully I can inspire some people to get out there and explore the world. I realize how impressionable I am now in my 20s. So much to learn. I feel like I need to get as much life experience as possible to enrich myself while still young, before getting settled into a career or serious relationship. I’m only in my mid 20s so definitely not stopping any time soon...
- What sparked your current trip?
My current Europe trip has been something I've always wanted to do. My dad is English and luckily passed on British citizenship. After my adventure last year hitchhiking around Australia (thought I'd travel my own backyard first) I fell in love with the unknown and decided to apply for citizenship in the UK. I worked hard as a labourer for 6 months, sold my car and took off...
- Which country did you feel a strong connection with? Why?
I feel an amazing connection with every place I go but the strongest connection was with England where I started my trip. My Dads side of the family are English and he was born and raised there. Meeting my Grandad and Aunty in England and my Grandma in Wales was really humbling; to learn more about my family history and my dad’s upbringing. I understand my father a lot better now and really look forward to seeing him again.
- If you could give an aspiring traveller advice, what would it be?
Far out this is difficult. The main thing I would say is, to truly grow from your experience, save up and go one way. Finish your study and/or quit your job. People say you find yourself when travelling, I completely disagree. You create yourself along the way!! Also don’t go travelling just to take pictures of the Eiffel tower for your friends. Travel to experience the culture and adventure for yourself. Oh and don’t bother with Contiki tours, I’m sure it would be awesome fun with new people but I imagine it’s pretty much like going to the cinema...do it for yourself. I understand not everyone can do it like I am but everyone can at least try...
- What’s the one thing you brought on your trip that you haven't needed?
One thing I luckily haven't needed so far is my spare charger and extra set of headphones. Everything else is getting a serious run for its money.
- What has been your most humbling moment?
The most humbling moment! It’s incredibly hard to pick just one! So many people have been amazingly kind and hospitable to me. All the awesome people I've hitchhiked with, slept on their couches, been fed by and shouted beers! I think my good mate in Germany takes the cake. I met him on my Australia trip and we travelled WA together, he saw online that I was at the Oktoberfest in Munich. He's still in Australia yet he contacted his mother in Bavaria and organized for me to stay with her for 10 days. It was an awesome experience in a beautiful quiet town in the Bavarian alps. His incredible mum fed me traditional meals, taught me some German and looked after me like a son. Was very humbling and relaxing to be in a home again...
- What do you wish you had brought with you?
I only wish I had brought a better camera! The galaxy s5 doesn't cut it in certain lights sometimes...
- What has been the highlight of your trip?
So many highlights it's hard to pick just one. I'd have to say either my time in Wales with my Aunty or my Luxembourg hike. In Wales I stayed with my Aunty for 6 weeks, we embarked on a camping roadtrip with her very smart dog around the Welsh coastline, through the Cambrian Mountains and the Brecon Beacons. It was an awesome experience, Wales is beautifully scenic and picturesque. In Luxembourg I did a 2 day hike on the Müllerthal trail (with way too much gear) it's probably the best hiking trail I've been on, absolutely incredible landscape. The trail goes through beautiful forest, rock formations, crevices and caves, highly recommend it!
- What has been the worst part of your trip?
The worst part of my trip so far was definitely during my black forest hike in Germany. I trekked the Schluchtensteig trail, 118ks in 4 and a half days, I camped in the forest the first 3 nights. It was very cold in the tent (cheapest low quality tent from Tesco) for the first 2 nights but it was survivable. The third night I came across a beautiful lookout on a mountain over St. Blasien. I decided to go into the town, replenish supplies and head back up and camp on the mountain, worst idea. I nearly froze to death; it was a freezing cold 3°. I found myself sleeping in a cloud and all I had was a summer sleeping bag. I had to put on all my clothes, I even had my feet in my empty backpack. I got almost no sleep and then hiked 27ks the next day. Was the best sunrise I’ve ever seen...
- Any particular moments you learnt something new about yourself?
A really powerful sudden epiphany for me was also on the Schluchtensteig trail. I realized that I have the mental conditioning and physical ability that it takes to walk for days and days, in mountainous terrain, with a 25 kilo pack, carrying a 5 kilo guitar, with no strap. I loved it and I'm keen for more....
- Describe an interesting encounter from your trip?
One interesting encounter? Every encounter with people is always interesting! Very hard question to answer. I've had big guitar jams, gone clubbing in a soviet nuclear shelter, met beautiful foreign women in hostels. Countless interactions and encounters with people that were all individual and special to me so I can't pick one just person. The wild boar encounter was definitely interesting though. Once again on the Schluchtensteig trail in the black forest Germany. It was early in the morning when I saw 3 baby boars springing around on the right of the path in some pretty dense scrub. I leant my guitar on my leg and reached into my pocket, getting my phone to take pictures. All of a sudden there was a loud rustle about 20 meters away, a massive boar stood up and turned 180° in one jump, it stared right at me and started panting heavily like it was about to charge! I picked up my guitar and held it over my head to look as big as possible and kept walking the path in long slow paces. It turned suddenly and they all bolted into the forest together. According to the guy in the next town I'm incredibly lucky it didn't attack me when it's young are around. Then he poured me a beer and offered me a hotel room free of charge. Cheers Wolfgang.
- Why did you choose these destinations?
I chose the destinations I have been to so far logically from where I started, intending to see as much of Europe as possible. I got a bus into Europe from London to Amsterdam and found information on arrival. Since then I have always gone onwards to nearby countries, cities or towns via hitchhiking or bus, I really don’t wanna miss good spots, although I can’t get everywhere. I usually decide where I’ll go next by listening to others experiences, taking advice from people in hostels/information centers or by asking locals who speak English. I rarely use internet to research places other than hostels or transport, its often a big mess of information trying to advertise this tour and that cafe with packages and nearby restaurants 10% off. Much easier with good old human contact.
- Where is your next destination?
I’m currently on a 15hr bus route (which is how I found the time to write this) to Amsterdam to meet up with an Australian crew I became good friends with. This group who met in Frankfurt, included the lovely educatingvita-min (EducatingKavita) who is now conducting this interview! I have no idea where I’ll be going next...
- Any moments when you have surprised yourself with your actions?
I surprised myself in Slovakia recently. As I am travelling indefinitely I take my money very seriously. A young bloke approached me at the train station while I was playing guitar and waiting for my train. He was very scruffy, dirty, about my age and he looked homeless. He knew very little English but asked for a turn of my guitar. He knew some basic chords and we had a little jam, he was fascinated by some of the chords I've been learning lately. After our little chat in sign language and simple English my train arrived. He asked me for some money for something to eat, instead I gave him half a loaf of bread, a can of tuna and an apple. He wanted money but was very grateful and surprised, so was I. Usually I completely ignore beggars but it felt pretty good. Not likely to happen again though.
- Any misfortunes? If so how did you solve them?
I have been very fortunate! There has luckily been very little misfortune so far. The only thing I can think of was on my first night at Oktoberfest, I completely blacked out after 3 cans and 4 steins, wandering home I somehow fell on my face. I broke the buttons on my lederhosen, scraped my cheekbone on the concrete, chipped my tooth, knees, hands and elbows were all scratched up and I barely remember anything. I have had flashbacks of petting a dog for a while and an old German lady walking me across the city to my hostel. I solved it via sleep and lots of water...
- A destination you would like to go on your trip?
A destination I would really like to go to is Iceland and Norway in the summer! They have some incredible mountains, geysers and lots of other natural wonders, I will definitely go there one day...
- Any destination you wouldn't return to?
Some of the destinations I have been to, I see no need to return. There’s so much more out there. I have experienced most places thoroughly but not all of them, there’s always more under the surface. I also have friends across Europe I would love to return to and visit. Some places I will definitely return! For example, Bavaria, Austria and Slovakia. These places I have been in the colder months but are entirely different in summer! I will definitely return for the mountains.
I have never done an interview before, it was very humbling. Hope some of you enjoyed reading it cheers all!