When you transform your hobby into your lifestyle.
I started my trip around the world two years ago. After almost 30 countries on all the continents (except Antarctica), I have seen so many nice corners around the world. From the active volcano Telica in Nicaragua to the wild mountains in Lesotho, the stunning Amazonas in Colombia to the Sulphur lakes in New Zealand, and the bustling streets of New York to the starry sky in the Himalaya.
Somehow, I have honed the art of inserting myself into authentic situations everywhere I go. I danced cumbia with an old guy in a sombrero at a wedding in Mexico, slept on the concrete floor of a monastery in Myanmar and cooked momos with Nepali girls. I got my car broken into in South Africa and bitten by a street dog in India, ending up in a public hospital where no one spoke any English.
I drank tea with Bedouins in the mountains in Jordan and ate biscuits with old Chinese men who were playing a board game in the courtyard of a house. I got drunk on sake and sang karaoke in a bar in Japan, and on tej and danced at a reggae festival in Ethiopia. I got to drive a minivan in Senegal, a taxi in Palestine and a tuk tuk in India.
As a journalist, I also got to write a lot of interesting stories. I wrote about my nude experience in a traditional spa in South Korea where I was the only foreigner, and about the ritual of a tribe in Ethiopia where women are being brutally hit by men. I wrote about why Australia’s government is killing kangaroos, and why the trendy turmeric latte is nothing more than an old Indian coughing syrup. I wrote about a Palestinian refugee who became one of the most successful Arabic teachers of the Middle East, and why an Australian family is living in camping sites instead of a house for seven years now.
I’ve also learned a lot of useful (and useless) things. I’ve learned the difference of solitude and loneliness and I’ve learned that richness has nothing to do with money. I’ve learned that hand signs are not universal but facial expressions are. I’ve learned the one and only word to respectfully shake off a street vendor in Senegal (and no, it’s not «No thank you»), and how to confidently use every different kind of toilet on this planet. I’ve learned that the best gift is time and that the best weapon is a smile.
I lost two phones, a laptop, a camera, a hat and my comfort zone.
I found hope, love, confidence and cheap flights.
I’ve eaten my way through all kinds of different cuisines but I’m still hungry for adventure and thirsty for the unknown.
Want to know what kind of blog post I wrote exactly one year ago? Then read: «One year on the road – and still not enough»