Where do you take the time from?
Well, I … just take it. That is the only way, really (unless you’ve just been fired – which is a great opportunity to take a gap year). I figured, that traveling now that I am 31 might be more fun than with 70 when I am retired.
Are you being sponsored?
No, but I’d love to. If you are interested in sponsoring me, please let me know.
How do you finance the trip?
The most common question. I’m pretty much your average university student. I save money and travel cheap. I was lucky enough to get my flight to the US sponsored by the Oak Ridge National Lab, Tennessee. My daily budget of about 35 €. This includes food, accomodation, transportation and beer. That is less money than I’d spend living in Germany. Central and South America are fairly inexpensive. Traveling across Europe with this kind of budget, would be a much bigger challenge. There are lots of ways to keep the budget small, couchsurfing instead of hotel, overland bus instead of rental car and so on. And I hope to earn some money while traveling: I am a freelance science illustrator and animator and I also build nice websites. Like this one. Need a website? Let me know!
Why are you traveling all by yourself?
Two reasons. I enjoy traveling alone. It gives me more freedom, less hassle and makes it easier to get to know people. The other reason is that not too many of my friends answered the following question with ‘yes’: I am going backpacking across America for 12 months, are you coming? However, having said that, I will visit a few people on my way and some friends may join my journey for a few weeks.
Isn’t it dangerous?
Not really (unless you ask my mother). 90% of all trouble can be eliminated by using common sense and further 9% by following the advice of a good, up-to-date guidebook. The remaining 1% is unavoidable bad luck. In terms of ‘danger’, the worst thing that happened to me during the last 10+ years of traveling is a stolen wallet. As a certified ‘master of disaster’ I am way more concerned about self-inflicted mishaps and accidents, of which I have a long history. Lost passport, four missed flights, running out of cash, almost loosing a tooth when falling out of a bunk bed in a hostel in Mexico (too much tequila), … the list is endless.
Is this some sort of pilgrimage?
No, not really. I am not religious. But besides having a great time seeing a whole bunch of countries, I have never visited before, this kind of long-term travel is a great way to reflect on one’s life. That is because being away for an extended period of time greatly helps to detach your mind from the problems of everyday life. Travel is a great way to see things from a different (and hopefully clearer) perspective.