Six common questions about a life on the road
Foto: Interview at the Frankfurt Book Fair 2011
(1) Why did you choose to become a permanent nomad?
Sometimes, when you embark on a voyage, the discoveries you make are so remarkable, you end up falling passionately in love with the world. This passion can suck you in like a black hole with no escape hatch – in a good way, of course – just like when you fall in love with a person. From then onward, you’re a travel-addict, and it’s highly possible that you’ll never feel the desire to re-enter mainstream society and settle down.
(2) How do you pack and prepare for an indefinite journey?
You can pack lightly or equip for every eventuality, make plans years in advance or leave at the spur of the moment – it doesn’t really matter: nothing can fully prepare you for what you’ll find “out there”. Extensive reading about foreign countries only marginally helps: knowledge of the world does not necessarily equate to an understanding of it. That’s something one can only attempt to acquire through first-hand experience and experimentation abroad ... whereby I do emphasise the word “attempt”!
(3) Why did you decide to switch to travelling with a motorcycle in 2012?
Because motorcycling is fun? But honestly: the enjoyment and quality of an overland voyage does not depend upon the vehicle, but upon the traveller. I’m sure I’d have enjoyed driving from Europe to Australia just as much with a Land Rover. But Matilda was too beaten up from her last stint around the globe between 2002 and 2010.
(4) How do you finance your nomadic lifestyle?
I need USD 6,000 a year on average to sustain myself on the road, everything included. I’m not sponsored in any way, and finance my lifestyle solely as an author through my Beyond the Horizon books. Writing is my second great passion.
(5) What is the purpose and what are the benefits of travelling for years on end?
You mean “Why have I forsaken all the comforting luxuries of a settled existence and reduced my worldly possessions to a motorbike, two sets of clothing and a toothbrush?” Every nomad must answer that subjectively. For me, “freedom” is the greatest benefit, both in a physical and psychological sense. One’s opinions about foreign nations and cultures, as well as current global affairs and the world in general, are no longer defined by the media, but independently formed through personal eye-witness accounts. Provoked by daily dosages of new stimuli, your mind starts performing summersaults: soon you’ll think in ways you never thought possible, ask questions you’ve never asked yourself before, and begin to look at everything from a different perspective.
(6) What about the future, fitting back into a “normal life”, and retirement funds?
What’s a “retirement fund”? And what’s a “normal life”?