Are you considering or getting ready for your trip around the world? Then you absolutely need to read Maethi’s advices who shares with us his travel experiences around the world and tops spots you need to visit.
Meet Maethi (27), our avid explorer from Vienna, who currently lives in Graz (Austria) and discovered three different continents last year by himself.
HTD: Mathias, you traveled the world alone for half a year. So where have you been and especially: what was the reason for such an adventure?
Regarding my route, my first stop was Denmark (Sealand) which is where I pretty much planned the trip and booked most of my flights. From there I had a return flight to Istanbul. Afterwards I went to the Algarve (Portugal) for surfing, took a bus to Lisbon and flew to Ponta Delgada on the Azores, which are a group of Portuguese islands in the middle of the Atlantic. Then I entered Canada in
Toronto, went to Montréal by bus and a month before Christmas I took a flight to Vancouver from where I headed to the last country on my trip, the Philippines (Palawan, Negros and Manila), just before New Years.
Over the years I had met people from all kinds of places, in Austria as well as on my two exchange semesters (in Copenhagen and Waterford, Ireland). I wanted to visit all these people, so I started to travel. When I did my Master’s I got tired of going to university and I needed something to look forward to in order to keep myself motivated, so I thought why not connect all the destinations in one big trip once I’m done with my degree?
HTD: How did you get ready for this trip? What would you definitely recommend to consider when planning such a journey?
My plans for the trip matured slowly over one and a half years. However, I didn’t take too many concrete steps until just short before the trip. I think, I didn’t even pack until the night before my departure. There are a few things that need to be taken care of in advance, mostly paperwork. Depending on where you go, you’ll have to ensure that you’ll have all the visa, financial proofs and vaccinations and stuff like that you may need in order to enter certain countries. Another very important point is health insurance. Also I didn’t own a credit card at the time which, unfortunately, is indispensable.
Most other things can be bought along the way, if you happen to need anything. Two other things that come to mind, which are probably easier to get in advance, are a phone that works with all the frequency bands you may encounter and travel plug adapters. Be aware that the voltage may differ and just because you have the right plug it doesn’t mean that all your gadgets will work (my shaver didn’t work in Canada).
Get the smallest sleeping bag you can find and bring hand-wash detergent instead of piles of clothes.
HTD: Besides being an avid traveler you are also a very gifted and passionate singer and guitar player with experience on stage. How comes you left your guitar in Denmark during the trip?
I was determined to make my music an essential part of the adventure. But after my studies I was really exhausted and I realized that I was putting a lot of pressure on myself with respect to the guitar. Also I knew that I technically wouldn’t be allowed to take the guitar on airplanes and checking it in was no option for me. I have, however, had the guitar on board a couple of times but it always was a matter of not getting caught. The fact that I did this whole trip alone may suggest that I am a very laid back person. But I’m actually really anxious when it comes to following rules and getting into trouble with authorities. Also I figured it’s a good idea to take a break and figure out what music really meant to me. I’m still in the process though.
HTD: How much money is according to you a minimum for such a trip? Of course, it depends a lot on individual needs and the places you visit. But is there an advice you would like to give our readers or hints how to make it work with a little bugdet too?
This is a tricky question because I feel like the way I travel is completely different from what people expect, when you tell them that you traveled the world. As I’ve mentioned before, one of the main reasons for my trip was to visit friends. Therefore I stayed with friends and family in all places except for Istanbul, Portugal and the Azores. Istanbul was the most expensive part of my trip, because I went there with a friend from Denmark who was not on a budget. In the Algarve I stayed in a cheap hostel with breakfast included and most days I only had one meal besides that, just to save money. All in all, flights (< 2.100€), insurances aso. included, my whole trip (five months) cost me less than 5.600€.
That said, my tips are to spend A LOT of time looking for flights, never book anything in a rush and follow the price changes over the weeks. One-way flights are not always more expensive than return flights. For Europe, most of the time Skyscanner yields the cheapest flights (especially the “whole month” search feature), Kayak in North America, but I usually book flights at the airlines’ company websites, because that saves you lots of trouble with shady booking websites that have bad conditions and sometimes it’s even cheaper. https://matrix.itasoftware.com/ is also an extremely helpful, but quite unknown search engine where you can find flights based on timespans.
My summary: Stay flexible with your travel dates, take busses whenever possible and stay with friends.
HTD: What would you have planned differently in retrospect?
Not much. When I came back I had money left, even though I had originally expected that I’d need to borrow some. So I would probably take it easier and have a daily lunch in Portugal ;). Also, I wouldn’t have packed any T-shirts with labels that stick when you fold them :).
HTD: What did you enjoy most about this trip and why would you absolutely do it again (or not)?
My favorite part were the people I met again, especially in Vancouver and then the new friends I made in Portugal and on the Azores.
HTD: Which were your 3 favorite spots that might be interesting for our readers too?
1. Lagos in the Algarve. I went there for surfing at the end of September. I got lost in that place and stayed for a week longer .
2. Vancouver. I just love this place. It’s got everything: mountains, trees, rivers, the sea. It’s beautiful at any time of the year and most of all its people are extremely friendly and cool, yet active and outdoorsy. And the weather is not as terrible as everybody’s saying.
3. The Azores. I only saw the island Sao Miguel. Apparently they are really diverse. The vegetation is so interesting, sometimes you’ll feel like you’re in the jungle and in the Alps at the same time. There are hot springs and whales. It’s not touristy because the economy doesn’t depend on tourism.
And Ponta Delgada, the capital, is full of colonial buildings made from black volcanic rock. This island feels unreal!
HTD: Maethi thank you so much for giving us for all these ideas! If it’s not you, who will be leaving soon again for such an adventure, then definitely us! 🙂 (ger)
Mathias / Maethi grew up in Vienna, Austria. After high school he studied Software Engineering, Cognitive Science and Interactive Media. After that he traveled around the world alone for five months (August 2014 – January 2015) and is now studying Sound Design in Graz, Styria, Austria. His greatest passion is music (he is a singer and songwriter) and is feels lucky to have three wonderful sisters.
By the way, HTD could recently enjoy Maethi and one his sister on stage at a music festival in Austria and hopes that there will many more occasions to come!
Photo credits: Maethi