On January the 13th of 2014 I started to travel the world as The Backpacker Intern. I had no intentions and no expectations. My first stop was Amnesty International in Bangkok. 365 days later I travelled and worked on 4 continents, 21 countries and 27 companies. I was invited to give speeches at TEDxTeen NYC, World Merit Day Liverpool and TEDx Koç University Istanbul. I created work for companies like DDB Vietnam, TBWA\Chiat\Day LA, Red Bull Austria, International Medical Corps UK, Saatchi & Saatchi Bulgaria, worked with the legendary Nile Rodgers, made food for homeless people and drug addicts in Kuala Lumpur at Kechara Soup Kitchen, helped out a surf school on Hawaii, volunteered at a senior Dog Shelter in San Francisco and worked with ex-drug traffickers in the favelas of Rio de Janeiro. Recently I was invited by The White House as one of the Top 100 Most Influential Travel Bloggers in the World.
I’m very thankful for this experience and hope that my story inspires you to follow your heart too. Life is too short to hate Mondays and stare at your screen until you can say TGIF. If you do what you love you don’t even care which day it is. Most of the time I don’t even know, which day it is. What day is it today actually?
What impressed me to most the last 12 months are the amazing people from all over the world that I met. From farmers to millionaires, from entrepreneurs to homeless people and from criminals to Nobel Prize winners. Everyday I’m more fascinated about our world and it’s people. We all have our differences but it’s incredible how much we are all the same. If you travel and meet people from different cultures you can see life from their perspectives. It helps you to understand the world more. If you understand the world more you can form and improve your own perspective on life.
Traveling has thought me to deal better with the ‘downs’ of life. Last year wasn’t all fun and games. I couldn’t see with one eye for three days because I got fireworks in it in Malaysia, a guy tried to attack me with a samurai sword on Venice Beach, I saw that an ex-girlfriend had passed away because she was tagged on Facebook at her funeral, I’ve had a food virus called ‘Bali-Belly’ in Indonesia, my phone got stolen in Slovakia and at 12 o’clock at New Years Eve in Uruguay I felt lonely. In all of these situations I had to take care of myself and my emotions. What always worked and still works for me is; positive thinking. Even in the most horrible situations I force myself to put a smile on my face. A smile relaxes. A smile sends positive signals to your brain. It calms you down and you will realize that it’s not that bad after all. Still feeling down? Just put Three Little Birds on repeat.
I’ve never been so happy and calm in my life as I am right now. This year was a life changing experience. I can highly recommend everyone to travel. I will do all I can to help and inspire as much people as I can to start their personal journeys too. I truly believe that if all of us would travel more, the world will become a more peaceful and awesome place.
Today I’m having my last day at JWT Argentina in Buenos Aires. A great place to celebrate my little ‘backpacker birthday’ 😉