When did you realize you had a passion for traveling and how did it all start?
This is a difficult question to answer. For the last 15 years, I haven’t spent a single year without traveling somewhere, whether it was for fun or work, alone or with friends… As far as I remember, I have always had a passion for traveling and for immersing myself into the unknown. But I could say it started when I had my first opportunity to travel abroad. Being at school I had the chance to participate in a school exchange program in Germany. After that, I took traveling to a whole new level and never stopped since. Traveling for me has become more than a passion, it became a way of life. It’s simply who am I. I always keep an open mind, and believe that every stranger could be my next best friend.
Travelers often seek adventure, relaxation and new experiences, what do you exactly look for when traveling?
When I think about my previous trips, I mostly just tend to remember people rather than places. So to answer that question, I would say that by traveling, I’m looking to meet new people. I always try to make new contacts and friendships. This may change your point of views, your ideas and sometimes even your life.
Tell us a little bit about your blog “En Route Vers Ailleurs”. What is it about?
“En Route Vers Ailleurs” literally means “On the road to somewhere”. The idea behind it is that every day can be the beginning of a new friendship. Every day can be an adventure, an extraordinary trip, even if you are living your daily routine. It’s basically a travel blog where I share my daily life while traveling, mainly to keep my family and friends updated but also to all the other readers who want to share the fun and the adventure with me through their screens. But this blog is not just about traveling, it’s also about meeting people and sharing stories. I wanted to show that traveling can be as simple as walking outside in one’s own city. In order to do so, I started to ask random people in the streets questions about their lives, who they are, their dreams and ambitions… It’s the idea that everybody’s life is an adventure, a gift, a unique treasure that should be embraced and cherished.
How do you keep your blog up-to-date and full of new innovative content?
I do this mainly by recording my traveling details. And to keep a blog up-to-date, you obviously need internet access. Sometimes it’s not easy to find a good internet access wherever you are. But this also means that it is good to disconnect from my social media networks for a while, just to be able to live in the moment and enjoy my time to the fullest. I also read a lot to keep my brain active and full of news ideas to write about.
Was there a particular time where you felt afraid or uncertain about a trip?
The only times I really felt afraid were the times when I had to deal with nature, not humans. With some friends in Vanuatu (a small country in the South Pacific), we were caught in a storm in the middle of the ocean, on a small boat. For an hour, I really thought we were going to die. In other instances, I might have met some people with some bad intentions. But it never went to the point where I was afraid of it. It really just shows that traveling should not be a dangerous thing or a reason to stay home and not being able to enjoy the diversity of the world.
Let’s get a live update from you. Where are you now and what are you currently writing about?
I am currently in Bogota, Colombia. It has been five months since I started traveling in South America. I’m also doing my best to try to learn Spanish. It has worked really well so far as I didn’t speak any Spanish when I first came here and now I’m able to have a conversation and interact easily with locals. So if you check my blog, you could read about my trips in Colombia and Peru and how I communicate with locals there.
Many people stay in their comfort zones where they are familiar with most things. How do you embrace the many cultures you get to experience?
I would say that I don’t drink, I don’t smoke, I don’t use any kind of drugs but traveling would be my drug to which I am addicted. Knowing that we are 7 billions people on earth and that I will never be able to know everyone makes me sad. But at least I try to meet and talk to as many people as I can. So to embrace the many cultures I get to experience, I try as much as possible to not just live with what I think I know, the ideas and assumptions I might have about different cultures and societies, the stereotypes… And I can say that after ten years traveling across the globe, I have never felt this enriched.
What rituals or rules do you usually follow while traveling?
Follow your instinct and listen to people but also do the exact opposite. I think there have to be some basic rules if you want to have a safe trip but also try to gain new experiences. And you also get to break rules sometimes. When you have the chance to meet new people, you usually have little time to know if you can trust them or not. I try as often as possible to say yes to everything and so far it has been working for me. Sometimes, you might not feel it works, so don’t go for it ! The locals know their country the best, so listen to them. If they take the time to give you advice, why would you want to turn your experience into a negative one? Just be positive and go with the flow.
Many travel bloggers nowadays document their adventures and share them online. From your own experience, what makes a good travel blog?
A good travel blog is one that is fun and easy to read. But it really depends on the readers and what they are looking for. I think, nowadays, we can find any piece of information we want just by googling it. So there is no need to give tips about the last hotel or place you’ve been to. From my point of view, I would rather read some funny story or some daily life traveling routine, just to feel that the person writing the blog is a human who wants to share bits of his or her life with the world. And most importantly, if you have a blog, regardless of the subject, you have to talk about something you love, something you are passionate about, and not just seeking more views.
How hard is it to communicate with people from different countries? Is English always an easy option?
English obviously helps me to communicate in most countries and to have interactions with other travellers. But it’s always good to know some of the basics of the language spoken in the country you’re visiting. It will help you get more in touch with locals and gain their friendship and hospitality. In South America for instance, speaking English helps in most situations because few people speak English. So yes English is the easy option, but never let your knowledge of English block your motivation to learn other languages.
Is there a message you would like to deliver through your blog and travels?
Of course. I want to show and prove that traveling is not as scary as many people tend to think and that the world is a beautiful place full of beautiful people and things to be seen. I’m totally sure that if everybody could travel and talk to their neighbours a little bit more, the world will be a much better place with less fear and more hope. So get on the road and go somewhere!