The Ego Tripper is a self-proclaimed travel addict. Who has been living the travel life since his first trip to Paris about ten years ago. He works as a professional journalist in Antwerp, Belgium (covering things other than travel) and runs the travel website TheEgoTripper.wordpress.com.
WTBz: Here at World Travel Buzz HQ, we love reading the posts you write on The Ego Tripper. How did you end up starting your website and what is the main goal of the site?
The Ego Tripper: I’ve been traveling intensely for about ten years now and I thought it would be a good idea to write down my experiences. Not so much for other people to read, but for myself – to remember – in the first place. You see, I’m afraid I would forget how I felt when I first backpacked through Italy in 2003, or what I did exactly in Prague, Los Angeles or Shanghai. I have so many good memories, but as you know, memories tend to fade a bit and by writing them down I’m trying to preserve them. Of course it’s nice if other people get something out of it too. I mean, I have a lot of information and pictures to share. So hopefully it’s a win-win situation.
WTBz: What was your first experience with traveling? Was this when you’d say you Became a Traveler? Or did you really discover your passion for travel later on?
The Ego Tripper: I’m pretty sure I became a traveler in Paris. I went there on a city trip with some classmates and I loved every minute of it. The freedom, the culture, the art, speaking a different language, the cuisine. It truly inspired me. When I went on a backpacking tour through Italy the year after, I was sure I had become a traveler. This trip opened my eyes to the rest of the world. Still now, after more than ten years, I still love to talk about those two trips. Actually, I go back to Italy almost every year because I fell in love with the country. The same goes for Paris.
Can you explain your passion for travel? What do you love about it? What do you get from it?
Do you prefer to travel alone or with a friend, group of friends, partner? How does your travel style affect what you get out of your journey?
Good question. I actually like it all! For my work, I get to travel a lot, and I’ll always try to bring my wife with me, but sometimes this is just impossible. That means I have to go solo sometimes. But most of the time I travel with my wife or a good friend, and sometimes another couple as well. There are advantages and disadvantages to every situation. I wouldn’t like to travel with more than three of four other people. That just makes it too hard to find the good balance between what you want and what they want — That can get quite stressful. But traveling on your own can be quite boring too, or lonely. I always found that sharing a travel experience with one other person is ideal. Sharing an experience makes it so much stronger, I feel.
If you could travel with any 3 people (real, fictional alive, or dead) who would they be and where would you go?
Hermann Hesse is one of my favorite writers of all time. Narziss & Goldmund, Steppenwolf, Siddharta… All masterpieces! He wrote a book about his travels in Italy as well, which is quite interesting. So Italy with Hermann Hesse would be awesome. Unfortunately that’s not gonna happen. A Jack Kerouac on the road trip would be cool as well.
Many people who don’t travel always think they can’t afford it. what do you have to say to that?
Well, it depends on how you wanna travel. I just spent 500 euros on three weeks in India and you could even do that much cheaper. But honestly, if you love traveling, you’ll search for a way to make it work. Take a tent, hitchhike, whatever you need to do to fulfill your needs. If money is the only reason keeping you from traveling, you know you’re not a real traveler.
Oh man, I couldn’t imagine my life without traveling, so this question is impossible to answer. I might have children and a fancy house. I might have decent furniture and more money perhaps, but I’m sure I’d feel less rich.
What was the most grueling adventure? (epic hike with low supplies, long train ride in India with no toilets, etc.)
I’m sure I had some bad experiences, but I tend to forget about those. A four hour taxi ride from hell in India is one of the recent ones. In some countries you feel a life is just worth less. Also in Santa Cruz I got chased by some angry dudes who were trying to sell drugs. Nothing really terrible. You see, all the good trumps all the bad.
What’s your best travel tip?
One things that my wife and I always say to each other when we’re on holidays is, ”no pain, no gain.” This, I feel, is my best travel tip. You can’t expect everything to fall in your lap. If you wanna enjoy the most stunning views, sometimes you’ll have to climb the highest mountains. You have to make an effort before you can relax. Sometimes you have to push yourself to the limit. And you might curse on the way to the top, but you’ll be very grateful after.
Another good tip: Keep an open mind, don’t try to compare everything in another country to the situation in your country. Try to learn a few words in the local language. Eat crazy stuff, do crazy stuff. And TAKE GOOD PICTURES OF EVERYTHING! Oh man, I can’t imagine coming back with lousy pics of a great holiday.
One of my favorite parts of travel is connecting with the people I meet along the way, both locals and other travelers. Can you tell us about one of your most cherished travel connections?
I’ve met so many awesome people while traveling and I have taken advantage of those connections! I’ve got a friend in LA who I visited just a couple of months ago for the third time. I had met him years ago at a camp site in Italy. Luckily we had exchanged email addresses. Same goes for two friends in Sydney. I met them in Italy one night. And they were traveling Europe for one year. So I invited them to my place in Antwerp. And in january I went to Sydney on my world trip and visited them. I’ve got a friend in San Francisco who came to Berlin recently and I saw her there. I’ve also been to her place two or three times. I’ve got friends in Norway, Brazil, USA, Australia, South Africa, Canada, France, Germany, the UK… All travel buddies. Very convenient actually.
What advice would you give to first-time travelers?
Enjoy every second of it. Everything you do for the first time is something special.
Thanks so much for taking the time to talk with us, and we hope to see you on the road sometime!