Updated: Nov 14
What kind of fears do you have?
After my one and a half years in the saddle, I feel mentally and physically prepared for anything. And whatever happens next, there will be a part in my journey where I can look back too, which will give me confidence to conquer the next challenge. Right now, I have been living in Hanoi for 8 months and I faced some difficulties because the government is changing visa requirements and it’s been a bit unclear for months now if foreigners on a tourist visa could continue staying in Vietnam or not. I would not call it a fear, but I need to work on situations that I can’t do anything about and I just need to wait to see the outcome. Hence, I wasted too much energy thinking and talking about it and because of my stress started to treat some of my friends in unfriendly ways.
Do you stop yourself from taking action because you are afraid of making mistakes and/or dealing with the consequences?
No, because if you are afraid of failing you should not even leave the house, better to stay home in a “safe” environment. We fail so many times in our life. But failing is only the first attempt at learning. There are two ways you can work with failures: the first is to keep them in your backpack and carry the burden around, ultimately breaking down one day. Or second, to use them as building blocks to continue reaching for the stars.
What is better, to have tried and failed, or to never have tried at all?
What a boring life it would be if we never tried! Referring to my journey, I was always scared that I might fail and not meet the expectations that I or others have for me. I think the only mistake is not to try at all. And how can you know if you don’t try it? At one point, you won't have time anymore, so don’t wait too long. And well, what's the worst that could happen? People judge you for what you attempted? Don’t forget what German geographer Alexander von Humboldt once said:
“The most dangerous worldviews are the worldviews of those who have never viewed the world.”
What negative inner beliefs dominate your life?
Sometimes, I feel like everything around me is just happening to influence me in a negative way. For example when I’m cycling up a mountain or trying to find a quiet sleeping spot for the night, I enter my comfort zone where I don’t like to interact with others. So when strangers try to come close to me, it feels like they are only trying to distract me or get me out of my zone. This leads to me being annoyed easily and not treat them nicely. I know they meant no harm and they came because of curiosity and will even offer me water, food or a place to stay for the night - but the negative thoughts tend to take over.
If you let “it” go, what would happen?
I would definitely spend less time being mad at others!
What positive inner beliefs dominate your life?
When I was young, everyone would tell me that strangers are dangerous. But after I crossed some countries on my bicycle like Iran, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan and so on (which my grandparents would prefer to avoid) I‘ve met so many kind and humble people. So many seemed to have less than I had, and yet they will insist on sharing what they have with me. I truly believe that wherever I go, there will always be someone around me who will help me if I need it.
What thoughts inspire you?
It's amazing what our bodies and minds are capable of doing. I have endured up to -10 degrees sleeping outside, crossed 50 degree deserts, climbed higher than 4500 meters and even carried my 50kg bike up small hiking paths for hours. Most of the time, my body would tell me to stop, but I’d keep pushing because my mind doesn't want to resign. There’s nothing better than sleeping with a full stomach in your tent after a hard day! I really love this travel lifestyle. Not just to see the world, but more just to reduce the things I have to worry about. If I only care about food, water and a good spot to sleep, it's much easier to be fulfilled with my life. Right now, I have been living in a city for 8 months and I feel like I don’t need to worry about those simple needs anymore. There is food and water around every corner and I know where I am going to sleep tonight, so my brain has much more time to think about other stuff and this would not always end up positive. So please if you can, try to get out and reduce the things you need to worry about.
Extra tip: leave your phone at home or take out the sim card, you won't miss anything for a day or two!
What would you like to change in the world?
I wish that the world would be a more equal place where people could achieve the same things and not be negatively impacted based on nationality, gender, sexuality or religion.
... and what action do you take towards making these changes? I can't change a whole system with a snap of my fingers. The only thing I can do is try to treat everyone in the same way and not be blinded by prejudices.
What is your biggest dream?
Sometimes, I feel like I am running away from a truth I need to face one day. What should I do with my life? Everyone around me is studying and investing their time in a serious education, while I am traveling and enjoying my life. Right now I am working again, but definitely just to sustain my life and prepare for the next adventure. I hope that one day, I can find out how to add something more sustainable to this world, before I go.
What are you grateful for?
My privilege to be white and born in Switzerland. I can do what I want, go where I want, for mostly as long as I want. But many people can't do that. The world is not fair, depending on where you are born, you have different possibilities. This is why I asked myself, am I allowed to enjoy life when I see other people around me fighting to survive? I think this comparison won’t help me at all, because it won't change the facts. We should be aware of our position in this world and we should make the best out of it. And if this means you can follow your passion and live your dream you should do it.
Pic: Tadjikistan Highest mountain pass 4655 meter (September 2019) by Micha Richard.
Source quote by Alexander von Humboldt:
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