By: Diana Rodríguez (@Diana_rodri23) Génesis Celis (@GeGabriela)
Adventurous and determined spirit Daniel Richter walks toward his goal: creating a network of known people around the world, that expands itself with each trip. Daniel, 27, tries to seek out what really is important in life; he’s moved by curiosity, fun, adventure or simply “doing something different”. Escaping the bad weather and enjoying the tropical side of the world are his good reasons to continue traveling and meeting places. Daniel finds a good opportunity in his wanderings for building up his personality, there he appreciates the great enjoyment that produces each trip, besides taking ideas and impressions of other cultures. For him, these experiences “worth more than anything else that is bought with money.”
Daniel Richter, 27 years old.
Hometown: Stuttgart, Germany.
Lives in: Bern, Switzerland.
Profession: environmental engineering.
Has travelled to:
– EEUU/Canada, Michigan, Detroit, Niagara Falls (2003) Programa de intercambio
– Dubai, Suráfrica (2010) – 4 semanas
– Malaysia (Borneo), Indonesia, Thailand, Cambodia (Angkor Wat Temples), Phillipines (2010/2011)
– Canada, Newfoundland (2011)
– Canada, Newfoundland (2012)
– Canada, Newfoundland (2012/2013)
– Malaysia, Thailand, Singapore (2013)
– Malaysia, Thailand (2013)
– Costa Rica, Panama (2014)
Other countries such as:
England, France, Spain, Italy, Austria, Czech Republic, Slovenia, Croatia, Turkey, San Marino and the Netherlands.
His rhetoric of life is::
“The question I ask myself is: what would you do if your life expectancy is limited? I would go to see and explore the world as much as I can and try to be the best person I can be …”
When did you start travelling?
D: It started all when I went into an exchange program. First, it was not backpacking, but I started by travelling to the US on my own when I was 16. They put me into a program to go to the US and then I stayed with a family in Detroit.
And there I started to think, ok you can go outside and even with 16 years old you can live with another family.
It was more difficult in the beginning to make this step, to leave your safe place and to leave, start travelling.
That was my first travel, that inspired me to travel more, and then it took me a couple of years to travel again.
How did your backpacker life begin?
D: My next trips were in 2010, I took my backpack and said I’m going to South Africa, just to explore something new.
Were you there by yourself?
D: Yes, I knew a person there, and because of that, it wasn’t that scary. Then I stayed a couple of days in Dubai, which was also a great experience outside my comfort zone, it wasn’t western world anymore, not European world anymore.
Dubai is Arabian, Arabs with turban. Europe and the US is quite similar, also Canada is still like western world. But Dubai and South Africa is completely different, Dubai is completely different from South Africa and completely different from Europe.
Were you impressed by this change of surroundings?
D: In Dubai I was surprised that every single thing was so functional, they wasted a lot of energy, like an air-conditioned bus stop that I saw. When I walked around I saw the most expensive cars, a lot of them.
What’s the difference between travelling as a tourist, student of an exchange program or as a backpacker?
D: As a backpacker you are definitely freer, you just choose where you want to go. It can also depend of how you travel, if you travel by yourself or if you travel as a group.
Group is good but in a way others limit you, you are always in need to stay with the group, to go to this or that place, even if you really want to see something else. If you’re on your own, you just do what you want.
A remarkable travelling experience?
D: An experience which I find really impressive was bungee jumping in South Africa, the highest bungee bridge in the world. That were 216 meters and I jumped off this bridge, got really really impressed. Definitely the coolest experience of my life.
I had to choose between jumping off of an airplane or jumping down from a bridge, so I decided the bridge is even scarier because you are closer to the ground.
How did you choose your first trips?
D: I hadn’t had much money as a student and I wanted to study somewhere else, I did an internship in Malaysia because of one professor that had a connection to the university. There was a moth of pure working and then two and a half month traveling as a backpacker.
I studied environmental engineering in the University of Stuttgart, in Germany and in some point I had to do and internship of my study so I decided that I wanted do it in Malaysia. I also wanted to improve my English. I worked there at a biogas plant.
One of the best experience of my life, I’d do it again.
It’s a really interesting thing to see, you come from a European world and you are used to it, when you get out of there, you see what’s different, for example, different relations, Malaysia is highly influenced by Muslims. I would say they still say there is not discrimination, but it’s not true. Definitely not true.
Which countries have you visited? How do you choose the next country you’ll go?
D: I have traveled more in Asia, like Malaysia, Philippines, Cambodia, Thailand, Singapore, Indonesia. A lot of countries but they are all around, close to each other. I had my apartment there in Malaysia; I made friends during that time.
In Malaysia I stayed for six month, but in the six month I travelled to those places. In Asia, flying is really cheap. It’s very very easy to travel. I think it’s harder here (South America), so much more expensive.
I had to say, I went back to Malaysia and Thailand two times afterwards, and then I decided there’s more to see in the world and I met many travelers. When I’m back home, I’m also interested in travelling and I ask people like, where they want to go, where they had been already. If you meet a traveler, you discuss the places. I met a guy who told me he was in Botswana, and said that’s the place you have to go.
Do you identify yourself with the people or cultures that you visit?
D: Part of me definitely does, when I travel get out of my zone, and meet so many different things and also meet really great thing from every country. In my personality as well, like it change my personality in a way. As a European person you always see that there isn’t a great communication. We sit in a train and we don’t talk to anybody else.
In Costa Rica, people are more open minded, more friendly; they want to know where are you from, what you do, and ask personal question which I really really like. I wish I could take their personality back to my country.
I’ve learnt a lot. I think is a great experience for yourself, it really makes up your personality. It makes me grow as a person for sure. I would never buy a car instead of travelling, for example. Travelling is so much more. It helps you understand the world better and shows you that things are different.When I got home, I can always share my experience and tell other people how it is in other countries. That you can go to Caracas and you don’t die, it is what, sometimes, people think in the outside.
How did you get to choose Venezuela as you destination?
D: To come here in Venezuela, for me it was hard to take this decision. One experience I can share: my friend Jessica came to South America, and she was in Colombia, Peru, Ecuador, and she said like, you can go to all this countries and she trace a map of South America and she crossed over Venezuela and said, that’s the country you can’t go. I said why I cannot go there? And she was like, every traveler say it’s so dangerous to go there. I said, did you meet them, did they go there? And none of them told her that they have been to Venezuela.
So I made my decision based on her, based of the people I knew already in Panama because I stayed there with Venezuelans. They said it was dangerous but still a really nice country, and you go there and you survive. So I’m really really happy I’ve made this decision, and actually get to see this country.
Do you register your trips?
I take a lot of pictures, for example now I’ve probably taken 400 pictures in two weeks. Everywhere you go you see so many things that you don’t have in your country, and I always try to capture it. Maybe if it’s an old car or construction work, for example. It depends totally on where I am.
Have you thought of making a blog about your backpacker life?
D: When I get home from a trip I take my pictures, the ones I really like and then I make them a little bit more pretty and put it online. But I don’t leave them on Facebook for very long, just for two weeks and then take them off. I feel it as my private memory. Of Venezuela, for example, I would definitely write a little thing, maybe five or six sentences of my experience here, to people know.
Have you had any plans for your next trip?
D: Not specifics, but for sure as soon as I take holidays I go somewhere off Europe, of course I want to see more of the world. I want to come back to see more of South America, I want to see more of Africa.