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“People always wait for the ‘perfect time’ to travel and there’s always something holding them off. But the perfect time is now!”
Patrick Muntzinger is the German Backpacker, a blogger who travels across the world and writes about his off the beaten track adventures in both English and German- while at the same time studying for his Master’s Degree.
His advice is something we have all heard before, but that few people actually act upon. The only perfect time for travelling is now, and for Patrick, not even studying for his Master’s Degree could stop him from adventuring around the world. In fact, rather than holding him back, his studies have gone on the road with him.
For Patrick, the only time to travel is now!
Patrick Muntzinger – The German Backpacker
Patrick is currently based in Canggu, Bali – the ever expanding Digital Nomad hub for travellers in Asia – but he will back in Europe for the summer after he finishes the Master’s Thesis he is working on while he lives the nomadic life in Indonesia. Rather than keeping him in his home country, Patrick’s studies have in many ways opened up the world to him.
“I grew up in a small village in southern Germany”, Patrick tells us. “But I always had the desire to travel and to explore the world. After high school, I moved to the city of Mannheim and started attending university there. During my business studies, I finally had the opportunity to travel more and I certainly took advantage of it.
“My first big opportunity to travel outside of Europe for an extended period of time was my exchange semester in California, where I spent half a year living and travelling around the west coast of the United States.
“I enjoyed my years at university a lot, since it gave me so much freedom to explore, and I had the chance to combine my business degree with some fun international experiences – I had exchange semesters at partner universities in San Diego and Mexico City too, I joined a volunteering program in Mauritius during one of my semester breaks and I spent four months in Seoul, South Korea for an internship”.
Writing A Master’s Thesis On The Road – “My Friends And Family Called Me Crazy”
After completing his Bachelor’s Degree in 2014, Patrick didn’t stop travelling or studying and somehow he has managed to find a way to sustain both of these pursuits as he completes his Thesis in Canggu. All he needs is his laptop, and an internet connection.
“I’m currently in the last months of my Master’s Degree and since I finished all my exams already, all that’s left is my Master’s Thesis. Since I’m writing my thesis completely online – I can access the university database with all necessary information such as journals and research articles via a VPN client from everywhere in the world.
“Therefore, all I need is my laptop and a good internet connection. Moving to Bali for my thesis was a very spontaneous decision. I had just returned back home from my recent Africa trip in February and couldn’t get used to being back in cold and rainy Germany.
“One evening, I randomly googled ‘working from Bali’ and quickly realised that this would actually be very much possible. My friends and family obviously called me crazy, but I terminated my student apartment the day after my decision was made and fast forward one month, I’m sitting in my co-working space in Bali, working on my university paper – and I couldn’t be happier about my decision!”
“I always travel to very cheap countries and on a low budget to afford my trips”.
Before moving to Canggu, Patrick was constantly travelling during his University breaks, deliberately going on a budget and stretching his money as far he could to get as far around the world as possible. He preferred to invest his savings in experiences more than anything else., and luckily, the German Higher Education system is very accommodating towards that.
“I always travel to very cheap countries and on a low budget to afford my trips. Since I always worked during high school and university, I was able to save up some money. Luckily, we don’t need to pay any tuition fees for university in Germany, so I could invest my earned money in travels.
“People seem to believe that you’d need huge savings to travel, which is certainly not true. When I’m travelling on a low budget, my monthly expenses are lower than when I’m living in Germany. Some people spend the same budget on their 2 weeks summer holiday than I’d spend in 2 months exploring South America or Asia.
“Balancing university and travels was always easy for me, since I always have several months of semester holiday every summer and every winter, giving me enough time for some nice trips. Luckily, I also don’t have any mandatory attendance at university and can basically take time off whenever I want”.
German Backpacker Blog
Patrick writes about his travel experiences in both English and German on his blog, German Backpacker. It started as a hobby when he began using Instagram to post about his travels, but now it is becoming bigger than he ever imagined it would.
“I started with German Backpacker on Instagram around 2-3 years ago by posting my travel pictures from all over the world. My audience grew over the last year, but it’s always been a fun hobby and I actually never considered it as a business opportunity – until I unexpectedly got invited to participate in an incredible backpacking campaign by the Tourism Board in New Zealand in summer 2017.
“After talking to some professional travel bloggers on this trip, I realised that it’s finally time to start my own website as well. And a lot happened in the last six months – I attended conferences in Ireland and Berlin, got invited to press trips in Romania and India, and met hundreds of inspiring and awesome people from all over the world!”
Patrick’s blog is still young and his next challenge- after his thesis!- is to try and monetize it effectively. While he sees the business potential of doing this, it is raising other questions for him, as running a travel blog takes a lot of time and energy, and he would sacrifice other opportunities to get take it on as a full time project.
“Since my blog is only half a year old, I’m not able to make an income of it yet, but I’m at a point where I can travel for very cheap and sometimes even for free thanks to collaborations, sponsorships and press trips.
“I would love to monetize my blog in the future and focus on it more, but I also know that it takes a lot of time and that it’s not always the easiest path to earn money. It’s a difficult trade-off for me, since my university degree gives me the opportunity to start a stable and well-paid corporate job. Maybe I’ll try to combine travel blogging and a regular job for the beginning and just see how things develop. My life as a travel blogger is certainly too much fun to give up on it!”
“Everyone called me crazy when I decided to visit Sudan”.
Patrick definitely has the travel experiences to make his blog a success, and while he visited the ‘classic’ backpacking countries and followed the ‘classic’ travel routes in his first years of travel, now he takes a different approach, visiting real off the beaten track destinations and aiming to find unique experiences across the world.
“My main driver is the experience. After travelling to many of the ‘classic’ backpacking countries in the last years, I try to focus more on unique and exotic destinations in the future, which are certainly not as easy to explore, but very rewarding and exciting.
“When picking a destination, I make sure that it’s possible to travel on a low budget, that it’s (relatively) safe and that there’s at least some basic infrastructure to get around. I don’t like to plan in detail, but I always like to have a rough itinerary just to have a general idea about a trip.
“Travelling to these off the path destinations is a very unique experience, since you don’t have hundreds of friends at home who have been there before and you don’t know yet exactly how a place looks like from pictures on social media.
“Therefore, your trip is full of surprises and mostly, these countries are so different than how people generally perceive them to be. Everyone called me crazy when I decided to visit Sudan, since people would never relate Sudan to a tourist destination and all they know about the country is its troubled history and civil war. However, the part of Sudan that I visited was absolutely safe and the people I met were the most welcoming and friendliest people that I ever met”.
“The Perfect Time To Travel Is Now!”
Patrick’s advise for anyone wanting to set off on the road is not to wait any longer, but to just get out there and do it, before it becomes even more difficult in the future.
“People always wait for the ‘perfect time’ to travel and there’s always something holding them off. But the perfect time is now. The older you get, the more responsibilities you’ll have and the more difficult it will be to leave everything behind for a few months.Don’t find excuses and don’t wait for the perfect time – if you want to do it, it’s possible right now and you can make it happen!”
Thanks to Patrick, German Backpacker for his story!
Patrick from German Backpacker combined his studies at university with extensive travels around the world. His bilingual travel blog in English and German focuses on adventure and backpacking travels and he has the goal to visit every country in the world.
Interview And Article By Richard Collett
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