The June issue of TBT Magazine brings you the interview with Max Leyerer, a young and diligent traveller from Austria. Here you can read more about his travel experiences and goals.
Max, this indeed is a big accomplishment for a young man of your age, to have travelled to so many countries. Tell us more about what sort of travels you prefer?
Thank you. Travelling to all countries in the world is not my dream or something I just want to do, it’s my plan. I think about it all day long, and sometimes I think I might be too obsessed with travelling.
Overland travels are among my favorite types of travel. You get to see a lot more of a place and the chance to meet interesting people along the way is higher. Despite that, I don’t have a real preference and just get excited for any upcoming travels.
Do you think these challenges while travelling have something to do with the fact that you come from a very organized and safe country?
It crossed my mind. I’m eager to go to war-torn countries or to places which have seen a lot of conflict in the past. I love history and soak up every detail and fact I can get.
But coming from a very organized and safe country does not mean I’m less equipped to travel in Africa. It is an experience which transforms a person who loves travel to a real traveler.
You have studied tourism management. Does that change your perspective on your travelling experiences?
To be honest, not at all. It gave me insight into the business and work of tourism boards and how to advertise a destination. But, knowing how a travel orientated company works is not something I need to travel through a country. However, it helps when I deal with tourism boards and companies before I start a journey.
What is your most impressive travel memory or memories so far? And what was the most underwhelming one?
I have two travel memories that I think about almost daily. First, the sunrise I’ve seen on the top of Mount Kilimanjaro, after a long night of trekking up the steep hills. And second, coming eye to eye with a rare mountain gorilla family in the jungles of Uganda. We spent one hour with them and just sat there and watched them in their fragile environment. A truly special and humbling experience.
In terms of underwhelming experiences, I’m convinced, that the Twelve Apostles on the Great Ocean Road are not as good as everyone thinks. Don’t get me wrong, the Great Ocean Road is incredibly beautiful, but I think there are more beautiful spots along the coast than the Twelve Apostles. When I stood there, I was thinking ‘What is all the fuss about? Yesterday, along the coast, was so much better.’
But nonetheless, I’m happy to go back to the region.
You’ve created a bucket list for the things you are yet to accomplish. Does making that list inspire you to push yourself harder and further or is it the other way around?
Creating that list is just a fun way of keeping track what I’ve done and what I want to do, as well as for my readers. But this list is just a small gathering of awesome activities and things to do. I never intend to finish my bucket list, because this list should never be finished. There are always new things coming up. Either someone tells me about something amazing I should try or I read an article about this new activity. Anyway, it should simply be an inspiration, to see what amazing things there are to do and what places I have yet to explore.
What are the most important items for you on your bucket list?
Antarctica! It’s my 7th and only missing continent. I will make it there hopefully by 2017.
My other favorites right now are visiting Sierra Leone, jumping the highest bungee-jump in Queenstown, New Zealand and seeing the pyramids in Cairo, Egypt. As of now, I will check them all off this year, despite Antarctica!
You have surely seen and learned a lot on your travels. What is the biggest lesson you learned?
I learned that the most important thing is to trust your gut and to not be biased. People are generally good in their core and meeting people around the world is enriching in a way beyond imaginable.
Seeing way of lives in a different culture and realizing we have the same appreciation for core values, like family, respect or integrity has been one of the most beautiful things I’ve seen.
What would be your advice for other young travellers?
Don’t find excuses. I often heard from other people ‘I’d love to travel to this country’ or ‘I’d love to do a similar journey like you did’, but they never did. If you want to travel, make it a priority and do it. Trust your gut and you’ll be fine. Anywhere.
And, finally, our usual question: If you could invite four people to a dinner, who would they be–and why?
Oh, a tough question. I reckon I would invite Queen Elizabeth II, because she is one of the longest reigning monarchs in the world and without a doubt one of the most interesting and influential people in the world. I’m sure it would be incredible to listen to a few stories from this incredible woman.
Then I’d love my late grandfather to be a part of it, because I never got the chance to meet him.
Thirdly, I’d love to meet Marco Polo. He just might be the greatest explorer of all time. Exploring back in his days meant serious adventure. There is no way we’ll ever experience his ecstasy, agony and tales while travelling to unseen places like him, so that is what I’d love to talk to him about.
Lastly, I’d like to invite Richard Branson to dinner. I have met him before and we’ve taken a picture together. But of course, there was no chance to talk to him. His insight in entrepreneurial business is amazing and the way he is improving the lives of so many with his non-profit organizations is incredible.