My latest world traveller today is Adrian Sameli from aSabbatical.com. As you can tell, Adrian is on a “Sabbatical” and a completely crazy journey around the globe. From Basel, Switzerland (where I was recently) to the world. Check out his story and follow his tales…
Who are you?
My name is Adrian and I am a digital nomad and web enthusiast from Switzerland. I’m on a mission to explore the world and show the people how wonderful our planet is – despite all the negative media coverage around the world!
Where are you from?
I’m from Basel, Switzerland.
Where have you been?
Until today, I have already travelled through 85 countries all around the world. 65 of them, I have just visited over the past 3 years as a digital nomad. Many of my unique experiences, I have documented in depth on my blog in over 1,000 stories.
- In 2015, I drove through all European countries eastern of Switzerland. In half a year, I passed through 30 countries, from the North Cape to the Balkan Peninsula.
- In 2016, I drove across half of Africa, from Nairobi to Cape Town in an old car. On this journey, I passed through a total of 15 Eastern and Southern African countries.
- In 2017, I travelled through Asia using airplanes, trains, busses and an old rusty motorcycle. In half a year, I passed through 16 South and South-East Asian countries.
Where are you now?
I’m residing temporarily in New Delhi, India. I’m doing pro bono IT consulting for the Dharma Life Foundation (www.dharmalife.in). This is one of my greatest projects and I’m honored to be part of a bigger team to improve lives for millions of rural Indian villagers.
What are the top 3 places you’ve visited?
After being to so many beautiful places, it is really hard to choose a favorite. My personal top-list is ranked by how unique a place is in comparison to its surrounding. The following countries are worth mentioning as some of the least touristic yet most impressive:
- Belarus: For most people, this European country is a white spot on the map. Not even its neighbours can tell you much about it. In Minsk, I have met many young and open-minded people. They receive foreigners with open arms, big respect and are genuinely interested in exchanging stories.
- Uganda: East Africa has many unique places to offer. Uganda combines an extraordinary happy lifestyle with stunning nature. Ugandan People are kind and happy, using every opportunity to dance. I danced with locals in urban nightclubs and to rural drums. Western Uganda is less developed but a natural dream.
- Bangladesh: After touring through South-East Asia with its endless backpackers, Bangladesh was a traveler’s paradise for me. No tourists and no touristic infrastructure make it both more difficult and rewarding to travel. The country combines unique landscapes, historic sights and extremely friendly people.
What is the best travel experience you’ve had?
One of my all-time highlights was driving the endless stretch from Namibia’s capital, Windhoek, to Cape Town in South Africa. Taking a little detour through the Namib Desert, I covered more than 2,000 km in only three days. After 10,000 kilometers (from Kenya) and several repairs by Bush Mechanics, I was endlessly relieved to reach my destination. Not to mention that this stretch offers some of the most scenic panoramas, from the Sossusvlei Dune to the South African Garden Route. Just a dream!
What is the worst travel experience you’ve had?
I haven’t had many bad travelling experiences in my life. Also, I try to turn all negative situations into a positive experience and learning. India has definitely challenged me in this regard. A 20-hour bus ride from New Delhi to Kasol in the Himalayas was quite a torture. It was a terribly bad organized weekend trip in an uncomfortable bus and endless hours of waiting. At night, the tents were not ready and we kept us warm around a bonfire, gazing into the Himalayan mountains.
What is the funniest travel experience you’ve had?
After endless solo trips, I once tried a guided group travel through Indonesia. On this journey across Java, I shared my room with a British fellow. This guy certainly was one of a kind! Instead of exploring the unique culture of a foreign country, he watched news about home “to stay informed”. It might not sound as funny to you but for me it was just hilarious. He was more concerned about soccer results than the local fishermen village. We did not spend much time together after all.
What is the scariest travel experience you’ve had?
My personal arch enemy are roaming hordes of street dogs. Already two times, in Sarajevo and Goa, have I been attacked by vicious dogs and both times saved by attentive guards. It seems that street dogs get much more aggressive at night. Maybe, I just should not walk home alone in the middle of the night. I’m taking a mental note.
What is the most random job you have had on your travels?
One of my trademarks is being very passionate and mindful about how to spend my time. Last year in San Francisco, I even held a speech at a conference about “Mindful work” and how to spend your time more wisely. I highly encourage everyone to find your passion and spend more time doing activities related to it. This way, you will be happier and can contribute more to society. I try not to embark on random jobs, wasting my time on meaningless work. That’s why I left my office job in the first place.
How do you fund your travels?
I’m working remotely as an IT consultant and project manager for clients around the world. Because travelling around the world is cheaper than maintaining a decent home in Switzerland, I can charge a lower rate and work less hours than before. This is an absolute improvement for me. However, I prefer working pro bono for social impact projects.
What 3 tips would you give a new traveller before they set off on their adventure?
- Places: try something new and visit a country you don’t know anything about. This will give you the most life-changing experience. Most people tend to follow other’s footsteps, for example going to the beaches of Thailand. If you truly want to experience magic, go to a totally non-touristic place. You will not regret it!
- People: stay with locals instead of fellow backpackers. Surely, you can have fun and learn a lot from people who are travelling a lot. However, you can meet those people anywhere around the world, there is nothing special about that. Spend your time with locals and you get a totally new experience and learn much more.
- Budget: always spend your money wisely. Some people are throwing their money out for useless luxury. More expensive clothes or hotels won’t bring you a better experience. Also, don’t be a cheap-ass and try to get everything for free. Adapt to local circumstances, travel light and decent.
What are your future travel plans?
After completing my Indian pro bono consulting, I will embark on a road trip across Central Asia. Together with a friend, I will drive from Kazakhstan through the Stan-countries and Iran until we reach the Indian Ocean. My personal target is to reach the 100 countries mark in 2018!
Born and raised in Switzerland, Adrian Sameli is a dedicated web enthusiast and entrepreneur. After a decade as IT professional in Switzerland, he quit his office job and abandoned his home. Since 2015, he is a digital nomad, providing professional IT and web consulting. On his travel blog, www.aSabbatical.com, he reports from his adventures around the world. In the past 3 years, he visited 65 countries and published over 1,000 stories about his trips. Currently, he is consulting a social enterprise in India (www.dharmalife.in), that is providing essential goods and services in rural villages.
Links (website, twitter, facebook)
Thanks to Adrian for being the latest in my series of World Travellers! If you travel the world and run a travel blog or are a travel writer, please get in touch, you can be featured, either e-mail jonny (at) dontstopliving (dot) net or head to my contacts page and get connected! You can also subscribe to Don’t Stop Living by filling in the form below! Safe travels!