My latest world traveller, Max Leyerer is one of the most ambitious and extreme travellers on the list so far. Max has whackpacked his way to 70 countries so far and aims to visit all 196 (that he recognises) by the time he turns 33! What a crazy journey it sounds like. Check out Max’s blog at Max Around the Globe and here is what he has to tell to Don’t Stop Living.
Who are you?
I’m Max. I started to work as a bartender in my teenage years and used the money to travel. While living in Phnom Penh, I was working for a non-profit organization, back then I got hooked to the nomadic lifestyle. I didn’t want anything else. I started my website and never looked back since.
Where are you from?
Born and raised in Vienna, Austria. I’m based here in an apartment with four friends, but plan to be location independent soon.
Where have you been?
I’ve been to 70 countries so far and aim to visit all 196 by the time I’m 33. I’m 25 now. I started my quest when I was 23 and gave myself 10 years to achieve it. I am convinced, that a goal without a deadline will remain a dream, hence the 10 years.
Where are you now?
In Vienna preparing my upcoming trip to the Balkan Countries.
What are the top 3 places you’ve visited?
Laas Geel – a rock complex in the Somali Desert, containing 7000 year old Neolithic cave paintings
El Nido – a small fishing village in the north of Palawan, with some of the most beautiful islands around. If you heard of Hidden Beach, you know what I’m talking about.
Cape Town – I love everything about this city. Laidback, diverse and funky at the same time. I will live there someday.
What is the best travel experience you’ve had?
I had quite a few amazing experiences, but I will always hold the summit day of Mt. Kilimanjaro close to my heart. After an enduring, utterly cold night hiking up Kibo, the clouds cleared and we tried to catch a little breath. As we sat there on the highest point of Africa, a glimpse of the sun became visible. This was without a doubt the most rewarding and beautiful sunrise I’ve seen. What a moment!
What is the worst travel experience you’ve had?
Things happen. So if something goes wrong while travelling, it’s not a reason to call it quits or say it was a bad trip. When something goes wrong, that’s usually when adventure starts. But I hate to get sick. Especially on flights. Happened 3 or 4 times already. Argh!
What is the funniest travel experience you’ve had?
Friends and me were staying on Don Det Island in Southern Laos. We kicked around a bit with a football we got on mainland Laos. In a nearby garden there was a monkey. He stole our ball and wouldn’t give it back. He ran around with it like a lunatic. We tried to convince him to exchange the ball for a coconut and other hilarious stuff. He simply wouldn’t want to give it back. Eventually we had an idea and as soon as we started to play with the coconut, he was more interested in the coconut than our ball. Good Guy Monkey sort of agreed on an exchange then. Fun afternoon!
What is the scariest travel experience you’ve had?
While backpacking through Southern Uganda my mate and me camped at Lake Bunyonyi. A daunting place, where Idi Amin had his summer palace. A group of around 30-40 local Ugandans were partying right next our tents and they had their sound systems installed near to us. Another guest of the camping place shut off the power of the generator after hours of incredibly loud music. We were out of our tents at that moment, trying to talk to a few to be quieter. All of a sudden, the majority of these drunken guys thought we shut the generator down and they started to get really angry. It was pitch black outside and my mate got choked and beat, while some drunken asshole told me if I move anywhere I will get shot. Luckily, with the help of some of the waiters, who were obviously drunk as well, we moved our tents very quickly hundreds of meters away from them to another side of the lake.
The next morning we found empty beer bottles near our tents. They were looking for us, but couldn’t find us in the darkness. Who knows what they might have done with us. Really scary night.
What is the most random job you have had on your travels?
Never had a job during my travels.
How do you fund your travels?
What 3 tips would you give a new traveller before they set off on their adventure?
Do not be biased before you go to a place.
People are generally friendly, so don’t worry too much and always trust your gut – you’ll be fine.
What are your future travel plans?
For this year I plan to take my count up to #90. I’m dying to go to Antarctica as well, but I’m not sure if I make there this year. If not, 2017 must be the year.
I reckon I also want to have more depth in my life, that’s why I’m looking for a non-profit organization I can get involved with while travelling. If you know any, let me know.
Max Leyerer is an Austrian travel blogger and writer, based in Vienna, on a quest to travel to all countries in the world. Some of his adventures include feeding wild hyenas in Ethiopia mouth-to-mouth, swimming with sharks in South Africa, climbing the highest mountain in Africa Mount Kilimanjaro, travelling overland to Somalia, living & working for a non-profit organization in Cambodia and many more.
Thanks to MaX 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!