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Hitchhiking round the world - an interview with the Travel Owls

Curiously exploring the world; going on exciting adventures while meeting interesting people - that’s just what the Fox likes. Especially when one encounter leads to another, gradually increasing the circle of companions. That’s how, in the last few months, the Fox came to meet the Travel Owls. In this interview you can find out who’s behind that name, what those two people are experiencing and what’s special about them.

The Travel Owls - globetrotters, artists and adventurers

That’s us, Sina and Niels. Adventurers, explorers and much, much more. We met three years ago and since then have been (almost) inseparable. Since October 2017 we've been hitchhiking around this wonderful world. The focus of our travels is on encounters with people, animals and nature. We love to immerse ourselves in different cultures, climates and situations, open to the next challenge and to learning new things.

To the Great Wall of China - by motorbike

Over the last 16 months we've already experienced quite a lot. Hitchhiking in particular is like a mystery box: You don’t know who's going to stop, whether you'll end up at your actual destination or where you might find yourself, who you’ll meet and what might come of it.

At some point in Pakistan we decided to rent a motorbike and take one of the most dangerous long-distance roads, to the Chinese border at 4733 metres! That was very wild and free.

Niels gets that feeling in particular when surfing, and I, Sina, get it every morning when I wake up and don’t yet know where we're going to sleep that evening.

travel-owls-niels

Niels from Travel Owls

Without judgement, full of trust and totally curious

Curiosity and trust, those are child-like characteristics that we've come to love. Children are the greatest explorers. They’re always looking at things, asking about them, and discovering new situations without prejudice. We very much see ourselves in that. But unfortunately we often find that people around us have doubts. Especially regarding countries where fewer people travel or which have less frequent or even negative coverage in the media, as is the case with Pakistan, for example. We don't want that. We want to be as free as possible, to be without prejudice and to trust that people and the world are good. Of course it's still better not to be naive. But for us, the key things are healthy curiosity and trust.

Encounters with other people in the countries of this world

Our motivation comes from our curiosity and the many amazing encounters that we've been lucky enough to experience up to now. Breathtaking nature and the absolute silence in the desert. It's a combination of many little moments of happiness and the big picture. Children's eyes sparkling when we get out our guitar in a Turkish school, or the builders who invite us for tea at the side of the road. There's something magical about all of that.

And of course us! We're really growing together as a couple. Each challenge can be a wonderful learning experience, and it's fantastic to see yourself and your partner growing.

When we set off, or already while we were planning the trip, we thought, “Ah yes, we’ll go on this trip and will be able to inspire people and allay their fears.” That was also our reason for starting with YouTube. Simply showing that a trip like this doesn't mean having loads of money and always flying from A to B. To say, “Hey, look: There are so many great countries that don’t make it on to a typical bucket list and yet are really worth travelling around, especially because of the encounters with other people.” That’s exactly what we’re now doing, and we get lots of lovely feedback.

But not always. We receive abuse when we show that not everyone in Pakistan is a terrorist, or when we're not afraid to go to the Syrian border. We hadn't expected that and can only shake our heads. In our opinion, pigeon-holing whole countries is careless, racist and extremely restrictive.

travel-owls-sina

Sina loves adventures

We all make a difference when it comes to sustainability

Our wish is to be able, even now, to inspire people around us every day. Whether by doing without plastic, by not using or eating animal products, or in the area of fast fashion. We as consumers have a huge impact. It's time to become aware of that. It's not that everyone has to be perfect, but many people together can take small and then ever larger steps to make a difference.

Here are some ideas:

  • Take your own shopping bag with you - instead of turning to plastic.
  • Support fair trade fashion, buying less but of better quality that lasts longer.
  • Check your cosmetic articles for microplastic.
  • And use a search engine that plants trees (Ecosia).
  • Sustainability should be fun.

If we ever settle down somewhere, we’d like to open a vegan café at the beach. There we’d organise clean-ups and hold workshops on avoiding plastic, offer vegan cookery courses and increase awareness of sustainable fashion.

If you'd like to follow Sina and Niels on their journey around the world, have a look at their webpage, their Instagram channel or YouTube videos. The Fox will definitely be popping in, as it’s exciting to see what the pair are getting up to on their adventures.

Currently the Fox is on the road in Europe with Yannic and Luca, on the wildfoxpedition. The adventure that started at the Berlin Travel Festival has since taken the two of them to Barcelona and Italy. They’ve been sharing what they’re up to and who they've been bumping into on the wildfoxpedition Instagram channel.

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