We, at Tripoto, are suckers for stories from the road. There is a certain joy we get while chatting with people who passionately share their travel experiences. This week we sit down for some travel talk with Josh Cahill from Germany. Josh is a regular guy who started doing irregular things. He hitchhiked to Iran, became part of the national choir in Georgia and joined the Arab Spring in Egypt. “I live a life of traveling and I’m gonna die poor one day, but full of stories and knowing that I spent my life doing the things that made me happy,” says Josh.Read on for more.
1. Hi Josh. Please introduce yourself and tell us more about your travels.
Hey there, my name is Josh and I’m from Germany. I’m a regular guy and one day I started doing irregular things. I hitchhiked to Iran, became part of the national choir in Georgia after a few pints of beer, walked through a minefield in Bosnia, joined the Arab Spring in Egypt. I’ve never spent a dollar on accommodation and to date I have travelled to 60 countries on five continents. I have lived in Dubai, Australia and Germany and everything I own fits into my backpack. I live a life of traveling and I’m gonna die poor one day, but full of stories and knowing that I spent my life doing the things that made me happy.
2. Tell us about your travel beginnings. Your first breakaway trip. How easy or difficult was it to venture out into the world?
My first trip to Moscow was probably the easiest and the hardest thing to do, at the same time. I was super motivated and excited to explore great new places, but was also challenged by the new environment I found myself in. You can face a lot of difficulties, but I think it’s worth it. That was in 2005, almost ten years ago. Such a great time. Every year I went a little bit further from home and my trips became more intense. Today I’m sitting in Melbourne, almost at the end of the world
3. What is your first travel memory?
That was a long time ago! It was when I was five years old. My family and some friends of ours rented a house in Ibiza, Spain for two weeks and I still remember flying there. It was my first trip into a foreign country. I still remember the great flair of the Spanish people. We also had an amazing view from the house down to the sea.
4. In your blog “Go Travel Your Way”, you mention joining the Arab Spring in Egypt. Tell us more about that.
Mid-last year the protests in Cairo resumed and I witnessed and experienced them first hand. I was staying just five minutes away from Tahrir Square. While I was in Egypt I wanted to document the occurrences from a traveler’s point of view. After I saw the riot police expecting demonstrations heading their way I decided to stay on the streets to see what would happen. I was pretty much in the crowd surrounded by police forces and protesters in a big cloud of tear gas. I got some really good footage and my blog about it became very popular.
5. Has the fact that you were born in Western Germany and grew up in a small village in GDR affected your mindset as a traveler?
It affected me a lot. After the wall came down, people in the former GDR expected their lives to change instantly, without realizing that in a free and modern democracy you actually have to contribute to your own fortune. People got upset and disappointed and blamed everything and everyone else for slow growth. I experienced a lot of bullying because of this during my youth there. Ever since that day I’ve been very eager to help others and support minorities whenever I can. As Nelson Mandela said, “People are taught to hate, so they can learn to love as well.” That’s what I try to do.
6. Pillow-fighting for a dollar? We just had to know the story behind this.
I was very low on cash while traveling in Amsterdam and I had an idea to try and sell pillow fights for fun to the public to fatten up my wallet. After a few hours and many pillow fights I was $72 richer!
7. 300 couches in 5 continents. How instrumental has the Couchsurfing phenomena been during your travels? Any tips for the rookie Couchsurfer? Your five most memorable couches?
Couchsurfing helped me a lot and without this community I wouldn’t have been able to see all the places I wanted to see. I’ve met great people and made long-lasting friendships. CS has changed and it’s no longer the small community it used to be. It may make it less personal but it’s still a great travel tool. My best tips? What goes around comes around. Treat your guest like a king and he will treat five others the same way. Be open minded, trust and don’t expect anything more than a place to stay, because then you will be even more surprised.
My best couches? There are way too many and every couch I’ve surfed has been special and memorable in some way
8. What is the one thing you really want to do on the road, but haven’t?
It’s quite easy, one day I just want to travel and not have to worry about money for a change. Maybe one day if I win the lottery.
9. If you had to choose one song that would describe your travel way, what would it be?
Oh yes, that would be “Send me on my way” by Rusted Root. It has kind of inspired me throughout the years and the message behind it describes my travels pretty well.
10. One book or movie prospective travelers should know about?
There is one movie I really love, The Terminal with Tom Hanks. It’s a simple story but well done and it makes me cry every time. I don’t want to give away too much, but this movie is a real inspiration to me.
11. Has there been any instance when you wanted to give up traveling and settle for the familiar?
I tried once to settle and start a working career, but I quickly figured out that this wasn’t really my cup of tea. I love traveling, I love to wander around and that’s simply what I enjoy the most in life. That’s me and this is what makes me happy for now. Maybe one day this is going to change
12. What would you choose? A free return ticket on the first commercial flight into space or a million followers for your blog?
Oh, I would totally go into space! That’s a dream of mine and perhaps so far away, but maybe one day I will be the first to Couchsurf on the moon, well you never know!
13. What would you say to people who really wish to travel the world, but aren’t?
You are really missing out. If you love to travel and it makes you happy, just do it. Nothing is holding you back, you only live once! Don’t have regrets in life, and don’t overthink anything. Do what you want to do.