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Beyond Backpacking: One Year, Many Stories

Photo by Joey Csunyo on Unsplash

Sven Nagel spent a year backpacking in Australia with the motto, ‘It’s not the arrival that’s the goal, but the journey itself.’ Over the past year, Sven explored the highs and lows of Australia, from job hunts to unexpected adventures, even finding himself in a hospital bed. In this interview, he takes us on an inspiring journey, not just through the landscapes of Australia but through the depths of self-discovery.

How was your new start in Australia? Did you settle in quickly?

Sven: “I actually had a very smooth start as I have a friend who runs a company, so I found a job very quickly, making my start much easier. However, looking back, I would say that this is not the most ideal way to start an adventure abroad because when you’re thrown in at the deep end, you’re more likely to come out of your shell and gain greater self-confidence. The biggest new beginning for me was when I started the road trips because that’s when I realized that I had to decide the whole day for myself. You always get to know new people as they really are, so you definitely have to learn tolerance – that’s very important because you have to take new people as they are.”


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♬ Roxanne – Instrumental – Califa Azul

Was it difficult to build a new life with new people and leave the old one behind you?

Sven: “Absolutely not. It may sound hard, but I really didn’t miss my friends or my family. You experience so many new things every day and get new impressions of the world. You just concentrate on the moment and try to enjoy your time, so you don’t have time to think about the past. Personally, I wanted to find my own way, and this completely changed my focus on the world. By breaking out of your comfort zone, you see how beautiful the whole world is. I am a person with a wide range of interests and am passionate about many things. As a result, I was able to build my new life very quickly and shape it the way I wanted.”

Have you ever considered staying in Australia and starting a new life there because of your satisfaction during your stay?

Sven: “Definitely! However, I had a very unusual experience because I was in a coma! I am diabetic and gave up my medication because I had no more money and didn’t want to ask for it. Fortunately, I woke up to my mother’s voice on the phone, and her wish was for me to come home alive. I knew then that now was not the time for me to leave Germany straight away. But the thought was definitely there.

But: health always comes first!”

What did you expect from your return to Germany?

Sven: “Before my trip, I thought about the future quite often, and so I learned to focus on the “here and now” because the only moment you can influence is always the “now”. You don’t need to think about “sooner or later” because time travel in a world that only moves forward is nonsense. My biggest fear, however, was falling back into my old routine, although I was aware that only I could change my way of thinking, and so I tried to apply as much of what I learned on the trip as possible in the future.”

Photo by Presley Roozenburg on Unsplash

What did you take away from your year abroad? How did it change you?

Sven: “If I could describe it metaphorically, I would say that I was “trapped in a box,” and on my trip, I learned to step out of it. So I got a completely different world view and a completely different perception of my environment and grew a lot as a person. I am closer to the version of myself that I consider to be the best. My stay definitely had a very positive impact on me, as I got to know a lot of people who inspired me. But there were also small things, such as the fact that I now only watch films in the original language, as I find it much more authentic. In conclusion, I can definitely say that it was the most formative year for me. One thing I learned on my trip and would like to pass on to everyone is: live in the moment!”

As we wrap Svens Journey to Australia, a land of diverse landscapes and cultural wonders, consider these guidelines if you’re planning a year abroad. Australia’s multicultural essence ensures a lot of activities, unveiling the best experiences waiting to be discovered. Whether it’s the iconic landmarks or the vibrant cultural scenes, here you can find a lot of things to do. Australia beckons with a tapestry of opportunities. For those seeking an unforgettable journey, let the Land Down Under be your guide to a year filled with exploration, enrichment, and endless possibilities.

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