Today I’m excited to find out all about Adam Groffman- Travels of Adam- who set out to travel the world in 2010 and, after 15 months of nomadic travels, ended up in Berlin, Germany. Today we find out how Adam ‘contracted the travel bug’, what places in the world have had the biggest impact on him, and how he landed in Berlin. Here we go:
Q1. On Travels of Adam- about page, you explain that your weekend trip to Ryjavik, Iceland in 2009 sparked your desire to travel the world. But my question is: How the heck did you end up going to Iceland? After all, that’s not the first place that comes to mind for most Americans.
Hahah, yeah you’re right. It was a random destination. Basically, my friend and I wanted to go away for the weekend. Our only stipulation was that it should be relatively affordable, easy to do for a weekend, and somewhere foreign besides Canada or the Caribbean. We could’ve flown to Ireland or England or something, but Iceland was closer and, as it turned out, much more exciting!
Q2. When you set out on your RTW trip in May, 2010, you thought that when you finished you would move to Australia to work. How/why/when did you give up that idea and go to Europe instead?
I guess the idea of living in Europe was always in my mind, but I just thought it would be easier to work in Australia. After spending so much time in Southeast Asia (and meeting so many British backpackers), I decided to give Europe a try. It was also already Spring in Asia and I didn’t want to get to Australia in the middle of their winter, so going to Europe for the summer seemed like a good idea.
Q3. So you set out on your RTW with $20,000 US and, if I understand it correctly, continued traveling until that money ran out. It lasted about 15 months. Is that the only reason you finished your nomadic travels? I mean, if you’d had more money, would you have kept going until now? Or were you also ready to stop for a while?
I was definitely ready to remain stationary for a little while. Now that I’ve been on-and-off working for the past 7 or 8 months, I won’t lie that I’m itching to spend my savings again!
Q4. You mentioned that you’ve long had a dream of living in Europe. Why Europe? What’s the draw for you?
Growing up, it was one of the only foreign places I really had any inkling about. I didn’t know much about Asia, Africa or South America except from my history books and the occasional fiction that I’d read. Europe always seemed much more in-my-face and it was something I really loved hearing about. But nowadays, there are some other places I’d happily live more permanently than just as a backpacker—from Bangkok to Buenos Aires…
Q5. Why Europe instead of the USA?
Well, I wanted to try to see if I could get a job, a visa, and live in Europe for a while. I know I’ll always be able to do that in America, so I wanted to give this a shot!
Q6. When you were traveling through SE Asia, you seemed to love it so much, and later seemed really sad to leave for Europe. Did you ever consider staying there somewhere instead of taking off to Europe? If so, where? If not, why not?
Yes definitely! I’d move to Bangkok in a heartbeat. I spent three weeks there during my six weeks in Thailand and just found the city to be so exciting and interesting. Not to mention that there is so much happening there.
Q7. Of all the countries and great cities in Europe, you chose Berlin. Why that city rather than others? What’s so great and special about Berlin? Why not London, Paris, or Barcelona, for instance?
I came to Berlin knowing very little about it and never having been before. Actually, when I arrived, my goal was to travel for a little while and then get a job in London. But I never made it out of Berlin! I think I fell in love with the city because it’s only finding itself recently since the wall came down in the 90s. There is so much happening here and the city has such a long and fascinating history…not to mention an exciting future. I guess I just feel comfortable here and I want to be a part of the changes happening in town.
Q8. You mentioned that 3 places on your RTW trip had the biggest impact on you: Israel, India, and Cambodia. Could you please elaborate on why each place affected you so much, and in what ways?
Israel had a huge impact on me. It was there where I first decided to stop traveling and stay put for a little while. I ended up volunteering for a political nonprofit and over the course of a few months, learned so much about the Israel-Palestine conflict. So Israel was a huge learning experience for me. I also met my now ex-boyfriend there, which was a big deal for me!
If Israel was a learning experience, India was even more so! I spent three months there and spent a lot of the time thinking (probably because I hung out with a lot of hippies). There was a lot of pseudo-philosophizing on the beaches of Gokarna (http://travelsofadam.com/2011/03/tour-of-my-beach-hut-in-gokarna-india/ ), but also just a lot of time to chill out and get to know people. I loved India for all of the experiences I had there. Learned a lot.
And in Cambodia, it was a mix of everything I wanted. Seeing incredible sights, learning about the region and also having a lot of fun as a backpacker.
Q9. You’ve found yourself a job in Berlin. Congratulations! What’s your job?
Thanks! At the moment I’m working for a start-up company as a web designer. There are a lot of start-ups in Berlin (which is why the city feels so exciting) so there are a lot of jobs if you’re interested in that kind of work…
Q10. Any idea how long you want to continue living in Berlin?
I have some ideas up my sleeve, but nothing to report on yet!
Q11. Do you think you ever want to live Stateside again? Why or why not?
I definitely would for the right type of work. I love America and there are plenty of places there I haven’t seen yet—and several cities I’m interested in spending more time in but haven’t yet!
Q12. What’s up for you and Travels of Adam for 2012?
Hopefully exciting things! I just relaunched the site with a fresh design (still a work in progress, but it’s much more organized now). Now that I have a bit more stability in my life, I definitely am working on traveling more again. I’m anxious for the summer!
Thanks for the great, insightful interview, Adam. Great to get to know you better. I’m sure your fans will love reading this one!
Follow Adam on his adventures in Berlin and beyond: