In today’s Why We Travel interview, I speak with Sander Van Den Broecke, the brains behind “Ars Currendi,” a website loaded with tips and tricks about solo travel on a budget, how to visit off-beat destinations, and how to go off the beaten track in popular tourist destinations like Berlin and Tokyo.
Describe your first transformative travel experience.
The first time that travel really changed me was when I was studying abroad in Salamanca, Spain. When you spend five months in one city, you get to see it from a different perspective than when you only spend a few days there. During my time in Salamanca, I went on little trips around the country that made me realize how much is out there for us to explore, and it prompted me to take traveling and exploring cultures that are different to my own more seriously.
Why is travel important to you personally?
I travel because I think it would be a pity to live in a world this beautiful and not take advantage of the many opportunities that we get to see all of it. I live my life by Lukas Graham’s words: “Why should we die where we were born?” and I am proud of that. I love being able to tell people stories about that time I had a mystery dinner in Japan, or when I went scuba diving in Malta, or how I slept under the stars in the Indian desert.
How would you describe your travel “style”?
I call myself a budget, off-beat solo traveler, because it’s the most all-encompassing term that applies to me. Even if I don’t take all of my trips by myself, or if I sometimes go to a popular destination, I feel comfortable calling myself that. It must also be said that I started traveling differently since I started my blog. When you have content creation in the back of your mind, you look at your destination from a different perspective and you become more conscious and open-minded.
What tips do you have for travelers to make their experiences more meaningful?
Keep in mind that life is short and it could end at any given time. If you consider this, every encounter or experience you have while traveling will automatically be more meaningful. Opt for responsible activities. For example, if you want to go to an elephant sanctuary in Thailand, make sure that you research several facilities beforehand and pick the one that has the least detrimental impact on the local ecosystem, on the animals’ wellbeing and on the local economy.
What are your favorite travel-related books, movies, paintings, poems, songs, etc.?
– Lost in Translation is a splendid travel-related movie, and it becomes even more incredible to watch once you’ve actually been to Tokyo and can relate to the movie’s characters.
– El Mismo Sol by Álvaro Soler always gets me ready to go on the road and start driving with no destination in mind. Of course, the message of the song is more poetic in Spanish, though.
– Best Day of My Life by American Authors is not necessarily about traveling, but every time I hear it, I get the feeling that I have the power to change my life and chase my dreams.
Besides the obvious reason to travel (experiencing and seeing amazing things with your own eyes), you need to travel in order to reali
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