On my way again =)

I just checked in, now sitting at the airport waiting for my flight.
I’m going to visit my girlfriend for Christmas and New Year in Guatemala.
The flight is a few minutes delayed and they just started to call us for boarding, which created a funny situation. As soon as the people heard a voice over the speaker, they all jumped up to form a line and gain a good position for the run into the airplane. Suddenly they all realized, that this wasn’t the best idea, as the voice over the speaker told them, that boarding will start in about 15 minutes. Following that another run on the free seats in the waiting hall happened. =P
More news later ;-)
Bye bye,
SEBI

WORLD TOUR 2009 – REVIEW

I wouldn’t say, I’m finished with travelling and I’ve been everywhere – NO –  I’m just about to start! =)
But as the year 2009 is over and I’m back home in Langenzersdorf  (close to Vienna, Austria)
here comes my BIG WORLD TOUR 2009 REVIEW !!!

 

ONE YEAR
Exactly one year ago on the 12.02.2009, I’ve started my big world tour straight from Vienna to New York City, USA!
I’ve started off with a big, but not very detailed plan to travel the world.
My purpose was to meet many interesting people, get an opener world-view, survive 1000+1 crazy adventures and find myself.
One year ago I hit into New York City, only having my big pack bag and about US$ 25,- cash.
No hotel booked – no address to go … but you could see the optimism, motivation and happiness in my face! =)
Often I’ve travelled in such a speed and still elegant way, I’m now a days not sure, how I’ve done it.
Still I know, once I’m back on the route, my instinct will make me find my way – always following the motto: “go with the flow”!
It was the start of something new …

SUCCESS
When I started my crazy tour I had a long list in my head.
A list of crazy things, I want to do – try out – or I have to think about …
And the final outcome was a full success!
I’ve learned way more about life, than I would have imagined!
I’ve found way more answers to questions, than I hoped to find! and …
I’ve been up to way more crazy situations and adventures, than I would ever have imagined!

THE STORY GOES ON
In the past I’ve experimented how to travel for places, which turned out being not as interesting, as many places never change.
This time I was going to do it different – I was travelling to meet interesting people!
Therefore the network CouchSurfing.com was a big help for me, meeting a lot of interesting, motivated persons and find many new friends!
My usual “not-planned-in-detail”-plan was to get once around the world.
But as I always went where the route brought me, I haven’t done a full turn yet – but that’s probably only a question of time! ;)
Not a lot of points in my life are fix by now  – but one thing is clear: I want to meet more people and see much more new places! =)

FINAL REVIEW
It was a short year of immense fun and much studying about life! =)
Here are just a few big points, I’ve learned and/or done:  (the list is in absolutely no order ;)
– improve my English skills
– start speaking (baby-)Spanish
– learn how to travel with a small budget
– learn how to build up a big friendship network
– learn how to cook
– learn how to couch surf
– take a course, how to give a professional Swedish body massage
– do the PADI open water diving course
– learn how to hitchhike
– learn how to love
– realize how horrible slow the Internet in the jungle can be
– find out how to sleep in a hammock
– roll down a hill in a real sand desert
– enjoy the feeling of having sand in every opening of your body
– find out how hot is lava
– taste 1000+1 new things to eat
– learn how some of those things you’ve eaten can damage your stomach
– give free hugs
– become through long training a professional mosquito killer (!)
– walk with a small candle in swimming cloths through a dark water-cave
– see 1000 bats flying around your
– find a lot of Geocaches (Geocaching.com)
– take a class at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, USA
– watch Mariachi playing
– party a lot! =)
– take about 14.000 photos
– survive the H1N1 epidemic in Mexico (I gladly never got sick! :)
– meet the Evil Monkey (in Tegucigalpa)
– enjoy the Caribbean beach at day and night
– learn how to destroy a guitar
+ find true love -> my sweet girlfriend! <3

!!! THANK YOU !!!
I want to say thank you to my family and all my friends,
who supported me so much and offered me a save network,
in case something would have turned out to fail!
Thank you to all couch hosts, who have shared their home with me!
Us will always connect the often short, but good time we had!
Kay in New York City, USA
Bill in Allentown, PA, USA
Natalie in Toronto, Canada
Julia in Toronto, Canada
Elizabeth in Montreal, Canada
Elizabeth in Boston, USA
Tova in Boston, USA
Ahmed in Mexico City, Mexico 2x
Liu&Yan in Helsinki, Finland 2x
Amado in Santa Tecla, El Salvador
Javier in San Salvador, El Salvador
Sujue & Ting in Tegucigalpa, Honduras
Ying Lan Liu in Tegucigalpa, Honduras
Cinthya in San Pedro Sula, Honduras 2x
Thank you for all my friends, who have helped me among my long way!
Thank you to all the nameless people, who showed me the way, when I tried to find a specific place! ;)
Thank you to WordPress.com for this free website and Facebook.com which gives me the opportunity to stay in touch with all my friends!
Thank you to my sweet girlfriend, for loving me so much! <3

FUTURE PLANS
At the moment I’m searching for a job to fill up my wallet again. (feedback/help/offers welcome ;)
The future is by now not fix, but I definitely want to see the rest of the world!
… the story will go on – stay up-to-date over this website! ;)
I plan to finish my pack-bag-YouTube video soon! You won’t miss it! =)

!!! ALL PHOTOS ARE ONLINE NOW !!! =)

Isla Utila 2009
San Pedro Sula 2009
Tela 2009
Tegucigalpa 2009
San Salvador 2009
Helsinki Day KONE Global Youth Camp 2009
Iximche 2009
Antigua 2009
Semuc Champey 2009
Tikal 2009
Isla Mujeres 2009
Mexico 2009
Mexico City 2009
Torreon 2009
Zacatecas 2009
Dallas 2009
Boston 2009
Montreal 2009
Toronto 2009
Allentown 2009
New York City 2009

Paris

The first day we’ve arrived in Paris around midday, we surfed at a different couch than planned.
Our couch host told us in last minute, that they got an emergancy case and if it’s possible for us, they would prefer to host us from the following day on.
In case we wouldn’t find any other option, they still could manage it somehow to host us.
For us that wasn’t a big problem as we got answers from other couch hosts as well and so it took me only one short call and everything was managed okay.
As we’ve seen a lot during the following days, I will write down only the highlights from our stay in Paris.
5th of January 2010:
arrive at midday in Paris, eat lunch in a small restaurant, warm up at McDonald’s, find couch hosts, enjoy dinner with couch hosts;
6th of January 2010:
find couch host Aude, walk into city center, take video and photos at the Louvre, spend time under and inside the Louvre, dinner with our couch hosts;
7th of January 2010:
shopping, sunset on the Tour Eifel (Eifel tower), video and photos at Moulde Rouge, museum;
8th of January 2010:
walking to the Sacré Coeur church, eating Krepe;
9th of January 2010:
visiting the Notre Dame church, taking super-baby video, enjoying dinner in a nice and typical Frence restaurant;
10th of January 2010:
Leaving in the morning with the TGV from Paris to Stuttgart;

Going over Stuttgart to Paris

In the morning of the 4th of January 2010 we’ve left our couch hosts Regina and her boyfriend.
We cecked out once more the city center and enjoyed lunch at Nordsee, before we started our way to Germany.
We’ve found a pretty good train connection at 2:30 pm. The EuroCity train went over Stuttgart in Germany to Strasbourg in France.
The fast TGV train we planned to take on the following day, was going from both locations straight to Paris.
As we would have arrived at 7pm in Strasbourg and two hour earlier at Stuttgart, we’ve decided to stay over night in Stuttgart.
As soon as we’ve arrived in Stuttgart, we booked our TGV reservation for the following day and made our way with the subway to our couch hosts.
Maike and Benjamin were really friendly and welcomed us at there home. They went out at night to the cinema and couldn’t spend dinner with us, but we’ve been anyway too tired for any activities.
We both taken a shower and went to bed.
On the following morning we both got up early, went back to the train station and enjoyed flying on the earth with the fastest train of the world to Paris! =)

at Swarovski in Austria

Today we got up early again, made our way first to the main train station in Innsbruck and following that to the Swarovski Kristalwelt.
We stood there four hours long until 3pm and then visited, after a quick stop at McDonald’s, the golden roof of Innsbruck, Austria.
We then went shopping in a super marked at the main train station and cooked dinner for our couch hosts and us.
After a wonderful dinner, we all went to bed late.
Tomorrow we plan to travel on to Strasbourg in France.

going to Paris – THE START =)

My sweet love and I are finally back on the route of travelling and started our way to Paris, France.
Todays morning we actually got up about an hour later than planned, but still early in the morning at 7:30am.
After packing the rest and saying good bye, we drove over Obertauern with my dad to Bischofshofen. It was very nice, that my dad gave us a lift, but we picked the wrong day for travelling. Saturday was one of the big travelling days, where for whole regions the winter vacations ends, while they start for others. All the roads got blocked by cars and the bad weather did the rest.
It took us way longer than planned to drive to Bischofshofen.
We first planned to take a train at 11am and ended up going with a train at 1pm.
We’ve taken first a train to Salzburg Hauptbahnhof, where we switched into the Euro-City train, going from Vienna over Innsbruck all the way to Bregenz.
While the first train has been very nice, the second one was totally filled up with people and so we ended up sitting on our luggage next to the door, from where we at least enjoyed a wonderful view.
On the way to Innsbruck, the train went quite a long time over Germany – the train never stopped there, but I could recognize the different energy supplies as well as my changed mobile phone network.
It’s probably faster to go in high speed around the mountains, than in slow speed directly over them.
When we came back to Austrian territory, I’ve seen on my iPhone, that I’ve missed a call. It turned out, Regina, who I’ve requested at a few days earlier got a free place for us on her couch! =)
I quickly call her back and looked forward to couch surf the first time in Europa. (well, if you don’t count the 20 years at my mum’s couch ;)
We arrived after a 2 hours journey from Salzburg in Innsbruck and first went for a Cafe to Burger King, to warm up again.
After the Cafe we started our way to Reginas place, which is south in Innsbruck, already on a mountain.
We took the bus and thanks to my Geocacher knowledge finished the funny “get into the house”-callenge good! =)
She wasn’t home and so she put the key in a small safe in front of her house. First callenge was to find the right house – then the safe – than the right door! =)
Regina has been out for dancing tonight and hasn’t come home yet – so I guess we will met her tomorrow! ;)
The first time I couch surf without couch host! ;-P
It’s very nice over here, we cooked us a nice dinner with cooked eggs, one “Fleischlaberl-Semmel”, carrots and bread. =)
As we got up such early today we will now go to sleep and visit Innsbruck tomorrow!
Good night everyone! ;-)

the long and crazy journey …

I’ve arrived on the 8th of December 2009 a a bit earlier than my sweet love at the airport of Guatemala City.
When I’ve seen my sweet love again, she was already very nervous before her first flight.
First we let pack her big red luggage into blue plastic, which would protect it against all kind of brutal airport transportation.
Then we went to the check-in desk of Mexicana, where we had to fill out the first unnecessary forms from Guatemala’s (not honestly existing) border protection …
After writing my passport number (which nobody ever would check if it’s the correct one) many times, we finally could check-in.
After the check-in we had to go to the airport bank, where we they asked us to pay USD 2,- for airport tax.
Following that we walked a last time outside the airport and taken a last look on Guatemala City. My sweet love called quickly her mum to say good-bye, until we had to move on to the duty-free-area.
We walked through security, where they asked us to even put off our shoes. This is one of the typically things for Guatemala. They don’t really know why they make it and also don’t offer the necessary standard to do it, but they just do it. I think as well, that the USA is already a bit too crazy about all their security stuff, but at least there floors are clean and they give you exact instructions.
The next point was the 100ml liquids limit … my sweet love got a little bit too much in her big hand bag. (I would say about 3 litres too much ;)
While in the USA this limit is strict, Guatemala got the same limit, but handles it more lazy. They put all my girlfriend’s stuff out her bag (and it was clear to see that it has been over 500ml ;) and just put the bag another time through the x-ray machine. Than they put everything back and gave the okay. Normally you need to put everything in those transparent 100ml plastic bags and you are allowed to only have one per person. As my love didn’t had everything in a bag, they just told her, that she should please buy one later and put everything inside bags.
I would also call it bad standard, that in case you need a bag, you can’t just have one for free like in the EU. At their security check you can only buy one.
Anyway, I could talk for ever about bad security checks … so let’s move on with the story …
We walked to our gate, where my sweet love spent the rest of her last minutes on Guatemala’s floor, talking on her mobile phone, saying everybody good-bye.
Our airplane started about 40 minutes too late and I already have seen the problems of our transfer in Mexico City coming closer.
Two hours later we finally landed in Mexico City, still 50 minutes too late.
Actually it was planned, that we would have two hours to change our airplane. As we landed 50 minutes too late, we got only about one hour left.
Badly Mexico picked up part of the border security system from the USA. What you have to go through in Mexico, to change your airplane, is the small version of the USA and a bit less professional.
Even we arrived at Terminal 1 and our connection flight was going to leave from the same terminal, we couldn’t just change the gate …
In Mexico you have to run, like in the USA through all the border and homeland security, even you just want to catch a connection flight.
In Guatemala they weren’t able to check us in for our Lufthansa flight from Mexico City. Following that we had to check-in at Lufthansa in Mexico City, even our luggage was going to be send through.
As soon as we exit the airplane in Mexico City we run to an information desk, where it took them about 3 minutes to let us know that we are at the wrong place and that we have to go through all the border control.
So we speeded up and run the way it say “passport control point”, where we had to wait for half an hour in the long line of people. It was already evening in Mexico City and I got the feeling that the border security personal was already looking forward a lot to go home.
Glad fully they stopped all the H1N1 virus tests and forms. So we were asked to fill out only a total of two unnecessary forms! =P
As soon as we finally went trough border security and got a 30 days tourist visa in Mexico, we continued running.
We only had 30 minutes left until our airplane would start.
Normally we would have needed to go through the homeland security and let our hand luggage check.
As there were million of people standing in those gigantic big lines, I asked a woman quickly, if we have to go through it and as she answered “yes – definitely” I decided to do “no” …
I’ve chosen, that whatever might be the second option, will definitely be faster than standing there in those big lines …
We quickly run the small way it told “national connection flights”.
I’ve known that this way might not be 100% correct, but definitely the option which will raise up the possibility for us to catch our international connection flight.
We run and run and finally came to a small desk, where I asked a lady again, where to go. As we told her that we got an international connection flight she told us as well, that we have to go through homeland security. I wasn’t lucky with her answer, but it turned out we’ve done the right. All the people who got international connection flights were waiting in the big lines and nobody was taking the “wrong” way to “national connections”. Following that, nobody was waiting in lines at the “national connection” homeland security check.
After quickly filling out the last un-useful form, saying that we have no bad things with us, we went through the hand-package x-ray and exit the duty-free-area.
There we have been … outside the terminal and continuing running …
As I’ve already been before at the Mexico City airport, I remembered good, where to go and found the right way very fast.
We run down the big airport hall to the Lufthansa check-in desks. Over there was only one stewardess left. I explained her in hyper-speed where we are going, what’s our flight number, what we went through and what we need … to check-in …
Flash back to the same location a few months earlier, when I missed my flight to Miami, I was very afraid I might hear the same thing again … “no – sorry sir, you came to late to check-in …”
the stewardess checked the computer and my only question has been: “are we checked-in ?”
When she finally answered shortly “you are in” I’ve shot my hands up into the air and shouted out “YEEESSSSSS !!!”
Now I was positive, that we would catch our flight …
Just a few seconds later the stewardess gave us more information and told us, we better hurry up as our flight was just about to start boarding.
Following my short question “left or right”, the stewardess’ answer “right” and a quick “thank you” from my side, we were on our run again.
We run down the big hall and have been lucky, that the security control has been empty. It took us less than a minute to go through the security and we continued running. Our flight has been about 10 minutes too late and so they just started boarding, when we finally arrived where we started in Terminal 1 at the International Airport of Mexico City.
We flown in a Boeing 747 “Jumbo-Jet” over the Atlantic Ocean. The food was not the best but okay and everything has been relaxed now. Even it has been a long flight, it seemed to be much shorter as we slept quite a few hours. From the two playing cinema movies, I’ve actually haven’t watched any. I remember good in old times when I’ve been a little boy and such big flights seemed endless long for me.
We landed in time and without any problems in Frankfurt am Mein, Germany, where we got another 2 hours to change the airplane.
When we exit the airplane, the German police was standing there with a police dog, letting everybody, who is coming form Mexico, go through a very fast check of drugs.
We followed the way through the airport, which should have brought us to a small airport train to switch from one terminal to another.
Badly they forgot to put a sign to the train and so everybody thought we have to exit the airport. Once we run through the passport control, we weren’t able to go back to the train.
Following that we speeded up again our walking to get in time to the right gate. We went outside the terminal and continued walking to the other terminal.
As we already were checked-in we could easily walk back into the duty-free-area.
When we had to run through security again, they stopped both of our hand packages. My ones had a little bit of toothpaste inside, which they considered to be no problem.
My sweet love on the other hand had way to much liquid stuff in her hand bag. In the moment, the security guard started searching her bag, I started talking to him in German and told him, that we already run 3 times through security.
He asked me if it has been in the European Union and I answered that it has been in Guatemala and Mexico. He tried to explain me that the EU has the 100ml liquids limit and let him know, that those countries as well imported this crazy rule from the USA. Following that he gave up searching my sweet love’s big hand bag and answered me without much motivation: “than I guess it has to be okay …”
We continued walking and reached in time our gate, where we both had enough time to use the bathroom one more time, before we would take our last flight.
I opened my girlfriend’s notebook and searched for a WLAN access. For sure they got one in Frankfurt, but like at most international airports, they ask you to pay for it. (NOT AT THE AIRPORT IN VIENNA, AUSTRIA – I LOVE IT !!! =)
Our last flight was filled up with many business travellers and just a small & fast connection between Frankfurt am Mein in Germany and Vienna in Austria.
Our flight took less than two hours and even we got bad weather in Vienna, we landed good and safe.
Everything seemed to be good and we were happy, to finally arrive in Vienna, Austria. Well, lucky us we arrived good … our luggage didn’t …
We went to the Austrian Airlines service office, where they have been very friendly and helped us immediately. they searched in their computer system, found our luggage still waiting in Mexico City and told us, that they will send it during the next days to my home address.
Finally after all this, we were walking out the duty-free-area and I seen my family after so much time again!
A good feeling to come home! =)