Every Thursday, A Dangerous Business will be shining the spotlight on a world nomad, travel blogger, armchair adventurer, or just someone really cool in the travel world. This week, the traveler is Charles Rahm of Don’t Worry Just Travel. Charles grew up in Switzerland, and studied and worked there. In the end of his 20s, he discovered a passion for travel and did more and more of it. In June 2010, he quit a secure job as a risk manager in a bank to travel through China, Taiwan and South East Asia. He hasn’t stopped.
1. How do you define the word “traveler,” and why would you consider yourself one?
A traveler is an open minded and curious person that wants to discover the world. I would say I have evolved into a traveler over time. The breakthrough occurred when I left my job to travel Asia for a year and never really stopped.
2. What has been your favorite travel experience thus far?
It has been visiting Halong Bay in North Vietnam. That place is so incredibly beautiful and even though there are a lot of other boats in the bay, it is a very peaceful atmosphere there, especially at night.
3. How about your proudest travel moment?
Generally when I realized that I can travel alone and that it’s not difficult and that all these warnings from your friends and family about how dangerous it all is are just not true. Specifically it probably was buying a train ticket in China from Shenzhen to Guilin for the proper cabin class without using any English.
4. Have you had any travel mishaps or bad experiences? If so, have these influenced how you view the place where they happened? Would you go back?
I’ve never had really bad experiences. But every now and then in your daily travel life, you have these small things. For example, in China someone just wanted to get an entry ticket for a garden before me by just trying to push in. But that would never stop me from going there again. I’m very sure that Westerners have habits that go on the nerves of every Chinese. So the best thing is to take it easy and just make sure in the moment to get the respect you deserve from others and in return give others the respect they deserve from you, no matter where it is, how they look, or from which social class they are.
5. Name one thing you can’t travel without.
I can’t travel without my laptop. I need it as a blogger, plus I am a news junkie and like to stay up to date.
6. Name one thing you wish you COULD travel without.
I’m not going to name an item in my luggage. Instead I just wish that there wouldn’t be so many countries asking you for a visa to get in. It can sometimes be so complicated and time-consuming to get one.
7. What do you think has been the biggest thing you’ve learned while traveling (about yourself, a destination, a culture, travel itself)?
I truly believe that traveling has made me a better person. I have become calmer and complain less. I have realized how many of the things you consider normal are connected with where you’re from and not logical for everyone on this planet. One experience I really liked was eating spaghetti in Beijing with a knife and fork. The restaurant was totally full and all the Chinese enjoyed eating Western style, just as many Westerners enjoy using chopsticks to eat Asian style. Isn’t that just funny or amazing? It made me smile big time!
8. If you could live anywhere in the world, where would it be and why?
Well, I’ve made this one come true already. I always wanted to live in Thailand and now I live in Bangkok. Now that I’m here, I’m thinking that moving up north to Chiang Mai might even be better. So maybe I’ll live up there in a few years, if I’m not traveling, of course.
9. Name one place you’d like to see or one experience you’d like to have before you die.
I want to explore South America for a very long time, especially along the western coast, and eat as much yummy beef somewhere in Buenos Aires as I can handle.
10. If there was one thing you wish somebody would have told you before you started traveling, what would it be?
I wish someone would have encouraged me to just go out and explore the world without fear, so that I would have started my adventure earlier.
Are you a travel blogger who has something to say on these topics? Do you know of somebody really interesting in the travel universe that you’d like to see interviewed? Speak up! The Thursday Traveler needs some interview subjects.