Alex Berger- A Wandering Artist!
Alex Berger is a 30 year old travel writer and photographer based in Copenhagen, Denmark. Born and raised in the US, he re-located to Copenhagen in 2011. What makes him a Hobo We Admire? Well, he has travelled to 42 countries across 5 continents! Here is his extraordinary story:
Q1. Tell us about yourself. Your childhood, your likes, your dislikes:
My parents gave me an incredible gift at an early age. While we started travelling even before I could walk, the real gift came when I was 11. They pulled my brother and I out of school, rented out the house, and set us on a grand adventure. For the next 11 months we were home schooled as we backpacked across Europe. For the first three months we had Eurail passes and zig-zagged across Europe. Then as the passes expired, we headed to Greece where we wintered before picking up a car from another traveling family and slowly driving our way back to the Netherlands.
A year after returning to the US we did it again! Only this time, we traversed around the continental US in a Ford Crew Cab and 5th-wheel trailer. The experiences were formative and ignited a passion in me for people, communication, and history. It also gave me a deep respect for how different we are as people and where we came from which led to passions for science and an exploration of our place in the universe.
In addition to an interest in history and communication Im addicted to photography with a focus on landscape and nature shots. Now though, I have a growing interest in photographing urban scenes as well. Youll also find me at a Salsa club at least twice a week a hobby I picked up about a decade ago.
Q2. How and when did the travel bug bite you?
As mentioned above, I had a formative introduction to travel as a child. Still, there was a gap between High School and College. That once again ignited my wanderlust and paved way for a three month solo trip after graduating from my BA. Travel is one of the primary tools I use to develop myself as a person. It pushes my comfort zones and constantly forces me to innovate in the best of all possible ways. It is also my creative muse.
Q3. Which destinations have you explored till now?
Thus far my official tally is 42 countries. Ive set foot on five continents including Asia (via Turkey) though I have yet to properly explore any Asian countries. Ive explored large swaths of North, Central and South America as well as a majority of Western and Central Europe. Ive also tasted hints of Eastern Europe, the UAE, Zambia and Botswana.
Ive also lived abroad over the last three and a half years in Denmark. An experience that has been vastly different and far more rich and rewarding than I initially expected (and I admit my initial expectations were quite high).
Q4. Which has been your most memorable journey till date?
If I gloss over the childhood voyages to Europe and across the US I think the one that stands out the most is my three month trip through Europe. I started in Scotland and spent my next two months working my way down to Italy. There, a friend decided to join me last minute and together we completed the last month of the trip wandering through southern Italy before jumping to Greece where we got as far as Crete before running out of time. The trip was incredibly enlightening. I gained new insights to my identity as an individual and matured immensely. It also helped further ignite my passions and curiosities.
Another of my all-time favorites was a 21 day trip to Argentina. I started in Buenos Aires which I found fairly unimpressive. From there I jumped to Ushuaia in Tierra del Fuego which provided the opportunity to spend an hour on a beach with 4,000 penguins, hike through rich forests and to bask in the absolute beauty of Argentina.
From Ushuaia I hopped a plane to El Calafate where I spent a day trekking on the Perito Moreno Glacier hands down one of the coolest things Ive ever done. From there it was off to El Chalten to hike Mt. Fitz Roy in dreadful weather. The hike damn near killed us, but the view of Fitz Roy was spectacular and remains one of the most picturesque views Ive ever enjoyed.
I rounded the trip by leaving behind the cold, harsh, mountains of Patagonia in favour of Puerto Iguazu in the far north. There I swam at the base of Iguazu Falls while marvelling in the supreme beauty, size, and power of the falls. They are a MUST see. Ive now seen Victoria Falls, Niagara Falls, and Iguazu Falls. Iguazu is hands down the most elegant and mesmerizing of the three.
Q5. Why is it the most important and memorable one for you?
Incredible nature. Wonderful people. Delicious food. Excellent personal development and growth experiences.
Q6. Apart from wonderful memories, what have you brought back with you from the journey?
I have brought back an internalized self-confidence. I believe in myself, and my ability to handle almost any situation. I believe that as long as I keep moving forward, working towards a solution, and dont get caught up in the challenges I face I can master almost anything.
I have also learned that people are people, regardless of their government, god, or politics. The world is full of places we hear are unsafe or unwelcoming. Often this is based in some sliver of truth but is largely manufactured or isolated nonsense.
Q7. Which place are you planning on visiting next and why?
I just returned from a work trip to Vilnius, Lithuania which was surprisingly charming. Next on the list is still TBD but Im leaning heavily towards either Scotland (one of my favourite places in the world) or possibly Estonia.
Q8. Lastly, any travel tips for the readers?
My favourite travel experiences often come from saying yes to spontaneous opportunities or invites. These may seem scary, awkward, or conflict with your pre-established plan, but saying yes and going for it (while still using your head dont be the idiot in the Taken movies) opens up incredible opportunities that Id never have even known existed had I not pushed my comfort zone and just said yes.
Get out there, wander, and embrace the moment and the process. Also, remember that the biggest travel disasters often make the best stories and fondest memoriesafter a little time has passed.
By Alex Berger
As told to Niyati Shinde