International travel

Finding new horizons and connecting with people

International travel

Since 1985 I have travelled the world, sometimes on my own with a backpack and a camera, sometimes with my partner or friends. These trips have taken me to many places in Europe, Central America, China and the United States, but also and foremost to most countries of South East Asia.

Already during my studies I travelled Hungary in an old Renault 4; at that time, in 1985, Hungary was not a tourist country and I had to learn that sometimes restaurants have only one dish available and that “üditöti” means soft drink and “pörkölt” a national dish with meat.

“Cyclo, Madame?” was the question I heard everywhere when I first went to Vietnam in 1995, tourism was nearly unknown to the Vietnamese at that time, and the “cyclo” was the main means of travelling. Trains at that time had no tourist class, I had to travel the country in 3 rd class, surrounded by families and the products they were taking to the next market (sometimes pigs or poultry, sometimes bunches of twigs and wood for sale).

In that year, I also first went to Malaysia and then to Thailand, fascinating landscapes, interesting people, nice food and a lot of warm hospitality made me fall in love with these countries, especially with Thailand. This fascinating country with its warm and friendly people gave me two things: The curiosity to learn a tone language in order to be able to communicate with the people around me and the passion for scuba-diving. Learning the language properly took me more than 10 years, learning to scuba-dive is an ongoing process.

Learning an Asian tone language that is very high-context made me aware of the culture, the values and the mind set of Asian people. South East Asian cultures have been the focus of my travels but also of my international work for more than 25 years.

Many more trips to the surrounding countries followed, let me mention only two trips to Mongolia as outstanding and four trips to Birma, between 1998 and 2015. The people of these very distant cultures, many years closed from contact to the outside “modern” world have taught me a lot about respect and understanding.