Jolene's Note: The short story is that Christopher Schacht lived the dream: at just nineteen, and with only 50 euros in savings, he got to travel around the world, relying only on his friendliness, flexibility, charm, and willingness to work for his shelter and food. For the next four years, he visited 45 countries and traveled almost 70k miles, and did this by any means necessary: by foot, hitchhiking, and even sailboats (my dream, y'all). Earning his living as a jeweler, locksmith, au pair, and fashion model, he lived among indigenous people of South America and drug dealers and has journeyed through some of the most dangerous areas in the middle east. He chronicled his travels in his new book, Around the World on 50 Bucks. Christopher Schacht shares with us lucky folks at Page Chaser some of his favorite places that he visited in his world travels.
Asking me to pin myself down to one "favorite" place is like asking, “What do you prefer: Sugar or Salt?” I would reply, "Which food are we talking about?" For a steak, I would definitely prefer salt! But I don't want to miss sugar in my apple crumble! Likewise, every country has its own unique flavor and beauty!
However, some places hold a special place in my heart. Here’s some memorable places and why they earned a place on the list:
Number One: For the people
If you travel for a long time, you begin to realize that the places you love most are usually not the ones that have the most beautiful landscapes (although this is great!) or offer the most delicious food (though good food is very important!). Rather, it’s the people that you meet that make a place truly special.
For me one region like this was the northern parts of Brazil. Everyone’s happy, open and lively attitude is even more heart-warming than the area’s equatorial climate. If you happen to go to the Brazilian countryside one day before Christmas, I could almost guarantee that someone will invite you to spend the holiday with them and their family. Would you do that to a total stranger?
Number Two: For relaxing
In the remote pacific Islands of Vanuatu, there appears to be no reason to own a clock. Burnout? Unheard of! The lifestyle is so laid back that I wasn't surprised to meet a man who told me, “When I feel like working, I work for a few hours. And when I don't feel like it, I don't work for a week or two. Maybe longer.”
Even though I know that I am too German to enjoy sitting still for more than a weekend, I still thought, “Why am I working so much? There is overwhelming proof that tomorrow can and will really worry about itself! Aren't we called human-being, not human-doing?”
Number Three: For a long beach holiday
Well, this is a classic: it feels like the Philippines is literally made for extended beach trips! The people there are great (and speak English), and the water feels just like sitting in a bathtub. Plus, it is extremely affordable!
Warning: Many get “stuck” here!
Number Four: For surprises
Go to Pakistan! The people are extremely friendly (it’s part of the culture to be welcoming to visitors) and when I wanted to leave the country my Pakistani friends suggested: Come back to Pakistan for your honeymoon!
Pakistan is not known for being a number one honeymoon destination, but after having been there, I would definitely reconsider this! Never judge something before you get to know it.
Number Five: If you want to propose
My favorite (and only) place for this just so happened to be Rome. My girlfriend and I walked hand in hand through this ancient city at night, the architecture and ambiance transporting us through the thousands of years that the city has stood. Every corner we turned was more beautiful and romantic than the next. We ended up at one of the benches at the Tajan's Column - covered in a picnic blanket and candles. I grabbed a guitar and sang a couple of self-composed songs about our shared memories. Nearby, our undercover friends filmed the event and before I reached out to the ring, I made a few awkward dad-jokes to prove I was ready to be a true family man. Finally, I asked the big question and silently prayed for a “yes.”
She said “yes,” and that is why I will never forget this place!
If you would like to listen to how Christopher was able to travel the world, be sure to grab the audiobook of Around the World on 50 Bucks (perfect for your next flight or roadtrip!).