Every month we interview another traveller. This month we spoke with Simon who is a designer and photographer (check out his Instagram page for an impression of photos) who travels the world. We talked about his favourite thing about travelling, his top five destinations and whether he thinks that travel can change someone’s life. Read our Interview of the Month October with Simon van Acht.
Thank you for your time. Can you please give our readers a short introduction about yourself?
Hi there! Thanks for having me. My name is Simon and I’m a designer and photographer from the Netherlands who is currently travelling the world.
Being a boy from the countryside, living in Stockholm and New York City really broadened my perspective about the world. I’ve taken some solo trips before (like Reykjavik and the west coast of the USA) which have increased my passion for travel even more. I didn’t want to settle for my life back home, and in many ways I felt quite limited, so I decided to quit my job and began exploring the world and inspiring others.
Apart from that, my quest to find the best hamburger in the world will probably never end. But if you have any recommendations, please get in touch!
Thank you for the introduction! You travel a lot, where are you located now? Tell us a bit about it.
Currently I’m located in Thailand and it feels great. Prior to Thailand I visited Indonesia and so far this has been my first experience with Asia. At first I was a bit hesitant to visit this continent because I didn’t really know what to expect. But I overcame my doubts and decided to explore Asia anyway. So far I’ve only had great experiences! The food is amazing and the people are super nice. Not to mention the beautiful landscapes and temples!
What is your favourite thing about travel?
There are actually quite a few favourite things I like about travelling. First of all, the adventure is what speaks to me the most. Starting a day with no plan and then just seeing where things go from there. Heading out with my camera and embracing the unknown! Whilst being on these adventures, I love the people that I meet from all over the world. Everyone has their own story, dreams, hopes and fears. And it is all worth sharing and listening to. Getting in touch with different cultures is what broadens your perspective.
Lastly, travel forces you to let go. That has been one of my biggest (and hardest) lessons so far. Being someone that enjoys structure and control, travel has challenged me to see things differently and it has changed me in a positive way.
Where are you headed next?
There is an overall idea since I booked a RTW-ticket, but plans might change. After Thailand I’m exploring the rest of Southeast Asia. I will probably head to Laos and then go to Vietnam and Cambodia. By the end of December I will fly to Australia. After a few months, New Zealand will be the next destination. When I feel it’s time to move on, South America will probably be the last continent I visit. But if I feel like travelling a bit more, I’m flexible and happy to go with the flow. I can’t wait to visit all these amazing places, but I’m taking it one step at a time.
Give us your top five destinations!
- New York City (USA)
My home away from home. This city is incredible in every single way: food, people, architecture and culture.
- Pai (Thailand)
A place that is becoming more popular with travellers. Pai is a small town with big impact. The scenery is amazing and the hot springs, waterfalls and canyon are all easily accessible by scooter. Be careful: Pai gets to you! I planned to stay 3 days and ended up staying a week… Nice vibes!
- Reykjavik (Iceland)
I have never seen anything like the pure nature that is Iceland. The landscapes are incredible and the waterfalls are out of this world! A must visit for every nature lover out there.
- Vancouver (Canada)
A city with great energy, surrounded by nature. Within half an hour you’re up hiking in the mountains. When I retire, I might move to this place 😉
- Stockholm (Sweden)
My kryptonite. The love-hate relationship is a dichotomy between my passion for food (Swedish meatballs and cinnamon buns) and love for the outdoors (the amazing archipelago), versus my hatred for the blistering cold and darkness in the winter.
Where do you still want to go?
- Faroe Islands
I have seen so many great pictures of this place on Instagram and every time it gives me goosebumps. The rough nature really speaks to me so I can’t wait to visit this place sometime soon!
- South Africa
A continent that’s unknown for me but going on a safari here to see the amazing animals would be an unforgettable experience.
- Hidden gems in Europe
Europe is full of places that are beautiful, but they might not be the first places you think about travelling to. I would love to explore more of Europe and its hidden gems, like Albania, Slovenia and Estonia.
Do you think travel can change someone’s life?
In whatever way people travel or whatever happens to them doing so, I feel that travel in itself is always life changing. For me, travel equals change. There is not one direction in life. Our dreams change, so do our paths and therefore, naturally so do we. Travelling leads you to new places, people and cultures. Sometimes it doesn’t. Along this journey you will find new passions while discovering and adapting to new habits. Never think a change in life and its direction will be a waste of time or a failure.
What is one of the funniest things that happened during your travels?
When I was at the Seljalandsfoss waterfall in Reykjavik last December, I saw people hiking up a steep hill. It was quite high but I was so curious I decided to hike up too. Thing was, it was raining a little and it was a hill made of sand. And we all know what that means: sand + rain = mud. On the way up everything was fine, there was a small waterfall but nothing special. The way down was the most challenging part… after a few steps I slipped and fell down. I protected my camera with my life! Once I got back up I was – of course – covered in mud from head to toe. A few steps later I fell again.. It was quite an adventure and in the end I laughed because it probably looked funny.
Where do you see yourself in five years?
To be honest, I have no idea. When I was younger I always had a plan for the future. Where I wanted to go with my life, what I wanted to achieve. But after some experiences I realised that it’s better for me to live in the moment. I try to make the most of every day and do what makes me happy.
Looking at what makes me happy now, I feel that I would still be a freelance designer travelling the world. I can’t express how good it feels to have all that freedom. Alternatively, I might combine that with travelling the world with my own family, who knows!
Do you have anything else to add?
When I told people I quit my job to travel the world they all told me it was their dream too. More and more I feel that we need to realise that we are in charge of our own happiness. Don’t settle for okay because it is comfortable. Because do you know what ‘Okay’ is not? Okay is not passion, it isn’t thrilling and it isn’t life-changing or unforgettable. Okay is not the reason you risk absolutely everything you’ve got just for the smallest chance something absolutely amazing could happen.
So don’t settle. Take risks and be brave enough to fail. Make it work!
Thank you for your time Simon. Happy travels!
Be sure to check out his travel website and his Instagram page to keep up with his travels. Are you interested in being traveller of the month? Head to our contact page and sent us an message with your travel story. We will get back to you as soon as possible.