"The World Is My Kingdom" King_Golo's Profile
Welcome to my travel pages! My name is Golo, I live in Oxford, England but am originally from Kassel, Germany.
I suppose it's obvious that travelling is a passion of mine - otherwise I wouldn't be here. I love getting to know other parts of the world, the more different from Germany the better. So far, my travels have taken me to quite some places (see the list below), but I was also lucky to have had the chance to work in Hanoi, Vietnam, for six months and to study in Tartu, Estonia for a few months.
In my opinion, every country is worth visiting. That's why I would like to see as many of them as possible. Believe me: there's beauty everywhere, you just have to look for it. Even if parts of a country or a city appear to be ugly at first sight, one is able to discover beautiful things... There may be a beautiful doorknob on a run-down building, a bunch of flowers growing between the ruins of a factory or the smile of some children living in poverty.
One of my most vivid memories of this kind is from Narva, Estonia: standing in front of the old, run-down town hall building which was at that time (and probably still is) surrounded by numerous incredibly ugly Soviet blocks, I suddenly heard someone playing a sad melody on the piano - a surreal, but wonderful scene!
Although I've been to quite some countries I haven't got enough yet! There are roughly 200 countries in the world - so it'll take a long time to go to every single one! The world may be far too big to see everything in just one lifetime, but I will try anyway...
Here's where I've been (in alphabetical order):
Austria (in 1991)
Belgium (in 2013)
Cambodia (in 2005 and 2008)
Canada (in 2007)
Czech Republic (in 2001, 2005, 2006 and 2007)
Denmark (in 1981 and 1983)
Estonia (in 2003 and 2006)
Finland (in 2003, 2006 and 2008)
France (in 1994, 1998, 2010, 2011 and 2012)
Germany (every year)
Great Britain (in 1990, 1996, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2002 (North Ireland), 2008, living there since 2009)
Greece (in 1986, 1988 and 1995)
Ireland (in 2002)
Israel (in 2000)
Italy (in 1987, 1993 and 1994)
Laos (in 2005)
Latvia (in 2003)
Lithuania (in 2003 and 2006)
Monaco (in 1998 and 2010)
the Netherlands (in 2002 and 2013)
Palestine (in 2000)
Spain (in 2011)
Turkey (in 2008)
the USA (in 2000 and 2007)
Vietnam (in 2004, 2005 and 2008)
In addition to this, I've driven through or stopped in:
I've also illegally passed the border to Kaliningrad on the Curonian Spit, but only walked on for some meters...
Do I have a favourite destination?
No, but there are several wonderful places. I am usually very fond of pure and wild nature, such as Donegal's rough landscapes in Ireland, the Judaean desert in Israel, the Laotian mountains overgrown with jungle, the rugged coastlines of Nova Scotia in Canada, the tranquility of Estonia's largest island Saaremaa or the serenity found in the vast Finnish forests. On the other hand, I love the hustle and bustle of big cities, such as never-sleeping London, the millions of motorcycles in Hanoi, getting lost amidst the skyscrapers of New York City or the international flair of San Francisco or Berlin.
Here's where I MUST go to, ideally as soon as possible (in alphabetical order):
Argentina (especially Patagonia)
Australia & Tasmania
Baja California in Mexico
Bulgaria, Romania and other parts of Eastern Europe
the Caribbean (especially Cuba, Jamaica and those smaller islands that are not yet spoilt by mass tourism - if they exist)
Fiji or any other South Seas paradise
Iceland (as I only saw it from the plane to Canada)
the Maldives and/or the Seychelles
the Middle East
Siberia (especially Kamchatka and Lake Baikal)
more parts of Spain
Tristan da Cunha
Uzbekistan and the Silk Road
Venezuela (Angel Falls)
and the rest of the world! ;)
According to VT's official count there are much fewer - but I'm actually TOP 5 in all of these locations, and I haven't even counted those where mine is the only page that exists:
Prince Edward Island,
Cape Breton Island NP,
Kejimkujik NP Seaside Adjunct,
Parc de la Gaspésie,
New Forest NP,
Bad Münster am Stein-Ebernburg,
1. I have been to 26 countries. The country I visited most often is Great Britain (7x before eventually moving there in 2009), the second rank goes to France (5x).
2. I have been to 14 capitals (Berlin, London, Paris, Prague, Tallinn, Helsinki, Riga, Vilnius, Amsterdam, Dublin, Monaco, Hanoi, Phnom Penh and Vientiane) and driven through another one (Warsaw).
3. I have lived in 4 different countries: Germany, Estonia, Vietnam, Great Britain.
4. My first international trip took me to Denmark at the age of 1 ½.
5. My last international trip took me to Belgium and the Netherlands.
6. I very much enjoy pure, wild and unspoilt nature, but also big anonymous cities.
7. I love photography and always come back from a trip with hundreds of photographs on my memory card. Although I enjoy taking digital photographs, part of a „real“ holiday for me always includes designing a photo album – offline, that is!
8. Apart from my camera I always take my Backgammon set on a trip – and had a great time explaining the rules to a few people in Cambodia without them speaking English or me speaking Cambodian!
9. The three things I would take to a desert island are: my laptop (I hope there's highspeed internet on that island?!), a suitcase full of books, another suitcase full of boardgames.
10. Travelling in groups is no fun at all – you always have to wait for those who are slower than you, or you are always ushered forward by those who do not understand why you want to remain at a specific place for a moment.
11. I hate going by train or plane. Trains are simply boring while going by plane has become a terrible nuisance over the last years. Hence, in my opinion the best way to get around is by car or by foot.
12. I love to get to know other cultures and traditions. Having studied Intercultural Communication, I believe I am quite „culture sensitive“. Therefore, I try to pick up bits and pieces of a foreign language and integrate them into my speaking wherever possible. I also love to collect international tongue-twisters.
13. Having lived in Oxford, the city of peculiar traditions, for the last three years, I have started to become interested in all places that are somehow connected to a weird tradition, ritual or history. I would love to compile a guide of these, if I ever find time.
14. The westernmost point I have been to was San Francisco, USA. The easternmost point I have been to was Mui Ne, Vietnam. The southernmost point I have been to was Can Tho, Vietnam. The northernmost point I have been to was Oulu, Finland.
15. The highest point I have been to was Pico del Teide on Tenerife, Spain. The lowest was the Dead Sea in Israel.
16. The hottest food I have ever eaten was a beef dish in Phonsavan, Laos – and unfortunately the waiters had decided to watch TV so that nobody was there to bring me some water. The weirdest food I have ever had was beehive in a mountain village also in Laos – it tastes disgusting.
17. The most famous people I have ever met during a trip were The Kooks in Liverpool. They happened to be interviewed by the BBC while we were given a tour of the building.
18. The weirdest person I have travelled with was a Basque guy who asked every girl on the beach whether he could give her a foot massage – they all agreed!
19. The weirdest person I have met on a trip was a 14 year old transsexual dumb Cambodian who roamed one of the temples of Angkor and wanted to sell me a piece of paper on which he had written his name.
20. While I try to be as open towards new culinary experiences as possible, I often long for some good German bread and sausage. I could probably not travel if I did not know that sometime soon I will get back to that!
1. Watching an approaching storm at Land's End, Cornwall's most dramatic cliffs.
2. Riding a motorcycle for the first time - in the world's most chaotic traffic in Hanoi.
3. Exploring the maze of passageways of Angkor's most spectacular temples Bayon and Preah Khan.
4. Climbing the Lilienstein rocks in the Elbe Sandstone Mountains on the last warm day of autumn.
5. Relaxing on board a junk in the turquoise waters of Halong Bay.
6. Hiking down Tenerife's breathtaking Masca Gorge - and up again with only a few drops of water left.
7. Driving along the winding road on the rim of Gorges du Verdon, Europe's deepest canyon.
8. Seeing New York's city lights from the viewing platform on the top of Rockefeller Centre.
9. Swimming in the Mediterranean Sea every morning before picking up a fresh baguette from the boulangerie in Roquebrune, France.
10. Exploring the narrow alleys of Jerusalem's old town and stumbling across an internet cafe that is situated in a building that is more than 1,000 years old.
11. Going to sauna in Tampere, Finland, and cooling off in a frozen lake.
12. Watching whales in the Bay of Fundy, Canada.
13. Hitchhiking through Ireland and getting to know the nicest truck-driver ever.
14. Meeting local children in the Gaza Strip and talking to them about their future prospects.
15. Unexpectedly coming across a giant wildflower field in full bloom in Turville, UK.
16. Cross-country skiing in virginal snow in the endless forests of southern Estonia.
17. Waking up in Warsaw, Poland, at 5am while taking the bus from Berlin to Tallinn only to see a pink tank as an advertisement for a car dealer.
18. Browsing the markets of the Provence in France for fresh fruit, local sausage and fantastic baguette.
19. Sitting on the Great Dune of Nida, Lithuania, and enjoying the view over the Curonian Spit.
20. Eating tapas the whole night in the superb eateries of San Sebastian, Spain.
Let's take a trip back to the 80s! Remember how it was back then? Just close your eyes...
Everything was bigger, far bigger than it is now. My brother and I lived squeezed into a 12sqm room and it didn't even feel small. Our garden was a paradise of trees to climb, bushes to hide in, lawns to run on, fruits to pick and eat and all those treasures that you forget after childhood...
I went to school 1km away from home, which meant walking past several gardens with angry barking dogs, passing the playground where I once was stuck in a bitter snow fight as the only neutral person, and of course entering the "Grüne Bude" for some sweets after school. The owner was the grumpiest old man to be found in Kassel!
The summers seemed endless, days and days of sunshine and heat, of leisure time in the garden or at the local swimming pool, of eating dinner alone in the hut my dad had built - we felt so grown-up! In autumn, we collected chestnuts to build chestnut animals, in winter snowmen grew everywhere in our garden, in spring the lawns were covered with forget-me-not and it finally was time to climb the old lilac tree again...
On holidays, we were constantly on the lookout for good playing sites. Churches, museums and nearly everything else that was on our parents' agenda was such a bore! Instead, a little brook meant hours of diversion: building dams or tearing them down, flooding the lawn or the path nearby. There were highways and low ways next to the actual path that were sooo much cooler to walk on. Sticks and stones were carried along for kilometres only to be forgotten at the next cafe we stopped in. And although hiking was the most horrible thing parents could go for during holidays, every hike provided hundreds of things to discover for us.
Music was only good if you could sing along - which usually meant terribly wrong lyrics and invented words! Cool bands were either German because you then understood the lyrics, or everything that was played on the radio. Admit it, even you've been listening to Modern Talking! There were no such things as Internet or mobile phones or MP3s or cable TV. Actually, watching TV was limited to one hour per day and it felt incredibly unfair! But advertisements were so interesting that we knew them by heart (and still do now!).
Every afternoon, we met to play hide-and-seek, to build yet another dam in Geilebach brook or a secret hut in the bushes, to chase the younger children and to be chased by the older ones. When it was raining, we played games inside or simply invented new ones... or we just stood next to the window pressing our noses against the glass and counted those daring enough to pass by in the storm.
People weren't judged by what clothes they wore or what kind of mobile phone they owned. The only thing that mattered was that the clothes lasted longer than the first game played in them! (And maybe whose clothes were the most colourful ones...) It was serious business who your "real" best friend was, and who was only second rank. But friends were friends, and you saw them at least once a week. And any argument, bitter as they sometimes were, was forgotten sooner or later... just forgotten!
Everything new and unknown was either scary or exciting. The dark gloomy room with the central heating in our cellar never lost its scariness, but thoughtlessly skateboarding down a hill where you couldn't see the junction you had to cross at its end was great!
Remember all those plans we had? "When I'm old, I'll become a construction worker!" Later, scrap metal trader and inventor, bus driver, and famous superstar were high on my list! Of course we knew whom we would marry when we'd be old, and what our children would be like.
Now, open your eyes again, return to the present and keep that dreamy smile on a little more if you know what I'm talking about...
Those were the days, my friend
We thought they'd never end
We'd sing and dance forever and a day
We'd live the life we'd choose
We'd fight and never lose
For we were young and sure to have our way. (Mary Hopkins)
Ah, there's so much more I could tell you. However, I should stop here and invite you to take a look at my travel pages. They will be updated as soon as something new happens (i.e. if I'm actually travelling) and I hope you'll find them interesting and helpful. If so, please send a comment and rate them!
Have fun, take care, and happy travels!
"A dreamer is one who can only find his way by moonlight, and his punishment is that he sees the dawn before the rest of the world." (Oscar Wilde)
PS: You might already be addicted to VT - here's how you can find out! Or here!
PPS: Just for the record - I've met the following VTers in person: Jefie, AgentJX, Tartu2005, Vita500, White_Lemur, Radasonea, Ovlarrec, as well as Mr. Tartu2005 whose nickname I've forgotten. :)
PPPS: A note concerning my travel map: I have deleted all empty pages as it is my belief that VT is mostly about tips and not about showing off how many places one has been to. As mentioned above, I've been to more countries than shown on my map. So when you click on a page of mine, it is certainly one that might be helpful in some way or the other.
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- 945 Reviews
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- 17 Countries
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- Commented on Mikebond's profile page
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updated their Profile Page "The World Is My Kingdom"
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