Tales From The Lens Of Christian Betzmann
Tell us a little bit about yourself.
My name is Chris, a 29-year-old travel vlogger from Germany. Fed up with the repetitive cycle in Germany I sold all my belongings and bought a one-way ticket to Australia. Since then I've been on the road for the last eight years.
What was the first big trip you went on?
I started travelling when I was 13. First I went on scout trips with school friends followed by weekend trips around Europe. When I was 21 I planned on going to Australia for a year which ended up being three instead.
What do you enjoy doing the most in Pakistan? What makes you keep coming back to this place?
Apart from the fascinating landscapes in the north and the delicious cuisine I'm in love with the People. During my last year in Pakistan I've met so many unique personalities which inspired me to stay longer. When travelling to different areas I’m always surprised how warm heartedly I get welcomed and how everybody is trying to contribute towards building a better image of this country.
Not at all. There is so much potential for travel influencers. Apart from 197 countries there are so many ways of exploring a country. Most travel bloggers follow the documentary style of showcasing the place, while this might be informative and interesting for people, I like to keep things fun. I focus on connecting with the locals, extreme adventures and being myself - showing the ups and downs on the road where it's easier to relate.
Please share a few fun facts about yourself that probably most people don't know about you.
I am 29 and I don't have a driving license (laughs)
I have tried snakes, bugs and crickets across Asia. Crickets are tasty.
Do you think that most travel bloggers and influencers portray an idealistic way of travelling that is far from reality? How do you try to keep it real?
Yes, and that is exactly what makes it monotonous for me. I’m fascinated how different cultures manage to live life and I want to learn all about it. Most of my time in a new country I hang out with the locals and experience their unique way of life. I feel that way my audience can relate the best. Instead of showing only the best parts of my journey I try to be as much transparent as I can to take everyone on the journey with me.
I am incredibly thankful for being able to see the world and document new experiences. The world is a fascinating place and full of adventures – I am so grateful to share this with all of you.
How does collaborating with brands affect your content, and what has been your favourite brand to work with so far?
Be picky with who you work with. Money is cool but maintaining a good image is key for branding. As a lifestyle and travel vlogger I see if the brand and the Idea is matching to my channel then I decide to go along with it. I have collaborated with some of the best hotels in Turkey during my recent trip, back in August and I especially loved the Museum Hotel in Cappadocia.
If you had to give up your passport and get another country’s passport, what would you pick?
I am pretty happy with my German passport (laughs) but I would trade it for an Australian one any day. I would love to settle down there one day.
Best meal you’ve eaten anywhere?
I am huge fan of Asian Cuisine and after one year in Bangkok I found the world's best Pad Thai.
Most creative thing you’ve ever done to save money during your travels?
I am an expert when it comes on spending wisely. When I was travelling for five months nonstop through 11 counties in Asia, I was tracking my monthly expenses. Cutting out unnecessary spending and putting things into perspective allowed me to travel for around $500 a month while having the best time of my Life.
If you couldn’t ever travel again but could pick any city to be confined to, where would you pick?
I've lived three years in Sydney and I fell in love with the vibe and the beaches – I would definitely go for Australia.
What’s your preferred place to stay: hotel, hostel, or Airbnb?
As a travel newbie I can definitely recommend everybody to stay in hostels. You will not only do good to your bank account; I can guarantee you that you will meet the most amazing people who quickly become best friends. I’ve made some friends for life in hostels and we have travelled for months together after that.
Is there a place that you went to that turned out to be completely different from what you expected? (Not including Pakistan)
The Philippines! Long betrayed as dangerous, the Philippines is actually my number one holiday destination in Asia! Stunning clean beaches and some of the most amazing people on earth. They say ‘it's more fun in the Philippines’ and that’s absolutely correct.
Do you like travelling alone or do you prefer to be with a group of people?
I used to be a huge fan of solo travel. It not only shapes you as a human being, it will teach you how to survive on your own and how to be independent. Nowadays I love to travel with like-minded content creators and have fun together. You are never really alone.
What is the one thing you’ve realised is exactly the same no matter where you go?
People are good. It doesn't matter what the media tells you, it doesn't matter how poor you are. Everywhere I go people are good. When I came to Pakistan I saw people staring at me but instead of feeling threatened I decided to smile back at them and immediately got a smile back. Be a good Person.
They say ‘Not all those who wander are lost’ Do you think that people who travel have a certain personality type and have some innate desire to see the world?
You have to be a free spirit and open minded enough to have the courage of leaving your comfort zone. You might never reach the light at the end of the tunnel but the journey itself is the daring adventure we strive for. Once you've got the travel bug you cannot stop travelling.
Has travelling the world and meeting all these different people changed you in any way?
It completely changed the way I experience life. We are all stuck in a bubble somehow, either working for someone else's dreams or being too scared to pursue our own. Travelling has opened up so many dimensions for me – the intimate experiences with strangers, the endless new adventures. I've realized how adaptable we are as humans to live life in literally a million ways.
What would your advice be to young people who want to travel the world but can’t do so due to financial constraints?
Don't ask yourself why you can't do it. Find a way of doing it. Either you spend on the wrong ends or you just have to work smarter. Explore your own country and make content for social media.
PHOTOGRAPHS COURTESY : CHRISTIAN BETZMANN