When you tell me, “It can’t be done,” all I hear is, “Prove me wrong.”
I was born and raised in Melbourne, Australia. Since I’m Australian, I’ve always had the Wanderlust, that insatiable itch to explore new places and share my discoveries with other people. I’ve satisfied this urge whenever I could – I went on two exchange trips during university – but I always assumed that travel was ‘outside’ normal life, that it was something that would present itself at rare intervals and that until then, I would have to slave away in a cubicle in quiet anticipation. But right before completing my studies at the University of Melbourne (Bachelor of Arts majoring in History and German, plus a Diploma in Chinese language), I realised that having a safe, ‘comfortable’ office job was as close to hell as I could get. I find a visit to an active warzone and getting shot at a more appealing prospect than being stuck at a desk. It goes without saying that I am somewhat eccentric (some would call me insane, which I can only take as a compliment).
So, to paraphrase Vladimir Lenin, what was to be done? Well, I do have a variety of interests; drums, linguistics, Brazilian Jiujitsu, fiction writing and teaching are among a few of them. I would have had no issue finding a bizarre but totally feasible line of work using these skills. However, making these hobbies the basis of a business would either suck all the fun out of them or I would find myself stuck in one place too long for comfort. Even worse, I may have found myself with a dispassionate, uncaring boss who restricted me and prevented me from engaging in my work in a creative, meaningful way. No matter what future path I considered, I always found myself shuddering at the lack of ability to discover, expand and share.
That is, until I received brilliant advice from somebody I consider my mentor: Make my Vocation my Vacation. I took his advice rather literally. I love to travel, so why not provide a service while doing it? I need no motivation to talk about history all day long, much to the chagrin of my long-suffering friends. I love to slog through a difficult walk and be rewarded with a beautiful natural vista. And I live to see people’s faces light up when they learn something new; to know that I’ve made an impact on their lives and introduced them to possibilities they simply hadn’t considered before is a feeling I cannot put into words.
Therefore, I established 21st Century Jacobsweg (or just Jacobsweg for short). The aim of this project is to get out into the world, discover the histories and landscapes thereof and then share them with you. My main focus whenever I travel is history and geography, which are often so intertwined that it’s a nightmare trying to untangle them. I’ve always found himself somewhat frustrated at the lack of focus on these two areas on other travel blogs, especially for smaller, out of the way locations. Also, it’s hard to take the advice of a travel blogger raving about how awesome and amazing something is when they haven’t even gone out there and seen it for themselves.
The way I see it, you can drink on any old beach in the world but there’s only one Omaha Beach. And while bungee-jumping and skydiving are incredibly exciting activities, they’re nothing compared to seeing the snow-capped mountains that surround Lake Tekapo from atop Mt John. I hope to do the places I visit justice by highlighting their unique histories and their natural wonders, in order to inspire others to come and experience these places for themselves rather than just read about them and let their dream holiday remain a dream.
While I live and breathe history, my main focus is on “modern” history (i.e. 1750s onwards), particularly warfare, politics and the dictatorships of the 20th Century. When it comes to geography, I am obsessed with mountains, especially if they’re near lakes, but any sort of natural reserve (particularly with animals) grabs my attention. As I travel, I will naturally gravitate towards these sorts of things, but I will do my best to include locations of interest outside these areas. This isn’t all about me; you’re tagging along for the ride.
Dream Historical Sites I want to visit:
- The Pyramids of Giza
- Angkor Wat
- The Terracotta Warriors
- Chichen Itza
- The Kremlin/Red Square
- The Great Mosque of Djenne
- Normandy Beaches
- The Great Mosque of Samarra
- Independence Hall
Dream Walks/Natural Sites I want to visit:
- Camino de Santiago
- Kokoda Trail
- Niagara Falls
- Landmannalaugar to Thórsmörk
- Mount Sinai
- Mt Kailash Circuit
- The Grand Canyon
- The Rock of Gibraltar
- Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park
- Lençóis Maranhenses National Park
Get in touch
If you want to communicate with me, I’ll try to get back to you as I may be out and about. At the very least, I’ll read your message. If you want to suggest ideas for historical or geographical sites when I’m heading for a particular location, I will appreciate that immensely. Likewise, if you want to send feedback direct to the source, that is something I welcome, but again no guarantees I will be able reply to everything. My preferred method of communication is email at email@example.com, but you can hit me up or leave a comment on one of the social media platforms listed below if that’s more convenient for you (but I check these less often).