Savannah Grace

#TRLT Tuesday Traveller – Marcel Hovens

This week’s #TRLT Tuesday Traveller is Marcel Hovens also known as @Wandelgek. I’ve actually been fortunate enough to have met Marcel in person several times. He’s such a lovely guy and always a pleasure to have around!

Marcel says that his alias, “De Wandelgek” is Dutch for “sucker for walking”. He chose this because walking is what he likes to do most. He’s really an outdoor type of guy who gets restless when he stays too long between four walls. Marcel is very aware that he is living now and can enjoy this best by walking, travelling and meeting other people. Carpe Diem!

If you have further questions for Marcel, please post a comment! Also, make sure to commend him on an excellent choice of photos!

Marcel

Italia: Resting on a rock enjoying the view after a long distance walk over the Alpe di Siusi/Seiser Alm (2010)

Q. Why do you like taking The Road Less Travelled?

A. For me it’s not “The Road Less Traveled”. If I’m walking through a large dark forest or over a huge flat moorland and the road splits in different directions, I’ll take “the road less known”. That’s why when travelling, I prefer visiting countries or regions that are less known to me (not North Western European countries) as they are much more interesting because of other culture, language, food, landscapes, animals and customs than North Western European ones. Having said that I also have a language tic, meaning that I’m interested in the origin of word parts, words, names and stories. I love to read north western European legends that originate from stories that we’re passed onwards by story tellers, minstrels and travellers before the invention of written language. In Iceland, Scandinavia and Germany there exist similar legends but all have their local differences. You’ll see comparable story developments in Asia. When travelling the road less travelled, it’s so much fun to see these connections and similarities in words, names or stories sometimes geographically located fa apart. Just like in North west Europe, an Uyghur traveller on the Silk Road would bring histories to Kyrgyz traveller and so on though central and western Asia to Constantinople. I love legends and stories and in them I find the countries that inspire me to travel.

Q. What are your top 5 destinations?

A. Friendship Highway between Tingri and Zhangmu (Tibet/China), Karakoram Highway at Lake Karakul(Xinjiang/China), Mount Everest base camp (Tibet/China), Kungsleden (Lapland/Sweden), South Namibia

Q. What destinations are you most keen to visit?

A. Antarctica

Zhangjiaje (in China)

Tajikistan

Guilin (China)

Iceland

Greenland

Tip of South America (Chile)

Mongolia

Q. Share the story of one of your favourite travel photos.

Xinjiang2: Some Bactrian camels on the shores of Lake Karakul, between the mighty Pamir mountain giants Kongur and Muztaghata, somewhere on the Karakoram Highway. In Xinjiang, China (2004)

Xinjiang2: Some Bactrian camels on the shores of Lake Karakul, between the mighty Pamir mountain giants Kongur and Muztaghata, somewhere on the Karakoram Highway. In Xinjiang, China (2004)

A. This photo was taken at the end of the afternoon at Lake Karakul on the Karakoram Highway. I had started walking around Lake Karakul, hoping to reach the other side and walk back before dark. Just half an hour earlier I was invited by a Kyrgyz lady in to her yurt to drink Kumiz (merry milk) and I had gladly accepted to get some shelter from the burning sun and some refreshment from the milk. I was not the only traveller in the yurt. A young German girl named Catharina had been invited earlier and we got talking. She had been studying Chinese language in Shanghai and was now travelling towards Taskurgan, the village at the border between China and Pakistan. Because she spoke Chinese, she was able to talk with the Kyrgyz family (who spoke a bit Chinese) too. And thus I was able to ask them some questions about their nomadic life at the lake, which was only possible in summer. After saying goodbye, we walked on towards a few houses at the far side of the lake, directly beneath Mount Kongur, the Pamirs highest mountain. There we saw a large herd of Bactrian camels that had escaped from their Kyrgyz shepherds. These were trying to catch the camels again, using small horses and ropes. It was quite a spectacular hunt and that’s where I made this photograph…

Q. How did you find out about #TRLT Twitter Chat and what do you love most about joining/the community?  

A. I didn’t have much twitter chat experience before I joined #trlt Twitter chat. Actually I stumbled into some random/haphazard discussions on the #ttot twitter chat by using the #ttot hashtag, not knowing how this worked or even that it was a Twitter chat. About four months later the same happened with #TRLT and where I still did not fully comprehend what #ttot was, Jessica at #TRLT picked up my metioning #TRLT and invited me to check out the #TRLT facebook page, which I did and which clearly explained the ins and outs of a Twitter chat. After taking part in several discussions with very inspiring and commited community members (lots of them including the founders have travelled lots of interesting countries that are not major tourist destinations…yet, and even if they are then within those countries there are places that only a few travellers visit but which still are gems) (all on tuesday evening), I got the hang of it and became a member of the Facebook page, which meant that I was now also able to give input for the #trlt Twitter chat questions.

So I guess what really made me get involved as a weekly Twitter chatter in #TRLT is the ease of getting to know how it works and the welcoming enthousiasm and individual attention that the founders of #TRLT show towards their community members.

But there’s more. Getting in is the easy part, but why did I stay and why am I not even dreaming of taking part in other Twitter chats.

That simply has to do with the quality of the discussions, which can go from deep and knowledgeable to witty and cheeky. Additionally there’s a lot of attention for photography and as this is a travel oriented Twitter chat, I can’t emphasize enough the importance of that. There are lots of really awesome photographers taking part in the discussion sharing each week lots of their very best photographs. You simply need to love that.

Third but not least are the face to face contacts that are organized regularly which are well organised and enable you to meet other community members in person.

So I’ll be discussing travel on #trlt for a long time to come

Q. What is the best piece of travel advice you can share?

A. Smile, don’t have an attitude towards foreigners and never judge others. If you live up to these, you will be regarded as an open, trustworthy person and this makes it easier, even for total strangers, who you are almost certainly going to meet on the road less travelled, to make real meaningful contact.

Namibia

Namibia: Walking towards the top of a giant red sand dune in the heart of the Namib desert, in the Sossusvlei (2015)

Namibia

Namibia: A more than 700 year old dead tree is an iconic sight at the Deadvlei in the Namib desert (2016)

Tibet

Q2: The most beautiful place I ever laid eyes on was a stone rubble plateau west of Tingri and just before the descent in to Nepal, right through the Himalaya mountain chain… Tibet, China (1999)

Tibet

Tibet: After climbing a hill the view towards the Yarlung Tsangpo/Bramaputra river was very rewardin. Near Samye monastery in Tibet, China (1999)

Zweden

Zweden: The silent beauty of frozen lakes in mid summer… This was taken while hiking on the Kungsleden trail in Lapland, Sweden (1993)

Zweden

Zweden2: The weather in the mountains can change in minutes from beautiful blue skies to rain and mist… A warning to be very prepared when walking for several days in those mountains. Kungsleden trail. Lapland, Sweden (1993)

EverestBIGScan

Everest: Looking from Rongbuk monastery towards Mount Everest just before sunset… (1999)

Xinjiang

Xinjiang: Mighty Muztaghata mirrorred in Lake Karakul, just after sunrise… In Xinjiang, China (2004)

Be sure to follow Marcel on social media:

Dutch BlogEnglish BlogTwitter/ Instagram

If you LOVE travelling as much as we do and want to share your stories and pics with like-minded people, join us today at 1pm NYC/6pm UK time on Twitter for a chat on “FESTIVALS” ! Don’t forget to use the #TRLT hashtag. See you then!

For more info on how to participate in #TRLT on Twitter and what our upcoming topic and Qs are, click HERE.

Stay tuned for next week’s interview with #TRLT Tuesday Traveller – Anisa

Savannah Grace

16 replies »

  1. Hello Marcel, we’ve loved your story. Just wanted to say that we were in Guilin in 2008, we loved it and we are sure you would too. Happy to learn from you!

    Liked by 1 person

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