The Travel Series Interviews on More2Explore, profiles the motivations to travel, the reasons for residing abroad, and parenting from a personal perspective.
This particular interview was prompted after Mike spent a few days visiting our family in Basel a couple of weeks ago. Thank you for the visit Mike!
More2Explore (M2E): Why do you travel?
Michael Zajac (MZ): I travel mostly to visit friends, bring good cheer and another adult voice to friends who happen to live in exciting far-away places. Aside from that primary motivation, I travel to learn new things, to learn about myself, to hopefully pick up on what is important to and valued by other societies, to seize the day and avoid future regrets.
M2E: When did you really start to travel?
MZ: After overcoming quite a bit of reservations regarding foreign travel – including the inevitable language barrier, the cost, the fear of being lost – I began traveling in earnest when I was 33 years old (summer of 2013). This was a bit later than most Washingtonians I meet, most of whom have already visited over a dozen countries and 2/3rds of the United States by the time they’re 30.
M2E: When you are in a new place, what do you most long to see?
MZ: Aside from the friends who live in the place I’m visiting, as a Structural Engineer, I long to see monumental architecture – which usually means churches and museums. Thirdly, I seek out the “money shot,” a dramatic photo, which usually involves a lookout over the city I happen to be visiting.
M2E: How can hosts help you make the most of your stay?
MZ: My hosts have been awesome; they should just keep doing the same thing! Warm welcome, good conversation, one or two activities planned, and ability to point me in a direction and say, “have at it!”
M2E: What makes for comfortable accommodations?
MZ: My own room and a mattress (preferably one with springs rather than compressed air).
M2E: What was the most memorable aspect of your recent trip to Basel/Switzerland?
MZ: The good people who welcomed me, the spectacular views, the feeling of being connected to nature in a way that is too often missed in the day-to-day rat race of my engineering career.
Michael is a 36-year-old American structural engineer who enjoys road and mountain cycling, triathlons, participating in amateur Bikram Yoga, and is an overall nice guy. *All credit for the photos that appear on this post (except for the last one photo credit: Robert Schoutens) belong directly to Michael. Great images Mike and thank you for sharing!