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Sharing your travel experiences – an interview with Melvin Boecher

August 26, 2010
by budgettravelsac

In Germany, Melvin Boecher knew what it meant to grow up in a country divided.  Fortunately for him, he had the freedom to travel with his family and his experiences opened his eyes to the world around him.  As a kid, his desire to travel was born.  Later, he discovered a desire to help others travel too.  Melvin’s first big trip helped him realize how many travel tips people could offer that weren’t in the travel guidebooks.

From a divided Germany to sharing travel tips from people all over the world, here’s Melvin’s story.

Tell me a little about yourself.  Where did you grow up, what things were you interested in as a kid, what did you want to do when you were older?

I grew up in that little boring place, where I’m living in right now again.  Amazing!  No one expected that, not me and no one else!  It’s not that far away from Cologne, where I also lived for many years and that’s a city I really love!  As a kid I was into football (the real football… not the American one) :) , but later I played a lot of basketball.

Growing up in Germany, what do you remember about the fall of the Berlin Wall?

It was amazing!  I was about 12 years old, so I didn’t understand how important it really was and the consequences it brought with it.  But I still remember how I’ve followed everything of it via the news and also the weeks before.  I felt that it was a very special moment in the history of Germany.  We had relatives in the East, which we’ve visited in the years before and I still remember how we got searched and treated at the borders.  It’s just sad to see, when people start building new walls in other parts of the world.

Check out the 20th anniversary of the Berlin Wall coming down:

Remembering the fall of the Berlin Wall – pictures, videos, and recaps of the anniversary

The 20th anniversary – the Berlin Wall and the fall of Communism

What was your favorite travel memory growing up?  What inspired you to travel?

I remember when I traveled with my parents through Canada.  We were in the area around Calgary.  The countryside was hilly, wide, and green.  In the background you could see the Rockies with snow on the top.  That was a feeling of freedom… especially when my sister locked the door of the car with the keys inside! (laughing…)

What has been your favorite destination and why?

I really like the Australian Outback, as it is so wild and adventurous, but on the other side so civilized.  There you’ll find hundreds of miles of wild outback and no one else.  Then you get to a roadhouse and they have flat screens and WiFi.

I loved Laos as it was still quite a natural country, which wasn’t affected too much by mass tourism like the surrounding countries.  The people were so friendly…unbelievable if you see what they made and still make through.

In Tanzania I was impressed by the wildlife and experiences we’ve had meeting the locals.  Havana is one of my favorite places, as I just fell in love with this city and its people.

How did come about?  What drove you to create a site like this?

It all started as a travel diary, which a friend and I wrote on our travels through Indochina.  We got so many great travel tips from other travelers, which you would never find in a guide book.  We wanted to share these experiences with others.  That was the beginning, but as there are so many more travelers, with so many more stories, we’ve opened it to everyone who loves to travel.  From there on it just got bigger and bigger.

Aside from traveldudes, twitter, and travel, what other interest do you have?  What do you do in your free time?

Do you really think, there is more in life? LOL!  Seriously, it’s more than a full time job, which doesn’t feel like work.  It’s my passion!  But I also like to meet with friends, to BBQ, to go out and party a bit… I love nice walks through the countryside with the dogs, reading books, listening to a good audio book, watching football in the stadium, snowboarding, learning to surf, and finding new adventures.

Having traveled to so many places meeting so many people, what has travel taught you?

That there are always two sides of a story.  You can’t just say black or white.  Maybe you could say, that it’s all grey. :)   The more you travel, the more you will learn about life and our world.  It’s an education, which you will never be able to study or learn at school and it’s worth much more.  Only thing that is important is to try to travel open minded.  You will never stop learning.  I like that quote which fits to it: “I know, that I know nothing.” is an online guide book, written For Travelers, By Travelers!

Further on it’s a platform where accommodations, tour operators and guides can present their services commission free and with no other charges. That way the traveler profits of good prices.

Follow Melvin on Twitter: traveldudes (Is there any traveler not following him?)

Check out more of my interviews and guest posts from travelers:

Adventure travel – Ted Nelson (Part I Adventure travel, Part II Interview)

Family travel – Jenna Francisco (Part I Family travel, Part II Interview)

From humble beginnings to travel entrepreneur – Andy Hayes

Travel with your five sense – Keith Jenkins

Social media, travel industry, and tourism – April Mescher (Part I, Part II, Part III)

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17 Comments leave one →
  1. August 26, 2010 2:15 am

    Love it. Melvin is one of the most fascinating person I’ve ever met, oh wait, should I say, ever talked with? :)
    His devotion amazes me. He led me to the world of travel writing, and opened up my world even more.
    Traveldudes community itself taught me the world, how to share, how to enjoy.
    Great work, and please keep doing it! :) We will follow you.
    Thumbs up to you Jeremy for another great interview!

  2. August 26, 2010 3:05 pm

    Thank You Juno for the very nice words & actually I can say the same of you! You are doing a fantastic job with your site & I’m so thankful that you are a part of!

  3. August 26, 2010 5:55 pm

    I met Melvin via twitter (thumbs up for social media!) and I loved his passion about what he is doing and his creativity. Melvin, you are doing a great job working with travellers for travellers. Keep it up!

  4. August 26, 2010 9:49 pm

    Nice interview. When I first started using twitter, there was Melvin, introducing himself and asking if I wanted to participate in Despite having a zillion followers and friends on twitter and facebook, I feel like he knows me– he is such a genuinely friendly person! A great person to connect with in the on-line travel community. I am sure he’s also a blast to travel with.

    • August 26, 2010 10:03 pm

      I am with you Jenna. I think one of the first things I ever did on Twitter was post on All because of Melvin. I haven’t had a lot of time to post more on there but always appreciated Melvin reaching out when I was just one of thousands (literally – he has 35k followers!). Thanks Melvin!

      An interview like this is fun for me to do but it’s also rewarding to so many people who follow you and want to get to know you a little better.

  5. August 27, 2010 1:04 am

    Melvin also turns out to be a great travel guide around the city of Cologne…!

  6. August 27, 2010 4:28 am

    Thanks a lot for your very nice feedback! I’m getting sentimental right now here… ;-)
    Serious: It’s good to get feedback like that as it keeps you going & shows you, that it’s worth it.

    @Jenna It’s actually very strange when you suddenly meet the person from Twitter in real life & you really get along really good as well. As we are interacting in social media for such a long time already, you see/meet the people who live the same passion… to travel & to help each other. You just know that these people are on the same level as you are. It’s fascinating & I’m looking forward to meet you in person some day. And I hope that I’m a blast to travel with… maybe you’ll find out some day yourself? That would be a blast already! :)

    @Jeremy You are not just one of 35k! And you are right with the interview. I think it’s very nice to give people a better inside look about a person & about things around a site etc.

    @All: In the end, I really must thank travelers like you, who are just as crazy & who share their experiences , travel tips & support Without people like you, would be nothing! I try to go a different way with the site than others, which seems even harder sometimes, especially without an invester in the background. But it’s fun with people like you onboard supporting it!

    Thanks again for the nice feedback!


  7. August 27, 2010 7:52 am

    Great interview! Melvin was also one of my early follows and I subscribe to his Travel Dudes Twitter list. He seems like a great guy- I’d love to meet him and swap travel stories one day.

    Melvin- if you venture to NYC, this is a formal invitation to tweet-up in the East Village! :)

  8. August 27, 2010 8:19 am

    Thanks @Leslie… watch your words… I’ll come back to that offer! Sounds like that will get a looong evening with a great topic! ;-)


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