A lot of people on my travels ask me if I miss Germany. Of course I miss my family and friends from time to time but not really Germany because even though I travel to other countries around the world I meet so many German backpackers on my way. Some locals or people from other countries asked me if there are any Germans left in Germany. 😉
After finishing college or university many Germans decide to go travelling before they have to start “real life”. It’s a great time to have a once in a lifetime experience. Others skip this step and now have good jobs which they don`t want to loose but they still feel the need to go on adventures and explore other countries for longer stretches. For those people it is common to take 2 or 3 months off or even an entire gap year or sabbatical. Sabbatical means either you have to save money in advance or your employee keeps one third of your salary for over two years and pays it to you each month in the third year when you go travelling. Other people are just sick of their jobs and quit. They take the time travelling to reflect on what they want to do next with their lives. Some people change their jobs and travel for a few months in between. There are so many reasons and possibilities for people to go travelling that it has become a “must do” for many Germans. It became trendy in German society and you seem almost boring if you don`t travel for an extended time. On Facebook and Instagram you see people posting from places all around the world. Most of the German backpackers travel to Australia and New Zealand because it is an English speaking country, it is very far away from home, the weather is great, the landscape is amazing and there is the possibility to earn money for your travels with a working holiday visa.
It can be nice to meet others from your country but why not try a place where you are not surrounded by fellow Germans?
With Japan and Korea to the north, the Philippines to the south and China to the west, Taiwan has a special position as a crossroads of the east. Taiwan has cultural diversity and beautiful scenery, and should be high on your list if you are travelling near by. Taiwanese people are not as used to backpackers and they are very friendly, open and helpful. The first day I arrived in Taipei I asked the manager from Mono`tel where to get lunch. Even though he was working he walked with me the whole way to a small but nice and clean restaurant. He pointed out all the signs and turns so I would be able to remember next time and to find my way back to the hostel. He asked me a few times if I am alright and if he could leave me on my own. They really want to make sure you are taken care of. Contrary to countries like Australia, New Zealand and some countries in Asia like Indonesia and Thailand where it is flooded with European backpackers, people in Taiwan get really excited when meeting Europeans.
Portuguese explorers came across Taiwan in the 16thcentury named it la Ilha Formosa which means ‘the Beautiful Isle’. It’s obvious why. Taiwan has a several thousand-year history and is currently undergoing a cultural revolution which makes it a really exciting place to be. The culture is a mix of traditional Chinese values, Japanese colonialism and impressive technological advancement. However, the nature seems to be untouched. With over 43% of the country’s area being covered by forests, the government of Taiwan has worked hard to ensure the conservation and preservation of the natural flora and fauna found throughout the country. Once you are out of the big cities you discover beautiful landscapes and can visit some stunning national parks. Taiwan has so much to offer and I completely recommend anyone interested in the culture, nature and food to come and visit.
If you want to get out and experience the nature around Taipei check out our other blog posts about different hikes near the city!