Max Baghdassarian is a one-of-a-kind Lebanese travel blogger. His blog, Drifter’s Guide To The Planet, is an adventure travel blog that defies conventional beliefs. It focuses on sustainable travel and world discovery, with the developing of entrepreneurial thinking, and volunteering. Indeed, Max is a big supporter of the ‘citizenship of the world’ philosophy, and is a strong believer that work should always be fun and meaningful.
Kamsyn contributor Tylia El Helou, was curious about Max’s special lifestyle and unique Journey, she went through this Express Q & A as an attempt to discover the secrets of this Jack of Many Trades and (hold on tight) as it appears he’s a true Master of All.
Max, how would you introduce yourself to our readers ?
Digital nomad, world traveller, entrepreneur, travel blogger, amateur photographer, freethinker, animal lover, and lifelong learner… Born and raised in the Middle East, Beirut city to be exact. A few years ago, I took the decision to step away from the mainstream life I had, got out of the ‘rat race’, sold most of my belongings, and began traveling and exploring the world and its many intriguing cultures. That’s when I realized I wasn’t the only one out there, and that I had a choice… a choice to live a different kind of life, an unconventional life.
What is your professional background ?
I majored in Marketing and my work experience spanned from sales to marketing and advertising. I finally ended up starting my own small boutique agency.
How did you decide to travel ?
I think I always had it in me, to go out there and do something unconventional. It was a dormant desire that needed a trigger, and mine came when I was at a rough crossroad in my life, which made me rethink and reassess things. I had the character and the courage to do it, and all I needed was to be in the right place at the right time.
Why did you start A Drifter’s Guide to The Planet and how is it perceived today ?
After plenty of research, a little soul searching, and extensive travelling, I accumulated a lot of information. I figured that the best thing to do with this knowledge was to share it with others. That’s how the blog idea was born and I’ve been doing it ever since. After a while, the platform gained a lot of attention, way more than I was expecting, to be honest, and it’s been expanding and growing ever since.
How long do you stay in each country you visit ?
I’m flexible when it comes to timing. If I’m enjoying where I am, and there’s plenty to explore and experience, I could hang around for a month or more. If not, then I would just leave after two weeks.
What do these experiences teach you ?
Travel expands the mind. It teaches you humility, resourcefulness, and keeps you sharp. But most importantly, it teaches you openness and the ability to relate to a fellow human being, regardless of his or her culture and background. In a way, travel is a universal language that ignites meaningful connections and beautiful memories.
What are the countries that you have visited so far ?
There are so many ! That’s a long list: Argentina, Armenia, Austria, Belarus, Belgium, Bolivia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Brazil, Bulgaria, Cambodia, Colombia, Costa Rica, Chile, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Dominican Republic, Ecuador..
Estonia, France, Georgia, Germany, Greece, Haiti, Hungary, Indonesia, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malaysia, Moldova, Netherlands, Nicaragua, Norway, Panama, Philippines
And also: Peru, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Russian Federation, Serbia, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Syrian Arab Republic, Thailand, Turkey, Ukraine, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, United States, Uruguay, Vatican City State, Viet Nam, England, Scotland, and Northern Ireland… and I might have missed some !
Are you planning on visiting new countries anytime soon ?
Definitely ! There are always travel plans and new adventures in the pipeline, and I’m constantly planning and getting ready to explore new and exciting places.
Brewing in my head these days: Morocco !
What was your favourite destination and why ?
I’m often asked that question, but the truth is, when you get to see and experience as many places as I have, it becomes quite difficult to choose. Every place really has its own flavour and unique character, and I now feel that every part of the world is beautiful in its own way. Whether it’s the people, the nature, the culture, or the history and architecture…
It’s a big world out there and there is something for everyone. The world has really a lot to offer. But, if I had to choose, my favourite places would be Salar de Uyuni in Bolivia, Patagonia in Argentina, Northern Norway, the Scottish Highlands, Ilha Grande in Brazil, the Balkans, Indonesia and Russia.
Do you have a message for Kamsyn readers ?
Most of us have been taught our entire lives to follow a specific conventional life model, but I don’t think that there is a one-size-fit-all path to a happy and fulfilled life. It’s about choices, about finding what makes you genuinely happy and then figuring out a realistic way to make it happen.
I urge everyone to nourish his or her sense of adventure, and think outside the box. Get out of your comfort zone, challenge yourself and experience something new. There is a beautiful, fascinating big world out there just waiting to be explored, so travel more and live a full life, free of “what ifs” !
Tylia El Helou Jan 2017