We’re delighted to present you another great interview! Melvin Böcher, inventor of the famous hashtag #ttot (Travel Talk on Twitter) and founder of TravelDudes has given us some insights about his newest project, the launch of the first Social Travel platform. Besides, we found out what facinates about other countries, social media and traveling. Read further and get to know Melvin a bit better.
1. You were born in Cologne (Germany), but you work with people from all around the world on a daily basis, speaking English. In which language do you feel more comfortable? Do you sometimes catch yourself mixing them up?
I only get in trouble when I start writing in German! My sentences sometimes sounds a bit weird, but still make sense. Then I realize that I’m mixing up the sentence’ structure, which is a bit different in German. :) In my daily life, all my work is in English and my private life is in German. Just yesterday I had a business call in German and that’s as well when I suddenly start struggling as I use some (business) vocabularies only in English and never in German. Then my sentence suddenly includes English words. But it seems to work. :)
2. Following your tweets, you were living on a boat just recently. How is that feeling not to have solid ground under your feet? And living in such a small space?
Yes, I was sailing around Malta for a week and it was brilliant! We had 28°C and even at night it was really warm. So instead of sleeping in the cabin, I’ve decided to sleep on deck. Brilliant! You wake up and see other boats, if you stayed overnight in the marina or even better you wake up in a lonely and beautiful day. Most of the time we were sailing and what happened when we got on land was, that I got land sick. hahaha OK, I wasn’t really sick, but everything was moving, which I haven’t felt on the boat.
3. TravelDudes helps lot of people find the travel tip they’re searching for and it’s also a great page to just read around and dream about the next vacations. Now it’s going to be something like a social network. Can you tell us more about it?
Yes, Traveldudes is going to be the first Social Travel platform! I realized that social media provides a lot of quality content, but that it’s as well a lot of noise! It’s very tough to find quality travel content for the destination you would like to find out more about, unless you are a geek. Then I realized as well that travel guides are heading for extinction, unless they evolve. So I thought it would be a good decision to use my experience and knowledge to bring guidebooks onto the next level!
Users can look up content relevant to them in the Social Travel section of the platform or find tips contributed from the Traveldudes network in the Guidebook section. Travelers are able to follow a travel expert’s profile or a specific keyword (e.g. “Bologna”, or “Bologna”+”food”) on the Traveldudes platform. In the traveler’s timeline, posts will appear with the keywords he/she follows and posts shared by experts he/she follows.
4. You always emphasize on the fact that traveldudes is made by travelers for travelers. How can companies get involved in this new project, the social travel platform? Will there be a distinction between bloggers, other experts and companies?
If you as a company see yourself as a traveler and your aim is to encourage people to travel the world and share your experiences, than you are welcome to join Traveldudes! That’s what we care about! We do not care if it’s a traveler, blogger or business sharing their experiences, we care about that it’s quality content and not self-advertising.
5. Looking back at the #ttot theme “Your home country”: What’s your favourite meal in your country and abroad?
I do love Pommes Currywurst! This stands for culture! You see more and more fast food chains in Germany, but seriously… they suck (though I sometimes eat there as well). But I prefer much more the typical “Imbissbude”, run independently and serving yummy Pommes Currywurst.
6. Do you have a song you listen to on repeat while travelling?
No… But songs I like while traveling is Jack Johnson, Buena Vista Social Club, Norah Jones (perfect for sailing) and recently I can’t get enough of AC/DC. :)
7. Pick one situation for each destination:
A. Live for one year
B. Travel for two weeks
C. One-day trip
Spain / Philipines / Cologne
Live for one year: Spain
Travel for two weeks: Philipines
One-day trip: Cologne (I live 50m away) :)
8. Obviously you love Social Media. Why is it so fascinating to you besides the real time sharing possibility while traveling?
Social media, especially Twitter, widens your horizont. You just need to follow the right people or lists and your timeline will give you so much quality content, new insides and even friends (as soon you’ve met them in person some day).
9. In other interviews you said the best way to explore a city is to get lost, because you come across the main sights eventually, but also see things you wouldn’t with the whole trip planned out. Did this ever bring you in a uncomfortable situation?
No, so far it was all fun. But I think it’s also got to do with thinking positive. At the first moment I can’t think of one, but when you think again, there might be a few. We were in the hands of a totally drunken skipper in Croatia for two days, which was not a fun experience at all… at that time. But afterwards, I’m happy that we sailed with him. It’s a good story to share.
10. Do you prefer to travel solo or with company?
I do love to travel solo, but also with my family or friends. I think it’s good to have a mix of all. Sometimes it’s very nice to travel solo, as the experience is so different and often even richer. But I also love to share the experience with my family or friends.
11. If you could travel back in time, where would you go? Why?
I’m not sure if I would do this. The past is past and I look forward what’s to come. That’s far more exciting. That does not mean I’m not interested in history, actually I love reading novels abouth the middle age, but I don’t think I would time travel there.
12. You give a lot of interviews and speeches on conferences. Do you still have stage fright?
Sure! Especially when I realize that there is only one slide left in the presentation. It happened that my knees started to shake once. I’m not the typical entertainer type who just loves to present himself. But I do enjoy being on stage and sharing my knowledge and experience and I could do that for hours, as I’ve learned a lot in the last few years. But then this last slides turns up, which means that my presentation is over and ‘I have nothing to say’ anymore. “What happens next?” That was my thought and I got really nervous. But luckily that haven’t happened for a while anymore.
I think a lot about things and give it deeper thoughts, trying to find reasons and background info on this and that. Then I love connecting the different dots and angles. That way I can say that I have a lot of information and I’m happy to share my thoughts. But I still get nervous before interviews and speeches. But I think it’s good, as it means that you take those things seriously.