“Don’t let anybody tell you what your limits are” – Interview with Gábor Tolnai

Diana Rodríguez | 22 junio, 2016

Gábor Tolnai has made with just 29 years old, what many people would do in two lives: meet the world and much more. Know his backpacker style.

Gábor Tolnai has made with just 29 years old, what many people would do in two lives: meet the world and much more. He believes that “being afraid of consequences, we often forget about our possibilities.” Gábor is from Austria and his adventurous spirit never rests.

About Gábor

Gábor Tolnai, 29 years old.

Where are you from? Austria.

Lives in: Panama.

Profession: wholesaler, language teacher, photographer and Japanology student.

Languages: Hungarian, German, English, Italian, Arabic, Japanese, Spanish and French.

How many places have you visited? 38 (Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Denmark, England, France, Germany, Gibraltar, Hungary, Italy, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Monaco, Norway, Scotland, Serbia, Slovakia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, The Netherlands, Turkey, Wales, Barbados, Belize, Canada, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, USA, Morocco, Senegal, Western Sahara)

His philosophy of life: Don’t let anybody tell you what your limits are, find it out yourself…

You can also read the interview in Spanish

​Sitting on the edge of the cliff of Horseshoe Bend, Arizona (USA)

​Sitting on the edge of the cliff of Horseshoe Bend, Arizona (USA)

When did you start backpacking?

G: 2009 hitchhiking to Munich to a Prodigy concert

Were you impressed by this change of surroundings?

G: Yes, living for less and enjoying life and adventure itself, not the luxury. We don`t know/appreciate what we have until we experience some time without it.

​Sailing along the coast of Oaxaca (Mexico)

​Sailing along the coast of Oaxaca (Mexico)

What’s the difference between travelling as a tourist, student of an exchange program and backpacker?

G: A tourist uses all the comfort of hotels, taxis, shuttles. And it’s for a short period of time and they can use a lot more money per day. Because of the comfort and the luxuries and fixed trips they often miss the local culture because they run past it…The golden cage of all inclusive tourism.

Backpacking is longtime traveling with a fix budget, with everything you have on your back. Which makes life sometimes difficult and you have to improvise a place to sleep, eat bad food or someday nothing. Or you have to walk a lot with that backpack. But what you get is 100 times better and a life experience that will change your life. You get to see a lot more places, you get to know a lot of cultures, lifestyles, insiders, and interesting people and most important you get to learn about yourself.

I haven’t experienced to be an exchange student yet, but I think you get to live a longer time with the locals and you would learn a lot about the life in that country.

​Camping on top of a mountain in Denali National Park with mount Mc Kinley in the background (Alaska)​

​Camping on top of a mountain in Denali National Park with mount Mc Kinley in the background (Alaska)​

A remarkable travelling experience?

G: Hitchhiking from Austria into all hemispheres of Europe: Great Britain, Morocco, Berlin, Istanbul hitchhiking a boat, we were passing through a storm where the 10m boat got hit by a 6 meter wave, got a hole into it and started sinking. We survived. We repaired the boat and crossed the Atlantic Ocean with it afterwards on a route nobody takes anymore. So total loneliness for 18 days with ‘Life of Pi’ experiences. (This is the short story)

Going into the wild of the Everglades and Alaska and survived rough wilderness and wild animals. Surviving direct contact with Panthers, Alligators, Bears, Moose, etc.

Hitchhiking since more than 2, 5 years from Austria to Alaska to the South Pole.

 Jumping over a bunker(Gibraltar)​

Jumping over a bunker(Gibraltar)​

How did you choose your first trips?

G: Do you know the “yes man”? … At the beginning, I just said yes to every travel opportunity wherever it was to. Not missing a chance. Until it was not enough and I started planning my own trips.

Alone or with someone?

G: Both have pros and cons. Travelling alone you don’t have to make compromises and can choose your own place, destinations and routes. But you get lonely with all the time alone and have to make new friends and say goodbye (often forever) many times.

I am travelling right now since 1,5 years with my girlfriend from Mexico, who gave up everything at home to be with me and join me on this journey.

Gábor in Santa Fe de Veraguas with his girlfriend (Panama)​

Gábor in Santa Fe de Veraguas with his girlfriend (Panama)​

If you had the opportunity to return to a country, which country would you choose?

G: Alaska(USA) The huge nature, big wilderness and the hospitality of the people.

Gran Canarias (Spain) a micro continent, on 1500km2 there are jungles, pine forests, rivers, lakes, canyons, beaches, volcanoes, mountains, sand dunes, cliffs… and all kinds of climates.

Highest cliff of Europe, 1027 meter (Gran Canaria)

Highest cliff of Europe, 1027 meter (Gran Canaria)

If you want to know more about Gábor Tolnai, follow him on social networks as Hitchhiking Through Paradise

 

Diana Rodríguez

Comunicadora social y periodista por oficio. Sueña, habla y escribe sobre viajes. Su gran viaje comenzó cuando decidió dejar su vida de confort y aterrizar en Europa con un billete solo de ida y con 20$ en la mochila. Ha trabajado en medios internacionales como La Mega, la emisora juvenil del circuito radial venezolano Unión Radio. Muchas de sus historias viajeras se leen en Reino Unido a través de El Ibérico, primer periódico español en Londres. Produce eventos, contenido de turismo y cultura.