I never fly when I travel
March 27, 2017
Alex Duffner, a friend from Bangkok is designer, photographer and blogger who travels the world without ever flying. “I never fly when I travel” he reiterates. For most it would be because they want to save money while for others it’s the fear of flying. Well for Alex, it is the latter. So we catch up with him to ask about his experiences traveling without riding a plane and how he incorporated his photography with travel.
1. Tell us about yourself. Who are you? What you do?
I’m a what you would call a renaissance man. I like to do a lot of things but never really settle on one particular thing. To make it easier though, I am a web and app designer by day and photographer by night and love to travel and write about it on my blog “On Trails”. I like to lead an interesting life, anything that is un-routinely (is that a word?) so I started freelancing and oh I am afraid of flying too and don’t step on an airplane at all (I did though last time when I was 16 I think).
2. How did you start blogging?
I created my personal website quite a long time ago to showcase my photos but started keeping an online journal for my very first trip when I took a cargo ship from Singapore to Germany in 2008 (because I don’t like flying). Then it was quite for a while until I went for my second big trip on the Transiberian and saw it as a great way to share my stories and photos with friends and family. It was only a year ago when I decided to take my blog a little bit more seriously and spun it off to become ‘On Trails’.
3. What is your photography interests? How does that tie into your blogging?
Photography has always been a big part in my youth and I identify myself strongly as a photographer and visual storyteller. At the beginning I was too focused on getting the perfect and super well executed image but I later realized that all of that doesn’t matter really, its all about the subject and the story you want to tell. This really became apparent when I needed to select the right images to show alongside my writing and both gradually fused together.
4. You mentioned you don’t travel by air. Can you tell us about that?
Oh yes, I am simply afraid of flying and have not been taking an airplane ever since I was 16. This has proven to be quite limiting in some ways but forced me to travel in very weird but ultimately fun and creative ways. People always ask me why I don’t want to get over it and I actually prefer to be known as the guy who doesn’t fly.
When it comes to traveling overseas, I travel by cargo ships.
5. What is the most interesting/crazy/weird experience you had on your cargo travels?
I think being on lock-down because of Pirates would count as interesting but an incident with an American submarine was even more crazy, it was along the lines of “you’re getting too close to us, move over!” But everyday being on a cargo ship is exciting, there is always a lot to discover on a big boat and when you’re out there alone you really feel how insignificant everything else seems.