Inside Mapify
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Inside Mapify

Lis Kanzler

Apr 30, 2020

5 min read


How one decision can change the course of your entire life

“You know you are truly alive when every exhale is not only taken, but is indeed felt with the heart.”

For those of you who read last week’s powerful interview with Hugo and found themselves already captivated by his story… be ready

— because that was only the beginning.

Quick recap: In his mid-late twenties, Hugo was working as a sales technician in France but felt utterly trapped in his own routine and life. His increasing sense of unfulfillment wouldn’t let him think straight. Instead, his head could only focus on one thing: leaving. He was aching for life-changing adventures and knew that only if he quitted his job and acknowledged his deep passion for photography, he would be happy again. So he did. He left everything behind and took his chance to transform his passion into his career.

Did he succeed? Where did he go? And most importantly: what fundamental lessons did he learn along the way? Discover everything now!

After quitting your job, what was the first thing you did?

I embarked on the adventure of a lifetime! I left my apartment, sold absolutely all my furniture and gave more than half of my clothes to people in need. Bought a van on credit and rebuilt it so that it could fit my whole life in it, and then…I decided to cruise around with it! I started my Europe tour in Mai 2019 and here I am, still on the road. So far, my online community has followed my journey throughout 18 countries and more than 38.000km. It’s incredible!

It is, indeed. What would you say are the biggest lessons you’ve learned from living on the road and what aspects of your lifestyle are you most grateful for?

I have learned a lot about myself, that for sure, but also about other people. The kindness, generosity, and open-mindedness of the people I have met along the way has truly been mind-blowing.

In general, I am most grateful for being able to wake up every day in a different place. I open the curtains of my van each morning, and get excited because I never know what I will find behind it. Also, this lifestyle has had an important effect on my social skills. I consider myself now more open and extroverted than ever before. In a way, living on the road has even made me regain confidence and trust in myself!

I am sure that living in a van also comes with a lot of challenges! Could you maybe share a little behind-the-scenes story of a problematic situation you’ve had in the past?

Let’s see…Taking a quick outdoor shower with a bottle of water in Lapland at -15 degrees celsius, staying inside the van for 2 weeks because of horrible weather conditions, trying to repair my van due to an electric problem in the middle of nowhere or simply getting a flat tire in a place no one speaks your language? I could keep on and on, to be honest. When you live on the road, nothing is perfect. Bad experiences happen but I always remind myself that “That’s the adventure!”

I suppose you are right. How exciting! Where are you based right now?

I’m currently in Iceland, in the north-western peninsulas of this magnificent country.

And how is life there?

It’s different. In winter there are almost no roads open in this part of the country. Some of them are even covered up with a meter of snow! That’s why people here always drive with special tires, a shovel in the truck and make sure to quickly call the person they are going to visit, before losing signal. If they don’t hear back from you after 15 minutes, they know you got stuck and help you out. Living here has definitely been intense but in a really amazing and adventurous way!

I can imagine. In your opinion, why do you think every true adventurer should come to Iceland at least once in their life?

Well…because there is absolutely everything an adventurer loves. I mean, you only have to look at the pictures people take from Iceland! Mountains, volcanoes, glaciers, tectonic plates, wild animals, waterfalls, whales, lakes, caves, geysers, remote places…all of it! Also, in a span of 10 minutes, you can experience every kind of weather, from clear sun to a huge snowfall for instance. That diversity, unpredictability and extreme conditions are something that you can only get in a few places around the world. In my opinion, that is exactly why every real traveler should come here at least once in their life — I am sure they will fall in love with it!

Which are your favorite 3 places in Iceland?

I’m a glacier lover, so I will say the glaciers in the southern region are definitely a must. If possible, I would recommend doing a guided visit here. The Eastfjords are also one of my favorite places, as they are so different from the rest. For the last one, I would totally recommend exploring around the north, as it is one of the most remote areas. I love it!

And as a closing question: If you had to choose three adjectives that describe you as a content creator, which would those be?

Interesting question. Let’s go with…

Different — I always try to be innovative and discover new landscapes on my own.

Inspiring — I try hard to reconnect people with nature through my photography.

Demanding — I give everything I can to create something that I can be proud of.

Any further comments, ideas or thoughts you want to leave for our readers or for anyone who might be interested in your lifestyle?

Stop thinking, live the life you dream about! And if you don’t understand what I’m talking about, read the article again.

Thank you, Hugo!

If you have missed out on the first part of this interview, make sure to check it out by clicking on the following link. Enjoy!

Interested in joining Hugo’s adventurous life? Then go follow him on Mapify and Instagram. We assure you, you will have inspiration for days!