Empowering Strory. Denis Zykov
the author of the interview: Olesia Zhelezniak
In this interview you will learn about a guy who is actively hitchhiking. How he decided to do it, what difficulties he encountered and where he gets his strength and inspiration from. Denis will talk about his travel experience and one unique place that you can visit in Indonesia.

-Hello, tell me about yourself. What do you do now?

-Hi, my name is Denis and I'm 21 years old. I work in sales and have a small business. Part of the time I travel and part of the time I work, earning money for traveling.

-How did you decide to start traveling and what country did it all start with?

- I started traveling as a tourist with my parents. My first trip was to the Czech Republic when I was 11 years old. However, I can't say that I immediately fell in love with traveling at that time. When I was 16, I realized that I probably will not go to university. Since then I started planning my first trip. I went on my first trip after I graduated from school when I was 19 years old. It was a trip to Asia: Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore.

-You hitchhike. How did you decide to do that? Why did you choose this particular format of travel?

- Once, when I was planning my first trips, I saw that some other travelers do that. I can say that they inspired me a lot. My first hitchhike destination was Lithuania, Vilnius. I just wanted to try and it appeared to be easy and fun. Then I decided to go a little farther. The next trip was along the route Lithuania-Poland-Germany-Denmark. I can't say that I adore hitchhiking, because it takes a lot of responsibility. It's worth remembering that hitchhiking, as a philosophy, is not a free service. You need to communicate with a person, to be a good companion. It can be hard, especially, when you're tired and have been traveling for a long time non-stop.

-In what country did you encounter the most difficulties? If you've had that experience.

-To be honest, I haven't had that experience. The most difficult thing you encounter on the first day is during the adaptation. You have to deal with money, with the connection. I remember I was shocked when I arrived in Indonesia. After I sailed from Malaysia, which is a country with perfect roads and a high quality of life, I was very surprised when I saw slums, people in mud and wooden carts in the streets. It's kind of hard until you get used to it, but then it gets easier right away.

-What's the longest time you've been away from home?

- Almost 5 months in Asia. It was my first trip. Recently I went away for exactly 4 months. I went to the Caucasus, Turkey, and visited Ukraine.

- Is it usually planned, or do you decide where you want to go next as you travel?

- Both. Sometimes I make a little draft of the places I want to visit. I can tell you an example of a recent trip. I wanted to go around the Black Sea from the Ukraine side to Turkey through the west side. However, the fact is that often you find out the most interesting things while you are already on the way. That's why I don't plan everything in detail. You get to know the locals, they recommend places to visit. It's always a win-win places. If you're preparing on your own, you're more likely to go to some tourist places. On this issue, I always trust the locals and plan a further itinerary based on the situation. But still I know the general route from the beginning.

- Is there any place you've wanted to go back to again?

- I was very lucky to be in Indonesia during my first lockdown. During that time, I managed to find just a paradise place. It's called Lake Toba. It is the caldera of a huge volcano with a comfortable climate, air and everything you need to be happy.

-Where do the most benevolent people live?

- In the Caucasus and Georgia. Partly, perhaps, because we speak the same language. I think that is why it was easier for me to feel their kindness and hospitality. Turkey also turned out to be a very hospitable country. Every time I've mentioned that I need to go somewhere, they were ready to take me there. While traveling, in general, you understand the idea that all people, regardless of the country, are good. If you behave yourself, people will treat you well. When you travel, they often offer food, money, and try to help in any way they can. This is partly because you realize that this is probably the last time you'll see each other in your life.

-Where do you plan to go next?

- I have two plans that I will definitely do in the near future. I want to visit Central Asia, and in winter I want to go to places in Southeast Asia that I haven't been to yet.

-What advice do you have for people who always put off traveling?

- Travelling doesn't always mean that you have to go away for a long time. It is better to go away 4 times in a year for a week than once for a month. Travel, first of all, is a great source of energy. They help against burnout and very often the impressions you get during a trip fuel you long after it's over. You get more energy and inspiration for your routine life. If the problem is financial, then, from my experience, I can say that you can travel on a very budget. Even more profitable if there are two of you. I can advise a tip: rent a room in a hostel for two, instead of a hotel room. In this case you get the same conditions for less money.
The author of the interview: Olesia Zhelezniak