interview with MATZE WIELAND
TRAVELLER | SURFER | ON THE SEARCH
27 years old, traveled almost 3 and half times around the world, 137.700 km in 2 and a half years, surfed in Peru, New Zealand and Hawaii and more to come
I met Matze in one of these amazingly beautiful places in New Zealand where people just hang out for one reason more or less. The retreat with the fitting name Solscape is built on a lush hill overseeing the most famous surf spots in New Zealand close to the town Raglan, the surf mecca of New Zealand. After a couple of days surfing at Manu Bay and Whale Bay, when I stumbled out of my beloved van after a quite night, he crossed my wa . Just like me, he was desperate for a cup of coffee (As I found out later, he is simply a coffee addict). I saw him several times before, but we never talked, guess we were both still in too-tired-to-talk-due-to-constant-travel mode. So the kitchen (as always in life) was the place we started to chat. Guess that is how I heard first about the famous Raglan Roast coffee.
At this time he was already living in a tent for a few days, without a car but with a surfboard and already 2 years into his trip around the world. In the short time we could spent together, he just gave me a glimpse off his epic trip. Now half a year later, he went back to Germany after two and a half years and 137. 700 km and I was curious to hear more about his experiences.
Reinhard : The last time I remember seeing you going to surf, you were running down the dunes with your surfboard as you would have been on drugs. I don’t know, maybe it was just your daily overdose of caffeine but I was impressed by your good mode and vibes. I think it wasn’t any good waves or super sunny that day….it seemed it didn’t matter to you. Is surfing another drug for you?
Matze: Actually, I believe that day the sand was super hot and I was running because my feet were burning. But surfing makes me happy. It kind of became a drug. Not at the beginning of my trip. I started surfing on a shortboard and excessively in NZ, after a couple of attempts in Peru a few month ago and finally fell in love with surfing in Hawaii, where I went before NZ and afterwards again. I tried to surf as much as possible in the end. The last week on Hawaii I was in the water before sunrise everyday and usually got out after dark. I even got myself a new board from a local Hawaiian shaper, that’s perfect for me.
Reinhard: I remember one night in Raglan, we had crazy full moon where the moon seemed to be closer then ever, while I was surfing an epic night session with a friend in Man u Bay, you have been with a different crowd in a break close by. That night it made c lick in my h e ad and I entered a different attitude of surfing I’m so thankful for. How do you remember that night?
Matze: It ‘s crazy you remember that, too. It was one of my best surf sessions ever. My friends and I went out at midnight. There were no clouds in the sky and the moon stood high and was so bright, you could see almost the colors of the bushes. It was wind still, glassy waves in a solid 3-4 feet range – everything was perfect. So many things played together so well – even the moon was in the right position. The moonlight was shimmering in the curl of the wave That was a night I won’t forget for sure.
Reinhard: What became surfing for you?
Matze: It’s really hard to describe, it’s more or less a metaphor for life. You work hard to paddle out, you try for a wave and miss it. You try again, wipe out and get pounded. You get back up, try again and finally you get a thrilling 15 second ride and it’s totally worth it. When I go out I leave my worries on the land. You can just life in the moment without thinking about anything else, it’s somewhere between meditation and adrenalin overflow. By now, I don’t even get why people go to the beach without a board.
Reinhard: You lived the last year more or less always in running distance to an ocean? That sounds like a really hard life?
Matze: Hard life indeed, no regrets about that. It’s hard to imagine living somewhere away from the ocean by now. I have grown so used to the fresh air, the seabreeze, the sound of the waves and the calming view of the horizon. I draw so much energy from that.
Reinhard: When I left NZ you were still there and had no plan so far, what happened next?
Matze: I was kind of sick of traveling at that time, I was already travelling for two years with some visits to Germany, so I needed to stay longer somewhere for some time to recover from my trip, so I stayed in Raglan for seven months in total. I worked in a hostel, slept in a tent for 3 months and than another 3 months in a shared flat . But it got too cold in the end. I loved the small community of surfers, travelers, open-minded and creative people and that special vibes there, I could surf almost every day and a good cup of coffee was always close…just the perfect simple life. After NZ I went back to Maui in Hawaii , which I really love. The climate, the people, the landscape is just so amazing.
Reinhard: If I followed your trip right, you stayed there in Hana for a while, a small local village on Maui with a high population of native Hawaiians. How was it to live in such a remote place that even the rest of the islanders consider as a really remote place?
Matze: I loved it! Hana is a small village, 2 and a half hours from the next supermarket. It is considered the last real Hawaiian place. The community is still strong and you can feel the aloha spirit everywhere. People all greet and know each other and I met some of the most inspiring an amazing people on Maui. Although I am not one to say things like that usually: That place some special power or energy to it. Plus, the waves are incredible and not too crowded. And have produced quite a bunch of pro-surfes.
Reinhard: Did you know at the beginning of your trip that you would travel for 2 and a half years? What kept you traveling for such a long time?
Matze: I didn’t really plan an end. I thought it would at least be somewhere around 1,5 years, but there was never really a plan about my return. It was just unbelievable to have so many experiences. You meet so many interesting people and you can learn so much from them. While traveling, you get life in such a concentrated form . Your whole life is speeding up, so many things changed in my head. The first time I realised this, was when I came back to Germany after my 2,5 months in Peru. Everything felt like slow-motion at home. I just had to leave again. Once you’ve seen what’s out there, you can’t just miss it. On that first trip I ate something I had never eaten before everyday, like guinea pig and crocodile and countless fruit, I had never heard of. I met people I would have never met in my daily life back home, I just wanted more of it.
Originally my trip was inspired by the idea of going on the “Walz”, where craftsmen from Germany go traveling for some years after there apprenticeship and work for a while in one place , then leave to work in another. My trip was always about learning and experience as much as I can. But it wasn’t as easy to realize it in my field. So, I was more or less looking for a place where I wanted to live. I think I found it, but I am not allowed to stay. Damn visa regulations! ( laughs ) So I guess ,I have to search again.
Reinhard: Let’s talk about your severe coffee addiction. Did you develop it during your travels?
Matze: Actually I did. I think, drinking coffee is kind of like a ritual, it gives me a routine. It feels like the only constant thing when I travel and everything around me changes almost daily. The people, the place, the bed I sleep in. It almost feels like meditation. But I’m not really addicted, it’s not more than two cups a day. I just love to try the different taste around the world. Travelling for me is seeing, feeling and tasting places.
Reinhard: All the people always asked me what my favorite place on your trip was, so now I have the chance to ask you the same.
Matze: Before Hawaii, I always said you can’t compare places . But after going to Hawaii, it clearly is my favorite. The climate is perfect, the water is warm, the people are amazing, the only problem is you are not allowed to stay …laughing. Raglan in NZ was one off my favorites places, as well . The atmosphere of that town was just amazing and actually felt somewhat like a ” Hawaii lite” .
Reinhard: What would you recommend to someone who wants to travel the world now?
Matze: Do it! There will never be a perfect time. And if you are from Germany, don’t plan to much, it will come differently anyway. Don’t stress yourself out, everything will work out in the end. Talk to the people, the locals know everything! Just ask them. Believe me, that ‘s most fun and you can connect to people. Sometimes I even ask stuff I already know just to \get a conversation going. You would be surprised of how many interesting conversations you will have and learn so much more about people and places. Every now and then a person you are just asking a small question might be your new friend or travel mate, who knows….(laughing) maybe you’ll even end up in a Michael Jackson music video, like me.
Reinhard: Ha! So the way you talk, it doesn’t sound like you finished your travels yet?
Matze: I don’t think so, once you start it it won’t let you go. But I will definitely slow down a lot.
Reinhard: Thank you Matze, and hopefully see you somewhere in the water soon!
two and a half years on the road
originally from Weissach im Tal | Germany
He has traveled 137.700 kilometers ( 85.600 miles). That’s almost three and a half times around the globe. That’s 110.000 kilometers ( 63.000 miles) on the 41 flights he took. The rest was overland on local buses, in cars, on boats, ferries and rafts, on the back-o’-da-truck, on rickshaws, bicycles, ATVs, a kayak and a punt. And I don’t even want to know how many kilometers he paddled on his surfboard. Find more of his amazing trip on his website http://fernweh.mwieland.com