I met Felix Sender del Castillo in the Victoria Hotel, where I lived during the first few months of my stay in Australia. I didn’t get to know him right away, because he was often gone to work around Melbourne during the week and only really stayed in the hostel during the weekends. But over time, and after he moved in to the hostel on a more permanent basis, we had the opportunity to develop a friendship.
Felix is an emotionally dynamic guy with a big heart and a love for life. He wants to see it all and do it all. And he recognizes that working in another country to save up for traveling is an adventure in its own right. Because he could just be working at home, but he might as well be abroad and have somewhere new to explore and people of a different culture to meet.
He was bitten by the travel bug early and doesn’t plan to stop exploring any time soon.
Felix is: adventurous, affable, curious
Felix, 23, was born in Lörrach, Germany but grew up in nearby Steinen, Germany. He was born to a German mother and Peruvian father. He has an older brother and sister.
He described himself as the class clown and said he was always pushing the limits and testing his boundaries. “I was not an easy child,” he said.
Felix said he is close with his family, but he is comfortable living abroad and content with visiting them once a year or so. “But of course I love my parents and they support me in everything,” he said.
His mixed heritage has had a significant impact on his identity and spurring a lifestyle of travel. “I’m not German, and I’m not Peruvian,” he said. “I’m both. Those are both my countries.”
Felix said he is happy to have grown up in Germany and recognizes it is a great place, but he is curious to explore the world and see how other people live. “I like cultures and other lifestyles,” he said. “I like to meet people from all over the world.”
He started traveling when he was a child and has continued that trend. “I’ve traveled all my life,” he said. Switzerland was the first country he visited. He grew up in the southwest of Germany near the borders of France and Switzerland, so he often traveled between the countries. “It’s kind of normal,” he said. “I’m driving every day in another country.”
Felix traveled most of Europe with his parents, including Portugal, Spain, Italy and Turkey. And he has been to Peru to visit his father’s side of the family.
But now he is on his own and experiencing his own way across the world. He started his solo journey in Hong Kong nearly 2 years ago and then ventured to Australia for the Working Holiday visa. He stayed in Australia for a little over a year, traveling all over the country. Since then he has been backpacking across Southeast Asia, visiting Thailand, Indonesia, Singapore, Myanmar, Malaysia and the Philippines.
“I’ve traveled a lot,” he said. “I’ve seen a lot.
His favorite part of traveling is meeting new people. He enjoys discovering similar interests and connecting with other travelers. But eventually that leads to the hardest thing about traveling. “Saying goodbye,” Felix said. “That’s the worst part, because you meet so many fantastic people.”
He said traveling has put things into perspective and helped him learn to live in the moment. He feels stronger for having traveled and is more confident in his ability to solve problems and overcome setbacks. “I’m so strong now,” he said. “I think I can do everything that I want to do in my life.”
Felix wasn’t always so confident and comfortable with traveling. He cried on the way to the airport for his flight to begin his solo journey. And checking in and waiting alone at the airport was a surreal moment; it was difficult to comprehend that he would be on his own, he said.
But now his fears have shifted. He is worried about returning home and falling into the familiar routine of his old life. He doesn’t want to get caught up in regressing to his life before traveling, because he is a different person. “I’m more scared about that moment when I come back home than I was to go traveling,” he said.
“You change so much,” he said. “I definitely have a different view about life.”
Felix said he doesn’t imagine himself settling anywhere permanently any time soon. He wants to continue to explore the world and try living in a few different countries. He said his is open to any opportunities that present themselves and willing to pursue them as long as he is happy wherever he happens to be. “Traveling gives me so much more than a good job or a good career or anything else in the world could give me,” he said.
His advice to other people: “Pack your backpack, buy a ticket and travel.”
Finally, Felix describes himself in three words: funny, unique, lovely.