Today it is my great pleasure to interview Melvin Boecher, the founder and CEO of TravelDudes, an award-winning travel site inspired by travel tips from locals and other travelers, based off their first-hand experiences. Written “By Travelers, For Travelers,” TravelDudes.org operates much like Wikipedia in the sense that it shares valuable knowledge, completely free of charge. Melvin has over 136,000 active Twitter followers and he has created the Travel Talk on Twitter, where the #TTOT hashtag reaches over 2 million users and creates around 25 million impressions every Tuesday.
A few years ago I traveled with a friend through Indochina for 3 months and we wanted to share our experiences with our family and friends. So we’ve started Traveldudes.org. At the beginning it was more a blog with diary entries and we soon added our own travel tips. But we realized that there were so many more experienced travelers and opened the site for them as well. A paper guidebook is very limited with space and the “insider tips” are no real tips as so many travelers use these guidebooks. The internet give us the chance to include many more tips and still in a structure that travelers find what they are looking for and tips not just by one author, but from many experienced travelers.
I’m from Köln (Cologne) in Germany and still live here. That city is a big part of me. Köln is a very open minded city and it’s easy to socialize with other people. There is no problem to go out alone and already after minutes you’ll get in contact with other others.
Pictured above is Melvin riding a helicopter in New Zealand.
What’s the most memorable event you have experienced while traveling?
There are so many things, that I couldn’t point out a single one. A lot of times it’s also the stories you hear from other travelers. Once I’ve met an ex Israeli Army Officer, who told me how his photo was in the media worldwide. They were searching for someone on the Palestinian grounds and an older woman wanted to know what was going on. He told her that he is not allowed to tell her and that she should get back in her house. She didn’t listen and he told her the same again and waved his arm to lead her in another direction. That was the whole situation, but exactly that moment he was photographed by a Reuters journalist. The next days worldwide headlines said: “Israeli soldier with Hitler salute to Palestinian woman.”
What travel authors or books might you recommend and/or have influenced you?
None! That might sound strange, but I find the travel books I read so far quite boring. I guess going out and experiencing it yourself makes more sense than reading about it? 😉 That’s at least why I’ve created Traveldudes the way it is now, to encourage people to experience it themselves.
Pictured above is an image of Melvin on a Cambodian Beach.
What is your favorite USA vacation destination and/or attraction?
I haven’t been to the USA the last 15 years. It’s for sure a place to explore, but there is so much more to see in the world, that I usually don’t travel to the same destination twice, unless they are really close by and I get very good flight deals. But I know that sooner or later I will see more of the USA. I like adventurous stuff and I guess there is lots to find of it in the USA. 🙂
Do you have any tips or recommendations for Americans planning their first trip overseas?
Go for it! Think positive and stay spontaneous!
That’s when you have the most fun and very special travel moments you will never forget again!
Thanks again, Melvin!
Pictured above is an image of Melvin in Western Australia.
Other Great Interviews
I have also done interviews with Chris Christensen from Amateur Traveler, Ricky Brigante from InsideTheMagic.net and Robert Niles from ThemeParkInsider.com, author of Stories From A Theme Park Insider, if you would like to check those out as well. Those interested in entrepreneurship may want to check out my interview with Cameron Johnson, author of You Call The Shots.