World / 5 September 2018, 12:00pm / Clinton Moodley
Marcus Weiden was a successful banker for 22 years before he decided that he wanted to give up his profession to road-trip across the world with his dog.
The 41-year-old from Cologne, Germany and his 12-week-old rescue dog, Frieda started their journey in April.
The pair has since been to Belgium, Switzerland, the Netherlands and Finland.
“It was an impulse decision that turned out to be pretty cool. Everything was new. The truck, the dog, my life.
“As a banker, I got to live in many luxury hotels and eat at some of the world’s fanciest restaurants. But, I yearned to know more about the culture, spirit and food that locals enjoy. I knew there was a lot at stake for me, but I wanted to take each day at a time, even if it meant me making a few mistakes along the way,” he said.
Life on the road for Marcus and Frieda time was challenging at first, but the pair has since developed a nice routine.
The doggie dad has nothing but praise for his canine friend:
“Frieda and I have become inseparable. She is self-confident, and there is little that scares her. We love the water and watch the landscapes before us.
“Living out of a truck has allowed us to discover the world in all its glory,” he said, enthusiastically.
As Frieda is a hunting dog, Weiden tries his best to incorporate exercises into their daily routine. Other times, they listen to music or hike to a destination nearby.
While a trip of this magnitude requires lots of planning and itineraries,
Weiden strongly believes in the slow travel concept (a mindset that rejects traditional ideas of tourism and encourages freedom of travel).
“I try not to follow a detailed plan. I love to discovering the world as it presents itself to me. You will find a whole new world when you take a detour.
“I do make sure Frieda and I fulfil the legal requirements when it comes to crossing borders,” he said.
Weiden admitted there were challenges of travelling with a pet.
Since he started his journey, he soon realised that not everybody was happy to see a dog.
“Pet travel is not as glamorous as it sounds. There are many things that one needs to consider. Questions like: Can I take my dog into a restaurant or does she have to wait outside? Do I keep her on a leash or not? Frieda has to learn to be quite flexible in this situations.
“I try to be sensitive to the places we visit. If I am visiting a place where poverty is rife, I try to respect people so that I do not offend anyone,” he said.
As for Freida’s favourite place, she loved Jotunheimen in Norway for its landscape, mountain views and wildlife.
The duo will plan a big adventure in Africa later this year, with Morocco and South Africa top of their bucket list.
“South Africa seems to be the ideal doggie destination. I have heard about its wonderful hiking trails, beautiful landscapes and very diverse culture…”