When Tobias Hopf and Angelika Fischer return to their lives in Frankfurt, Germany in September, they won’t have much money. Probably none.
They won’t have a home.
And their possessions are few, because they sold them all.
“We’ve got nothing. We’ve got a fridge and a bed,” Hopf said, laughing.
But what the 32-year-olds will have from their one year trek around the world in search of fitness trends are pictures, stories, memories — and the scars, scrapes and injuries to prove it.
“We won’t have anything when we get back,” Fischer said. “No money, no apartment, nothing. But we have so much more experiences. We will find something else.”
The couple left in October on a 12-month adventure to see what others do to exercise. Fischer took a year off from her job in human resources. Hopf quit his as a personal trainer. So far, they’ve visited South Africa, Namibia, Bali, Thailand, Vietnam, Australia, New Zealand, Fiji and Hawaii, including a week on Kauai.
Next up are stops in Mexico, Belize, Costa Rica, Columbia, Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia and Brazil.
The two are chronicling their adventures at fitness-around-the-world.com (in German). They want to live like the locals, so you won’t find them at the obvious tourist attractions.
They tried sandboarding in Namibia, which is when Fischer suffered a serious shoulder injury.
Hopf tried thai boxing in Thailand. He last 30 minutes and took a beating.
“You don’t know how he looked like,” Fischer said, laughing.
He tried inline skating for the first time, too, when he played inline hockey.
There was an obstacle course set up in a yard in Australia.
They’ve cycled, they’ve surfed and they’ve sailed.
There was a bout with jiu-jitsu, too, on Oahu. Hopf hurt his neck in that one.
“He went down on the mat,” Fischer said.
On Kauai, they’ve played golf, volleyball, ran the Kalalau Trail, tried standup paddleboarding and worked out at gyms. Fischer played the ukulele, too.
“We had a wonderful time here,” she said.
They’ve loved learning what’s big in other countries and plan to write a book about their discoveries.
“Every country you find out about those things, and that’s what we write about,” she said.
Both are fit, strong and physically active. They cherish the days and know they might not get a chance to do this again. They love the freedom they’ve found and the people they’ve met.
“That’s what makes our trips special,” she said.
No pressures of work appointments, bills, rushing about, has been a godsend.
“It’s a German-thing,” Fischer said of the hurried pace they sometimes live.
“We are aware we don’t have a year like this again,” she said.
They could have waited until they were older and had more money. But they said now was their time.
When they considered not going, they thought of a saying, “you won’t regret the things you’ve done. You will regret the things you haven’t done.”
They don’t want regrets.
“The best thing is to have no appointment, to be free to decide what you want to do, what you don’t want to do,” she added.
They vow to return home different people, filled with traditions and cultures of worlds they didn’t know until now.
“Life is about only working in life,” Fischer said.