What prompted you to decide to travel for an entire year?
This is actually my third big backpacking trip! I started with a few months in Western Europe, then saved up another 9months and went off to Southeast Asia for a few months. After my trip to Asia, I was absolutely hooked on travel and I started saving for “the big one” the day I got home! Once you start traveling seriously, it just becomes addictive, and you want to see EVERYTHING! I feed off the travel tales of others and get inspired when I talk to other backpackers about new countries, cultures, and adventures. I also strive to challenge myself: testing my independence, courage, integrity, and patience on a daily basis.
For this trip, I wanted to travel 6 continents in a year, ending in Australia (Where I am currently). I was finished with College, I just got out of an apartment lease, I was single, I had the money saved, I was inspired, and I hadn’t yet started working in a career field…so for me it was the opportune time for me to go see the world, something I may never get to do again.
“Refuse to Live Your Life Vicariously.”
What music genres do you DJ/enjoy listening to?
My favorite genres to listen to are Indie-Electronics, funky/groovy house, and melodic progressive techno. At the moment, I love listening to old Thievery Corporation & Massive Attack, as well as everything Defected, Large, Madtech, Viva & Toolroom Records. When I play live, my favorite stuff to play is hard-hitting tech house and disco/funk. Anything with a groovy bassline and some soul.
My favorite DJ’s at the moment are: Marco Carola, Luciano, Ben Grunnell, Chus & Ceballos, Outway, Nick Fanciulli, Chris Stussy, Alex Metric, Russ Chimes, Butch, D-Nox & Beckers, Neverdogs, Dubfire, Sabb, Sante, Serge Devant, Full Intention, Hector Couto, Lee Burridge, Mr. G, & Nick Curly.
My favorite bands at the moment are: Tom Misch, Alpine, Sidewalk Chalk, Boombox, STS9, Papadosio, Thievery Corporation, Massive Attack, Tea Leaf Green, Lettuce, Monarchy, Tycho, Zhu, Big Gigantic, Cut Copy, Future Rock, Zero 7, Groove Armada, Kendrick Lamar, Griz, & Bonobo.
How did you get started DJing?
I first started playing music with my friend Alex Dunsker back in 2011, back then I loved to play a variety of sounds, ranging from Electro House to Liquid Drum&Bass! I scored some really great gigs with Liqueified and the Iris Entertainment crews, who now run Imagine Festival. Soon enough my style started changing, so did my social circles, and I grew into the underground house & techno scene. Soon enough it was all my friends and I listened to and played, and still is. Merrick was born.
Have you attended any fun music events while abroad?
Loads! A big part of this trip was centered around techno music in general. The very first start of the trip was Playa Del Carmen/Cancun/Tulum in Mexico attending The BPM Festival. A 2-week extravaganza of beach, pool, club and jungle parties with 300+ world class DJ’s from around the world, along with massive events in Tulum before and after the festival in everything from the forest to cenotes. All underground House and techno music.
– Picnic Electronic, a techno event that is brunch inspired in a park in Lisbon, Portugal
– Into the Valley Festival in Stockholm, Sweden which took place in an old rock quarry in the forest, strictly techno with a very educated mature crowd
– Freedom Festival in Medellin Colombia, which was absolutely massive, packed out with Colombians who love their techno hard, fast and dark. Similar to Drumcode parties.
– Sonus Festival in Zrce Beach, Croatia – which spans over 5 days in 3 different outdoor clubs with sunrise sets and sunset boat parties every day. World class talent with an “Ibiza” vibe
– Rainbow Serpent in Melbourne, Australia, which is basically like Burning Man for Australians.
– A long hectic week in Berlin visiting all of the best clubs in the world with some of the most unique styles of DJ’ing you will ever hear.
– A Day in The Park Festival, Amsterdam
– Timewarp Festival, Buenos Aires, Argentina
– Global Gathering Festival, UK, and Love In the Park Festival in London, UK
– 5 days in Ibiza party hopping through the most premier clubs with the world class DJ’s
– Multiple techno/house events or concerts in Copenhagen, Buenos Aires, Sao Paulo, Rio De Janeiro, Cape Town, Porto, Istanbul, Athens, Prague, Budapest, Amsterdam, Vienna, Melbourne and Sydney
Have you DJ’d any gigs while abroad?
I have DJ’d a few times abroad! I’ve played at a couple hostels in Italy back in 2013. I also played a couple gigs at a cool bar on the beach in El Tunco, El Salvador; at a really cool underground club in Santiago, Chile. As well as Coco Maya Beach club, during The BPM Festival in Mexico.
What has been your favorite country so far and why?
I’ve now traveled to 65 country’s and it’s almost impossible for me to narrow it down to just one. I like a lot of countries for many different reasons, so I’ll list some out for you:
India, Morocco, Colombia, Turkey, Italy, Brazil, South Africa, Spain, Vietnam, Malaysia, Myanmar (Burma)
Vietnam, Japan, Taiwan, China, Thailand, India, Argentina, Mexico, Brazil, Morocco, Turkey, Greece, Myanmar
Thailand, Vietnam, Mexico, Colombia, Nicaragua, Spain, Portugal, Cambodia, Indonesia, Guatemala
Germany (Berlin), Spain (Ibiza/Barcelona), Denmark, Sweden, UK, Australia, Argentina, Chile, Brazil
For Nature (Mountains, Forest):
Norway, Peru, Bolivia, South Africa, Chile, Myanmar, Tanzania, Guatemala, Colombia, Iceland
Indonesia, Philippines, Thailand, Panama, Nicaragua, El Salvador, South Africa, Mexico, Portugal, Croatia, Greece
South Africa, Morocco, Turkey, Tanzania, Kenya, Ghana, India, Chile, Norway, Denmark, Sweden, Netherlands, Myanmar
Morocco, Turkey, India, Guatemala, Laos, Thailand, Vietnam
Have you noticed any interesting/surprising trends in other countries related to music/workout music or fitness?
Certain countries stay closer to their routes than others. Rarely will you find South Americans listening to pop, but you always see them listening to their cultural music they can salsa, mambo, or tango to. They also love techno and house music. Europeans like a variety, but especially love House, techno, and Indie Alternative/Electronic. Africans love to listen to American hip hop and also gospel music. While most of the Asian cultures listen to 100% top 40’s pop from the US. One thing you see in almost every country though is a strong love towards their own country’s music. Especially in places like Myanmar, where they have everything from Burmese hip hop to country music stars!
What advice do you give to anyone wanting to travel abroad?
1) The world is not as scary as the media says it is, don’t let it scare you. Do your own research, talk to the people that have already been there. Read through Lonely Planet guides, get inspired, and make traveling a priority.
2) Go Slow, Less is More – You will be tempted to travel to as many countries and see as many things as you can during your backpacking trip or 2-week vacation. My advice is to pick one country or one region and really see it. Try a Workaway program, do some Couchsurfing, take a cooking class, learn a little bit of the language, go off exploring on your own or off the tourist trail. Talk to Locals. This is the correct recipe for a great experience.
3) Be Flexible – let the deal drive the destination when it comes to flights and budgets. Every single little country has something great and different to offer. Also be spontaneous and say yes to random situations, the more flexible you are, the higher the chance are for you to have a surprisingly unforgettable day of travel.