Hey There! I’m Julien
I am the guy behind Exploration Junkie | Crazy about all things Nature Travel, Wildlife, Adventure and Exploration | Unlimited curiosity | Never feeling more alive than when in the wilderness | A secret dream? Exploring it all (that’s a heck of a challenge!).
A Few Words About Me – The Birth of a Passion
My passport is French but my mind has no border. As far as I can remember, I have always had a wandering mind. As a kid, I was fond of anything that would make me travel all around the planet and learn new things, such as the Adventures of Tintin cartoons, animal documentaries and so on.
I believe that what you read and watch when you are a kid conditions your adult dreams. So when you think about it, what other passions than travel and nature could have I developed?
However, this travel thing has just remained a vague thought in my mind for many years. But when I was 12 years old, an event that doesn’t sound like much would change my life. I stepped on a plane for the first time of my life.
The destination? Israel. The heat, the desert, the Dead Sea, the people who didn’t speak my language. It all hit me in the face. I was hooked. At 20 I eventually went for my first big trip alone, to South America. It was my first discovery of the tropical world. It was my first time seeing a jungle, a mangrove, wild exotic birds, snow-capped volcanoes… and I was blown away.
Flash forward more than 12 years and 45 countries later, I am still here, more addicted than ever! And as if my life wasn’t “international” enough, I found the way to fall in love 10,000 km away from home, with a lovely girl from Singapore. We have been in a long distance relationship for 6 years, and she followed me in a number of my adventures.
Travel and nature are now a significant part of my life. OK, rather an obsession. I go on several trips a year – sometimes alone, sometimes with my girlfriend, visiting new places or going back to places I loved to explore them more extensively – and always seizing all opportunities to immerse myself in the wilderness and observing new species.
But I must admit that the most obscure, remote, rarely visited a place is, the most attracted I am to it. Talk about an obsessional curiosity!
Where I Have Been
My Travel Mindset – The Importance of Curiosity
Curiosity is the base of everything. Without curiosity, humankind would not be where it is now. Without curiosity, travel wouldn’t be very meaningful. Curiosity is the reason why we travel.
Everybody is into different things but at the end of the day, we want to see how it is out there. We are curious to know how it’s like to experience a different culture, walk in different landscapes, and eat different food.
When I travel, I never expect anything. I don’t want to expect it “to be good”. The only reason why I am travelling to a place, is because I simply want to know how it’s like to be there. So many people expect so many things from their destination even before getting on the place, I think that’s too bad.
Take Qatar for example. So many people have a layover in Doha without ever taking the chance to go out and explore. It is not exactly an extremely rich destination in terms of things to see, if you compare with heavyweights like Europe, the US or others.
But I went out anyway, rented a car, and explored. With no expectation, no disappointment. With the only goal to see how it’s like. I have even been there twice. I saw Doha, and ventured into the desert.
Many people would say that there is nothing there, why should they bother going there? But the way I see it is, yes there is nothing. That’s amazing. Apart from the southern part of the country where you can find some nice sand dunes, most of Qatar is a very flat and very empty desert.
How often in your life did you find yourself lost in the middle of a vast emptiness? How many times in your life have you walked in the desert under an absolutely unbearable heat to the point of feeling vulnerable? As far as I am concerned, I find it amazing. It’s not something exactly pleasant, and definitely not comfortable, but it’s memorable. And it’s unusual. It is an experience worth living. That’s all that matters in the end, in my opinion.
When Nature Meets Travel – How Exploration Junkie Was Born
As I started to travel more and more, live incredible experiences and meet wonderful people around the world, I quickly realized that what truly brings me joy when I travel is exploring wilderness and encountering wildlife – be it animals or plants.
I didn’t want to keep these experiences for myself. I needed them to serve a purpose. I needed to share them with the world. On the day of my birthday, 19 Nov. 2013, I registered the explorationjunkie.com domain name, without really knowing what I was doing.
The first years, Exploration Junkie remained a hobby, a site where I would just write about the various trips I have been on without much of a second thought. But over time it became a place where my addiction to travel meets my passion for nature, wildlife and botany.
Naturally, I find myself blogging about trekking, kayaking or other kinds of outdoor activities, but my naturalist spirit likes to step back and observe, pay attention to this fragile and discreet wildlife that surrounds me and feature it on my articles so you can pay attention to it too on your next trip.
Except a few rare exceptions where I write about some cultural or historical aspects of a destination that I find interesting, I only write about nature/outdoors-related activities and guides.
In addition, I wanted to include a trip planning section. After all, I have been planning and going for independant travels for more than 12 years, I certainly developed some travel skills and I wanted to share them with you.
I am also very keen on photography. I feel it is a crucial element of any trip. And well, nature and landscapes are just SO photogenic. Over the years, my experience grew, my equipment improved and my techniques evolved.
Travel pics are great, but how to explore a place with a static, limited image? Panoramic photogaphy and virtual tours are the answer! Virtual tours are a cool feature of this site; and there is a whole virtual tour collection you can explore. If you want to try creating panoramic images, I help you get your feet wet with a long tutorial on how to create your own panoramas.
Thanks for making it to the end of this lengthy introduction – You can now browse the website via the main menu! 🙂