At age 36 I got fired - and although I didn't see it like that back then, this was the best thing that could have possibly happened to me. It gave me the chance to go on my first long-distance hike, the Pacific Crest Trail in the US. After 2 weeks on the trail I knew that this was what I had been looking for. I knew that I would eventually hike all three long-distance trail in the US and get the Triple Crown. Although I went back to work, the Triple Crown was not a question of "if" anymore, but only a question of "when". On the trail I got my trail name "German Tourist" and from then on my hiking friends called me "GT"
At age 40 I stopped working. I had always liked my job and had been very successful in it, but I also liked hiking. I had worked like crazy for many years dedicating almost all my life to my business career - and now it was time for change. From now on I would focus all my energy on living an outdoor life. I gave up my apartment, put all my wordly belongings into a storage unit and set off on my first round the world trip.
At age 41 I had completed the Triple Crown: I had hiked the three long-distance trails in the US, the Pacific Crest Trail, the Continental Divide Trail and the Appalachian Trail. I had hiked 13.000 km and spent 15 months on the trail, but I still was not tired of hiking. I wanted more!
I started to diversify my outdoor life: I bought a great touring bike and started cyling. First I cycled across Europe committing all sorts of rookie mistakes. In Australia I met a British round-the-world cyclist and we ended up cycling together for 7 months and 13.000 km - after that and some shorter bike trips on my own I don't think I am cycling rookie any more now. After a couple of short paddling trips I also decided to start paddling in all seriousness on a thrupaddle of the Yukon. Although the Yukon trip went awfully wrong I got hooked on long-distance paddling immediately.