is a speaker, communicologist and martial arts master. He spent a large part of his life living in different cultures on different continents and was instructed in the Asian martial arts Karate, Taekwondo and Kung Fu by well-known grandmasters. He studied communication science, intercultural communication and Japanese studies in Munich and Tokyo. Regarded as a self-discipline expert, Marc Gassert’s lively talks give an undisguised view of Asian wisdom full of inspiration. Today, we talked to him about his travels and his experience living in different places across the globe.
Thank you so much for talking to us today! First of all we’re curious: How have you come to live on several different continents throughout your life?
My father was working with interpol. That is why we were moving so much. Whenever I felt like „home“ we had to leave again. We mostly did not just move to another city, but to another culture. So I always had to find different strategies and acquire different skill sets to „blend in“ and make new friends (depending on the culture)…
What are, in your opinion, the main benefits of living in various places on the globe?
The main benefit is the experience that we are all one human family – that is the most important insight. And the second most important thing is finding out how to adapt as a stranger to a new culture. Trouble yourself with the language. Try to be nice and polite. And be respectful. Learn the most important code of conduct – then you’ve already made it. People say: getting to know the world widens the horizon. I cannot say that – but it definitely extends your heart. I am beyond thrilled to live on this fantastic beautiful big and tiny blue planet!
You spent a lot of time in Asia, where you were trained in martial arts and also studied Japanology. What fascinates you the most about Asia?
Although you easily get lost in translation, although it may seem like a different world – you will find the nicest people with the biggest hearts, the richest food and a refreshingly positive mindset! It seems that the western world is wrestling with its problems so much that it freezes into motionlessness. Asia has no less serious problems – but WOW they are moving forward with breathtaking speed!
Now that you have lived in so many different places – which place in the world do you feel most at home in?
My home is Europe. What a charming continent – so many different languages, dining, art and culture in the smallest space. We have to keep Europe together at all costs or my heart will just break.
Which place would you like to travel to someday and why?
The adventurer in me wants a lonely summit in South America – or a place i’ve never been to – like surfing on Samoa Island… The family man wishes to show his loved ones some of the most beautiful places he already knows – to share the joy of life and of the world…. and the „keeper” tries to take care of his ecological footprint…
You are also frequently traveling to events as a speaker and coach. What’s most important to you when traveling?
I want to travel as light as possible. I really love to always be updated about the lightest ever travel equipment, the smartes way to „origami fold“ my clothing and suits. I want to pack as small as possible and save space – and, ideally, unpack wrinkle-free.
What are three things you can’t travel without?
Well that’s an easy question if book and pen to take notes counts as one item only. The second would be my noise cancellation headphones and the third item is a tiny skateboard that fits in my hand luggage – this board has saved my live more than once on transfer flights – but pssst it’s my secret.
What’s your craziest travel story?
This year I did not get my express visa for China in time. I have called the customer service and after countless attempts actually found out where my passport with visum was (by the way – I give keynotes on how to not give up hahaha). Unfortunately, this logistic center was closed on Sundays and I was supposed to fly in the evening. Should I give up and rebook? No way! I drove the car 100km to this logistics center and was lucky. There were actually managers in a meeting and I could even persuade them to help me to look for my passport. I got my passport and was able to fly in time. I have learned two lessons: 1. Germans are more helpful than I believed 2. If you have a problem – for heaven’s sake do not give up too quickly.
Thank you so much for sharing your insights and experience with us today! We wish you pleasant travels in the future!