April 1954: born in the Styria in a small town called Knittelfeld. Sign of the zodiac: Taurus. This should secure strong will and success. The call of faraway was there from the very beginning: My parents loved Freddie Quinn: “Weit ist der Weg“, “ALO AHE“ and “Die Guitarre und das Meer“ were my lullabies.
1960: First time on the road: Moving to a slightly bigger town, Leoben.
April 1963: For my birthday I got the first two books of the series “Through the Desert“ by Karl May. They become the primer for my lifelong desire for foreign countries
1968: Opatija: So this is how the sea smells!
1972: Venice: First holiday without parents. With two friends instead. And per bike.
1973: Finally on the road on four wheels: a violent yellow VW Beagle takes my friend and me to Italy, France, Spain and Marokko.
1974: Good old quality: once more the violent yellow “Beagle“ shows its class: Three months across the Balkan into Turkey, through Iran and to Afghanistan – and all the way back. All in all 18.000 kilometers. And an intensive course: The world for 1 $ a day.
Oktober 1974: Eisenerz (another small town): A-levels! Finally!
1974 - 76: Studies at the College of Education in Graz (big town !). In between tours to Italy, France, Spain, Greece, Israel and the Turkey.
Winter 1975: Teacher training as a skiing instructor for children in Hohentauern (the Alps).
1976 - 81: being settled for a change: Director of the small primary school (only one classroom!) Gargellen in the Montafon (Alps again).
1981: From the mountains to the city: Moving to Vienna (the capital!).
1985: First big trip by plane: China. A Dutchman tells wonderful stories from Indonesia. The spark flashes over. Indonesia becomes passion.
1981-1986: Study, study, study: Indonesian, Social Anthropolgy, Ethnomusicology. In between trips to Greece and the Turkey.
1985 – 89: Foreign Countries in literature and in reality: working for the publications distribution SÜDWIND and undertaking first long trips to Indonesia.
1991: Travelling-passion becomes profession: First guided tours for an Austrian agency (RUEFA) to Indonesia, followed by journeys to almost all Asian countries, North and South America, Afrika, Australia and New Zealand.
1994: A new passion breaks through: Photographs. The animals on the Galapagos-Islands turn out to be irresistable motifs, and a first reflex camera becomes a MUST.
1995: A Japanese “Wedding Magazine“ prints some of MY very first photos of a traditional Japanese wedding. Shortly afterwards the Japanese travel magazine FOUR SEASONS buys a complete travel story. From now on I have a second profession: I am a photographer. My photos are printed in leading magazines and travel brochures, often even as cover stories.
1995-1998: Apart of Vienna Tokyo becomes my second geographical centre. I spend my spare time between my journeys in the country of the cherry blossom, study Japanese food and Sake for Gourmet-Magazines and get fascinated by the art of Sumo...
1999-2000: The travel agency OPTIMUNDUS uses my photos for its Asia-brochure. Then I take a 50-days-trip to Malaysia, Thailand and Bali to take pictures of 80 Hotels.
January 2000: For the first time in Europes Far North. I become acquainted with one of the waywardest hotels in the world, the Ice-Hotel in Jukkasjärvi in Sweden. A new experience: Not only the Tropics have their exotic charms, but obviously the country of the Samens as well.
Autumn 2001: I reach a new “peak“ as a tour guide during a special trip to Tibet by staying in a guesthouse, located at an altitude of 5000m above sealevel and near the Mount Everest Base-Camp. Not even there I was out of breath!
August 2004: One of my greatest dreams has come true. I led a small group through Uganda and Rwanda and showed them the mountain gorillas. Finally I have been seized by the Africa-virus, too!
November 2007: I went to the Easter Islands. This place has an aura of pure mysticism.
November 2007: This was one of the highlights of all my travels.
We spent 11 days on a Russian ship called “Aleksey Maryshev” and visited the islands of Antarctica. I felt uplifted when I set foot on the 6th continent and penguins have been my favourite animals ever since.
September 2008: After 10 years of forced absence I finally managed to get back to my “second home” Indonesia. I was delighted to find out that I hadn’t completely forgotten how to speak the language!
April 2010: We were captivated by the desert. We crossed the “Great Sand Sea” in the Egyptian part of the Sahara desert. I have been taking small groups to see the most beautiful deserts of the world for three years now. Sometimes we sleep in tents, sometimes out in the open, under the starry skies.
More about my activities you can find on the other pages of this website. Through them you can get to know me even better as a tour guide and photographer virtually, or join me – in real – at one of my journeys.
Have fun with
"Erwin on the road"
Erwin Friesenbichler, Vienna, August 19th, 2013