My name is Valentin Nerding and I am the brother of Benjamin Nerding. I was born in 1990 in a little town in the German wine region called Rhineland Palatinate. Growing up surrounded by grapes had a certain impact on my life. Up to this day, I enjoy thinking about the walks and runs I took in the vineyards near Landau in der Pfalz. The ideal place to grow up, as within a 5min walk you were completely were encircled by the small sweet growing fruit that is enjoyed by big and small.
In school, I was never the exact genius per se. In 11th grade, I flunked English fully. I had 1 point out of 15, and I ended up being dismissed by the teacher. How ironic to write this now, isn’t it? I barely passed my high school finish (German Abitur). I am not particularly proud of it but I managed to get 101 points out of 220 (the minimum to pass was 100). But what would I do next?
I had already decided years before graduating that I would like to travel to Canada after graduation. With my parent’s support, I packed my backpack. On one warm day in June 2010, I arrived in Toronto. Little did I know that the next 16 months would shape my life forever. I was immensely unorganized, I did not even book the first night in the hostel in Toronto. Luckily, I found space directly, even ended up working for this hostel for a few months before continuing my travels.
Valentin Nerding’s First Big Adventure
A few months later, I met the love of my life in Montreal. I continued living in Montreal for another 7 months with her, before starting my trip across Canada. By then I had managed, 6000 km of hitchhiking to meet up again with her at her parent’s place. I just had too much fun there. Yet, I wasn’t mentally ready to go back to Europe and do the ‘normal life stuff’. That’s why I missed the enrolment for university that year.
By now, I knew French and English fluently and I wanted to use it more. So I sent out the first applications for jobs to do in Europe. Disney Land Paris was the way to go. Luckily, Karin, my American lady, was working in Normandy as an English teacher so it was all doable we saw each other almost every weekend and later living together for one summer in Paris. We would refer to this summer as the ‘most romantic months of our lives’. There is something special about walking up to the Sacre Coeur after work and have wine while looking over the city.
Finally, I was ready to start something ‘serious’ in my life. I applied and was accepted to Fontys University of Applied Sciences in Eindhoven (Netherlands) to study physical therapy. It was perfect for me, a fully English taught program with a great amount of flexibility during the course work. We were able to do all our internships internationally.
I worked in Innsbruck (Austria), Marseille (France), Varna (Bulgaria), Newcastle Upon Tyne (United Kingdom), and Madrid (Spain) during my University years. Though I never really felt at home in the Netherlands, partly due to the circumstances of being torn between different countries. I continued seeing Karin. Meanwhile, she was living for one year with me in Eindhoven, then moved back to Normandy and afterward to Bordeaux and Madrid.
Always on the move
Interestingly, I did really well at university. I was one of the best in class, president of the student board for 1 year, and a member of the student board for the 2 years. Ironically, my grades in high school were too bad to even grand permission in the German university I had applied to. I am glad I was rejected as the educational system for physical therapists suited me more. I graduated in 2016, and I had already gotten a job before finishing my degree. It drew me into the mountains after all these years in the Netherlands, and where it would be better than Switzerland. Salaries are incredibly high and the standard of living is most likely one of the best in the world.
After one year of working in this paradise, I was fed up with the perfect lifestyle. Or was I just bored? Karin and I had already thought about moving to Asia for a few years. Now it was time, she had a job offer in South Korea. So I quit a job where I could save up to 2000€ a month and moved to South Korea to start something on my own. But first I had to get there, read more about my journey here. Once there, I started teaching Yoga/Pilates classes and gave PT-treatment to other internationals.
After some crazy life changes, I now finally settled in San Diego, California. But the process to immigrate in the US is lengthy and pricey. I hope to soon get my licensure to practice in the US as a physical therapist within the next year. After 9 years of chaos and changing places, I am finally looking forward to moving to a place, have a (somewhat stable) job, and have a dog. I even started gardening and it’s one of the most mind soothing activities I found for myself. During the waiting time, I decided to join Ben on the Tandem Ramble and discover Ecuador by bike.
Here is everything about Valentin Nerding’s exciting hitchhiking journey from Germany to South Korea.