Adventure Interview with Lukas Watzinger

REELOQ Gründer Lukas Watzinger - Höhenkrank in Peru

Julia: Hello Lukas! Nice that you are here today and telling us about your greatest adventure so far. At the beginning it would be great if you could briefly introduce yourself.

I'm Luki, I'm 25 years old and I'm originally from beautiful St. Pantaleon in Lower Austria. 4 years ago I moved to Graz and founded the startup REELOQ here last year.

Julia: How important is adventure in your life?

A very big one, because otherwise I quickly get bored and I generally see life as an adventure. It all started after graduating from HTL, when I went to America for a year after my community service. Away from the small village to the big city of Chicago. That's when I realized that adventures give me a lot of energy.

Julia: What role does adventure play in your everyday life?

I try to face new challenges every day, because for me these are nothing more than adventures. When everyday life gets too monotonous, I have to break out and look for new adventures.

Julia: What has been your greatest adventure so far?

I experienced my greatest adventure 3 years ago with my best friend Michi in Peru. Back then we flew from Lima to Cusco to climb Machu Picchu. What we didn't consider was the 3,000m difference in altitude between Lima and Cusco and that altitude sickness could occur as a result. For those who don't know how altitude sickness manifests itself: you get headaches, dizziness, vomiting and diarrhea - all at the same time. 😃

We were convinced that this wouldn't happen to us because we also went hiking a lot in Austria. That's why we booked a 4-day high-altitude hike to Machu Picchu right after our arrival. So we found ourselves just a few hours after our arrival at the starting point of the guided hike, which was only done with a tent and donkey. What we didn't know: the other participants had already spent 10 days at 3,000 m acclimatizing to prevent altitude sickness.

Shortly after the start of the tour, I noticed that something was wrong. As it happened, I got altitude sick. And very extreme. That's why our first sleeping place on this tour at 3,800 m was rather suboptimal for me. There I lay: at an unbelievable height. In Peru. At minus 20 degrees. In a sleeping bag that is far too small, as I am 1.97 meters tall. With 20 other (sometimes snoring) people in the tent. With chills. And altitude sickness. And I had a scary head cinema because we wanted to hike to 4,600 m the next day...

In retrospect, one of the worst, but also most adventurous nights. The next morning I was of course completely exhausted and still had to keep up with the group. At times I had to ride up on a donkey because I was too weak for hiking - certainly a funny sight for the rest of the tour group that the 1.97 guy occupied the donkey! 😂

When we finally got to the top, we enjoyed the breathtaking view and celebrated a gratitude ceremony together. But I didn't really get much of this because I kept throwing up. But I can reassure you: with every single step I took down the descent, I felt better. I was just very weak because I couldn't eat anything the day before and we had already been on the road for a week before this hike.

Julia: What is the most memorable moment of your adventure?

There is even a photo of this moment that I am still being blackmailed with today.(Luckily Lukas made the photo available to us anyway, so if you ever need something from him: you know what to do 😉) There I am lying on the floor, completely exhausted, with sunglasses and a centimeter thick layer of sunscreen because I didn’t even have any more strength, put some lotion on me

Julia: What key takeaways would you give other adventurers?

#1 don't think too much, just do it

Of course, something can always happen, which is why we did the tour with a tour guide. You should always make sure of that, but before that you shouldn't worry too much about "What if...?".

#2 bad decisions often lead to a great story in hindsight

During horrible experiences, everything seems very bad at the moment, but you should still imagine how this story will then be told with a large dose of humor. That doesn't make it half as bad.

Prepare #3 for altitude sickness

I don't think I need to say much more than that, we should have allowed more time to acclimate! 😃

Julia: Thank you very much for the interview and the insights dear Lukas. Until the next adventure interview with new exciting guests!

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