Don’t you just love hearing about a crazy challenge seeker seeking unexpected adventures throughout their travels? Meet Michael Wigge, German native based in Denver Colorado and an award-winning motivational speaker who specialises in documenting incredible stories about achieving victory over challenges across the world.

You can read more in detail about his challenges: How to Travel the World for Free, How to Barter for Paradise (where he turned an apple into a Hawaiian dream home through his skills in bartering for bigger, better things), and How to Travel Europe Blindfolded are just three of his seven travel shows.

Michael Wigge recently shared his amazing success stories on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno (alongside co-guest Katy Perry) and also on the Today show. His TV programs and books have been broadcast and published internationally.

Sounds, like a guy to hear about, yeah?

Based on his incredible experiences overcoming challenges, Wigge began performing motivational speaking engagements and started CMW Coaching & Speaking. His most successful corporate keynotes are Challenge-4-Change Leadership Success and Challenge-4-Change Sales Success. He currently delivers presentations in the corporate arena, on college campuses, and as motivational speaker in Germany. Wigge’s corporate seminars support employees and leadership toward improving their motivation, stress management, time management, change management and resilience.

So, I managed to tie him down for a tete a tete with me and find out more about his unexpected adventures across the world.


So, I managed to tie him down for a tete a tete with me and find out more about his unexpected adventures across the world. 


Tell us about your travels. What makes your travel experience unique from all the other travellers out there?

I’ve traveled to almost 100 countries and turned my travels into challenges for more over a decade. ‘How to Travel the World for Free’ and ‘How to Barter for Paradise’ were challenges that made me leave my comfort zone with the goal to improve my personal resilience, better embrace change, learn on goal setting and more. In ‘How to Travel Europe Blindfolded’ I faced more fears wearing a sleeping mask while exploring major European metropolis. I had to improve important skill sets without being able to use my eyesight and learn to trust people who helped me lead me through those cities.

Michael Wigge

You travelled on your own, how did that go for you and did you find it easy to make new friends on the road?

I traveled on my own when I traveled the world for free and when I met the challenge “50 States of Wigge” (50 states in 50 days, facing 50 challenges). These were incredible lessons to learn to deal with existential fears.

In ‘How to Travel the World for Free’ I had to face existential fears of having enough food, accommodation and travel opportunities. The first two months on the road, this kind of fear reappeared over and over again, but completely disappeared after day 60 by having developed strategies to get free food, accommodation and travel and by having confronted this fear over and over again. In “50 States of Wigge” I was rather facing the fear of loneliness. I travel the US in 50 days and faced 50 challenges, one a day. After day twenty, I felt this slightly depressed feeling of needing to call people of talking to people. I tried to go through this pressure and experienced after day 40 that I had broken some barrier and got peace within my self and by my self.

Where have you been in the world? And which was the best, worst, funniest, most random and scariest and why!

Scariest: In ‘How to Barter for Paradise’, I had to feed a crocodile in Darwin, Australia to barter silk for a very expensive painting. Don’t do this at home! I’ve done it once, things went OK, maybe I was lucky. But this could have gone wrong. We’re all lucky once but often not twice.

Best Learning: I lived the the Yanomami Indians in the Amazon rain forest for about three weeks. Incredible experience to see this culture live in harmony and without the understanding of success and competitiveness. Beautiful people who showed me that we don’t always have to follow goals and structured plans, but enjoy the moment.

Michael Wigge Jay Leno

What have been the top 3 adventures for you and why?

1. Antarctica: I went there for free and it was great to see it especially thinking about global warming and possible future changes

2. Israel and Palestine: I went back and forth from Israel to the Westbank to better understand both conflict parties and their fears of the other side. Especially being German with our history of the holocaust, this was an intense learning communicating with the Jewish in Israel and their traumatic past connected to the present.

3. Hawaii – just love it and will always come back when the snow in Colorado reaches more than three feet of height. Big Island, the perfect mixture of sea and mountains, especially for me as a trail runner.

What have been the top 3 most unexpected things to happen to you?

1. I traveled the world for free, was then invited on The Tonight Show by Jay Leno for that, received the phone number from Katy Perry that night and the US gave me their permanent residency. They must like people without money!

2. I bartered an apple to a house in Hawaii, Big Island in 42 steps around the world.

3.  Shaking Angelina Jolie’s hand for 30 seconds without giving it back when working for MTV Germany in 2005. Her comment: ‘You are a strange but fantastic man!’

Michael Wigge

Other than a job, what’s the easiest way to make money for travels?

Barter food for a joke. This has helped me around the world for free. Almost everyone will give you a muffin for free if you make them laugh!

What can we find in your backpack/luggage?

These days, I travel with mask and face shield which could be a new challenge ‘How to travel safely and look really silly!’. The mask and face shield make me feel pretty safe, just been to Lake Tahoe in CA and loved it there.

Let’s beat Corona and be creative!

Travel the world for free
Barter around the world
Germany by kick scooter

What is your music playlist for your travels?

Right now I am hooked back on Johnny Cash, somehow he delivers the feeling of being on the road and feeling free

Finally, tell us a funny travel story.

At the age of 20, I moved from Germany to New York. The only job as a non-resident I could get, was a waiter job in Chinatown. I had to deliver large water glasses to the customers and pretend to understand them when they talked to me in Mandarin. I guess I felt really insecure doing this. One day, I stumbled and several water glasses flew in slow-motion over the table and crashed into a group of Japanese business men. 

The owner of the restaurant gave me $100 and asked me to kindly leave the job and wished me all the best with new career perspectives 🙂

Michael Wigge

Thank you very much, Michael!

It was an absolute pleasure to read and watch all of his adventures and I’m very thankful that I had a chance to interview this crazy adventurer doing challenges that I would truly love to do! 

if you would like to find out more about Mchael Wigge and his adventures, you can find them here:

While you catch with his projects, let’s hope for safe adventure travels soon for all of us!

If you would like to read more adventures from RexyEdventures, you can read them here: Adventure Travel