#5 Naked Garments

PASCAL
CHRISTIAENS

We continue our journey, with another founder’s story of Düsseldorf first Forbes 30 under 30 and Founder of Volunteer World, witty and brilliant, Pascal Christiaens.

#5 PASCAL CHRISTIAENS​

„My father taught me to have a very liberal
view of the world. Live and let live!"

Pascal Christiaens

Date

02.04.2020

Text

Monika Hauck

photographer

Falco Peters

Finding meaning in the professional life.

#5 PASCAL CHRISTIAENS​

Tell us about yourself, your job and what drives you in life?

My name is Pascal, I am 31 years old and have lived in Düsseldorf for almost 10 years. More than five years ago I founded the social startup VOLUNTEER WORLD. With more than 1,600 projects in 82 countries, it has become the world’s largest platform for international volunteering. I am fascinated by good food and wine, deep conversations and the discovery of new countries and cultures.

How is the current Corona crisis effecting your business?

The Corona Pandemic poses a real challenge to the global society. The tourism industry was one of the first industries to suffer a very severe downturn. The worldwide travel restrictions are of course a real challenge for Volunteer World at the moment. Our team is putting all its energy into emerging from the crisis stronger than ever.

What did you want to do professionally when you were a child?

When I was a very young boy, I wanted to become a professional footballer. Like every boy in my class in primary school. As a teenager, I wanted to be a filthy rich investment banker in New York City. In fact, I pursued that career aspiration for a while. I worked in an investment bank and studied finance. However, I realized in my early 20s that this job did not fulfil me and I started looking for something that would give more meaning to my professional life.

Best investment you have ever made?

I have invested all my savings in my own company and as a young founder, I also took high risks. This was a very good investment so far. But the Tinder Gold subscription for 4,99 € was a great deal for me, too. This is how I met my girlfriend.

If you could own any company in the world, which one it would be?

When I start brooding and have to think about the big picture, I like to look at the stars or watch documentaries about the universe. Then I feel small and insignificant but in a positive way. The things of everyday life seem less serious when one becomes aware of the infinity of the universe. I am also a huge fan of science fiction movies like Interstellar, Star Trek or Star Wars! For these two reasons, I would find it exciting to look behind the scenes of VIRGIN GALACTIC or SPACEX.

„When I start brooding, I like to look at the stars
or watch documentaries about the universe. Then
I feel small and insignificant, but in a positive
way. The things of everyday life seem less
serious when one becomes aware of the infinity
of the universe.“

Pascal Christiaens

Person you would like to have dinner with and why?

Last year, I felt deeply honoured when President Barack Obama invited me to his Town Hall Event in Berlin. I was very impressed by his rhetorical talent and aura. I would love to continue this short meeting with him!

Do you have a motto in your life?

My father taught me to have a very liberal view of the world. Live and let live!

I know you travel a lot. What is your favourite destination?

I love Southeast Asia. The countries are very easy to travel in and are relatively cheap. Even if you are travelling alone, it is usually very safe. I love the warm weather, the foreign culture, of course, the food and the wildlife that is at home in the rainforests of Asia. I travelled Borneo this year. I had the opportunity to observe wild orangutans. A unique and formative experience!

A trip, which changed your life?

That’s easy to answer. My first big trip of my life, which took me to China with my grandfather. He gave me this trip for my church Confirmation. That was almost 20 years ago. It was the first flight in my life and it went directly halfway around the world to Asia. I was so excited! I was overwhelmed by every single minute of this trip and I remember very fondly how I was jumping on the Great Wall of China.

I had the opportunity to get to know a still very traditional China, just as many Europeans still imagine the Far Eastern country today. The truth is of course that it has become a very modern country and has changed a lot.

Book that changed your life?

FAUST – PART ONE by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe. A guy both educated and bored (midlife crisis), makes a pact with the devil. Classic!

If you could time travel, where would you go?

Time travel is generally not a good idea. We already know that from „Back to the future“ or from „Rick and Morty“.

What is your best present to yourself?

My big dream: A parabolic flight in Russia to feel weightlessness. I hope it doesn’t make me sick.

What do you wear in your professional life?

I must confess that I very often wear the same outfit. I like to be comfortable and usually wear jeans, combined with a black or white t-shirt, white sneakers, and a baseball cap. When it gets really important, I also take the suit out of the wardrobe once in a while. But this happens rather rarely.

What is power dressing in your job? Some clichés/must-haves in the startup world?

At the beginning, when I was self-employed I often thought about what to wear when I met investors or business partners. The older I get, the more I come to the conclusion that I should wear the clothes I feel most comfortable in. Even if that means stylish sweatpants: so what!

„The older I get, the more I come to the
conclusion that I should wear the clothes I feel
most comfortable in. Even if that means stylish
sweatpants: so what!“

Pascal Christiaens
Pascal_Christiaens_final_01 (1)

To what do you pay attention when you meet someone for the first time?

His/her manners and attitude. I try to avoid negative people. Nor do I like it when someone patronizes me or others.

Where do you shop for fashion? Online vs. offline?

Oh, oh, I’m a pretty disloyal customer. I usually buy what I like off the cuff. I just have to fall directly in love with a piece of clothing. I don’t care about the brand. I never actually shop online. I just don’t like sending things back. I find it terribly annoying.

Favourite piece of clothing? Why? Story behind it?

I have white sneakers. They fit me perfectly and the quality is also right. They cost 49,95 Euro. I have bought the same model 3 or 4 times in the last years. Why change something when it works well?

You travel a lot, do you have any packing tips/hacks?

In fact, I have a hack I’d like to share. Underwear, socks, T-shirts, and trousers all have to be taken separately in lockable freezer bags (big zipping bags). This way you can easily distinguish clean laundry from dirty laundry and your clothes will never get wet again.

How long have you lived in Düsseldorf?  What is your association with the city?

I have lived in Düsseldorf for over 10 years (with two minor interruptions in Leipzig and Dublin). What I appreciate about Düsseldorf is its quiet charm despite the big city and its good transport connections. I like the Rhine and the many restaurants in good locations.

Favourite place in Düsseldorf?

I like working in cafes. “COVENT GARDEN” is a nice place to work and meet friends. The restaurant „BYLINY“ has good food – a mix of German and Mediterranean cuisine. My favourite Italian is “GALO NERO”. All the places are located in my hood: Bilk!

What is the first thing you will do one the quarantine times are over?

As soon as the crisis is over, I will go to my favourite Italian, sit in the courtyard and enjoy a good bottle of white wine in the sun. The next day I will go to the sea to Holland.

Your sustainable living tip?

Less plastic! I have seen too many turtles swimming in the sea with plastic bags. It makes me sad every time.

Would you rather go vegan or stop driving a car?

Easy one! I love cooking for my family or having BBQ with my friends. But I hate driving. I have a license but I get nothing out of driving.

What is the best thing for you on Planet Earth?

The first warm day in spring after a long grey winter in Germany!

If you were an animal, who would you be?

A fox: smart, urban and active at night!

WE THINK WORD OF MONTH FOR THEIR KIND SUPPORT WITH LANGUAGE EDITING AND SAY YAS TO YOUR BEAUTY FOR THE WONDERFUL MAKE-UP!

#5 Naked Garments
PASCAL CHRISTIAENS

We continue our journey, with another founder’s story of Düsseldorf first Forbes 30 under 30 and Founder of Volunteer World, witty and brilliant, Pascal Christiaens.

#5 PASCAL CHRISTIAENS​

"My father taught me to have a very liberal view of the world. Live and let live!"

Pascal Christiaens

Date

02.04.2020

Text

Monika Hauck

Photographer

Falco Peters

Finding meaning in the professional life.

Tell us about yourself, your job and what drives you in life?

My name is Pascal, I am 31 years old and have lived in Düsseldorf for almost 10 years. More than five years ago I founded the social startup VOLUNTEER WORLD. With more than 1,600 projects in 82 countries, it has become the world’s largest platform for international volunteering. I am fascinated by good food and wine, deep conversations and the discovery of new countries and cultures.

How is the current Corona crisis effecting your business?

The Corona Pandemic poses a real challenge to the global society. The tourism industry was one of the first industries to suffer a very severe downturn. The worldwide travel restrictions are of course a real challenge for Volunteer World at the moment. Our team is putting all its energy into emerging from the crisis stronger than ever.

What did you want to do professionally when you were a child?

When I was a very young boy, I wanted to become a professional footballer. Like every boy in my class in primary school. As a teenager, I wanted to be a filthy rich investment banker in New York City. In fact, I pursued that career aspiration for a while. I worked in an investment bank and studied finance. However, I realized in my early 20s that this job did not fulfil me and I started looking for something that would give more meaning to my professional life.

Best investment you have ever made?

I have invested all my savings in my own company and as a young founder, I also took high risks. This was a very good investment so far. But the Tinder Gold subscription for 4,99 € was a great deal for me, too. This is how I met my girlfriend.

If you could own any company in the world, which one it would be?

When I start brooding and have to think about the big picture, I like to look at the stars or watch documentaries about the universe. Then I feel small and insignificant but in a positive way. The things of everyday life seem less serious when one becomes aware of the infinity of the universe. I am also a huge fan of science fiction movies like Interstellar, Star Trek or Star Wars! For these two reasons, I would find it exciting to look behind the scenes of VIRGIN GALACTIC or SPACEX.

"When I start brooding, I like to look at the stars or watch documentaries about the universe. Then I feel small and insignificant, but in a positive way. The things of everyday life seem less serious when one becomes aware of the infinity of the universe."

Pascal Christiaens

Person you would like to have dinner with and why?

Last year, I felt deeply honoured when President Barack Obama invited me to his Town Hall Event in Berlin. I was very impressed by his rhetorical talent and aura. I would love to continue this short meeting with him!

Do you have a motto in your life?

My father taught me to have a very liberal view of the world. Live and let live!

I know you travel a lot. What is your favourite destination?

I love Southeast Asia. The countries are very easy to travel in and are relatively cheap. Even if you are travelling alone, it is usually very safe. I love the warm weather, the foreign culture, of course, the food and the wildlife that is at home in the rainforests of Asia. I travelled Borneo this year. I had the opportunity to observe wild orangutans. A unique and formative experience!

A trip, which changed your life?

That’s easy to answer. My first big trip of my life, which took me to China with my grandfather. He gave me this trip for my church Confirmation. That was almost 20 years ago. It was the first flight in my life and it went directly halfway around the world to Asia. I was so excited! I was overwhelmed by every single minute of this trip and I remember very fondly how I was jumping on the Great Wall of China.

I had the opportunity to get to know a still very traditional China, just as many Europeans still imagine the Far Eastern country today. The truth is of course that it has become a very modern country and has changed a lot.

Book that changed your life?

FAUST – PART ONE by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe. A guy both educated and bored (midlife crisis), makes a pact with the devil. Classic!

If you could time travel, where would you go?

Time travel is generally not a good idea. We already know that from „Back to the future“ or from „Rick and Morty“.

What is your best present to yourself?

My big dream: A parabolic flight in Russia to feel weightlessness. I hope it doesn’t make me sick.

What do you wear in your professional life?

I must confess that I very often wear the same outfit. I like to be comfortable and usually wear jeans, combined with a black or white t-shirt, white sneakers, and a baseball cap. When it gets really important, I also take the suit out of the wardrobe once in a while. But this happens rather rarely.

What is power dressing in your job? Some clichés/must-haves in the startup world?

At the beginning, when I was self-employed I often thought about what to wear when I met investors or business partners. The older I get, the more I come to the conclusion that I should wear the clothes I feel most comfortable in. Even if that means stylish sweatpants: so what!

"The older I get, the more I come to the conclusion that I should wear the clothes I feel most comfortable in. Even if that means stylish sweatpants: so what!“

Pascal Christiaens

To what do you pay attention when you meet someone for the first time?

His/her manners and attitude. I try to avoid negative people. Nor do I like it when someone patronizes me or others.

Where do you shop for fashion? Online vs. offline?

Oh, oh, I’m a pretty disloyal customer. I usually buy what I like off the cuff. I just have to fall directly in love with a piece of clothing. I don’t care about the brand. I never actually shop online. I just don’t like sending things back. I find it terribly annoying.

Favourite piece of clothing? Why? Story behind it?

I have white sneakers. They fit me perfectly and the quality is also right. They cost 49,95 Euro. I have bought the same model 3 or 4 times in the last years. Why change something when it works well?

You travel a lot, do you have any packing tips/hacks?

In fact, I have a hack I’d like to share. Underwear, socks, T-shirts, and trousers all have to be taken separately in lockable freezer bags (big zipping bags). This way you can easily distinguish clean laundry from dirty laundry and your clothes will never get wet again.

How long have you lived in Düsseldorf?  What is your association with the city?

I have lived in Düsseldorf for over 10 years (with two minor interruptions in Leipzig and Dublin). What I appreciate about Düsseldorf is its quiet charm despite the big city and its good transport connections. I like the Rhine and the many restaurants in good locations.

Favourite place in Düsseldorf?

I like working in cafes. “COVENT GARDEN” is a nice place to work and meet friends. The restaurant „BYLINY“ has good food – a mix of German and Mediterranean cuisine. My favourite Italian is “GALO NERO”. All the places are located in my hood: Bilk!

What is the first thing you will do one the quarantine times are over?

As soon as the crisis is over, I will go to my favourite Italian, sit in the courtyard and enjoy a good bottle of white wine in the sun. The next day I will go to the sea to Holland.

Your sustainable living tip?

Less plastic! I have seen too many turtles swimming in the sea with plastic bags. It makes me sad every time.

Would you rather go vegan or stop driving a car?

Easy one! I love cooking for my family or having BBQ with my friends. But I hate driving. I have a license but I get nothing out of driving.

What is the best thing for you on Planet Earth?

The first warm day in spring after a long grey winter in Germany!

If you were an animal, who would you be?

A fox: smart, urban and active at night!

WE THINK WORD OF MONTH FOR THEIR KIND SUPPORT WITH LANGUAGE EDITING AND SAY YAS TO YOUR BEAUTY FOR THE WONDERFUL MAKE-UP!