Category Archives: Njaros of the World

Inspiration: Acrobat of the Road!

Acrobat of the Road showing students a map

Acrobat of the Road is a blog by Juan and Laura. Juan became a hitchhiking nomad on May 1st 2005 and has been traveling ever since! He has been to Europe, Middle East, China, Tibet, India, Laos and Thailand! He somehow ended up in Argentina and met his life mate Laura.

Now, they are attempting to hitchhike from Antarctica to Greenland!

Besides all the hitchhiking stuff (which is really cool and inspiring) they also have a project where they involve school children, villages and neighborhoods. They show pictures of other countries and have the ambitious and wonderful goal of generating empathy and intercultural understanding.

From their website:

“By sharing updated images of everyday life of the countries already visited we display world hospitality and transmit the fact that a better world is not only possible but actually already exists.

Also, when addressing high-school level students we install the concept of travelling as a method to acquire knowledge and plant the seed of curiosity.

We never introduce ourselves as otherworldly heroes but rather show that travelling (not tourism) is at everyone’s reach.”

We think that this is an incredible project… and because of that we sent them an email!

Beginning of email:
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Mangomanjaro: Hi,
found your website through CouchSurfing.
Really awesome project you’re up to.
Where are you guys at now?
Paraguay?

Acrobat of the Road: HI we are already in Bolivia! Thanks for your message!

Mangomanjaro: We hitchhiked from Poland to Pakistan, and blogged about it at http://mangomanjaro.se .
Now when we’re back home, we’re writing an article about you.

Acrobat of the Road: About me? really? Go ahead! thanks again!

Mangomanjaro: Do you have any specific images that you would allow us to use in the article?

Acrobat of the Road: All of them are available to share in this case. Note I am not travelling alone, but together with my girlfriend Laura.

Mangomanjaro: Are there any specific thoughts or causes that are more important to you than others?

Acrobat of the Road: Check on the menu, you will find the whole idea is to portray world hospitality and write books to spread the word! I would be really greatful if you could share a link to my e-book “Vagabonding in the Axis of Evil – By thumb in Iraq, Iran and Afghanistan“.

By selling the e-book we fund the educational nomadic project

Mangomanjaro: How did you come up with the idea to connect the south and north pole by hitchhiking?
Is it a common concept in south america?

Acrobat of the Road: It’s not a common idea. People normally go as far north as Mexico… The idea is to work out a book about the American continent, so that means going all the well. Alaska is too obvious so we decided to hit Greenland.

—-

That was the email conversation :) !
Check them out at http://acrobatoftheroad.blogspot.com, buy the book and send them an email!

Guest Post: Alastair Humphreys

We are happy to present to you a guest post by Alastair Humphreys!
Alastair is a British traveler and blogger who’s been cycling around the world for over 4 years. More than 46000 miles, that is. Very impressive! Check out his blog and read about his great adventures! He is a superb source of inspiration. But first, here is Alastair’s stories from Jordan:

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I have happy memories of Jordan, my favourite Middle Eastern country.
I remember sitting on a low stool in a cafe in Amman, smoking a
fragrant waterpipe and playing backgammon with a wise old man.
His parents had given up their traditional nomadic desert life to come and live in the city when he was a boy.
He bought me glasses of tea. In return he had the pleasure of winning several games of backgammon.

Ahmed threw the dice, one red, one green, onto the board of black wood and pale mother of pearl (“All the four colours of our flag,” he
observed, exhaling a sweet plume of apple smoke above my head).
He spoke of backgammon as being a philosophy for life: it is black and
white and you have no choice over what is dealt for you, or over what
other people do to you. But the choice that you do have is how to best
play your own pieces in order to make all you possibly can of what you
have been dealt.

With his wisdom ringing in my ears I continued down the rolling King’s
Highway to the staggeringly lovely gorge of Wadi Dana that drops a
vertical mile down towards the Dead Sea. Except for a few olive groves
the land was virtually barren. Shepherd boys sat squinting as their
goats foraged the flinty slopes. Outcrops of rocks, jebels, were red
and rough and in the distance smoky blue mountains faded smoothly into the desert floor. The mountain tops were clear against the sky but
their bases merged together into one endless string of peaks, seeming
to run across all Arabia. What an ageless, beautiful country Jordan
is.

Petra was every bit as beautiful as I had hoped since first watching
Indiana Jones’ Last Crusade. It is a place that provokes ambition and
far-sightedness. Projects that had taken several lifetimes to complete
mocked the triviality of our modern lifestyles that demand instant
gratification. It will encourage you guys that you can Chicken Dance
all the way to Inida.

I was reading TE Lawrence’s Seven Pillars of Wisdom. So I was
desperate to spend a few days in the vast natural amphitheatre of Wadi Rum, a magnificent swathe of blushing desert hemmed in by towering ramparts of rock. I imagined Lawrence and bands of vengeful Arabs, mounted on camels and armed to the teeth, riding silently up that valley, a “processional way greater than imagination”, where I now
sat. I brewed tea on my camping stove read Lawrence describe how “our little caravan grew self-conscious, and fell dead quiet, afraid and
ashamed to flaunt its smallness in the presence of the stupendous
hills.”

The silent timelessness of Wadi Rum reminded me of my own minute
insignificance. Lying on the valley floor the black stillness was so
absolute that I could literally hear myself blink. Rush hour felt a
long way away and risibly irrelevant. These are the moments when I
feel really thankful to have been able to take long journeys. Magic
moments. And Jordan had more of them than most countries I have been to.

Text & photo by Alastair Humphreys

Meet Breno Cola!

We got in contact with our enthusiastic Brazilian friend Breno as he started to follow our blog, post comments and e-mails and even donate money to us! He has been the greatest support all the way, so it was a great pleasure to hear that Breno had travel plans of his own. Now, he’s writing his own blog, breno1.com and he’s a great, fun writer who is just as poetic as he is thoughtful.

Everybody, this is Breno Cola!

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1. Breno, you’ve just started to change your life quite drastically.
What did you use to do and what exactly are you up to now?

Hej, Amanda & Robin, I did a lot of things throughout my life.
I started as a lawyer after college for a few years, then changed my life for the first time when I decided to move to USA to be creative studying fine art.
Done that, I moved back to Brazil to become a fashion consultant.
A few years later, I became a manager in an organic bakery,
elected the best one in town in 2010 by a important magazine.
Even it was a nice place to work, I wasn’t a very happy person working eleven hours a day, doing the same thing day after day and thinking I wasn’t using all my potentials.

Three month ago, I accidently (or not) found two blond, sweet Swedes preparing to take over the world.
You were just about to leave your home town in Gotland to hitchhiking to India.

Firstly, I thought it was a great project, an extraordinary way to live their life.
Secondly, I was afraid for you. Thirdly, I keep reading more of their old experiences in Africa, their love for each other and their trust in the world. It was bold and pioneer.
Then, I was addicted to it and how it’s going.

Last october, I decided I want to be courageous as well, doing a similar life-changing trip to meet new people, to know new lands, to find myself again. I want to be the author of my life once more.

I quit the organic bakery job last month, so now I’m free. It is my turn to launch myself in a trip around the world from Peru to Sweden, blogging all about it at www.breno1.com

2. How did you come up with this idea?

I love geography, maps and travel since I was a little boy. And I do believe by traveling you can discover yourself and know the world. It was easy to figure out that I want to be a traveler, a vagabonding.

The only problem I had a misconception about travel being too expensive, scary and complicated. At MangoManjaro.se I realize real people are traveling without much money, going though war zones and great deserts just because they trust in other people and they do it with love in their heart. Besides they are doing it without a road map!

So “where do I really want to go?” I thought. Sweden came up many times when I made that question to myself. Maybe because the brazilian soccer player Pele became the unofficial king of Sweden in 70’s at its World Cup. So I grew up hearing all about that great blond nation, the Norse people and the Swedish Model.

THE IDEA: I challenged myself to do an unusual path to arrive in Sweden. It would be too easy to fly directly there to Arlanda, Stockholm, from Brazil. Everyone can do that, I already did that when I visited it in 2008 and I can tell it doesn’t change someone’s life. It has to be difficult, a real challenge, therefore I can feel I succeed an obstacle, achieve a goal.

The point is how I’m going to arrive in Sweden without a regular round the world ticket (much in vogue today), since I am not buying one. To get starting, I exchange some miles in a frequent flyer program to an one way ticket to Peru. Anyway, I had to choose a place in South America, so I want to see the culturally rich Machu Picchu, ruins of the Incas. It transformed my trip in two ancient civilization search, the Incas and the Vikings. I placed the Viking part of the trip in Gotland, where more buried treasures of Viking era have been found.

Once I arrive in Peru, lets see what will happen from there on. I don’t have a road map either!

3. How are you preparing for your trip?

I’m canceling bills and my rent. The deal is to have only what I can carry with me. I allowed myself to have two suitcases, one in each hand and a backpack. Obviously I will travel only with my backpack. The other two suitcases stay in Brazil.

4. What has been your toughest challenge while you’ve been working on your plans

Two things: get rid of all the stuff I owned and tell my Mom about the trip.

First, I am not an out-of-college-dorm guy, I am living on my own for a long time. It means I have an apartment full of stuff accumulated over the years needless. It’s insane. Today presented the opportunity for me to de-clutter my life, to simplify everything. It will be a fresh start. But it still a hard thing to do for me. I can’t pretend otherwise.

Second, tell my Mom that I brought a one way ticket to reach Sweden somehow throughout Peru without a day of return, seemed an important step for my new life.

Luckily she took it just ok I guess. No latin drama. I told her very casually over lunch, more or less like this: “- Mom, I am going around the world alone, can you pass the salad bowl, please?”.

Later she cried a little, asking me to phone her a few times during the trip if it’s possible. Of course, I will call her. Crazy.

5. How did your boss handle your resignation? What other reactions have you gotten so far and how do you respond to this?

Surprise! My (ex) boss said he always want to go to Machu Picchu, in Peru. I almost invited him to come with me! Of course, he had to close the organic bakery first. It would be other life-changing example! However, by the end, I didn’t invited him and I didn’t tell him the whole story about the Norsemen. No point. What really happened: he asked me to stay one more month to replace me, a normal stand in Brazil by law either way.

My closest friends and one of my aunts (the mean one) told me:

  1. “you should buy a apartment instead”.
  2. “you should have changed your job instead”.
  3. “you should come back home” (my mom).
  4. “you should try to stay in one job for longer periods or forever”.
  5. that I’ll come back without a job and money by the end of my trip.
  6. that I must be irresponsible by giving all my furniture and things away (actually I sold most of the things and others I gave them for charity and friends).

Lots of “should”, you see.

Just one girl in my Swedish class told me the most beautiful thing. She said “it will be all right”. Amen!

6. What are you looking forward to the most about this trip? What do you expect and wish to see/do/hear/smell/taste?

I am looking forward to see lhama in Peru and Skata bird in Sweden. They are national symbol of these countries.
I’m also expecting to see unusual landscapes, cities I only hear about and pick up new languages.
I’m definitely going to try new food like ceviche dish and black corn in Peru, and the real “ärtosoppa och punch” in a Thursday night in Sweden.
The main part of the trip is to seek “the unexpected”, what also is the most excited thing. I am not trying to foreseen all the events and places.
The last not least, it is people, people and people I want to meet along the way.

7. What tips can you share with others who also want to quit their jobs to travel the world, or something similar that might seem scary and hard to accomplish? How did you do it?

Seriously, I wrote three times the word “life-changing” in my to-do calendar notebook. By the end of the third day, I told my boss I was leaving for good. It gave me will.

Also, it helps if you have a very crazy friend that say “ok, if it’s what you want, DO IT NOW!”, kind of thing. It confronted me with my fears and desires in the same time.

8. What book, blogs, or other lecture, music, movies etc has inspired you or given you energy?

I sold all my DVD collection to a local rental store in exchange to rent others movies, so far I watched:

  1. “Into the Wild”, directed by Sean Penn.
  2. “Amelia”, about the first woman to fly across the oceans, played by Hilary Swank.
  3. “Motorcyle’s Diaries”, the dramatization of a trip Che Guevara went on his youth showing him his life-calling.
  4. “Darjeeling limited”, a trip in India (a funny fiction).

Blogs I am big fan of:

  1. Mangomanjaro.se (ALWAYS, I read it everyday)
  2. fourhourworkweek.com/blog

Video I see every other day:
A lecture of Rolf Potts, the author of Vagabonding in UK (great!)

Books:

  1. “Eat, Pray and Love” (the book is much better than the movie).
  2. And it’s brother, the hilarious “Drink, Play and F@#k”, one man’s search across Ireland, Las Vegas and Thailand, by Andrew Gottlieb. Reading it now again.

Who knows I will do three countries and find three verbs to describe my trip!

Kram,
Breno