The story of my trip around the world to train, teach and compete in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and other grappling arts.


Robert McMasters – not your average tour guide

Sitting in Turkey, I am thinking back on the last week, that I have spent with Robert. I don’t think I have yet processed completely, how good and important an experience this part of the trip have been. Both for my travels and for myself. Robert went out of his way to help me, a complete stranger, to discover an area, almost no one gets to experience.

Having visited these places, I wonder how the rest of the trip can top what I have experienced and felt here. It has definitely changed my view on how I will travel from now on. I need to stay focused on getting out and see the real world. Not just the big cities, which are often nothing but variations of the western world I come from and already know. It will be difficult to find ways to see these places, but I’ll do my best. I need to find more Roberts out there :)

He took a week out of his calendar to show me around three countries and five cities and expected nothing back. Before that, he – like his wife Amanda – took years out of his calendar to work with kids in a village far away from the world you and I live in. It is really inspiring when someone spends so much of their ressources on helping others. It makes me think, that I should focus more on doing the same. What have you done today to help someone else?

If you feel like taking the same trip as me, I have promised Robert to say that he is willing to show anyone around if they come. The blog post about the kids in the village is slowly moving down the page to the point where it will eventually be forgotten. The kids are not going anywhere though, and would love another visit. Just contact me and I’ll get you in touch with him.

If there were more people like Robert and Amanda, the world would definitely be a better place.

The amazing around-the-world hamburger project: Springtime, Bucharest, Romania.

I’ll make this hamburger review quick. Basically, it was close to impossible to find a real Romanian hamburger to review, but Springtime (a Romanian fast food chain), had one, and here is the verdict:

It was a white belt, one stripe. Feeling proud about it’s first stripe and eager to learn, but it’s game is limited to a few techniques and a bad shrimp. Easy to sweep and with no competition experience. Watching techniques on YouTube all day, but can’t pull off anything in sparring.

Photos from Bucharest

Taught a seminar in Bucharest today, now looking for hamburger.

Today we walked around Bucharest for a few hours to check out the city. It was cold and snowy, but really interesting. The contrast between the old, original buildings and the concrete east block style buildings were very interesting. I took some good photos but will upload them at a later point since I need some time for editing.

At 14:00 I did the seminar in the gym. About 40 guys showed up which was really cool. I went over some stuff from side control and people seemed to find it useful I think.

Now we are looking for a hamburger for my hamburger review on the blog. Seems to be really difficult to find a real Romanian hamburger though!

In two hours, we are catching the bus to Moldova. It will be a nine hour drive (arg), but I’ll take it as a part of the adventure :D

Not much time to write here in fact, will be back tomorrow when I get online somewhere ;)

Arrived in Bucharest after most expensive taxi ride ever.

Wow, this day was really intense. Last night when I was getting to bed, I just wanted to check out how I could get to the airport from the train station. I found out, that even though I arrived in Paris three hours prior to the takeoff of my plane, it would be extremely tight making the bus or train in time. It made it a little difficult for me to sleep, so only got five hours.

In the morning I said goodbye to Thomas and Kristina, before getting on the train to Paris. I had a really great time in Montpellier and was very happy to stay with them.

When I arrived in Paris I was in a serious hurry. With help from Arthur, I got on the right trains and got to the bus station in record time, but I was exactly three minutes late. The kind guy at the ticket booth informed me, that my only option to make the flight in time was by taxi to the airport. It was more an an hours drive away and costed me 140 euros!!!!!!!!!!! I had no other option so I got the best out of it. Got a photo of the taxi driver laughing with my money in his hand, so it was all worth it lol

Anyways, I made it to Bucharest and it was snowing heavily. The landing was basically all white. I couldn’t see anything out the window.

Robert and Amanda was waiting for me in the airport with a SIGN!!! How awesome is that, I’ve always wanted someone to pick me up in the airport with a home made sign :D

We drove to their apartment (which has a guard dog, awesome again!), got some food and then out the door again to the gym. I was pretty tired but I am only here for 24 hours so I wanted to go to the gym. And what a cool experience!

It was at a military facility in a huge wrestling room. Very simple, eastern Europe style place. There were tons of people in the class, i think at least 40. People were extremely friendly and their English was really good. I hadn’t been there for more than a few minutes before people came to say hi and asked for advise about BJJ. It was very easy to socialize with them and they seemed eager to learn and to hear about my trip.

Tudor, the owner of the gym, who I had met in Portugal for the Europeans was sick unfortunately, so there wasn’t really anyone to teach. They asked if I could teach a bit, so I did. We went over some one-legged x-guard and everyone learned it easily. In general, the level was really high. There were a good handful of very good blue belts.

I got two rolls before I had to call it a day. All the traveling and to little sleep was in my body. I wanted to save my energy for tomorrow, where I am teaching a seminar at 14:00. I hope there will also be time for checking out the city a bit and taking some photos. We are leaving on the bus to Moldova already at 6 in the evening.

So far, Romania has been a really good experience. It was awesome to get on a plane, land in some completely unknown country, walk directly into a Jiu jitsu gym and connect with people like that. It seems that everywhere I go, I instantly want to go back, and this is no exception.

I am really looking forward to tomorrow. Right now I am sitting in Robert and Amanda’s apartment. I can’t wait to take some photos here, it is as eastern European as I could imagine and I love it.