I have been home for a while now, and is still trying to digest the experiences I have had over the last 140 days, traveling around the world. I honestly think it will take a long time, before I truly realize how important a thing this has been to me. What follows, is a bit long post about what I feel in my head these days. It has taken me a long time to figure out how to write it, but I think this is it.
First of all, I would like to thank everyone, who have made this possible for me. I have met, hung out, partied, emailed, talked and trained with hundreds and hundreds of people along the way, and each and every one of you has had an influence on me. The help, friendship and hospitality, I have experienced from you everywhere in the world, has blown me away and I cannot describe, how much it means to me. I also had immense support from everyone I know at home, which has played a big role in realizing this project.
I will now get settled here at home and then get started with all the projects, things and ideas, that have spun off this whole experience. This might be the end of the trip, but the effects of it will echo throughout my life (and maybe yours) for years and years to come. First of all, I have an open invitation to anyone, who wants to come to Denmark to visit and train. There are already quite a bit of people I have met on the trip, who are planning to come by, so my gym will be busy :)
I am also working hard on writing my book from the trip. It is a very big task, and it will take a while, before it is finished. There are just too many good stories from the gyms around the world, that would be a waste not to tell, I think. I have been taking notes over the last five months, and now I am writing every day and trying to put everything together. Apart from the story of the trip itself, I am trying to write about, how I made the trip and lifestyle possible, the preparations, long term decisions and thoughts behind it. I am excited about writing a book, something I never thought of doing, but it makes sense right now and it will be interesting to have for the future.
Having visited a lot of places around the world, where people are training with very little equipment and very basic facilities, I have decided to help them out. Already having shipped a lot of gi’s to Moldova and Dominican Republic, I got the idea to organize it more. I am currently working on a website, that will be a tool for those of us who has too much, to help them who has too little.
The last project, I am working on, is still too good an idea to reveal. It is a big project and will take some time for me to get going, but I promise it will be good and everyone will be able to benefit from it. You will definitely hear about it in the near future ;)
I don’t think that this trip has changed me much. There are not many things, I have changed my view about. What I do feel, is that it has strongly reinforced what I believe in. In some way, I went out to confirm some things to myself, and I found what I was looking for. I feel vibrantly full of love from great friendships, believe in the good in people and know, that the world is indeed my oyster and definitely not a bad or dangerous place. I just got an upgrade on all my skills (BJJ, human and emotional) and feel like a Christian version 2.0 :)
I hear from many people, that they are somewhat afraid to travel. Afraid to go places, they think are dangerous. They prefer the comfort of their own place, where they don’t have to take any chances. Or maybe just going to a place with the same language and culture. On this trip, I have been to the ghettos of eastern europe, a russian military country that does not exist, the poor neighborhoods of India, the favelas of Brazil, the kidnapping capital of South America, a druglord’s hangout in the Dominican Republic, the jungles, the radioactive and earthquake threatened streets of Tokyo and I could go on. Guess what, the worst thing that happened to me, was food poisoning from barbecue hotwings in a Borneo food court. Do not be afraid to explore the world. Go out there and see for yourself, that it is not dangerous and it might contain experiences you will cherish for the rest of your life. Or believe the media paranoia hype and die without trying!
There are no borders in this world. Any dividing and separation of people on this planet are man made. It is not real. There is no difference between us. Friendships, love, adventure, experiences and lives you can live are EVERYWHERE. No matter, where I have gone, I have met fantastic people. I have made more friends in five months, than I could possible do at home in a lifetime, and there seemed to be no limitations to where I would find these. Your next best friend or experience of a lifetime can be anywhere in the world, not just in your own little bubble.
We might seem different on the outside, coming from different countries, races, religions, beliefs, cultures or even another BJJ team (!!), but when we are on the mat, clapping hands and ready to roll, it is so obvious, that there is NO difference.
Now go have some adventure before it is too late, it is waiting for you out there.
I arrived home yesterday and needed to sit down for a while and relax before I could get back to the blogging.
I magically got my backpack in Tallinn airport. It had arrived from Finland the night before, taking a good 6 days to get from Germany to Estonia. It was really nice to get it back, and I was happy it wasn’t in the middle of the trip I had lost it. If I had to lose it, this was the perfect time to do it :) The flight was short and easy and my dad and brother was kind to pick me up in the airport and drive me home.
I don’t really know how I feel about being home. I am trying to find out how I feel, but nothing really comes up, it is kind of weird. In some way, my brain just thinks of this as another location on the trip. Maybe in a week or so, when I realize that I am not going anywhere from now on haha
I have been back to work today. Many people think that running a gym full time is nothing but training, but there is actually tons of stuff to do. I have spend my whole day cleaning up, fixing a computer, moving stuff and answering emails. Back to real life :) I will train here again tomorrow and can’t wait. Having traveled to more than 55 gyms on this trip, my own is still by far my favorite. Maybe because I designed it from my own thoughts of the perfect place to train :D
I need a little time to digest this crazy experience in my mind and will write an afterword later. It has been quite a ride and I can’t really believe that it is over.
Here is a video of some rolling in Drive-In Jiu Jitsu in Rio de Janeiro :)
Hitchhiking is something I would have loved to have done more of on the trip, but my tight schedule and fast pace travel made it difficult, since one never knows how long it is going to take to go from a to b.
I have a flight home to Denmark tomorrow and we decided to go to Tallinn today, so we didn’t have to get up early tomorrow. The busses are pretty full on sundays, so it was a good opportunity to hitchhike through the beautiful Estonian countryside. Our cool sign secured us a ride in less than ten minutes, with a young couple from Belarus that was on a roadtrip around the Baltics.
Today is relaxation in Tallinn before flying home tomorrow. It is really weird to think about being home, but I am very excited to see everyone again.
Estonia is my little “vacation” to relax from training, before I go back hime on Monday and will be in the gym for many hours every day. I could not imagine a better place for a summer vacation in Europe, I absolutely love this place. The sun is up till around midnight and the sky is still blue all night. It feels like the days lasts forever and I am enjoying every second of it, recharging my batteries and filling me with energy and good mood.
it is hard to grasp, that the trip is soon over and I will be going home on monday. I don’t think I will really understand it before I sit at home on my couch.
Still haven’t gotten my backpack by the way. I think the sweaty gi from training in brazil must be quite disgusting by now :(
I love traveling the world and experiencing different places and cultures, but there is always something special about home. It is probably impressions that reminds one of childhood or something.
Now, I know Estonia is not home to me, but it is similar enough to Denmrk to make me feel home. The smell of grass, the trees and the long summer nights, oh how have I missed it. The weather here is beautiful and it has been so nice to see some of my old friends again. All the guys from Estonia, about ten of my friends from my gym back home and Daniel who I met in Taiwan is here. We are having a great time in this beautiful place. It is now ten in the evening and the sun is still up. God, I love it.
What is not here is my backpack. Lufthansa has thrown it away and they have no idea where it is. I really hope they find it, I don’t want to lose my gi’s and tshirts from around the world :,( Good thing is that insurance company pays me every day, so I went shopping for lots of pimp clothes today :-P Looking super fly!
(crosspost from www.giveagi.com)
Robert has just sent me a documentary, he made from the project we have supported in Moldova. It is a little long, but definitely worth the time. See, how the donated gis are being carried from Romania to Moldova by bus and hitchhiking, the first training in the village, a tournament trip to the capital Chisinau and finally the tournament held in the village. All made possible by YOU, who have been donating gis and money!
Here is a breakdown of how the $275 from the New York fundraiser seminar has been used so far:
“Travel to/from Chisinau: $126.72
Team Food: $16.19 (it should be noted that the Chisinau team bought food for everyone in Chisinau, and the Burlacu moms provided food for everyone in Burlacu so these costs aren’t included)
Trophy for Tri-Duals: $18.54
Medals + Lanyards for Tri-Duals: $11.13
Engraving for Medals and Trophy: $22.00
Arriving here in Estonia, I geographically surpassed Copenhagen, where I started my trip and have therefore now travelled all the way around the globe by the help of BJJ! Great success!
Going to Brazil to travel is something I have thought and dreamt about for over ten years. Now, I finally did it.
I must admit, that I used to be a little nervous about going to Brazil. I heard lots of stories about crime and how there was nearly a 100% chance, that I would get robbed a few times while there. It definitely played a role in my considerations about going there.
Becoming an experienced traveller over the last years, and especially over the last four and a half months, (almost) nothing can scare me anymore, and I didn’t even think twice about going to Brazil. For good reason, because (of course) nothing happened to me. I did not get robbed, beat up, raped or abducted. As always, the world is always a very dangerous place, when viewed from the safety of ones couch at home.
Staying in Brazil was a different experience from the rest of my trip, albeit a good one. For so long, I have travelled really fast, visiting places intensely for a very short time. Get in, train, meet people, eat, see the place and get out. No time to relax, worry or get bored. In Rio, I decided to stay for two weeks and it felt very different than the other places I have been.
Many places, people told me, that I needed to stay longer. That 2-4 days is too little time. In fact, I think I did just as much, and some times more, in places I have visited for 2-4 days, than I did in Brazil. When I had so much time, it was just another pace, and more time was spend on relaxing and doing nothing, than on feeling pressure to do something before it was too late.
I did have a great time in Brazil though. I wish I could have trained more, but holidays, weekend and then being sick unfortunately made that difficult. I did however, go some very interesting places to train and got some experiences, I will value for the rest of my life.
I have enjoyed staying with locals during my trip and experiencing their every day lives. In Brazil, I spend my whole stay in a house full of gringos, who were there for training. I did not get to see much local life unfortunately, but it was really fun to stay in the Connection Rio house, hang out with all the guys there and make a lot of good friends, who I hope to see again one day. On top of that, Dennis Asche (the guy who runs the house), was the best connection and help I could imagine in regards of getting in touch with people, arranging visits to gyms, places, etc. He knows everyone and was doing all he could to help me get the most out of my time there, which I appreciate immensely.
I lost my backpack. I knew it would happen with all these change of flights and routes today. Pretty annoying. I even managed to lose that little note with the important number, that I got from the baggage guys in the airport.
I haven’t brushed my teeth since yesterday morning and Fightshape Panama is getting a lot of promotion in these areas, since I will have to wear their tshirt for three days :)
I am staying in a hostel in Tallinn for the night, before heading to Pärnu with the bus tomorrow. My feet smell pretty bad.
I am currently in Frankfurt airport in Germany. I was supposed to be on a flight on to Tallinn, Estonia by now, but the flight from Brazil was about three hours delayed. As I got in the plane, nothing happened for a good hour and a half. Finally, they announced in the speakers, that they had some mechanical problems and we had to change to another airplane. As I got outside, I was pretty happy that we got another plane, as they had basically opened up the entire engine and tried to fix it on the spot. I prefer a new one then!
I have been redirected to a flight to Finland, then on to Tallinn, where I will be arriving too late to catch the bus I had planned to catch. So guess I will have one night in Tallinn and then try to get to Pärnu tomorrow instead. Right now, I have to wait for a few hours here, a good opportunity to practice some German. After trying so hard to speak Spanish, German seems like the easiest ever (had it in school for many years, but never get to practice much).
It was also quite sad to leave Brazil, but more about that later, when I have time to write about it :)
The Fightworks Podcast has published an episode about my trip today.
I hate getting up early to train, but since this is my last day, I wanted to get as much out of it as possible and I showed up for the 8.00 class. We were about 12 people on the mat, where of six were black belts. Three of them left before I got a chance to take a photo with them. I also didn’t get any shots of the training itself, but I can describe the photos for you instead:
Photo 1: Christian is being crushed in sidecontrol
Photo 2: Christian’s face while being brutally choked in mount
Photo 3: Christian desperately tapping to 100th armbar of the day
Anyways, it was a great training, and it was nice to end my trip in Brazil with an hour of rolling with good and strong black belts. I felt my cardio was good and I kept calm all the time even under a lot (!) of pressure.
Gordo’s is a great gym, there is really a lot of talent and high level guys here. I recommend anyone considering a trip to Brazil to go train here. I wish I had the opportunity to train more, but I’ll be back another time.
Found a really cheap supermarket today (last day, weee) and made a nice barbecue in the house for dinner. Directly following eating too much meat, I went to the gym to roll. My pants are having some patches sewn on, so I had to go sambo style tonight.
I plan to attend the morning class tomorrow at 8 am for the last beating, before I leave Brazil. My flight is at 9:00 in the evening, so still have some time to do something during the day.
So after I finally found a place to rent surfboards, the weather or my health have kept me from going there. Today, the stars seemed aligned, so me and Hywel walked to the beach to rent the boards and get in the water. Unfortunately, the shop was closed today, so we could only sit on the beach and watch the locals ride one beautiful wave after the other.
Really sad that I didn’t get to go out today. It might have been my last chance to surf in a long time :-/
…because I think it would be cool to have 1000 likes and I am so close now LOL
At 1000 likes, I will reveal a secret BJJ technique here on the blog, that there is no defense to.
I did not manage to attend the morning class today, which I was actually really bummed about. I have missed out on so much training due to holidays last week and being sick most of this week, so I was really annoyed that I did not get to go today. Even worse, I couldn’t find any other gym to go to today. Nothing to do about it though. Instead, me and three others from the house, went to roll this evening.
We trained for an hour or so and I especially had my hands full with Rory, a brown belt from the UK, who has a guard that is extremely hard to pass. Good practice!
Later in the evening, we went to a local bar to watch the UFC.
Only two days left in Brazil before the looooong flight to Europe!
Nunchucks and making a house of cards on a cat (the most difficult variation of house of cards there is, because you have to gain a cats trust).
Jits Magazine came by the house today to do an interview about my trip. Afterwards, I went to the gym for Dennis’ class to see how I felt. I managed to do some isolation rounds and roll for about three or four rounds light. My cardio have taken a hard hit from the fever but I felt pretty alright, only a little dizzy in the beginning.
It was really nice to be a little active again, looking forward to more training tomorrow, where there should be lots of black belts on the mat.
Just woke up and I feel great! I have been sweating like a pig all night (it was like sleeping in a pool), but today I feel much better and on top of that, it is a beautiful day outside, so couldn’t be much better.
Surfing, training and actually doing something is coming up asap, wohoo! :-P
Last night was very tough. I would be cold as ice for three hours, soaked in sweat for three hours, then repeat all night. I managed to sleep 13 hours, but woke up countless of times and had to either put clothes on or take some off to adjust to the temperature.
Have been feeling a bit better today though. Actually managed to get out of the house. Me, Gary and Dave took the bus to Copacabana beach and went for a little walk. It was nice to do something after sitting on the couch all day yesterday with a fever. There were lots and lots of people in the water, and I really wanted to go there. I hope I have time to rent a board and try it out before I leave.
Still have some fever, headache and stomach ache today, but is it not as bad as yesterday. HOPEFULLY, I can train again tomorrow. I am going a little crazy here, not being able to do anything.
Location:Estr. Sorimã,Rio de Janeiro,Brazil