Hello hello everyone!
I would like to first of all thank Christian and the Globetrotters team for sponsoring us on our travels. We are absolutely honored to be able to represent BJJ Globetrotters on our way around the world and look forward to meeting all the amazing people along the way.
Before I get into the meat of the blog, i’ll give a quick background as to who we are.
Katherine and I both grew up on dairy farms in the small rural town of Ruawai, New Zealand.
Katherine is a full time Early Childhood Teacher and I work in the agricultural sector. We spend most of our time fishing, diving and as of 2 years ago, BJJ!!
This is a 15kg kingfish caught off the Northland coast and it made some great smoked fish.
We started training BJJ around 2 years ago out of Fightshop in Palmerston North, NZ. I remember my first week of rolling being both incredibly exciting and terrifying. Learning to do my first collar choke was a surreal experience. It took some getting used to let someone I had only just met put on a choke and trust that they will respect the tap.
After around a year of training we decided to enter our first competition. This was the 2016 Wellington Gi Regionals. I managed to not get subbed but lost to points and Katherine managed to come home with a silver medal!
We now train out of myBJJ Whangarei under Professor James Cherrie.
When we decided to take a break from normal life and go see some of the world, I was worried that we would have to put BJJ on hold. Luckily for me we had a BJJ Globetrotter Anthony Panaioli training at the gym who gave me the whole insight as to what Globetrotters is all about. A quick google search later and all my worries had disappeared!!
Our travel so far!
After a few weeks of fishing, diving, BBQs and rolling we flew out of NZ late April on a one way ticket to London. We spent the first week getting over the jet lag of the worlds longest flight (Auckland to Doha – 17hours 40mins). It wasn’t as bad as we thought it would be, Qatar airways were fantastic.
We chilled out at a family members house in Worcester, checking out the local pubs and planning a 2 week trip around the UK.
After a few days in Liverpool, we were off to Scotland. Here we decided to hire a car and spent a few days driving around on a castle hunt, where we found them everywhere. Now, being a fan of Braveheart, we had to visit the William Wallace memorial.
Behind me here is where the battle of Stirling happened.
We spent the next few days hanging out in Edinburgh, where I found a few great whisky pubs! This place has to be one of the most beautiful cities in the world (thus far….) and the people of Scotland were amazing.
Now back to London, on an over night bus :(.
London is a great city for a tourist. It is well set up, there are a ton of sights to see and museums to visit, and the tube system is fantastic! The one thing I didn’t like were the 5 pound pints!
Where to next? A small village in the south of Spain called Jimena De La Frontera via Malaga. We stayed with the same family members as we did in Worcester and were lucky enough to be invited to stay a week or so. We flew into first and decided to stay a few nights in Malaga in a hostel right on the beach. This was a great change from the UK climate, where the temperature stayed in the high 20.C. We stayed here for a few nights, checked out the local markets, took a swim right outside the hostel (not quite confident to strip off like the locals haha), and got introduced to dirt cheap food and beers, before heading down to Jimena.
Now that we were out of the rat race on London I had a look around for a local gym. However, before I could get my Gi on and hit the mats, I was hit with a terrible case of the man flu, or as they call it in Spain, El Man Flu. This had me bed ridden for two days and off the mats.
The next week or so were spent in Jimena, with a few day trips to see some sights, even on to Gibraltar. This small village in the south of Spain was a great little retreat, and after a day or two of 1 Euro tapas and cervezas, I was back to full strength! Now being a small village, there were no BJJ facilities to be found, but using a little ingenuity we managed to have a roll around on the front porch. Due to the tiles it was more of a very slow flow roll, but we managed a few sweeps and subs, and it was just enough to scratch our itch!
From here we took a long train ride to Barcelona and checked in few a couple of nights. Fantastic city, although the tapas and cervezas doubled in price haha.
Now I was determined to find a gym, and I managed to find Atos Barcelona were I was greeted by the very friendly Gustavo Galvao. Now I don’t speak much Spanish, and they didn’t speak much English, but that didn’t matter. As Gustavo was teaching an arm bar on someone in the turtle, I was easily able to follow along and ask questions. Then it hit me, we shared the language of Jiu Jitsu. It might sound funny but i’m sure a lot of you understand exactly what I mean.
It was fantastic to be able to attend a class at a world renowned gym and roll with some absolute savages! My new BJJ Globetrotters Gi was amazing to roll in. Very light which was great in the Spanish heat, however, it is a little tight around the waist haha, might need to cut down on the beers!
Now, we are traveling on a shoe string, trying to keep costs down and go where prices are low. We were hoping to head up to Amsterdam via Paris, but instead we flew to Warsaw. This was due to a few reasons. Firstly, western Europe is expensive if you don’t book ahead, which we didn’t. Secondly, eastern Europe is cheap and you don’t really need to book ahead to far. And thirdly, Poland is a cool place that I have always wanted to visit.
I am writing this, my first ever blog about anything, in a hostel in Krakow. I’m jamming to some Foos and sipping a Polish beer I found for around half a Euro. Tomorrow we are off to Auschwitz to get a history injection no amount of time in school could ever give you. Might need to get something stronger to drink tomorrow night. Or roll. I think I might roll. There are a few gyms in Krakow so hopefully they wont mind a couple of Globetrotters gate crashing a class tomorrow afternoon!
Anyway, that’s enough from me. We don’t have a very detailed plan for the rest of our trip, who knows where we will end up! All we know is we want to see a lot of the world, meet some cool people and roll at a wide variety of gyms!
Jamie and Kathey :)