Featured Traveller: Baloo Peinkofer – BJJ Globetrotters

Baloo Peinkofer BJJ

Age: 29

Belt: Brown

Profession: Manager for the municipal department for roads and parks

How many years in BJJ: 11 (although the Covid years make this sound weird)

Other martial arts: I’ve done a few years of judo, and during my first year of BJJ I was lucky enough to have an Iranian family where the uncle taught freestyle wrestling move to my town. He only spoke Persian except for when he told you your technique was off, but you can’t really be picky when it comes to freestyle as a European.

Where do you live: My last residence was a small village called Kuivakangas outside of Övertorneå. It’s on the Swedish side of the border with Finland, and pretty much smack dab on the Arctic Circle.

Where are you from: I was born in Germany, but we moved to the south of Sweden when I was three years old as my parents had bought a house in the middle of the Scandinavian woods.

Other fun or curious information you would like to share: Yeah, my name really is Baloo. Just in case that wasn’t unique enough, Falco, the name of the 80s pop artist, takes up some space in my passport as well.

Baloo Peinkofer – BJJ Globetrotters

Tell us what inspired you to travel and train?
Originally my parents. They did more during their early 20s than many people do in a lifetime. The amount of chutzpah it takes for a lot of their travels (some of which was with a small kid) is something I can only hope to exhibit some day.

I never got around to travel during my 20s. I spent all my time either training or studying. Then I kind of hit a wall. My studies weren’t going anywhere, and Covid put the BJJ academy in a coma. So I moved north, met my current girlfriend who already had plans to travel, and after roughly two years of working and saving up, we went for it.

Tell us about your most recent travel and your upcoming travel – where have you been and where are you going?
I’m currently writing this in Singapore, where we arrived after island-hopping through Thailand and travelling southwards along the west coast of Malaysia. On the 6th we’ll leave for Cebu, Philippines. Beyond that, we’re looking to see as much as possible of southeast Asia. Thereafter, we’ll assess the situation, see where we are budget-wise, and what we feel like. Provided the circumstances are right, we’ll most likely head for South America.

Baloo Peinkofer – BJJ Globetrotters

What are the things you enjoy about travelling?
Meeting people, eating new food, and seeing new things. Also, there seems to be a certain element of randomness that comes with travel, and it can lead to some surreal experiences.

Can you give us some examples of experiences you had that makes it worth traveling and training?
When it comes to training I’ve been unlucky so far. I caught ringworm on my final session at home, and it’s been a stubborn one. Thus, unfortunately I haven’t been able to train yet. Still, there have been some cool experiences that stand out.

For one, a friend of mine recently bought a traditional wooden Malay sailboat for one euro (long story) and he is sailing it back from Langkawi, Malaysia to Sweden at the end of the summer. We got the chance to spend a couple of days on the ship, help out, and just get a glimpse of everyday life at sea.

Another, rather surreal experience was when we went to what turned out to be a sex toy shop in Singapore (granted, there was the neon sign saying “Pow Pow” but you couldn’t really see in, and we had to know for sure). The lady working was immensely helpful but spoke no English, so she just walked after us explaining via Google Translate what everything was for and did. We didn’t buy anything.

On another, more general and serious note, I have friends spread out over several countries and cities. That is something I am incredibly thankful for.

What has so far been the most surprising experience for you when traveling?
The vast array of stuff you can get at markets in bigger cities. More than half my packing list could probably have been covered with half a day in Bangkok’s Chinatown. It definitely would have been cheaper as well.

Baloo Peinkofer – BJJ Globetrotters

Are you a budget traveller – and if so how do you plan for a cheap trip?
Yes, we try to keep costs down and extend our travels as long as possible. That being said, you don’t want to limit yourself to the point where there isn’t much to look back on afterwards.

Not being too picky about accommodation, choosing street food hawkers over restaurants, going with the slower travel options (like busses or ferries) instead of flying gets you pretty far. Also, don’t be like me and stay four nights in Singapore. There is no reason unless you really want to drain your wallet.

If you were to pass on travel advice to your fellow Globetrotters, what would it be?
It sounds cliché, but just go for it. You can spend so much time planning, looking things up, trying to puzzle together the perfect route. In the end though you have to buy the ticket and take the ride. Don’t overthink things, in other words.

Thank you to Baloo Peinkofer – BJJ Globetrotters for making this interview!