Featured traveller: Graeme McKenna

Let’s start out with some quick facts about you…

Age: 32
Belt: Blue
Profession: Itinerant sales and marketing manager with nothing to sell or market currently
How many years in BJJ: 2 years
Other martial arts: Got beat up a lot as a kid and Kenpo for 8 years
Where do you live: Currently in between London, UK and Melbourne, Australia for the next 3 months
Where are you originally from: Dublin, Ireland
Other fun or curious information you’d like to share: I am a Kung fu Master with a pirate’s mind. I spent the better part of a decade in a rock and roll band travelling through the deep south of the USA. And Highlander is the greatest movie ever made (there can be only one, but the sequels and the TV show aren’t THAT bad either).

Tell us what inspired you to travel and train?

There are two possible answers here.
Option 1: I am a disavowed IMF agent completing secret missions, and it brings me all over the world.
Option 2: I was given a great opportunity with my job to travel across Canada to Australia and back towards Europe for 12 months.

Tell us about your most recent trip and your upcoming trips – where have you been and where are you going?
Just got to London from Melbourne via Bali, and will be heading to the BJJ Globetrotter Zen Camp in Poland in a few weeks, but not before a trip to Manchester, Dublin, and Birmingham. After that, I’ll be visiting the Dominican Republic in October and hitting a few European destinations before I fly back to Australia to explore for the first few months of 2019.

What are the things you enjoy about traveling?
I love to meet new people and to see new places. Travelling with work has given me the opportunity to see parts of the world that I would not have even considered visiting otherwise. The Globetrotter community has helped me meet so many people who otherwise would not exist in my life.

Can you give us some examples of experiences you had that makes it worth traveling and training?
I’ve been travelling with my girlfriend and working long hours. Training has helped me make so many new friends along the way. When not staying in a place for a long time, it makes it hard to meet new people. Jiu Jitsu is like speed dating for new mates, so after a class or two people tend to invite you out for beers or over to watch fights etc.

What has so far been the most surprising experience for you when traveling?
Apparently in Asia you should not eat fresh vegetables out of a restaurant. That 15-hour flight to Europe with severe food poisoning was surprising for a lot of people.

Are you a budget traveller – and if so how do you plan for a cheap trip?
I am definitely not a budget traveller. I’d love to be, but I’m just too good at spending money on things. It’s almost an art at this point.

If you were to pass on travel advice to your fellow Globetrotters, what would it be?
Do not eat anything that gets washed in a sink and served without being heavily deep-fried while in a lot of Asia. You will regret it and it will make grappling a massively more extreme sport than it’s supposed to be.