Szymon Stafa: I’m traveler. It’s my life. During my travel, I meet a lot of people and it helps to see the world through the eyes of local people. I believe it’s most powerful and the best what u can do during travel.
I was around 15 when the first time I went with my friend to Amsterdam, without mom, on my own. Mom gave me money for travel and after this, it started. We went by train. It was amazing. I still remember this trip.
And it has never stopped. I’m 35 years this year and it’s already 15 years I’m on the way. After this I went to another continent, it was Morocco, to visit my friend for one month, but it took me the second month and third month. Whole three months I stayed there. I felt there like at home and I knew that I want to travel more….
When did you decide to travel by campervan, alone and all around the world?
It took me actually many years, with small travel, 2 months, 3 months with people, without people. the big travels always start with the small trips. I was in South America promoting Polish cinema abroad. We were showing cartoons to children. That time I realized traveling should not finish. And I also could live during the travel. We had the car, we had the projector and were showing people cinema. That time I always was thinking about my next adventure and I was preparing everything (Szymon Stafa YouTube channel). When you travel a lot, it means you are the home seeker. After while I’m not the home seeker, as I have home with me and it calls a campervan. I have the library, I have a kitchen and can cook for myself. For example, in India food is very spicy (Szymon is now in India). I cook by myself for it not to be too spicy. So, I can do things what I like.
What does a person need in order to start travel with campervan?
Determination. The most important thing is determination. You just need to start travel. Well, you need some income to travel, you need some money. Travel without money is difficult. I was lucky because I run my own business, I have a guesthouse Cilantro Bed & Breakfast. It is very successful, there are people all the time. I worked there at the very beginning. But right now, my friend works there. My business helps me to travel. I made a car which is comfortable and always on the way.
How do u plan where to go?
I choose places by ethnic groups, all that connected to ethnography. It’s something which gives me a power. I look for ethnic groups. For example, I choose Georgia because of Svaneti. I wanted to discover Svaneti. Later I went to Azerbaijan and step by step I to other places. Their life is interesting; their traditions are interesting. I love adventure travel.
What about local people? How much it’s important to meet locals?
It’s my life. When you are alone, what choice do you have? Communicate with locals or be alone. You should have a local, then another local. I talk to people, and I discover a lot of things. It’s so simple. We get acquaint to each other just in the street… they talk to you, they start to invite you and I learn a lot. And friendship is everywhere. If you are not communicating during your travel with local people, you lose your life. I believe that we see what we see, but when you travel we start seeing with the eyes of local people. That time you feel much more and become emotionally rich. People who travel and don’t meet local people, they lose the point of view, to extend their horizon. I believe it’s most powerful and the best what you can do during travel.
*You can read more about Szymon’s adventures on his Facebook Page
Do you have some story connected with locals, which possibly has changed something in your life?
In South America, in a zone of Colombia, we were in the war zone. There are Indian people, who still paints face and body and we were accepted in the village. We tried to convince the boss of this Village to stay. There they painted our faces, we took part in ceremonies, and we showed them our cinema. When you make cinema in a city, children always come and go. In this village lived around 300 people live in this village and everyone was there to take part. They were laughing lot, expressing emotions. It was amazing to be such close to local people.
One more story is about how I was hunting with eagles in Kirgizstan, how I was riding the horse and making scary other animals. Can u imagine that eagle can kill a wolf? I also didn’t believe before… I have seen this by my eyes. There are such plenty of stories I had with local people.
How many countries you’ve been?
Around 100 countries.
What is the most important during travel?
Not to forget to respect people whom you meet. Places we are visiting are not designed for us, they are designed for those people who live there. So, don’t be surprised and criticizing traditions, their thoughts.
Just try to understand them!
And for those people who still thinks how to travel: - Don’t hesitate. Just GO! Be brave and go! - Szymon Stafa (globetrotter and adventurer, who travels around the world by campervan)
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