Mr T (Torbjorn)
When We Met: Feb. 2014
Where We Met: Playa del Carmen
Occupation: I was account executive, business guy, I would say
You can’t live on a sofa in front of a T.V. and think you are going to grow.
Where are you from? Sweden
What was your profession back home? I was account executive, business guy, I would say.
What inspired you to leave that and travel? To be really honest, it was not a inspiration. I always had a dream of sailing through the world in a sailboat and I think that is a metaphor for freedom or something because I was working 24/7 all the time. But I’m not a sail guy, I can’t sail. I was in a way tired. I was in an office 24/7, I was a machine, I lost my passion, I lost my life in a way. When I started my way of doing business, I do it for fun. I loved to build companies. Most guys like to build people and educate them and make sales. I was the kind of guy that says, “let’s go guys!” you know. Kind of American in a way but in a real way I loved people. I played ice hockey, I broke my back and was in hospital for two years. So yeah I have so much things to take back, a lot of energy, I focused this energy. For me it was not about money, fantasy in a way. I love to do things. I love to make things happen. But I ended up one day, “what the fuck” I was sitting here and was like shit. I lost myself in a way. It sounds like a midlife crisis but it was deeper than that. I lost myself and I had to do something. So it’s not inspiration, it’s I have to go.
How long have you been traveling for? Three years.
Do you have any destinations that you’re currently thinking about going to? Yeah, but I’ve been around Asia, Southeast Asia, I’ve been around all of Europe, before I was traveling to Europe in a suit (laughs). Go to a meeting, back to hotel, two whiskys, and back home. So, now I’ve done all of Europe with just a backpack. Croatia, France, Italy, Spain, I was there like one year. It’s kind of expensive but I wanted to see it from the other side. But my next destination is probably…I want to go back to Colombia. I love Columbia, it’s the best country in the world I think. But I loved it because of the people. Unbelievable.
So, if you had to pick a favorite experience you had in the last three years, what would it be? I got to know a family in Colombia. They treated me like part of the family, they were so nice. People think of Colombia like it’s a party destination but for me the thing about Colombia…for me it was about people, the real people, the Colombians. Colombia had, 15 years ago with Pablo Escobar, it was fucking the most dangerous country in the world, probably, but now they want to show we are not, please come see us. They’re so happy, they were so nice to me. I would say that is my strongest memory.
Do you have a least favorite experience, something that happened to you that made you want to go home? I got robbed, I had a knife to my throat in Belize City at night.
What do you think of Playa del Carmen, Mexico? Playa del Carmen is, I mean, Playa del Carmen in a lot of ways is a party place, you know, it is very touristic, but it is a big difference between Playa del Carmen and Cancun because Playa del Carmen is more cosmopolitan, it’s more European, a lot of Italians, there are more Swedish than there are native people, Germans but if you go to Cancun it’s just Americans. I don’t think they know about Playa to be honest. Cancun and spring break and all this shit, this is a tradition in the US but for me Play is more cosmopolitan, more international.
Do you travel on a budget, do you keep a budget? That’s an interesting thing because when I start traveling my first destination was Bali in Indonesia and the first six moths I lived in hotels, kind of five star hotels, because I didn’t have this budget to go off of but I was like fuck, this is so boring, you don’t meet people. It’s families, nice couples, you know, no offense to that but after a while I started to go to hostels and my god, things changed. You meet people with experience, you meet people that have done things, seen things, you meet crazy people, funny people, all kind of people. That is what I want to get out of traveling so for me yeah, I live on a budget now.
What is it? To eat, to live, on average 500 pesos (40 dollars) a day. The thing is the good things are for free, the rest is just paying for a place to sleep and eating.
Do you have any words of advice for people who want to travel and haven’t yet done so? I will say it depends on what their reasons are for not traveling if it’s a financial thing, family, fear…. there are a lot of reasons for not traveling. For me you still have your family, you can go back whenever you want, you have Skype you can speak to them. So if you really want to go, go, because that makes life so much more …how do I say this in English…when you start traveling you never forget it, I mean honestly, you change as a person. You grow, you meet some hardships along the way, but this is what makes you grow. You can’t live on a sofa in front of a T.V. and think you are going to grow. That’s impossible. No pain no gain, in a way. Also, it’s not dangerous. People think it’s dangerous, I’m going to get killed, I meet people in Asia, a guy from Goldman Sachs, he gave away half his fortune to Green Peace and his aim was to bicycle around Asia, that’s amazing, he told me money doesn’t give him anything anymore. What am I going to do buy another fucking car? I dont need another car. Buy a bigger house? I don’t need it. I need to live.
Yesterday we spoke a little about fear, and people not traveling out of fear. Do you remember what you said about that? I think people are driven by fear, or guts, you know. You don’t do things because you are too afraid. No I can’t kiss that girl, she’s too a beautiful. The thing is people are more afraid of not succeed than they have guts to succeed. If you see what I mean. People are allowed choice and if people are afraid they have a reason not to do the things that make you grow and give you new experiences.
Do you see yourself ever going back home? Yes, I will go back, but I will back as a new person.