16/09/2014 - No Comments!

5 years travelling the Americas. An Interview with Iván Pisarenko.

6 minute read.


One thing I’d like to share with you on this blog are experiences outside of design. It’s important to look outside the field of design for new influences. Travelling and learning about other cultures can give you invaluable experiences that help you grow as a person and in turn give you a fresh perspective on design.

Iván Pisarenko is an Argentine photographer and film-maker who traveled the length of the Americas from Alaska to Tierra del Fuego in Argentina on a motorbike. The journey that he thought would take 9 months grew in an amazing 5 year adventure. I met with Iván for coffee in Buenos Aires to ask him some questions about his experiences while travelling.

Q. What was the craziest thing you saw or experienced while travelling?

A. There were 2 things. The first was sailing in the Caribbean during hurricane season. While in Nicaragua I met a guy with whom I became really good friends. It’s a bit of a long story but he decided to buy a boat then we taught ourselves how to sail it. At one point in a storm the boat was badly damaged and nearly sunk.

The second was when I was run-over in Ecuador and broke my pelvis. The difference between the two events was that while I was in danger in the boat I had time to reflect on my life, in Ecuador it just happened so quickly there was no time to be afraid.

Now when I have a difficult day I remember the time on the boat and whatever is causing me trouble doesn’t seem so big anymore.

Q. How has travelling changed you and what have you learnt?

A. Sometimes I don’t feel all that different to before I traveled. Perhaps travelling just planted the seed of change in me. I do feel a lot more connected than before. Like when you connect up the wires to a set of speakers, you know? As a result of being more connected, when I feel down I stop and think why I am feeling this way then try to find out a way to resolve the problem.

I have also learnt to enjoy the experience of travelling, rather than just racing to get to the next destination.

Q. How did your opinion on your home country of Argentina change after travelling?

A. When I returned I rejected the local society to some extent. Perhaps I was a bit arrogant. I felt that there was a bit of bad energy here but then I saw this as a challenge, to stay positive and instill this in others. You can become a bit lazy in your own country. Now I try to put as much energy into my everyday relationships as to those I had when I was travelling.


Q. What advice would you give to others thinking of travelling?

A. Don’t be afraid of travelling alone. People are afraid of this their whole lives. When I was in Mexico some guys approached me intending to rob me but when they saw I was alone and found out I was travelling the whole length of the Americas they actually ended up buying me a beer.

My other bit of advice would be to get rid of the ego. You may get more attention from the locals for being foreign, especially if you’re a travelling through somewhere like Central America. Try to use this to get to know people rather than using it to sleep with as many girls as possible.

Q. Did you miss having a normal routine?

A. No. I liked the routine of finding something to eat, a place to shower and somewhere to sleep every day. This made me feel alive.

Q. What was the best and worst experience of the trip?

 A. I can’t really say any experience was bad. Every experience I had helped me in someway to grow, so even what some people would call a negative experience actually really turned out to be positive because of what I learned from it.

You can read more about Iván’s adventure here.

Published by: James in Uncategorized

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