“Jika kamu tidak menemukan teman untuk memulai perjalanan, maka kamu akan menemukan teman dalam perjalanan”. Itu kata-kata yang tepat untuk menggambarkan persahabatan saya dengan Carlos. “Departures’ salah satu program adventure-nya National Geografic membuat kami berteman sekaligus mendorong saya memulai melakukan perjalanan beberapa tahun silam. Tak hanya tips-tips traveling dan tempat-tempat rekomendasi yang saya dapatkan dari Carlos, tapi juga banyak hal positip. Salah satu yang saya kagumi adalah cara dia memandang orang lain tanpa membeda-bedakan apapun latar belakangnya. Sharing kali ini saya ingin membagi cerita perjalanan Carlos.
Hey Carlos! Tell us a bit about yourself!
Well, my name is Carlos Figueiredo and I have Africa in my heart, because I was born in Angola in June 1964 and lived there for my first 11 years. At that age I came to Portugal with my parents and I live in a small town called Fátima, in the Centre of the country. I studied Law at the University but did not continued…I should have studied design or architecture, but I didn’t. So, has you know, at the present time, I work in a beautiful store where I sell art and decoration items. Sometimes I do design projects…just sometimes. I’m very curious about everything and I love to learn about our planet, about the Universe. I’m a traveler…every time I can, inside and outside of Portugal. I love our planet and all the species in it and I try hard to protect them (planet and animals). My daily life is as green as possible. I like Art (films included!), History, Astronomy, Geography and Biology. I like interior design and gardening. I’m becoming a minimalist, so I try to surround myself only by things and people who means something for me (like you, my dear friend!).
What countries does your family have its roots in, and how did that shape your love for travel?
All my family roots are, as far as I know, Portuguese. I don’t know if we have Nordic or Roman or Arab roots, because they lived in this territory before Portugal was a country. I feel I have something Arab in my soul. My mother’s family moved to Angola in the late 19th century, so my Great- Grand Mother, my Grand Mother and my Mother were born in Africa. The fact that we lived in Africa marked our way of being and living. We used to travel a lot in Angola, so that kind of living shaped, for sure, my love for travel.
How many countries have you visited? What are your top 3 favourite countries and why?
I visited 33 countries until now. Not counting Angola and Portugal. It’s very difficult to choose 3, but Morocco, Egypt and India are among my favorite. Angola and Portugal are very special for many reasons.
Your favorite cuisine out of all of your travels? Why?
My favorite cuisine is Indian, for all that spicy flavor. I have to say that African cuisine is very spicy too and I grew eating it as well as Portuguese food while I lived in Angola.
I love to see you travelling with Pitufo, looks sweet. Pitufo means SMURF in Spanish, right? When did you meet Pitufo? Did you buy it or someone gave you as a gift?
Yes, Pitufo is Smurf in Spanish. In 2012, my travel friend Victor rescued Pitufo from a fair and offered me that wonderful blue friend. We took him to Jordan that year and, from there, Pitufo became a travel companion in all my trips, even inside Portugal.
Do people also love Pitufo? Where did he stays during the trip?
First he was an undercover or clandestine traveler, always hidden. He only came out of the backpack for pictures. Now, even he travels inside a backpack, sometimes comes out and everybody sees him. He used to fly in the suitcase, down in the plane’s luggage hold, but from 2015 he travels near me in the plane…inside my backpack. Sometimes he comes out for pictures near the window! People loves Pitufo and always smile when they see him.
What will visiting every country in the world mean to you personally?
It means knowledge. I don’t travel to say that I’ve been there. I travel to know, to learn as much as possible about every people who lives in this planet, about their History, about the other animal and plant species with which these peoples share their land.
Can you tell me any particularly crazy or scary stories from your travels so far?
Fortunately, no scary stories. Well, just one, precisely with Pitufo! When we came from Dubai, the suitcase where he traveled in, stayed in Istanbul, where we stopped in our way home. I thought I had lost him, poor little one, alone in Turkey! But, that night, someone came from the Lisbon airport to deliver that suitcase at my home…what a joy!!!!! Pitufo was smiling and happy. He had caught the next plane to Lisbon, all by his own. He was proud of himself. So, from that day on, he always travels with me inside the plane passenger’s cabin. I have other stories, very interesting moments, that I can tell you another time.
I saw your mom on instagram. So beautiful. She likes travel too?
Thank you. She would like a lot, but now she’s afraid to fly! She traveled by plane before, when we came from Angola, but now she refuses to get in a plane. When she was young, she and her parents, used to travel by ship between Africa and Portugal. But we already traveled together here in Portugal. She loves Pitufo!
The last question, will you visit Indonesia?
For sure I will visit your wonderful country. So many things and places to visit, so many things to learn about! Meet you there…or here in Portugal! Why not? Thank you to include me in your project!
note : all pictures taken from Carlos Figueiredo dan Pitufo the traveler instagram (@figueiredo64 and @pitufothetraveler)