The South African OG has been lapping the planet for more than two decades. In spending nine months of each year circumnavigating the globe he has accumulated not just a billion air miles, but a wealth of knowledge. We caught up the Jordy to pick his travel brains and see what he’s learned after 20 years on the road.
Less Is More
The first big lesson is that less is more. Even though I travel with bigger ticket items, having fewer of them makes them way easier to manoeuvre. I often carry two Surf Bags, full of boards, and two Hugger Roller Bags, plus a Ramverk Pro backpack. With the Hook-Up system, I’m able to carry all that with minimal effort. Even with all that gear, I can move it like it's next to nothing. I am surprisingly mobile. Having a smaller number of items also means there is less potential to lose bags, and keeps your hands free.
This is related to the first point I suppose, but I think people make the mistake of overpacking, especially with clothes. As an example, I was just away for two months and I got away with four T-shirts, two pairs of shorts and pants, and a nice jacket. If needed I’ll pack a warmer shell coat in with the boards. You can usually access a washer and dryer and so that will get you through. People take way too many clothes, especially for shorter journeys.
Have a List and Pack Quick
I can be ready to roll on even a long trip from scratch in five to ten minutes. I have an internal mental packing list that I check off. It goes, in order, passports, computers and chargers, fin system, then boards and wetsuits. Clothes take a few minutes at the end. If you have that pattern, packing should be quick and easy.
Front Of The Queue
Look I probably shouldn’t recommend this, but when dropping bags and surfboards off at the
check-in, I always go straight to the front of the queue, no matter whether I’m travelling economy or first class. And 99 percent of the time, no one says anything. I’m carrying two massive board bags and two luggage bags, and I’m usually sweating. People understand that it looks like I'm having an absolute nightmare. Both the staff and the customers are usually pretty keen to get me out of the way.
But when you are at the mercy of the airlines and weather patterns, there's usually nothing you can do about delays or changes. Blowing up or being angry just doesn’t work. Being nice often will result in a better outcome. Travelling comes with its up and downs and that is all part of the deal. The better you roll with both, the better experience you will have.
Getting Off The Beaten Track
One thing I’ve learned in 20 years travelling is that the world has gotten smaller. There seem to be fewer differences in the places I travel to when I started. Countries seem more standardised, be it the food, the fashion, or the chains of stores that are everywhere. That’s a little bit sad, but it does have one benefit; it means you must be more adventurous to find authenticity or the unique aspects of the places you are in. So, I’ve learned to get off the beaten track a little and seek those differences.
Travel Is The Best Teacher
Even after I stop competing, I know travel will remain a big part of my life. I think that love and thirst for travel are one of the best things I can pass on to my son and children. I didn’t do a whole lot of school, but there are so many life lessons that you can only learn by being on the road. It's shaped who I am.