“You have to learn to be comfortable with being uncomfortable; it’s the only way to grow…” -Jeroson Williams
In May 2014, Taylor Harris and Jeroson Williams stepped off the commencement stage of Morehouse College onto a one-way flight to Peru. Leaving their degrees and luxuries behind, the pair set out for what would soon become a trip of a lifetime. They were headed to the World Cup.
Birth of a book
The former biology majors loosely planned for South America before graduation. Their only mission then was to catch a few games and take a few cool pictures along the way. During the six hour flight from Atlanta to Lima, though, the expedition took on a new goal, or gól. Photographer Taylor Harris thought stadium games would be a bit cliché, so he set out to discover alternative locations to experience the excitement of the World Cup. He wanted to fully capture the passion, people and pride.
“There are unforeseen moments that show both pride for one’s country and for futbol that are incomparable to anything else in the world,” said Harris. These moments ranged from taxi drivers honking horns when the team scored to little kids wearing their superhero futbol player’s jersey.
These same moments inspired the photography book Orgólho. The title was conceived using a clever spin on the Portuguese word for pride, “orgulho,” and the Spanish word for goal, “gól”. Creating the book was a minor task compared to the adventure at hand.
Backpacking through South America
In 53 days, the Atlanta natives traveled to six South American countries by plane, bus and train with one backpack each. From frigid outdoor hostels in Chile to hippy surf towns in Ecuador, the young travelers encountered several obstacles, including sickness, danger and financial setbacks. They also encountered several opportunities to help reshape foreigners’ perception of Black Americans and to take amazing photographs.
The new documentarians returned to the U.S. with priceless memories, unique photographs and a few tips on making the most out of a backpacking experience.
- Use Common Cents. Always over budget, even if you plan down to the cents; there will always be an unexpected curve ball. Have an emergency stash ready in addition to extra spending money.
- Sleep Cheap. Hostels may seem a bit tacky to some, but it is one of the best ways to get teh center-city experience and meet other frugal, young travelers.
- Stay Away from the Cliché. Open up your pallet, and take a bite of the unexplored. Be prepared to try new things.
- Google. Read. Repeat. Although the limitless agenda is dreamy, more planning equals a smoother trip. Use sites like Travel Noire, Yelp and Hostel-World to get a feel for what’s available in your surroundings.
- Be Creative. Be Strategic. Look up events happening across the country, like soccer games or carnivals, to experience local culture and to get the most out of your trip.
Williams and Harris are now transitioning into the world of medicine and technology but hope the Orgólho story will live on.
Visit www.orgolho.com to see images from the young travelers’ adventure. www.orgolho.com.
Photo credit: Taylor Harris