Jo, a South Korean Ibn Battuta who travels the world with his motorbike [Interview]

Inspired by Ibn Battuta, the greatest Moroccan traveller, Jo Yeong Jay Ho Geol a South Korean man has been through a 500 day journey crossing Asia and Europe using only a motorcycle. Jo is in Tangier today, visiting the city where his idol once lived.

Jo Yeong Jae Ho Geol, a South Korean man who travels the world with his motorbike./Ph. Facebook. Jo Yeong Jae Ho Geol
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Jo Yeong Jay Ho Geol is a full time traveller who abandoned everything to join his love for music, nature and freedom. He left South Korea 500 days ago to start a very adventurous journey. Inspired by Ibn Battuta, Jo is currently in Tangier where the Moroccan traveller once lived. Jo, who is only 20 years old, is a Gongju native, a city in South Chungcheong province, South Korea, he has been to every single country in the European continent. From Russia, to Germany Hungary and France, the young man stops at every city to play music and earn some money from his talent. Speaking to Yabiladi, Jo told us about his journey, inspirations and dreams.  

Tell us more about your journey ?

I started travelling on the 16th of April 2016 using only a motorbike. I left South Korean heading west. I went to Russia, Greece, Norway, Germany, Spain and France. In other words, I have been all over Europe just by myself.  What makes my trip different is that I travel with no money. I am a musician, and a painter and I carry my traditional Korean violin, so whenever I am in a big city I play in the streets and get money for that. If I get to earn enough money to pay for gas and food, I keep going. Surprisingly, in one year and three months this method worked quiet well for me.

Jo in Jerusalem./Ph. Jo Yeong Jae Ho GeolJo in Jerusalem./Ph. Jo Yeong Jae Ho Geol

What inspired you to start travelling ?

It all started when I was a kid. I was a huge fan of a Hungarian archery master. When I was a middle school student, I saw him on TV and got instantly inspired by his art. Since then, I dreamt of meeting this man but I was too young to travel to Hungary back in the time. When I was 18 years old, I became independent, I moved to the capital of Korea, Seoul.  To meet my idol, I got my motorcycle driving license and packed my instruments. My dream came true when I met the archery master in one of my trips. It was a moving moment for me indeed.

I am also interested in other world travellers such as Marco Polo and Ibn Battuta, the Moroccan traveller. I admire the latter’s journey so much as he managed to visit so many wonderful places.

Did you think of travelling first across South Korea before heading abroad ?

No, I am Korean so I really know a lot about the culture and the cities there. My dream was to travel abroad because I was eager to discover the rest of the world. After one month of receiving my driving license I jumped on my motorbike and went for my first trip outside Korea. Nothing was planned, I just followed my instincts and I kept going.

This is your first time in Morocco, what do you think of the country ?

I haven’t had the chance to discover Morocco yet but before stepping on the Moroccan soil I met a lot of Moroccans in France, and Spain. Honestly, they were very nice to me. For that sake, I am looking forward to meeting the people here, know about the culture, their ways and how they think and behave. So I am planning to travel across Morocco then go to Mauritania and Senegal. It is also my first time in Africa and my second time being in the desert.

Do you consider travelling as a lifelong journey ?

I want to travel across Africa and then go to South America and maybe visit other countries there. I love what I do; it makes me happy so I am planning to travel the world.

Jo playing the Korean violin in Turkey./Ph. Jo Yeong Jae Ho GeolJo playing the Korean violin in Turkey./Ph. Jo Yeong Jae Ho Geol