My name is Joseph Wennerlund. I have spent most of my life wondering and not witnessing. People who know me can tell you business ideas I’ve had, places I’ve wanted to go, things I’ve wanted to do, and they could tell you the person I’d like to become. The problem is I talk too much and have nothing to show. Caravan to the Cup is my personal uprising.
The idea to drive to Brazil from Arizona originated as most of my ideas do, over a couple beers with some friends. That might be the reason most of my ideas never get looked at twice, but I stick to the fact that alcohol and friends place all the stressful things in life aside as I open my thought process and let everything in and then out. “Let’s go to the World Cup, guys!” I said, on that foggy August night in 2012. “Hell yeah!” As they slurred, sipped, and swayed to the idea that of all World Cups to go to, the one in Brazil had to be it. “And let’s drive there!” I yelled, only to get another “hell yeah” from about half of them. I truly do appreciate having friends that support my crazy ideas. Matt stuck with me on this idea though. Matthew McCloskey and I have known each other since the 4th grade. We have been making short films since high school. We share movie ideas and occasionally we make them. He knows how my brain works and I, his. We planned this trip together. The places we’d see, the things we’d do, and the idea to make it a documentary. We would drive through 16 different countries in a safe and smart way, utilizing social media outlets such as blogs, forums, and Couchsurfing.org. We would do as the locals do and stay away from the typical tourist way to travel. We launched our Caravan to the Cup Kickstarter campaign together. We watched it fail together. I was running the social media end of it all while he was figuring out the logistics. Then real life happened. Matt was out of work for awhile during the planning process and he needed to return fast to save some money for this. Long story short, Matt finally found work and started making money but with the opportunities available to him, leaving it all for a crazy drive to Brazil was no longer an option. I don’t blame him, I am in the opposite situation. I have a job with no future opportunities I’d like to partake in, I have money saved, and I am ready to quit. (As I write this, my 2 week notice has been submitted and my last day is May 2nd.)
At this point, I was alone on this and focused on plan B. Taking buses all the way to Brazil. A one man documentary complete gorilla style. I can do that, sure. I was okay with the idea because traveling by bus, taking my time, meeting locals, and basically being a nomad is the way I like traveling.
Then came Carlos Jafarov.
During our Kickstarter campaign we had received multiple emails from people showing their support, sharing their knowledge, asking to come with, and one guy even offered up 2 tickets to the World Cup final match (which I am still waiting on a confirmation). Carlos, some random guy from New York, sent me an email explaining who he was and that he wanted to join us. I replied the same as I replied to all the other emails, “it depends on the funding we receive.” At that point Matt and I were banking on the Kickstarter being successful in order to get the vehicle we wanted to drive down. Without the necessary funds raised, we wouldn’t be able to drive. In the end, the Kickstarter raised $850 and we didn’t reach our goal of $10,000. We didn’t receive any of the funds based on the Kickstarter rules being “all or nothing”. Carlos emailed me shortly after saying he will buy the RV so we can drive. Amazing.
Carlos invited his friend Elvin Mirze. I’ve never met these guys. All I know is they’re down for an adventure of a lifetime and they like soccer. That’s all I need to know.
Carlos is leaving New York on May 15th. Elvin will meet him in Texas and then they will cross into Mexico at Nuevo Loredo driving the Caribbean coast down. I leave May 12th from Phoenix, taking a bus to see a friend in Hermosillo and meeting up with them in Veracruz, Mexico.
This is my journey to the 2014 FIFA World Cup.