Interview to Capitan Macuto

A kind of strange little trio has recently come back from their Round-the-World-Trip. The little monkey Macuto has eventually achieved to convince its two friends, Antonella and Miguel, an Italian-Spanish couple, who are a bit too lazy (at least according to Macuto) to leave for this adventurous trip around the globe. Leaving their secure and stables job in the city of London, the three of them left everything behind and head to Andalucía where their trip started.

We followed their adventures on Instagram and Facebook during the last year, and when we saw that they were again in the Old World we turned freakily curious to know everything about their experience.

Who is Capitan Macuto?
Capitan Macuto is a backpacker monkey. Macu is an explorer. He loves learning about new cultures, trying new food and meeting local people.

How did the project of Capitan Macuto come up to your mind?
Many reasons lead to the creation of Capitan Macuto. To start, we wanted to share our travel experience with our friends and family. On the same time, we wanted to share tips and tricks with other travellers. When we were planning the trip, we used many blogs written by other backpackers and we found them really helpful. We continued to use many of them every time we were visiting a new place.
A website looked a good idea. We like keeping ourselves busy with some productive project and we wanted to test whether we liked working together. We did not like the idea of exposing ourselves with a personal blog. Many people do but it is not our style. So, the puppet seemed perfect. We could talk in first person without talking about us.

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Taipei, Taiwan.

How long have you been travelling and which countries have you visited?
We left the UK, where we work and live, at the end of April 2016 and we are going to finish our trip in Sardinia in June 2017. Our trip started in Spain, visiting Tenerife and Andalusia. The idea is to start the trip in the country of origin of one of us and to finish in the country of the other.
After Spain, we flew to Mexico where we started our exploration of Latin America by traversing the continent down to Bolivia. During our American adventures, we visited Mexico, Guatemala, Nicaragua, Ecuador (including Galapagos), Peru and Bolivia. We crossed Belize, Honduras and San Salvador.
The easiest and cheapest way to reach Asia from South America was getting a flight from California to Singapore, passing by Japan. That looked perfect as we caught the opportunity to visit Los Angeles, San Francisco and Tokyo!
The Asian chapter includes: Singapore, Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, Vietnam, Philippines, Taiwan and Shanghai.

How did you manage to leave your daily routine and job and leave for such a long travel?
I guess the real question is: how will we manage to get into the daily routine again?

 

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Teotihuacan, Mexico.

 

 

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Small Lagoon Napcan, Philippines

 

How would you describe the life of a digital nomad?
The life of a digital nomad is not as easy as it looks like. Working as digital nomad requires a basic and essential setting. The most important thing is having a good internet connection. We take it for granted but not all countries have a decent internet infrastructure. Latin America had been really challenging for that. Sometimes we spent one full night to upload just less than ten pictures on the cloud. In the Galapagos Islands, the data traffic was so poor that it was impossible to even receiving WhatsApp messages!
Another essential thing is having a safe place to work from. Working from home (=hostel!) is not ideal, at least for us. We need to change environment and see other people, sit in ergonomic chairs, having small chats, having a walk on the way to work and so on. Leaving home in the morning to go to work creates a routine and helps to healthily separate work from leisure.
We worked from different coworking spaces in Asia and we really liked it. We do not mind working from cafes every now and then but this is a luxury one can afford only in Asia where going out in the street with the laptop does not involve any safety issue.

Let’s talk about food! Which country has impressed you the most for its gastronomy?
I’d say the best gastronomies were the ones of Mexico, Peru and Vietnam. Especially in Mexico and Vietnam the variety of food is directly linked to the territory so, if you travel there, the advice is to try everything because you may not see it in any other place!
Discovering the history of the gastronomical traditions was interesting. Did you know that the cuisine of Peru’ is influenced by the Japanese? Or that Mexican food is totally different from the one you eat in Europe, which is normally TexMex?

Have you learned any new recipe that is now part of your personal cookbook?
We did a cooking school in Peru where we learned to prepare Ceviche and to cook the Alpaca. Ceviche is definitely one of the best dishes of the year. There are many dishes that we would like to prepare in Europe but it is difficult to find the ingredients. We will certainly get inspiration from them and cook some fusion dishes!

 

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Cooking School in Arequipa. After working many years in London, Artur came back to his Peru, where he settled an elegant restaurant with a cooking school. Here Antonella and Miguel had a private class with him, talking about Italian and Peruvian gastronomy, and why not even metal music.

 

 

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This is the Ceviche cooked by Macuto together with Artur. Arequipa is one of the gastronomic capitals of Peru, known indeed for its famous restaurants.

 

You have travelled quite a lot around South-East Asia. Have you tried any strange food, like grasshoppers or something that you still don’t know what actually it is?

In Mexico, we tried the grasshopper, called chapulines. They are not bad at all! You normally eat them as aperitivo with the Mezcal. Many Asian people eat scorpions, worms and other small animals but we were not so brave to try them!

What would you suggest to someone who wants to leave for a world trip like yours?
I suggest to plan it carefully. It is incredible how much time and money one can save with a good planning. We investigated for each country weather, cost per day, Visa requirements and vaccinations. Oh, and get a good insurance! Absolutely do not travel without it! You buy it with the hope of not using it but if something happens it is a real life saver!
The second suggestion is more emotional. Leaving everything is scary but it is definitely worth! A trip like this gives unforgettable moments, new knowledge and friends everywhere in the world. So, the advice is: do it!

Are you planning to leave for a new adventure?
There are many places we have not had the opportunity to visit. We could not enter in Chiapas and Oaxaca in Mexico because the protest of the teachers had blocked all the routes. Not even ambulances were passing by and, with the Zapatistas supporting them against the government, there were many fights with weapons and fires at the barricades. In Bolivia, we did not have the time to visit the Salar de Uyuni desert so we left if for next time. We can mention many other places we want to visit… so yes, there will be other trips but nothing in the pipeline yet! We need to come back to our works first and refill our bank accounts!

 

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Galapagos Islands – Sea lions are among the most numerous inhabitants of the islands, along with turtles and iguanas. They usually lay on the shores, but sometimes they prefer wooden benches.

 

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The menu del día based on lobster are available at lunch for 4$. In the evening it’s possible to have two lobsters for 15$ in total. Galapagos are rich of lobsters. Fishing is allowed according to the law terms and fish based meals can be considered the most typical dish of the islands.
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Chapulines are eaten as a sort of appetisers while drinking some Mezcal. Mancu, Antonella and Miguel tried it during their experience with ‘EatWith’ (a website like Airbnb that allows you to eat in a local house)

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Capitán Macuto
Macuto in Guatemala, looking over the Atitlan Lake.
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Tonsai, Thailand.
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Railay is a beautiful beach on the southern coast of Thailand. These boats sell delicious and cheap take away food, between monkeys stealing your sneaks and the Princess Penis Cave.

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