Jimmy Nelson, je heb vast wel eens van hem gehoord. Een wereldberoemde fotograaf, bekend van zijn portretten van indigenous stammen. In december 2017 vertrok Jimmy Nelson samen met Sophie Hilbrand en Waldemar Torenstra – en hun twee kinderen – op expeditie naar de uitgestrekte Maasai Mara in Kenia… Met Charlie’s Travels! De Jimmy Nelson Foundation stelde namelijk een reis beschikbaar voor een benefiet veiling van de Jimmy Nelson Foundation en de bekende Nederlandse acteur deed het hoogste bod. De Jimmy Nelson Foundation zet zich in om cultureel erfgoed en inheemse stammen en volkeren te beschermen, iets wat Charlie’s Travels graag wilt steunen. Charles nam het gezelschap dan ook met liefde mee naar het volk dat hij zelf zo bewondert; de Maasai. Het begin van een reis vol verrassende synergie tussen de twee avonturiers (lees Nelson en Witlox) en een gezamenlijke liefde voor het onbekende. En dit is wat meneer Nelson daarvan vond:
Travelogue & Recommendation Charlie’s Travels – by Jimmy Nelson
“It’s rare that after all these years that I’ve been traveling, many years, and many more to come, that one meets a kindred spirit. Somebody who is intrinsically connected with what he’s doing and what he wants to see, feel and share. The experiences I have had with Charlie’s Travels included all of this. Ninety per cent of the time when I travel I am extremely neurotically in control, but with Charlie the whole process was completely and utterly delegated. Charlie took over the whole journey and I had no idea what I was going to see, where I was going to go and what I was going to feel and think. All I knew that it was in Kenya.
Waldemar Torenstra & Sophie Hilbrand
The journey was also made even more special because it was a very unusual group of people. Dutch actor Waldemar Torenstra and his wife Sophie Hilbrand with their children. I did not know them very well before the trip. I love children and I am very comfortable with them, but to go on a trekking of the beaten track in Kenya with somebody else’s children was a bit nerve-racking. I always get on a plane anywhere in the world and I land in the strangest places without one element of sweat on my brow. But on this particular case I was nervous. All that sweat on my brow was absolutely unnecessary, because this journey couldn’t have been smoother.
To begin with, the people who were on it, not only was it managed by Charlie but he also had a fantastic cooperation with the Maasai, the ultimate symbiosis. Everything went flawless. With the Maasai, my team and the family it was perfect, all the characters were so connected and wanted to feel what we saw and experienced.
Travelling with children
The two children of Waldemar and Sophie… When you have children, these are the model children of what you should aspire to create, have and grow and bring up. Intrinsically that had to do a lot with them, but more importantly with the parents, who are widely travelled, extremely connected, very wise and intelligent. Not only as with me they have completely let go, they were trusting me and Charlie’s Travels. What actually ended up happening was a dream.
Jimmy Nelson and the Maasai
It was a dream week, in the Christmas period and we disappeared into the Kenyan landscape with the Maasai in a very unusual way. We walked through different climates over hills, through jungles, across deserts and up mountains and ended with this panoramic epic view of the Magadi desert. The weather was perfect. It was sunny all day. Everything was organized perfectly. The Maasai who we walked with were the kindest, sweetest people you can ever imagine. This was all organized so well by Charlie.
There are a fewer people on the planet who are better connected with their environment and culture. Kenya is becoming modern. It’s not hiding from the past at all. The Maasai are one of the few tribes on the planet who are managing to find – I think – quite a beautiful balance with evolving out of their past and moving into our future. They are using modern technology, some have smartphones, some are on motorbikes. Every evening they sit down, they reconnect with the soil, they light fires and they sing and dance under the stars. They tell stories, they hold us, protect us, cook for us they laugh with us. There’s not one element of threat, not one element of intimidation other than kindness. At the end of the day everything is packed and of we go on another modern journey. There is a very beautiful balance of the old and new world.
At the end something magical happened, something very unusual. Charlie had organized for us to go on a motorcycle trip through the desert. I am usually not the person who likes to use this kind of transport during a trip, because it can be a bit noisy and dirty. But he advised it and I’d had let go and delegated it and there we were.. With a fantastic Maasai crew, kids and adults. We jumped on the back on these old classic bikes and essentially drove through the Kenyan landscape, through the mud, through the dust, and we had the time of our lives. We laughed, I giggled so hard (I’m not allowed to say it..) I actually peed in my pants. But that didn’t matter because we were already covered in mud and sweat.
Joie de vivre: Charlie & Jimmy Nelson
That ‘Joie de vivre’ you can have… with the Maasai, on some motorbikes, with Waldemar & Sophie, their kids and Marit and Stephanie was absolutely golden. It’s priceless and there’s no organisation who could have organised it better. I thank Charles for this journey. This journey of teaching me not only to see and share and join with the Maasai in Kenya, but also to let go. Letting others take me and explore new horizons I have never seen before. Charlie you are amazing, we are extremely grateful. Anybody who reads this, can be assured that when Charlie takes you on a journey, it will be a journey of your lifetime. Thank you very much.”
Sophie Hilbrand and the Maasai
As a well-known Dutch actress and TV host, Sophie has seen and traveled a lot around the world. In her work, she has also touched upon issues around mental health and emotional well-being. “We can really learn from the Maasai and their way of life. For quite some time now, I have concerned myself with matters of depression, burn-outs and the western world. One feels the loss of certain values, that have disappeared in our own culture. This is why we have to keep looking at these people, to learn or re-discover (and feel intuitively) what is truly important.“
De perfecte reis is subjectief. Daarom begint iedere reis met een aanvraag waarin jij uitlegt hoe jouw perfecte Afrika-avontuur eruit ziet.
2. Skype met Charlie
Bij ons geen dertien in een dozijn standaard tripje: de perfecte reis is een co-creatie. Je kan het zo gek niet bedenken… Op een struisvogel van Nairobi naar Kaapstad, of met een kano de Nijl op peddelen? Try us!
3. Het voorstel
Je krijgt een op maat gemaakt reisprogramma opgestuurd met planning, budget, handige tips en materiaal dat je aan je medereizigers kan laten zien. Als het je niet zint gaan we weer terug naar de tekentafel.
4. Safari Njema!
Voor je het weet scheur je met een Maasai de savanne over en sta je oog in oog met een neushoorn!