Arizona Filmmaker Joseph Wennerlund Is On the Journey of a Lifetime to Rio for the World Cup

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It's Rio or bust for Joseph Wennerlund.
As you're reading this, Joe Wennerlund is currently kicking it Veracruz, Mexico. At this particular moment, the 27-year-old Valley resident might be either sipping some cerveza, feasting on some tacos, or maybe just checking out the city.

However, he isn't just another gringo soaking up some south of the border fun and sun, wey. On the contrary, the local filmmaker has just completed the first part of a 10,000-mile journey that will take him all the way to Rio de Janeiro for next month's World Cup.

See also: 10 Movies You Didn't Know Were Filmed in Arizona

It's the trip of a lifetime for Wennerlund (a major soccer fan) that will take him through 16 different countries and ultimately deposit him in the midst of an absolute Mecca of fútbol along with hundreds of thousands of other footie fanatics from around the globe. Wennerlund is also filming his experiences along the way for a documentary entitled Caravan to the Cup that will encapsulate the journey.

The trip is more than a chance to travel, witness the world's best soccer players in action, and create a unique documentary, however. For Wennerlund, it's also a cathartic experience.

According to the Caravan to the Cup website, Wennerlund's journey to Brazil became a way of getting out of a personal rut of sorts.

"I have spent most of my life wondering and not witnessing," he states on the site. "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."

Like many of his ideas, Wennerlund writes, taking a trip to see the World Cup in person was conjured up while drinking with friends, which in this case was in August 2012.

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.

Unlike Wennerlund's other alcohol-enabled inspirations, this one made it past the conception stage.

"I have spent most of my life wondering and not witnessing," Wennerlund wrote. "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."

Like many of his ideas, Wennerlund writes, taking a trip to see the World Cup in person was conjured up while drinking with friends, which in this case was in 2012. But unlike his other alcohol-enabled inspirations, this one made it past the conception stage.

Wennerlund originally envisioned making a 10,000-mile excursion from Arizona to Brazil by car along with his longtime friend and fellow filmmaker Matthew McCloskey. They'd seek out crowdfunding for the project, use social media and hospitality exchange sites like Couchsurfing.org to find housing, and record their experiences on video along the way.

Meanwhile, they'd "do as the locals do and stay away from the typical tourist way to travel" and attempt to engage in meaningful tourism in a sense.

In the video accompanying Caravan to the Cup's Kickstarter, Wennerlund says that the project also has some loftier goals.

"We want to show the world that a trip like this is possible. I mean, we're traveling through 17 different countries, over 10,000 miles, and through a lot of countries that people are afraid to travel through," he says. "But we want to show the world that you know, something like this, can and is possible, if you just travel in a safe and smart way."

And while both Wennerlund and McCloskey began planning and raising money for their trip in earnest, there were a few unexpected bumps in the road.

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2 comments
Colton Berry
Colton Berry

Tony Genco look at our boy Joe on Phoenix New Times :)

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