Thursday, August 28, 2014



This is the cover of “Hitch-hiking in the Axis of Evil - By thumb through Iraq, Iran and Afghanistan”, my first book to be properly published and available internationally after ten years of self publishing.

The book is consciously aimed at providing evidence of the hospitality I experienced while hitch-hiking across the Islamic World, during the first stage of my on going round the world hitch-hiking expedition. In those lands nicked “the Axis of Evil” by George Bush, where mass media only predicates terrorism and violence, I would stumble day by day upon the most genuine and touching samples of human kindness. These pages are a vehicle of understanding, a call for empathy and an attempt to recover the kaleidoscopic diversity of one of the world’s most stunning regions.



By Thumb in Iraq, Iran and Afghanistan

264 pages. Black & white photographs + 6 maps

ISBN: 978-987-29731-2-4

Price: EUR 22.00  (U$S 28,60) includes registered shipping (almost) worldwide.

How to get it? You can buy the book and help Laura and I keep travelling and carrying on the Nomadic Educational Project by emailing us at In exchange we will send you a Pay Pal request. Once paid, the book will be sent to you by registered post from Argentina.


On May 1st, 2005 Juan Villarino, an Argentinean hitch-hiker, hitches a ride in a sailboat from Belfast harbor to Scotland, with his steps bound for Middle East. Borrowing a snail’s strategy, he carries all he needs in a backpack, and stretches his thumb along both dusty roads and highways. He possesses no credit car or bullet proof jacket. His goal: to cross the heart of the Islamic World solely by hitch-hiking, in an attempt to prove that hospitality sprawls in a region portrayed as terrorist by the establishment media. Turkey, Syria, Egypt, Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan… As he moves across the vast globe Juan lives deliciously absurd events. He enters Iraq at night like a homeless, but ends up teaching hitch-hiking lessons in the Kurdish Parliament. In Teheran he sojourns with the Intellectual resistance against Iran’s Ayatollahs regime. He crosses Afghanistan village by village, having tea in a minefield, becoming a postman for a day, and dropping by a NATO base to fill up his backpack with foodstuff. While he travels, his pen frames those average people who sweat and work under any flag but never (ever) inhabit the headlines. The outcome is the book you hold in your hands: an ode to movement and a precise chronicle about one of the less travelled zones on Earth. Today, Juan keeps hitch-hiking the world and writing books by the roadside.


Important update for our followers! 

As a result of the success of the Spanish version of our books (which are, by the way, the original versions since we are Argentinean) Laura and I are focusing in our Spanish blogs and social networks. So No!, we didn`t stop travelling. The reason why you don`t see the recent post on the blog is because all our time while on the road goes to keep blogging professionally at and posting up the minute our Facebook Fan Page and Twitter communities. So click on those links to know where we are or wish us good roads!

Vagabundeando en el Eje del Mal (Hitch-hiking in the Axis of Evil) is in its third edition, having sold 8,000 copies. Caminos Invisibles (the book about our SouthAmerican 18 months trip by thumb) was published in November 2013 and is already in its second edition, with 3,000 copies already around. Enquiries about our Spanish language books, please drop a line at 

I want to share the soft and embracing happiness of being able, for the first time in 10 years of vagabonding wihtout certainties, to live off the sales of my writing. Thanks to everyone who did this possible.

Thanks for keeping us on the road!

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

From vagabond princess to queen of resort

Written by Laura Lazzarino 
Translated by Laura Rojas Palacio

The first time I came to Cartagena, I entered it through the back door. For me, there was no great impact of an airport with palm trees, no mythical fortified city, neither there was a first time picture from a postcard. That time I had to see in Cartagena what tourists never see and what few travelers want to see: the stifling of pavement and stickiness, the sinfonic and citylike noise of the outskirts. I slept in the house of a belgian manufacturer of weapons  who danced lambada in underwear and was running away from Saddam Husseinintheperipheralsuburbsof the city. Following my memories, I shall be honest and confess that the first steps through Cartagena were such antonyms that the second day of impossible heat and complete isolation, I sat on a sidewalk and started crying. Awhimwithoutkickingbut withmuch frustration that made metakerefuge inthe most backpackers-likehostel aroundGethsemane. From those first tears I turned to relief and love, and I was enchanted with this city and its colorful streets; with the mirages that it invents for tourists and with the real people that play dominoes in the Plaza deTrinidad.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013


señales de transito en argentina

Linking Chilecito and Villa Union on Route 40 is one of the pleasures of traveling in La Rioja. As elsewhere in the Northwest, the north-south orientation of ridges and valleys makes west to east travel only possible by winding slopes invented by man. Where geography granted a chance, brave engineers who fought a duel with the law of gravity have drawn  impossible plans. Routes that where not supposed to exist are my favorite! The Argentine Northwest has plenty of this and the Cuesta de Miranda, as the gateway to the North, is a promising appetizer for those challengingRuta 40 from south to north. I thought about all this while the "Blogtrip La Rioja Team" left the Hotel Cañón del Talampaya in Villa Union, where we had spent the night and had breakfast. Before, we had sighted condors in the Quebrada del Condor and done the Talampaya bike tour ...

DAS BACKPACKER MANIFEST – ein Text um (sich) zu befreien

Translated by Sara Alfonso Domenech and Vanessa Briese

Wir, die diese Webseite aufbauen glauben, das Backpacker zu sein mehr bedeutet als nur unseren Rucksack herumzuschleppen und Routen entlang zu wandern. Es ist mehr als per Anhalter zu reisen oder die Natur zu genießen.

Wir glauben, …

  dass die menschliche Kondition mehr Möglichkeiten zulässt als ein Diplom und Büroarbeit. Unsere aktuelle Gesellschaft hält die Menschen für wenig mehr als spezialisierte Werkzeuge. Effizienz und Produktivität sind die vorherrschenden Werte. Angesichts dieses Werteverfalls nehmen wir uns vor, den Verstand und die Erfahrung als Grundwerte und auch die Reise als bevorzugtes Mittel, um einen Zugang zu diesen zu bekommen, aufzuwerten …

Monday, July 08, 2013


 condor en vuelo


When the invitation arrived for the last blogtrip to La Rioja I could not stop smiling. The sighting of condors in the Quebrada del Cóndor was the first point of the route to be revealed. I was so happy, but what followed was even more interesting. The motto that La RIoja province was keen on promoting was "a return to the origins". I imagined -and then checked- that they were referring to the red walls of Talampaya and its prehistoric fossils. In my heart, however, I was preparing for a reunion with other kind of origins. Origins for me are not just a matter of time, but an attitude that undresses the scabs do not need. Every traveler needs those other sources: freedom, simplicity and serenity. The recent trip to often overlooked La Rioja province put me face to face with all three ...

Tuesday, June 25, 2013


Before My World Tour, in January 2005, I decided to "train" at home. I took a map of Argentina and found a difficult destination. Who knows how many mountains I would need to climb? How many  deserts and plateaus would I have to endure? I was going to travel two years overland across Middle East and Asia so, in search for comparable challenges at home, a friend  I decided to try to reach Laguna Brava, perched up in La Rioja`s Andes. It was the last trip of the  sedentary chapter of my life. Next week, I'll be rediscovering this beautiful province thanks to the blogtrip I was invited to join by the Ministry of Tourism of La Rioja. There is an outstanding itinerary across surreal landscapes and valleys dotted with iddylic mudbrick towns. And I have new eyes to discover them. If you want to follow the event on Twitter, attend the hashtag # LaRiojaBT. Soon, La Rioja on the blog posts.

Saturday, June 15, 2013


If you are looking for tips to travel to Cusco and Machu Pichu by land, knowing all the Sacred Valley of the Incas, practical information, prices or itineraries, this article will be helpful. Recently, the Spanish TRAVEL National Geographic magazine, asked me a note about it and then I realized: Clumsy! Why not share it with the readers of my blog? I know that I have used you to reading about faraway countries, but with this article I hope to do justice to a destination that every traveler should know.

Saturday, May 25, 2013


Why should a true traveler visit Ushuaia at least once in a lifetime? Following a recent invitation to a Blogtrip by the Argentinean Ministry of Tourism the present article focuses on this question.

How can some cities catch a spell on us when we spot their name on a map?   It may not be very poetic to test the strength of magic but on return to Ushuaia I decided to rush into such labyrinths of travelñ psychology. Why do travelers visit Ushuaia once and again through their lives? Laura and I  had first visited the city in November 2010 with a range of fuzzy dreams. We were grateful to the city, we had arrived with no expectations and, instead, we had ended up embarking to Antarctica.

What makes it worth traveling 3,040 miles to Ushuaia? Does a cold geographical record alone justify such a long trip? I should be sincere. Arriving on this this shy city on the Beagle Channel redefined my emotional cartography. I will  try to elucidate the essence of the magic of the world's southernmost city,  Argentina's other population on the other side of the Andes ...