Jumping all over the world

Lynne Gadd–Claxton

WHEN a story has the line: “We also hung out with an Irishman, a Scotsman and an Italian”, you can be forgiven for thinking here comes the punchline but these are the travelling tales of PE livewire Jumping Jazza.

Travelling for months at a time, visiting nearly 50 countries and attending top sporting events are what Jeremy Bortz– also known as Jumping Jazza – lives for.

The 31-year-old Bortz wants to couch surf, sleep at backpackers and play cricket with kids in Sri Lankan tea plantations, while supporting world- class sporting events.

Bortz, who is an avid travel blogger, has become widely known as Jumping Jazza after doing his trademark jump at sites around the world. Sites include India’s Taj Mahal, the Angkor Wat temples in Cambodia and St Mark’s Square in Venice.

Bortz said it was difficult to select a favourite destination.

“Every place is different and shaped by the experiences you have and the people you meet. The best part of travelling is definitely the people I meet and travel with,” he said.

“I would love to travel to Nepal again. I trekked for 26 days in the Everest Himalayas and it’s the most beautiful place I’ve ever seen.

“Most people fly into Lukla but I met a guy on a train in Sri Lanka who advised me to walk in from Jiri, so I did and then continued on to Everest base camp, three passes all over 5500m, and then the stunning lakeside town of Goyko.”

Bortz said there were villages along the hike so there was no need to carry food or tents.

Having matriculated from Theodor Herzl in 1999, Bortz completed a business science degree at the University of Cape Town in 2003.

During his December holiday in 2001, he worked as a ski rental technician during the day at Winterpark Ski Resort and by night as a subway sandwich artist in Colorado in the US.

“I used the money from my day job to pay for the next year’s varsity and with the money from my second job I went backpacking in Australia for two months.”

Bortz, who has made quite a few friends on his travels, has many “phenomenal” tales.

“During our few days in Jaisalmer [India] to go camel safari-ing, we heard about the Desert Festival happening a week later … Pauli [a fellow backbacker] and I were introduced to a tailor and we commissioned our outfits – white pants, brightly coloured jackets and multi-coloured turbans. A few days later we headed back to town for the festival. It was an unforgettable experience.

“We rented a camel and Pauli and I proudly rode through the streets in the opening day parade dressed as Maharajah princes, waving and greeting the crowd with the traditional Ram Ram.”

Bortz said another memorable country was Vietnam, which should be explored on motorbikes.

“You are not bound by bus or train tables.”

He added a 30-day trip to explore the “gorgeous scenery” was not enough and a six-week trip would have been sufficient.

Australia and New Zealand with its camper-van culture and love of rugby allowed Bortz and Dylan, a backpacker companion he met in India, to explore the country on their way to the Rugby World Cup in New Zealand.

Bortz and Dylan had met someone in India who said they could use his van while backpacking through Australia.

“Most gas stations have showers and lots of people explore the country in camper-vans, so we could easily live in a van for two months and survive on baked beans and two-minute noodles.”

Bortz recently returned from the London Olympics and headed back to London last week where he will be working to pay off his credit card debt and to raise funds for the next big sporting event.

He has combined his love of backpacking, jumping and sport into a 2013 calendar designed by graphic designer Anabel Koen from Ballistic Design and Advertising. Calendars are available at R100 from Ian Robertson Pharmacy, Fogarty’s in Walmer and Figtree, 9th Avenue, Summerbreeze, Mount Pleasant and Acres Spar in Port Elizabeth or online at www.jumpingjazza.co.za

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