Yuujou grew from a simple idea: a circle of friendship strong enough to carry a group of travelers around the world. Sisters and storytellers Corinne and Yvonne Eisenring partnered with Oliver Herren, a Swiss internet pioneer, to bring this vision to life. On April 11, six travelers will embark on a 100-day journey with that vision as their sole itinerary. The journey begins with all six in Berlin, Germany, then splits into two teams of three, one heading east and one heading west, meeting each other 100 days later in Tokyo, Japan. Along the way, teams must stay with a friend of their previous host, moving from friend to friend across the globe. There are no prizes, no ads, no scripts, just the expectation that each traveler will creatively document their experiences of human connection along the way.
After receiving over 30,000 applications, Yuujou has narrowed the pool down to ten finalists. Culturs brings you a look at Yvonne Eisenring’s surprise visit to each finalist in this 10-part series.
Nyiko is an artist from Johannesburg, South Africa. He works his creativity in to every aspect of his life through painting, photography and fashion design. Modestly, in his well-worn painting outfit, he said, “I wouldn’t really call myself an artist. I just play with paint because half the time I don’t really know what I’m doing.” Nyiko developed a knack for building friendships and connections early on in his mother’s daycare. “All the kids in the village and township would come to my house. I grew up with kids all around me,” he said. This experience has helped Nyiko build friendships with individuals he’s met throughout the world. After his first international trip to New York, U.S., he was “bitten by the travel bug” and driven to continue travelling the world. “Travelling gives you an opportunity to share with the rest of the world a piece of your homeland,” he said. He commemorates each place he visits with a fridge magnet and hopes to expand this collection by travelling with Yuujou. “Coming from a country with rich culture and history I would like to take that and share it with the rest of the world and also get an opportunity to experience and take in what the rest of the world has to offer back to my homeland,” he said.
“The Yuujou journey presents an opportunity to individuals to make a difference in someone else’s life by taking an interest in their culture, heritage and tradition.”
Watch Eisenring surprise Nyiko in Johannesburg:
You can read more about Yuujou and follow their journey here.
Ready to meet Finalist #9? Keep reading.