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Destiny

In the early 60s, Haroldo's father, excited with a research he was doing about family roots, decided to change the name of his son. To honor his grand-grand-father, Haroldo would also have “Andarahy” as part of his last name. "My father Armando wanted to pay homage to the Baron of Andarahy, who lived in mid 1800's in Rio de Janeiro. I was about 10 and I didn't care too much about it." This is how one day at school, his full name switched to Haroldo de Andarahy Faria Castro. But he was not conscious that his new last name would have such a real impact in his life. Indeed, in Portuguese Andar-ahy could also be read as "walk there." So Haroldo began to travel around the world...

As of today, he has visited and documented an amazing number of countries: more than 155! "Traveling has been a living school for me, where I have learned everything I know about sciences and arts." With this concept in mind, he coined the word travelology in 1989 (Viajologia in 1987, in Brazil.) Few years later, he created The Center of Travelology with his wife Flavia and a group of friends, including Russ Mittermeier, President of Conservation International, also a ferocious traveler that has a Post-Doc in Travelology. The vision of The Center of Travelology is to promote the art of traveling and to encourage people to discover new boundaries.

My favorites

Haroldo is often asked to list his favorite countries. "Each person has its own preferences. But, if you really insist, let's select a few per continent. In Asia, besides China and India, my vote goes also to Indonesia. Africa is tough, I need at least five: Morocco, Egypt, Ethiopia, South Africa and the amazing island of Madagascar. In Europe, for me Italia is the best, from culture to food. Latin American harbors a few fabulous places. Besides Brazil, which is hors-concours, Peru has an amazing diversity of landscapes and people, from the Andes to the Amazon."

Any Honorable Mention? "Definitely. Guatemala and Mexico should share one because of its pyramids; Ecuador has Galapagos, an unique archipelago with endemic wildlife; Botswana harbors the Okavango Delta; Cambodia, Australia and Papua New Guinea should also be amongst my top 20 countries."

By air and by land

Even if today Haroldo travels mostly by air, he had some impressive land trips in his Travelology resume.

In 1974-75, Haroldo and his wife Flavia traveled 40,000 km with a Renault 5 from Paris to India, visiting 15 countries in six months. In 1977-79, the couple traveled in a Volkswagen Kombi during 20 months around South America, spending a full year in the Andes.

Another unforgettable trip happened in 1986. To celebrate the International Year of Peace, Haroldo was invited by David Gershon and Gail Straub to join a team of a dozen people that would travel around the world. The First Earth Run was organized by UNICEF to promote peace, sports, and children. David Gershon tells that "the torch was passed through 62 countries encircling the planet. 25 million people and 45 heads of State participated in this event celebrating our possibilities to live in harmony with each other and the Earth." Gail Straub concludes, "several million dollars were raised that went directly to the neediest children of the planet." When Haroldo concluded the trip in New York, an exhibit of his 100 best pictures taken during the 88-day torch-relay was exposed in the main hall of the United Nations.

Dangers

But traveling extensively also may bring health threats. Malaria continues to be one of the deadliest transmissible diseases. The World Health Organization estimates that yearly 250 to 500 million cases of malaria occur and more than 100 people die per hour. "We should be very conscious when we are traveling in infested areas: lots of repellent, long-sleeve shirts and in, extreme cases, the right prophylaxis," remembers Haroldo.