We have never met Roberto and Cocai, the Dog Travellers (Viajeros Perrunos) but when we read their story on an Instagram post, Mum felt compelled to learn more about them.
Roberto Sastre is from Spain but he travels around the world. Back in 2014 when he was backpacking through South America, when at the foot of a mountain in Samaipata, Bolivia, he found a small puppy.
Alone and very ill from neglect, Roberto could not leave it alone to die. He picked her up and took her with him – so that he could care and nurse her back to health. His plan was to then leave her with a good family in Bolivia.
However, the unexpected happened. A strong bond soon developed … he had fallen in love.
And from there, she became a backpacker dog!
Roberto named her Coca Acai after the Andean plant and Amazon fruit. But today everyone knows her as Cocai.
He had not thought how this little pup would affect his backpacking travels, but it did in a big way. Having a dog restricted his means of travel. In most instances he could not take public transportation and hostels did not allow dogs. That forced him to switch to more independent means – hitch hiking
Although this meant it took him longer to get to places, Roberto soon realised that having this friend with him would be nothing short of magical.
Together they travelled together on the rest of his trip.
They trekked through Bolivia, the Brazilian Amazon, Peru, Ecuador, Mexico, USA and Canada –
Till they returned home to Spain to spend time with his family and friends. But after a year and a half, they are about to hit the road again. Mum was curious and asked Roberto why and what makes him keep going. And this is what he shared with us:
“First of all because backpacking with my dog makes me so happy, living tons of adventure and connecting with locals and other travellers.
But I also want to keep travelling with Cocai because I have several goals in mind.
First, to demonstrate that travelling with a dog is ALWAYS possible (even with a low budget and without your own vehicle).
The difficulties are overcome by wonderful things such as sharing your dream with your faithful four-legged buddy, the amount of beautiful people you meet on the way and the adventures you get to live.
It is the best experience on earth, I wouldn’t change it for anything in the world. I aim to inspire others to hit the road with their dogs so we can convince more restaurants, hotels,
and other travel-oriented businesses to make themselves accessible to dog owners on the road.
Then I want to generate animal awareness.
Both in local people, through direct contact (and talking with local animal shelters and NGOs if possible), and in those who will be following our adventures via blog or social networks. I want to show the world the boundless friendships we can form with animals, especially in less dog-friendly countries. Small things such as having a clean and well-treated dog can make a big a difference in people who are only used to dirty street dogs.
In short, I want to encourage more people to travel with their dogs and promote the adoption of street dogs from shelters. But we have an additional goal this time.
Our next adventure has already a name: Asia. I have chosen that continent because I want to document the dog’s reality in Asia: eliminating stereotypes. I’m sure there are good people who love animals EVERYWHERE. We are leaving on the 25th of March. The idea of crossing Europe kid of fast, then start travelling slow when stepping foot (and paw!) in Turkey. We want to make it to India and South East Asia, but don’t know yet which way we’ll take (Iran-Pakistan or Central Asia).
We are going to film. documentary, mainly focused on the dog culture of those countries we visit. Who knows if we eliminate a few stereotypes … or many.”
Good luck Roberto and Cacai! We will be following your travels. You inspire us!
May’s comment: As we embark on another of our adventures it’s an inspiration to read Roberto and Cocai’s commitment to their cause. Though we both traverse the world in very different way, his missions resonate well with why we always travel. We want to encourage people to do so, to show that there’s always a way of doing so and finally because I want to share and create memories with my best buddies.
To Roberto and Cocai, we will be travelling with you through your various social media – and you can too.
We met them on Instagram and follow their fb – @viajerosperrunos
Darcy and I have started travelling up north to colder climes – for various reasons which we will begin to share with you next week. I hope you will enjoy our adventures – and the meeting the people we have met the last few days.