RAWMANIA. What, Where, and Why?
Today we tackle 3 burning questions abot this project. If last post you got to know WHO is Rawmania, to day you will discover What, why and where is Rawmania. Let’s get started!
WHAT is Rawmania?
Is it a wrestling channel? Is it another healthy eating advice blog?! God, I’m tired of those! No I know, it’s about black metal rock, isn’t it?! Nope, it’s not.
It’s about a guy who wants to tell you about the place he comes from.
Three years ago, I brought a friend of mine from South Africa to Romania. I took him to the village I grew up and where my parents still live. We did a road trip showing him a part of Romania and ended the trip with a massive four days rave at a magic music festival. We shared an amazing time and my friend left surprised with what he got to experience and see.
Once he got home and told his mates about the trip, I woke up with a request to plan a similar experience for the next summer. This time around we started off the road trip, a bit more planned than the previous year, me playing the tour guide, having fun and making new friends.
After this second trip I started asking myself:
“What if this is it?”
What if this is my thing? How many people are looking for the perfect career, the perfect job, their vocation? I think I just found mine. From that thought becoming an idea and then a project over a year passed. A year of doubts, a year when I didn’t believe that I could do it and then that day came.
The day I said to myself: “F*ck it, I will do it !”
I’ll show people the real Romania.
With the good and the bad. I’ll show people the “RAWMANIA” I know and love.
I was clueless about how to do it. Where to start from? How to make all my thoughts materialize? So as it’s always better to get help when it comes to this sort of situation, so did I. My friends from Blackboard Agency helped me turn this idea into a project.
This is why, in August 2018 I’ve dragged these guys along for ten days, driving around South of Transylvania. We shot videos and pictures, while goofing around most of the time.
There was no script. No specific plan. Only memories we had about those places from earlier visits and “auntie Google” helping us out when we didn’t remember stuff.
There’s a lot of goofy moments. Me using “big words” in English cause I was nervous AF on camera. Never in my life have I ever thought about doing this before. But I guess sometimes it is ok to make a fool of yourself.
Most importantly we managed to capture that “rawness” that I keep telling people about.
The emotion, my great big love for the country.
At the end of the trip, the feeling was: “Damn that was cool, let’s do it again!” This is what I want people to feel and to experience when traveling with me.
I want to take you guys on road trips. I want to keep you entertained. Show you amazing places in Romania and teach you a thing or two about the history of my country and its people.
I want you to discover Romania through the eyes of a local.
WHERE is Romania?
Pardon me, RAWMANIA 😄 and what is the first thing that comes to your mind when you hear the name of this country?
I know. Vampires. Dracula. Transylvania. Thanks, Mr. Bram Stoker for the free country brand. What else? Gymnastics. Nadia Comaneci. The perfect 10. Yeah, we used to rock this sport back in the days. And of course Communism. Ceausescu. Our fierce dictator. Unbelievable poverty. True! A part of our past now, but in a way still present.
Indeed, these are the most common things foreigners will tell you when you ask them about Romania. But believe me, there’s so much more to discover. I’m 100% sure you’ll be fascinated by my country. But first thing first.
Where the heck is Romania?
Believe it or not, we are located in Eastern Europe. During our hay day we used to count about 23 million citizens. But in the past 20 years, we’ve experienced a massive migration. Around 4 million of us are now working and living abroad, amongst them myself .
Apart from Romanians, we have two major minorities living here: Hungarians and Romani. There used to be a big community of Jews and German Saxons, but then WWII and Communism happened.
The country has 41 counties, and these are: Alba, Arges, Arad, Bihor, Bacau, Bistrita, Cluj, Calarasi, Dolj, Dambovita….aaaa?
Jokes guys! Who the hell would remember all these? And how would that help you? I’m sure a lot of Romanians don’t know them either, though they should.
There are a lot of divisions, but I’m gonna try to keep it simple for you guys.
There’s the well known Transylvania. The birthplace of our fanged Count with a taste for blood and a habit of impaling people.
Moldavia. The eastern region. To not be mistaken for Moldova, The Republic. Which is another country itself, although with a long and close history related to Romania.
And Wallachia, the southern part of Romania, where our capital, Bucharest, lies.
When it comes to geography, we pretty much won the lottery.
Mountains. Check. We have the amazing Carpathians. Coastline. Check. The beautiful Black Sea lies in the south-east. Endless green rolling hills. Check. The best example is our picturesque Transylvania.
Boring flat plains, so useful for agriculture. Check. Google Baragan steppe, you’ll see what I’m talking about. Big ass river, perfect for navigation and fishing. Checked. The Danube.
Now you know where Romania is, who lives there and how it looks like.
Why this name for the project? For two main reasons, or three? Let me tell you how I came up with it. Back in February 2018 while operating a London flight back to base this brilliant idea struck me. Somewhere between serving chicken and a lot of gin and tonics. Resetting screens and calming turbulence freaked out passengers. Answering call bells and cleaning messy lavatories…
I was daydreaming.
Dreaming about the day I will have my own thing. I call it a thing because I was far from thinking it would become a project. More than that I was even further from thinking that one and a half year later it would become reality. But that’s how dreams work.
Anyway getting back to the story. So while doing all that in the cabin my mind was elsewhere. Dreaming of the day I will have people coming to discover Romania and choose me as their companion. Mmmm, where will I take them first, the cities? Show them the unspoiled nature? Nah, I’ll take them to the village I grew up in. I’m sure they will be awestruck by how Florica finds her way home every evening out of a herd of fiftysomething Floricas. Florica is my cow.
But how will I call this thing, this experience I will offer people?
Romania with Radu. Romanian Friend. Experience Romania. Unspoiled lands of Romania. Story of Romania. The raw side of Romania. Raw Romania. Ah f*uck I found it. RAWMANIA. Almost dropped the tray on the passenger at 20K when this hit me.
The inspiration came from the word that best describes my country. RAW. After five years of travelling around the world thinking about Romania that’s the first thing that comes to my mind. That is what I miss. You’ll find this rawness in it’s places and its people. Not saying it is always a good thing [thinking now about the raw state of the highways we don’t have].
The South Africans.
Ali, Jax, Marc and Josh. The friends of my friend that I joined that I joined the second year for the road trip made special t-shirts for Untold Festival. It was this funny T-Rex smashing shots of tequila and screaming “rawrmania”, this gave me the initial idea for the word play that helped me come with the project name. It goes without says that we became friends.
Their experience along with one of our common friends Byron are a big part of my inspiration for this project. They gave me the much needed kick in the rear. Can’t find enough words to show my gratitude.
The idea was then approved by pretty much all my friends.
I drove everyone crazy talking about RAWMANIA.
For months at every brunch, coffee, dinner or anytime we would meet this was all I would talk about. I’d like to thank everyone for their patience and support. I love you all and believe me when I say it that without you this project would’ve never happened. A big shout to all my Abu Dhabi friends. To my American Experience family in Bucharest. To my childhood partners in crime and their spouses. And to my brother from another mother living in the Netherlands.
Everything came into place and shape…
When BLACKBOARD AGENCY came into picture. These four superheroes refined the idea, came up with a plan and shaped the looks of the project. Their input is infinitely valuable. Flo, Raz, Ale and V you are amazing. Thank you!
This is the story of how this project got its christening. I know I came up with the name itself. But ultimately it is the result of all the love and support I received from these beautiful people I got to meet in my life so far.
Great stuff! Now you know the answer to Who? What? Where? and Why RAWMANIA. But how did this idea take form? Let’s find out together.