What started as an exotic adventure has become a vital experience. Thus, day after day, country after country, Julien Brulard has ended up relegating Phileas Fogg to the rank of a simple amateur. The Frenchman has arrived in Bulgaria by bus across the border with the Macedonian team. At this rate, he will soon have to renew his passport.

The original idea came to light ten years ago. "I wanted to go around the world touring the great nations of judo and avoiding planes," he explains. It was therefore about mixing passion and interest; passion for judo and interest in the planet. Things got complicated when he arrived in Japan, because he fell in love with the country and decided to stay. Without a work permit, Julien did what anyone would do in his place, working in a bar and teaching judo to pay for his stay. Time passed and the pandemic arrived, putting an unfinished project in parentheses.

“I get around walking, hitchhiking, whatever comes up.” One thing is for sure, he has to travel light. Apart from adding new countries to the list, the most important thing Julien has been discovering, can be summed up in two fundamental aspects, which he himself tells us. “First of all, I have discovered that the concept of family is much more than an expression in the world of judo.” Julien is received with open arms everywhere and he is already beginning to be known everywhere. “Before, I used to contact the national federations to explain what I am doing. Now they are the ones who call me.” All the people I have met have been wonderful to me. Thus, everything is much easier and more pleasant.” 

The second question is to verify in the first person that the topics do not always adjust to reality. “The reputation of the Balkan region is sulphurous. I can assure you that the people there are great, at least all those with whom I have dealt.”

Julien has recently been in Serbia, for him "an exceptional discovery. It's been a long time since I ate so much and so well." Wait and see when you get to Georgia, we think!

In Sofia, thanks to his constant movements, he greets everyone. At this rate, he will soon have a larger contact list than any prime minister. He is in Bulgaria to enjoy live the European Championships by courtesy of European Judo Union and International Judo Federation.

What we do not know, nor does Julien himself, is the date and place where he will put an end to his adventure. "The truth is that I don't know if it will ever end." That will be seen. At the moment he has to keep moving because the world is big and there are many countries to discover. His next stage targets Central Asia. 

“I've realised something else,” he ends, “and I love it. My black belt is the best passport in the world, because it opens all the doors for me. I don't think many sports can say the same. I can assure you that where there is a dojo, any judoka is welcome.” 

There is no better lesson than the search for the unknown and the welcome of the foreigner. It is the most ancient form of good manners and education. Julien Brulard is updating values that go beyond any physical and moral border and that is always good news because it makes us trust in the future.    

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