JOEY: For me, the experience of traveling somewhere on vacation and traveling there to compete is drastically different. Time is often constrained when traveling for tournaments and the act of competing is always on your mind. Tournaments are a time of action. I want a vacation to be a time of reflection.
For that reason, I like traveling to places that are full of people and culture when competing. Big cities with a lot to see in a small space. I have been lucky enough to travel extensively for Tekken over the past year and a half. I would say London, Santiago, Los Angeles, and Atlanta are all at the top of my list.
London is a sprawling city that has been a cornerstone of arts and culture in the West for centuries. I was overwhelmed with excitement being there and my only regret is that I couldn’t stay for long.
Photos taken by EQNX | Blackbeard.
Again, this is the problem of traveling for tournaments. I was still lucky to get to see the Natural History Museum, the Science Museum, Piccadilly Circus, to ride the London Underground, and to walk the streets. This was all courtesy of my London tour guide Spaghetti Rip.
Fighting Games Challenge (Poland) Photo by East London Fighters.
Santiago was a much different experience. The excitement came from the exoticness of everything around me. The Spanish language was everywhere. There were people so happy to have me there and amazed that I had traveled so far to compete. The Chilean players welcomed Spero Gin and me into their homes on our final day and we played Tekken for hours until they called us a ride to the airport. Having experiences like this with people who live thousands of miles away, just for a short time, is the reason that traveling is worth it.
Photo by David Gatica Vejar.
LOS ANGELES & ATLANTA
As for Los Angeles and Atlanta, my love for traveling to these cities is due to the Tekken communities that exist within them. People in the FGC sometimes refer to Atlanta as “Tekken Capital of America”, and rightly so.
When I visit Atlanta, I do nothing but chill with the most amazing people and play a hysterical amount of Tekken. Pass out, wake up and repeat. It is awesome (Shout-outs to the ATL Tekken House for always taking care of me when I’m in from out of town, even when I get stranded there accidentally).
WNF Photo by Alex Valle
While I don’t live out this depraved sequence when I visit Los Angeles, it has a rich history in the FGC and a phenomenal Tekken scene. Every time I have come through LA, the legendary Alex Valle has extended me an invite to Wednesday Night Fights. I can feel the passion for fighting games all around me when I’m there. SoCal has one of the largest, most energized Tekken communities I have encountered in the US, so it is one of my hot spots for tournament travel.
As I mentioned, I like to think of vacations as a time to reflect. In those cases, I like to travel to places where I am going to be surrounded by nature rather than people. There are places on earth that can make you feel delightfully insignificant, and your problems follow. My favorite places thus far have been Denali National Park and Glacier Bay in Alaska and Arches National Park in Utah.
I don’t think I am very well-traveled at this point in my life so there are still many cities, countries, and scenes of nature that I would like to visit someday. Hopefully, Tekken can continue to take me new places. Fingers crossed for Japan and South Korea!