An Indonesian man found himself catapulted to overnight online fame after his globetrotting adventures were highlighted on social media.
A post by Facebook page සාරා featured the travel photos of one Nelwin Aldriansyah, a finance professional and Tintin superfan who has been to 18 countries in search of locations featured in the classic comic books.
The post compiled photos of Nelwin with landmarks “visited” by Tintin, along with the comic book panels where they were depicted, and has quickly gone viral, getting shared over 12,000 times since it was posted on Jan. 19.
31 locations in 18 countries
To date, Nelwin says that his quest to follow in the footsteps of the fictional reporter and adventurer has brought him to 31 locations in 18 different countries, according to an interview with Indonesian newspaper Kompas.
Here are some of them:
Pashupatinath Temple in Kathmandu, Nepal. Photo via Nelwin Aldriansyah on Facebook.
Photo via Nelwin Aldriansyah on Facebook.
The Pyramids and Great Sphinx of Giza, Egypt. Photo via Nelwin Aldriansyah on Facebook.
Petra, Jordan. Photo via Nelwin Aldriansyah on Facebook.
Saint Basil’s Cathedral in the Red Square of Moscow, Russia. Photo via Nelwin Aldriansyah on Facebook.
Inspired by Europe trip in 2014
The first location Nelwin visited was the Qutub Minar, a tower in Delhi, India.
He told Kompas that he found the tower familiar when he saw it on a trip in 2005.
True enough, when he returned to Jakarta and checked the comics, he found the ancient monument in one of the books, “Tintin in Tibet”.
The Qutub Minar in Delhi, India. Photo via Nelwin Aldriansyah on Facebook.
But he did not embark on his quest to reprise Tintin’s adventures until later on.
Not only famous buildings
It was in 2014, when he realised many of the “everyday” scenes depicted in the comic books — such as houses, train stations, and even statues by the side of the road — were extremely true-to-life.
It was “not only famous buildings” that could be found in the comic books, Nelwin discovered.
Hotel Cornavin in Geneva, Switzerland. Photo via Nelwin Aldriansyah on Facebook.
Thus, he began looking out for the locations depicted in the comics, tracking them down over the course of trips between 2016 and 2019.
While some of the locations could be found in real life, such as the pyramids in Egypt, some scenes from the comics were in fact fictionalised, drawing inspiration from actual landmarks.
For example, much of the storyline in “Tintin and the Picaros” takes place in the fictional South American nation of San Theodoros.
Nonetheless, a monument that appears in the book was inspired by a Mayan pyramid found in Yucatan, South Mexico.
Which Nelwin eventually hunted down:
El Castillo de Kukulcan, a Mayan pyramid in Yucatan, South Mexico. Photo via Nelwin Aldriansyah on Facebook.
Solo trips to remote locations
Nelwin shared that trips to less commonly-travelled locations, such as Yucatan, were taken as solo trips.
He was also able to visit certain Tintin locations in Europe and Asia while on holiday with his family.
Other sites were not quite so far from home, however:
Kemajoran tower in Jakarta, Indonesia. Photo via Nelwin Aldriansyah on Facebook.
While Nelwin’s travels have been put on hold amid Covid-19, the longtime fan of the comic book said he hopes to continue his quest by visiting places like Shanghai, Lhasa, Cheverny, as well as various locations around Belgium (where Tintin is from).
In the meantime, he hasn’t stopped looking out for familiar scenes from the comics:
Nelwin also said he was “honoured” that the page had shared his travel adventures, in a comment on the post.
Follow and listen to our podcast here
Top image via Nelwin Aldriansyah on Facebook