Support GRINGO TRAILS, a documentary about backpacking culture & tourism by PEGI VAIL

GRINGO TRAILS is about one of the most powerful global industries of our time: tourism, and it starts with backpackers! They are the key to opening the door in developing countries. The film looks at the long term effects of travelers on cultures, economies, and environments worldwide—through their most important souvenirs… their stories.

GRINGO TRAILS follows travelers and locals in locations within Thailand, Bolivia, and Mali- looking at all sides of the cultural encounter. It also looks at the complicated relationships that can arise when host countries are looking for economic opportunities and travelers are seeking authentic experiences.

The documentary is now at a critical stage in funding for our FINAL SHOOT on the film: we need YOUR SUPPORT to return to Bolivia in July and August, where we first filmed in 2000 and 2002 (the earlier footage from all locations is now used as archival to show the changes over time!). Our featured story from Bolivia forms a counterpoint to the current situation faced at Haad Rin beach on Koh Pha-Ngan island in Thailand, shown in the trailer. I’m exploring the topic as a former backpacker and anthropologist whose Ph.D. and forthcoming book focuses on backpackers in Bolivia!

We will film in the Salt Desert of Bolivia, the town of Rurrenabaque and at the Chalalan Ecotourism lodge – tourism in the latter two of these locations traced back to the influence of a backpacker’s published account in the mid-1980s (Yossi Ghinsberg’s “Lost in the Jungle”– recently interviewed, he will also be featured in GRINGO TRAILS). Ecotourism pioneer Costas Christ (National Geographic Adventure) and travel writer Pico Iyer are also featured in the film.

Chalalan is managed and owned entirely by the indigenous Quechua-Tacana community of San José de Uchupiamonas. We’ll also be filming at another Tacana ecolodge at San Miguel del Bala, SO ALL PROCEEDS for our room, board, and tours while filming there GO DIRECTLY TO THESE COMMUNITIES – that’s OVER 1/3 of the total amount we’re requesting!

Your support also aids them in the continued protection of the wildlife-rich Madidi national park. The remaining funds donated cover flights (r/t to Bolivia, r/t to Amazon gateway, ground transportation from the Amazon to the Salt Desert, additional car hire and tour for Salt desert, accommodation, and meals for 2 people!). WE ARE REQUESTING THE MINIMUM we need for this shoot! Any surplus will go directly to much needed post-production editing costs upon return to FINISH THE FILM THIS FALL!

For this campaign, We THANK FRIENDS FOR THEIR DONATIONS for the pledge rewards—check ‘em out- they’re great!! Now we really need YOUR HELP to make this shoot happen and to finish a film that is more relevant than ever before!! Click here to SUPPORT the project.



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