The Short Version
In October I'll travel round South America, visit Machu Picchu, spend Christmas and New Year in Sydney, drink my body weight in wine from wineries across New Zealand, explore China for 3 weeks, and then return to the UK in March.
Below is map of where I'm heading, and some of the places I CANNOT WAIT to see. Click on the pins for an insight into why I'm so excited :)
View My 5 Month Travel Plan! in a larger map
The Long Version
A bit of history...
In 2002/03 I studied for a year in Wilmington, North Carolina. Studying there was the best year of my life. So far. I lived in an international house, and was surrounded by people from different countries and cultures. My roommate was Mexican. The guys next door were from France and Finland. The guys across the hall were from Germany, Ecuador and Colombia. It was a big eye opener for me, an amazing experience, and really changed my perspective on life.
It was a good friend of mine in the international house that introduced me to bigmouthmedia in 2004, as his flatmate in Edinburgh at the time, was an account manager there. Indirectly, that year in Wilmington led me to my first job.
A bit of bigmouthmedia...
What an experience. Blood, sweat, tears, award wins, great people, and some of the best experiences and memories I'll have in my working life. About 5 years ago, my bigmouth career started to veer towards international new business, working closely with our offices across Europe pitching all things digital marketing. I was on an international path.
After bigmouthmedia merged with LBi in August 2010, my international travel expanded. As well as Europe, I went to the Middle East, saw new places in the USA.
I am incredibly lucky to have met so many talented people, worked with some of the most amazing brands, and got to visit places that many people can only dream of.
A bit of a break...
5 years in the ever-changing digital marketing industry, plus international travel takes it's toll on anyone, so earlier this year I decided it's finally time to take a break and recharge my batteries. Ever since my year in Wilmington, I've suppressed a desire to travel and explore, wandering by myself and experiencing new cultures and meeting new people. One of my New Years resolutions was to discover new places and countries that I've never been to. I went to the highlands. I went to Ireland. But my travel thirst wasn't quenched. I wanted more.
So after a fantastic 8 years, I'm taking 5 months off to explore South America (Colombia, Peru, Bolivia, Argentina, Brazil and Chile), spend Xmas and New Year in Sydney, then explore Australia, New Zealand and China.
I'm incredibly excited. And nervous. And sad to leave some amazing people behind. But I also hope to catch up with some of the people I met in Wilmington (you know who you are!) and some others I haven't seen for many years. It's just me, my backpack and 5 months of adventure.
A bit of the future...
A few people have asked me what I'm going to do when I come back. The answer is 'who knows!'. This part of the international path is open ended. Lots of options :)
Travelling to remote places will also mean I may blog/tweet/share less often than usual, but I'll hopefully be giving a few updates along the way, so remember to keep in touch on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn!
A bit of you...
If any of you have travelled to any of the places I mentioned above, please let me know where to go, what to see, and who to meet. Most of South America is sown up, but if you have recommendations for Argentina, Brazil, Chile or New Zealand, let me know, they would be most welcome!
Much love, Simon x