WHAT IS SIMON'S JAMJAR ALL ABOUT?
In a nutshell, Simon's JamJar is a UK adventure travel blog. Adventure is pretty subjective, so from my point of view this blog is filled with content that covers both macro and micro adventures. My aim is to share tips and stories from my own personal adventures, that give you a window into different countries, cultures and experiences, and hopefully inspire you to go on an adventure or two of your own.
So far I've travelled to 44 different countries around the globe. I've travelled for work, I've travelled for me, and got many stories to tell and tips to share. In 2012 I gave the blog a fresh lick of paint, and set off on a six-month trip around the world. Since then, this blog has been stuffed full of travel stories, pictures and videos, from island hopping around Peru’s Lake Titicaca and zooming round New Zealand in a campervan, to hiking the Inca Trail and cycling the world’s most dangerous road in Bolivia.
Here's a little Facebook highlights video that gives you a glimpse into some of my travels over the last 12 months (updated for 2017):
WHAT TRAVEL GEAR DO YOU USE?
Great question! I am all for packing light, so from 2011 to 2015 pretty much all my travel photos were taken with an iPhone. But with 4K photography and video hitting the mainstream (and the ability to zoom in on Instagram pictures), it was time to up my game. I now use a combination of the following:
Main camera / video camera: Panasonic LUMIX GX80 - http://amzn.to/2e42euA
Backup camera: iPhone 6S - http://amzn.to/2e40gdA
Action video / camera: GoPro Hero 3+ http://amzn.to/2dN4ur8
Aerial photography / video: DJi Phantom 3 Standard - http://amzn.to/2ekadrF
WHAT DO YOU DO FOR WORK?
I'm a bit of a digital marketing / SEO geek. From 2004 to 2012 I worked for a digital marketing company called bigmouthmedia (LBi in it's later years). I was the tenth person through the door, and when I left there were over 3000 employees globally. It was a great journey. I then took 6 months off, travelled the world, came back and co-founded another digital agency called 8 Million Stories with some of the bigmouth old guard. As such, travel blogging is only a part-time occupation for me.
WHERE DID YOU GO DURING YOUR 6 MONTH BREAK?
I wanted to travel to places I had never been before. I flew from London and landed in Bogota, Colombia. I travelled through Peru, Bolivia, Chile, Argentina and Brazil before heading to Australia, New Zealand and finally China.
WHERE ELSE HAVE YOU TRAVELLED?
Between 2008 and 2012 I was flying over 100 times a year, as I had an international job role. This took me to Sweden, Norway, France, Italy, Spain, Germany and Abu Dhabi, amongst other places.
For more personal travel, I've visited Malawi, Zimbabwe, Papua New Guinea, Kenya and Estonia. I've also been to Thailand, South Africa, Canada, the US and many countries and cities around Europe. Have a peek at my travel map to see all the places I've visited!
WHAT IS YOUR FAVOURITE COUNTRY?
Colombia (so far), closely followed in joint second by Brazil and New Zealand. Colombia blew away any stereotypes or preconceptions I had about the country. They love salsa, they love rum, they are incredibly friendly and despite many of them not having a penny to their name they are incredibly happy. I spent time in cities, in the jungle, and on the Caribbean Coast, trying the freshest fruit I've ever tasted.
HAVE YOU EVER LIVED ABROAD?
Yes. I lived in America for a year during University. I studied at the University Of North Carolina at Wilmington (UNCW). The friends I lived with during this year inspired me to travel the world. I also lived in Edinburgh for nine years. I know this technically isn't abroad, but anywhere that takes you more than six weeks to learn the accent should be classed as abroad.
TELL US FIVE OF YOUR TRAITS?
Ask my friends and family and they will tell you I'm very competitive. It doesn't matter if it's sports or a game of tiddlywinks - I'll try and win. I have a terrible (but fun) habit of photobombing. I wear flat caps and love the countryside. I love food - cooking food, trying new food, experiencing new restaurants, which is why one of the main categories on this blog is food. I'm a level-headed, big picture kind of guy.
WHAT IS THE STORY BEHIND SIMON'S JAMJAR?
I set up this blog on the 1st January 2006. Pretty old huh? Back then blogging was in it's infancy, so I used the blog as a test to see what content I could make visible on Google. I never showed friends and family my old posts, nor did I share the content.
That all changed in December 2011. After a late night conversation with an old friend over a glass* of wine, I was convinced to make the blog more personal. More about me and my stories. It took a while, but in April 2012, I gave the blog a fresh lick of paint and began to write about things that were important to me.
This blog is now my storytelling platform, whether that is for travelling, hiking in the UK, or enjoying food, beer and country life.
In April 2014, I won 'Best Male' at the lowcostholidays.com Travel Blogger Awards - a humbling, but proud landmark for my blog, and travel stories, and more recently, Yahoo! named me as one of the UK travel blogs to watch in 2015!
You can also find my travel tips, stories and interviews on a few other sites too, including the ones below.
ANYTHING ELSE WE SHOULD KNOW?
I love skiing - you'll probably see a lot of skiing pictures in the winter. I love surfing too. I've been to Cornwall every year since I was nine years old.
I own shares in a beer company.
Oh, and I'm a Guinness World Record holder. For rum tasting.
I still enjoy telling stories about life, about travel, and about food. I've had some amazing experiences over the last twelve years, many of which I've captured here, so I hope you enjoy reading them all :).
If getting in touch through a blog isn't your cup of tea, feel free to chat with me on Twitter, follow me on Facebook, have a peek at some of my pics and stories on Instagram, or check out some of my videos on YouTube.
|Helping to clip tea in Malawi!|
|Enjoying the Andean mountains on the Inca Trail|
|Sailing in the Whitsunday Islands, Australia|
|Simon Heyes skiing on the Zugspitze, Germany|
*Ok, it was several glasses of wine. But it worked :)