At the end October 2016, I had done some damage to my foot and had to be on crutches for 6 months and wear an air boot that looked like I had robbed a Storm Trooper for, and having suddenly found a lot of time on my hands and being very immobile, I decided that although I had been working abroad for the last four years, I just couldn’t be stationary for more than 6 months and that I wanted to set the wheels in motion to go travelling, after all, I had already been travel blogging on my other blog Outside The Bubble UK which also covers entertainment and food. So I started researching all the destinations that I could visit and experience, which is where I stumbled upon a number of YouTube Travel Vloggers and the more I started watching vloggers like Lost Le Blanc, Hayley Dasovich, Will Dasovich, Hey Nadine, The Exploring Crew and Daniel Marsh to name a few the more I became determined that I was going to Travel.
As the pieces started falling into place I started looking into the costs of this adventure and for every location, I wanted to go, the costs became astronomical and I started to become disillusioned with my planning, but instead of just giving up, I started focusing on how I would make the money that I needed. Unable to make my usual money over Christmas doing entertainment, or even working a normal 9-5 job due to the pain my foot was in, I needed something that would not damage my foot and keep me on these crutches even longer. I started putting my other skills to use and started to look into freelancing doing social media, virtual assistance etc and gaining clients that would mean that I would also be able to work whilst travelling so I could travel longer and again I went back to planning.
In November 2016, I attended my first World Travel Market (WTM London) which is one of the biggest events in Travel influencers and travel industry professionals diary every year as it is a chance for influencers to network and work with hotels, tourism boards, tourist attractions and airlines. Whilst there, I am not afraid to say that my first WTM London was very daunting I hadn’t pre-arranged any meetings and I hadn’t been travel blogging long enough to be an established blogger, the only things that I had in my favour is a new look website for Outside The Bubble UK, business cards and the fact that I had worked in the Travel Industry for 17 years which gave me an inside approach to what most hotels want. I opted to approach the exhibitors to request a few moments of their time and as soon as I mentioned the words “Hello I am a blogger” I could see in some of the exhibitors faces that they did not want to see another blogger, so I thought I would take the perfect opportunity to discuss my plan for One Epic Road Trip and I was pleasantly surprised that they were interested in my project, but one thing from talking to all the exhibitors is it was ok for me to ask for their help but I had nothing to offer them and no plan of action.
So by May 2017 I had just come off my crutches and started working on my branding for One Epic Road Trip, officially planning where I would go and how I would get to each of the locations on my list, I started thinking to myself that some locations may not necessarily have accommodation and if I was to travel long term I need to think of a cost effective solution. Suddenly a new craze came in to play Van Life and it was becoming more and more popular, so I started looking into it and realised I could have a fully functional living space that was off the radar and would allow me to see more of each of the locations I was going without worrying to much of where I would stay, because my van would be my home away from home. The next thing I needed to put in place is a reason to do such a crazy adventure something that would go towards a good cause and thats where I decided that I wanted to raise money for charity and although there were a lot of amazing charities all equally desrving and I wish that I could have picked them all I decided that I had to go with my heart and choose to raise money for four amazing charities; the first was the Alzheimers Society (this was a personal one for me as my nan suffers with this awful illness and it has effected my nan and my family), the second charity I choose was a Homeless charity because I truely belive that in this modern age no one should be homeless, the third was a charity called Mencap which is a charity that helps people with mental disabilities and the final was the Red Cross becuase they help both in the UK and abroad and my aim was to ensure that each charity would receive the same amount of £5000 each bringing my target £20,000.
So now I had my transport in mind, an idea of the countries that I would be visiting and how I would get to each location as well as a plan as to how I could work with tourism boards, hotels and brands, but still something was missing I needed another angle to get people on board with my Epic Road Trip and as I would be doing the journey anyway I thought that it wouldnt hurt to break a few world records and as it stands I can break two world records the most countries visited in 15 months in a van and the other just for now I am waiting to find out if it is a realistic record to acheive so I will announce the second one fairly soon.
Fast forward to November 2017 and I have just had my second WTM London and I have the right contacts in place, my van is designed I juts need to purchase the van and if possible look for som sponsors (but even with out sponsors my trip will still go ahead through my own funding).
So as for the rest of the adventure that is to be continued….