Holly and Nick heard hundreds of people saying they wished they had taken on a big adventure before mortgages, kids and jobs tied them down. So after saving for 4 years, they handed in resignations and set off on the trip of a lifetime: 56,000 miles circumnavigating the globe without flying. What they didn't realise was that the trip would land them in their ideal jobs on the return home.
Nick: For anyone looking to get involved in sports events marketing, I would be more than happy to have a chat about what it is involved and give advice about how to get into it.
Holly: Likewise, when it comes to anything travel related, be it planning a trip or working in the travel industry, Greentraveller is always on the look out for budding travel writers so get in touch if you're keen to get some experience.
Returning back from the trip, we were both in pretty desperate need of money and so rapidly got into jobs closely linked to what we had been doing before. Although both with good companies and working with great people, there was a sense that we had come full circle after the most extraordinary 20 month adventure and were back in London doing the same thing we had been doing before without putting all the experiences we'd had to good use.
However, we soon found emails popping into our old email account from people who had followed the adventures on our blog www.3mphroundtheworld.com and from bits and pieces of writing we had done for companies when we were away. Before we knew it I (Holly) had been offered a job marketing and writing for the UK's leading green travel company, http://www.greentraveller.com, and Nick had been offered a job developing and managing sports events including http://www.rideacrossbritain.com
Nick: I had been a brand manager for 3 years at Diageo working on all kinds of drinks brands from Pimm's and Gordon's to Archers and Morgan's Spiced. Although it was a wrench leaving a job where I felt all too at home, I knew there was this great chance to make the trip of a lifetime without being restricted by kids or any other long term commitments, and with a deep breath I bid goodbye to the team and exchanged premium whisky for a discount tandem.
Holly: I had been working at a research agency called Freshminds for 2 and a half years. It was a steep learning curve as with any full time job out of university but I left with confidence that going on the trip was the right thing to do and hoping that I would be employable when I got back. The key was to tell people all about our plan and set up our blog quickly so that it would be impossible to back out and to help spread the word.
Nick: About 18 months before we left we bought the biggest world map we could find and began to attach all the scraps of newspaper, post its, photos and pub napkin scrawlings to show where we wanted to go. From there we had a brainwave to try and link up all the things we had on the map in one continuous line... without leaving the ground. From then on, most weekends were spent dreaming of things we wanted to do, looking up how we could cross oceans, straits, seas and channels and drawing and re-drawing a giant red line across the globe.
Holly: After the trip, the moment of truth was when the first complementary emails came in from people we had never met encouraging us to keep writing, adventuring and sharing it with them. It gave me confidence that I could actually do this as a career and carry on the adventure of the trip into life back home. From then, it hit me how much had happened over the course of 20 months away and that rather than doors being closed, whole new ones were open.
Holly: The main thing about planning the trip was saving money. We planned to do things cheaply in expensive countries, such as long legs on the tandem from Mexico to Canada and from Istanbul back to London, and then save our money for when we had no choice but to fork out, such as crossing the Gulf of Alaska to South Korea on a container ship. Then it was a case of planning the seasons, key border crossings, injections and all the fun stuff that comes in between that.
Nick: Planning for jobs back home was similar to the trip. Once we realised that the trip had opened up loads of doors we used all the same skills we had developed when we were away. We looked to meet as many people as possible and learn things from them. People were interested in what we had done and from there they wanted to know more and when we started talking about work we might be interested in, one person would introduce us to another, to another before we both found our dream jobs in green travel and sports.
Nick: The best bits have probably been settling into our new jobs and realising that you have somehow got away with taking the risk of a big 20 month trip away from regular jobs and then coming back to a situation better than when you left. Cycling into work and knowing you are going to be spending the day working on something like Ride Across Britain, which is something I care passionately about, seems to be a rarity amongst the population and it makes me very thankful for having the guts and support to actually make it happen.
Holly: Stories quickly become familiar and so it's easy to get blaze about them. However, every now and again I mention a tiny section of our trip and someone's jaw drops and can't believe what we've done. Those moments are great for reminding us why the trip was one of the best ideas either of us have ever had. And, when those same people ask how on earth we can cope with being back in a London routine, it feels pretty good to be able to say we're loving it.
Holly: It often doesn't come very naturally to shout about your achievements and experience, but when it comes to getting the right job or making things happen you have to tell the world about who you are and what you're up to. Email or ring everyone and anyone because the worst that can happen is that you end up where you are in the first place.
Nick: I think the best piece of advice I could give would be to listen to people. It was listening to all the people who said how they "wished they had done a big trip before settling down" which drove us into action, it was listening to people while we were away which taught us so much about the places, cultures and history of where we visited, and it was listening out for opportunities when we got back that found us the jobs we are now in.
Google: It has everything you need to plan a trip and the wealth of forums out there with people posting photos, tips and piles of information means the world is at your finger tips before you even set off. The idea that you can see a photo of the 20 foot wooden passenger ferry between Union Island and Carriacou from the comfort of your living room gives you more confidence to go into more remote parts of the world. That said, often the information is wrong and the most fun is when you get stuck or deserted and have to work your way out without the world wide web.
Besides from research, Google's blogspot was an excellent way to record our travels and share them with the world, and google maps meant we could map our entire route so we'll never forget it. Google Earth proved incredibly helpful when it came to mapping cycling routes in places like Eastern Europe - because satellite images gave us some idea of the quality of the roads.