A Look Back and a Look Ahead

| December 29, 2010 | 9 Comments
lookingback A Look Back and a Look Ahead

A look back and a look ahead...

When a company asserts that they “Love Changing People’s Lives”, today’s sometimes cynical traveller is forgiven for being skeptical of such a boast. But here Kathryn and I are sitting in Quito’s Mariscal Sucre International Airport on December 28, looking back at the last ten days, discussing all that we have seen and wondering at what 2011 might hold in store for us. And much to our delight, our lives have been changed.

Hatching The Plan

The plan around which Two Go Round-The-World was built held that we would depart for a year-long journey in July 2011 dependent, of course, on whether Kathryn would be granted a sabbatical from her job as a teacher. I was less concerned with my career, as I had been planning a change anyway. From 2005 until the beginning of this year, I’d worked as a copyeditor in the research department of an investment bank. It was good work and I learned a tremendous amount about copyediting, and investment and finance. But after five years, I learned that it was a career in which I wouldn’t be satisfied. That’s when Kathryn and I began to plan for our trip around the world. Thus began lunch hours surreptitiously surfing the web, delighting in the nascent travel blogging community and searching for inspiration in BootsnAll’s message boards and Lonely Planet’s forums. Back then, July 2011 seemed so far away.

But there is a psychological pleasure in anticipation. And it was this pleasure that energized both Kathryn and me in those early days, and it was this energy that served as catalyst for the blog itself. When we launched in June of 2009, I wasn’t aware of the number of opportunities that it would bear and that it might affect my career path.

It All Started With A Tweet

It all started with a tweet—and the rest, they say, is social media history. Coincident with the blog’s launch, we began to explore Twitter and in those early days, I discovered a refreshingly vocal entrepreneur by the name of Bruce Poon Tip. Bruce was the founder of Gap Adventures and an engaging presence on the web. It was the candor with which he engaged his audience on Twitter that caused me to look deeper into his company.

As I mentioned, I’d been working in an anonymous Bay Street office tower for over five years and had recently begun planning my escape from the cubicle. It had been almost as long since my wife and I had done any travelling—and we were itching to get back on the road. We’d been saving but progress was slow, sort of like digging your way out of a cell with a spoon.

It was through Twitter that I learned of Gap Adventures’ need for a copywriter and in the space of an afternoon, I resolved to do my best to secure a position with them. Because the staff there was encouraged to engage social media, the closer I looked at the company, the more intrigued I became. I felt that I was the perfect fit; all that was left to do was convince them of the same!

Changing Course

Four or five months after discovering Gap Adventures, I gave notice at the bank after five years and accepted a position at Gap Adventures head office (Base Camp, as it is affectionately known among Gappers). I began working earlier this year in the Marketing Department and have been helping to rewrite large portions of content, both online and off.

With Gap Adventures, I was to discover an unexpected continuity between the person that delighted in planning for adventure and the person in his workaday life, continuity quite at odds with the radical discontinuity when working at the bank, where the very air seemed to be heavier and less electric. It’s just a lot more fun, and a greater challenge, working here.

Where We are Now

Which brings us back to Quito. Following a few challenging (but nonetheless rewarding) months pulling together the2011 brochure lineup for the