I’ve finally found a few hours to sit down and write about the first few weeks of my amazing new job. And by finding a few hours, I really mean that the jetlag that I’ve been avoiding has finally hit me after travelling from one side of the world to the other and back in about 9 days! So far as of Sept 27th, I’ve travelled over 44,700km in just over 2 weeks!!
As a bit of a recap to what this exciting job is, back in April of this year I received a phone called from an organization that works with Coca-Cola’s big campaigns and they had an amazing job opportunity that they had in mind for me. The group organizes (among other campaigns) the FIFA World Cup Trophy Tour by Coca-Cola and they were offering me the role on tour as the photographer and blogger. The tour, which is a joint effort by Coca-Cola and FIFA, is centered around bringing the physical World Cup Trophy around the world to 89 countries to unite the entire world around the sport of football. Needless to say the opportunity to travel the world with a company that I’ve long respected and been a fan of was an offer that I couldn’t refuse and as of Sept 10th, I’ve been on the road with the tour.
Our first stop was Rio de Janeiro, Brazil where the launch of the tour occurred. The first day in Brazil was incredible, my hotel window looked over Copacabana beach and I spent a few hours enjoying the sand and sun trying to wrap my mind around how lucky I am to have such an amazing opportunity in my life. Rio was an interesting and beautiful city to visit and I was fortunate enough to see a few different views of it. The second day of my stop there I followed our video crew to visit a young football fan and player who was being surprised with a ticket to the launch, where he would get to see the trophy at the Cristo statue and also meet 5 Brazil champion players. Getting a chance to go to his neighborhood was eye opening and powerful, his community was so happy and supportive of him and even though it was in a poor area of town, the feeling of pride and excitement made everything feel so upbeat and happy.
The video was just posted this week and you can watch it here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NXSern9Zqp4&feature=share&list=PLCGIzmTE4d0gBDk0w2z_JoqcSGb1Sr6n2
The launch day was one of the most surreal days of my life. I remember not too long ago reading an article about statues around the world and thinking to myself that I would probably never see the Christ The Redeemer statue in real life. And suddenly there I was early in the morning with an opportunity to see the statue and the view it has with almost nobody else around. The launch was full of awesome moments; seeing the Trophy for the first time in real life, getting to meet the 5 world champions, watching David Correy, Gaby and Monobloco perform the new anthem as it echoed it’s way down to the streets of Rio. It was a day I’ll never forget.
The rest of our stay in Rio was filled with more great moments, some of which are a bit of a secret for now. On the last full night of our stay there I found myself along with 3 of my colleagues going to Rock in Rio to see David Guetta and Beyoncé perform! In a matter of hours I went from sitting in the Coca-Cola Brazil office to a private Coke booth at the concert, rocking out to Beyoncé and pinching myself because it all felt like it was too surreal to be actual life. After a fairly relaxed final day in Rio we set off for literally the other side of the world, Tahiti.
In a matter of a few stops and a nice layover in Los Angeles that gave me a chance to see Carolyn Hampton and her daughter, we were on our way to the beautiful Pacific Islands. The first stop, Tahiti, was beautiful. Our hotel looked out over an incredible lagoon and the sunset over and island every night. Our stay in Tahiti was short, only a couple days but it was filled with amazing moments. We had our first big event, an football experience at a local stadium with World Cup winner Christian Kerembeu as well as the captain of the Tahiti National Team. It was really neat to see so many people engaged and excited about the trophy and the whole experience. After our short stay in Tahiti it was off to Fiji!
Fiji was incredible. We were met off the plane by warriors and then ushered into a huge ceremony where the President arrived to welcome us and hold the trophy. The whole ceremony was moving and it was fascinating to be a part of such a rich cultural experience that doesn’t happen very often. Our stay in Fiji was filled with so much activity, we had a huge event at a football stadium, bringing the trophy and Christian Kerembeu to welcome the citizens of lautoka. We had another event at night with fire breathers, dacncers and great music. Fiji was one of my favourite stops so far and I’m already hoping that I can go back one day soon for a longer visit.
After Fiji we hopped over to another island, Vanuatu. We met the President here as well and he was very excited to be able to see and touch the trophy. The Vanuatu trip was short and punctuated with rain showers that made exploring the local beaches and village a little more difficult. We managed to visit the market and explored a short section of beatufiul blue water and soft white beach sand.
This trip so far has been life changing, I’ve learned a lot about myself even in the few weeks that I’ve been on the road and it has opened my eyes to a lot of things. We’ve been fortunate to stay at some of the best hotels there are and at the same time experience the poorest neighborhoods and people I’ve personally ever seen. It’s an opportunity though to appreciate what we have and remind ourselves to give back and share as much as possible.
This is just the first of many posts to come, the next write up will include our first trip on our private jet, our trips to Costa Rica, Honduras and Panama! Stay tuned!
Make sure you’re following @trophytour on twitter to get all the updates!
wow, good for you joel. awesome that you are getting this opportunity, and some wonderful pictures are coming from it :]