Experiences are the new riches. San Miguel has travelled the globe to find inspiring trailblazers living life on their own terms.
I quoted this as both Jess (The Fly Away American) and I looked up at the stately courtyard of Somerset House on this cold November night. Christmas music sang in the air as the purple hues of the ice rink in the courtyard buzzed with merry delight of people attempting to skate beautifully.
I’ve been invited by San Miguel to explore their exhibition within Somerset House to find out who these trailblazers are on San Miguel’s rich list. With 19 individuals and four categories, we would be able to find out:
Pathfinders – From the curious cave explorer, to the man who simply said ‘yes’ more, you would be enthralled by globe-trotting tales of discovery.
Creatives – Get to know the passionate film-makers, photographers, dancers and other artists who are driven by their vocation.
Game Changers – Pushing the boundaries of their lives, you get to find out more about horse whisperers and pot-hole gardeners.
Life Swappers – Hear from the people who chose to change their lives and defy conventions to achieve their dreams of doing something completely different.
Here’s an example of a pathfinder. Meet Robbie Shone, a British cave explorer, who offers you an 4D immersive sentry cave experience:
Checking in the rooms, we were soon greeted with a myriad of a maze, in which each room offers a unique glimpse of one of the 19 lives. But first, let’s have a San Miguel, we are here after all and it would be rude not to drink one as we took in our surroundings.
The question on our lips:
‘So why is San Miguel doing the Rich List?’
San Miguel says that the pursuit of wealth and status will only take you so far. It’s time to refresh your outlook. The answer to being rich is not necessarily to do with money but actually in fact, experiences. With fascinating tales of discovery of relatable entrepreneurs who made a difference to their communities in their corner of the world; artists who have made their work their life; and offbeat outliers defying conventions, San Miguel has put this list together whilst travelling the globe. Did you know that San Miguel has a long history of exploration since being founded in 1890 in Manilla?
Today, many people get involved in the pursuit of happiness as they realise that the path to a healthier, happier and more balanced life is the one that takes in a depth and breadth of experiences. That is so true for me, as a travel explorer, I simply love my life after I discover things that are wholly unexpected, unique and even adventurous. The accumulation of wealth isn’t of key importance to me, just happiness. And you can see this into practice.
With social media, especially Instagram, showcasing millennials undertaking their bragged experiences, the travel industry have jumped on the bandwagon by offering unique and tailored experiential escapades away from sightseeing to ‘living like a local.’
People love creating memories (a huge big activity of mine) to share with loved ones and that enjoying yourself in the moment is the ultimate prize. So, if you need inspiration to become one of those categories, why not check out the 19 inspiring individuals to get you started. But San Miguel wants us to remember, the Rich List tells us that not everyone has the means or confidence to follow their dream career but we can certainly take a lot from those who do.
Finishing our drinks, Jess and I went exploring in the pursuit of happiness.
Both Jess and I were intrigued when we saw people coming out of a room holding buckets of plants. So, we naturally queued up to enter. Soon, we found out that this was a Game-changer room that’s involved pothole gardening or apt called Guerrila gardening.
Led by Steve Wheen, he encourages us to make our own special miniature christmas tree garden buckets – of which both Jess and I got into with gusto. His inspiration to turn his tiny masterpieces into blooms of flowers, leaves and tiny props brings a smile to people wherever he gardens, be it in cracks of pavements or in walls. He loves to turn ‘something that’s dull and are, like a pavement, into a source of happiness.’ He shares his miniature gardens on his blog – thepotholegardener.com and even in his new book – The Little Book of Little Gardens.
His philosophy is this:
‘I just love to create – whether that’s a garden, a film or drawing something. It’s not about the finished product for me. It;s all about the process and that’s what really challenges and drives me.’
So, with that inspiration in mind, check out what Jess and I made (with more San Miguel…)
— Jess (@flyawayamerican) November 23, 2016
— Ed Rex (@rexyedventures) November 23, 2016
Marine Life Photography
Both Jess and I in our travels love the ocean. So getting a chance to find out what life is like under the ocean’s surface is simply something we wanted to get involved in!
A virtual reality experience, Goran Ehlme is a marine photographer based in Gothenburg in Sweden. He spends his days in some of the most beautiful parts of the planet, under water, to take pictures of rare and extraordinary sea life. So, he offers to inspire you with his cinematic immersive experience of his life at sea. Take a look at this video:
Would you be surprised that he’s been featured in the National Geographic and his video footage has been used in BBC1’s Blue Planet series? What an experience!
The Joy of the Open Road
In the main room, there are a series of photographs showcasing some of the 19 individuals. The one that definitely caught my eye and felt inspired the most has to be couple Valerie Cook and Tim Boffe. They transformed a Guatemalan school bus into hostel, where doors are now open for European experiences. This is the Nomads Bus.
An eco-friendly hostel on wheels, this brings together like-minded people on unique trips that they’ll remember forever. I’m sure I would be one, myself! Valerie and Tim met when they were both working in the Alps in ski resorts and together they went travelling around the world. But it was when they travelled in Central America through Mexico, Guatemala and Belize, living on 20 euros a day that they came across their bus. In Guatemala, they noticed that the yellow buses were sold off after 10 years of service and that’s when the Nomads Bus was born. After a crowdfunding campaign to buy the bus and bring it to Europe, they transformed the bus in Belgium and started taking bookings in July and been full ever since! They quote is what really inspired me:
‘People often say that they’re so jealous that we did this. But for us, it wasn’t that hard. Every choice we have made – for example, investing all the money we had – was a very easy decision for us, as we were so sure this was what we needed to do. It doesn’t mean everyone has to buy a bus and turn it into a hostel. That was what we felt would make us the happiest people on earth, Don’t listen to people around you – just follow what you want to do.
You can find out more about them here: http://www.letsbenomads.com or check out their video below:
Learning Instagram Tips with Mike Kus
To finish off our rich list inspiration, we tied off with a lesson from Mike Kus.
He’s a UK based designer that specialises in Instagram photography among others disciplines featuring in design related publications. However, his Instagram feed is pretty epic having worked for Burberry, Red Bull, O2 and the Northern Ireland Tourist Board on their photography projects.
Check out his instagram profile: MikeKus
I was already feeling a little disconnected from Instagram but luckily for me, Mike Kus put the fun back into it for me! In particular, how you edit the photos through the use of editing tools on Instagram rather than the filters. The use of the editing tool ‘Colour’ and its highlights became a revelation to me and since then, I’ve been taking advantage of it as much as I can! Check out this favourite one of mine:
How to enrich your life today
Now that we’re feeling inspired from the infectious curiosity of these 19 individuals, how can we take inspiration and start to think of ways to enrich our lives?
San Miguel says the key is to start small. Go on micro adventures, which can be summed up as close to home, inexpensive, simple, short and yet very effective. It could be anything from waking up to watch the sunrise before work to devoting one evening a week to star gaze or wild camping. Consider taking the less-trodden path but getting to the result of your endeavours is not key, it’s all about enjoying the experience of getting there. Of course, it may be hard to find the time bt with creative and flexible ways, you can do so. Work around your career, make the most of your lunchtimes or swap the gym for the outdoor workout. if you are wondering about money, start local, you don’t need to go to far flung destinations. Or you can undertake a series of stepping stones to achieve a long term goal or even a life swap!
Whatever you do, keep at it.
Me? I’m making it my new year’s resolution to try as much experiences as I can locally to connect with other people and create and share memories with my loved ones, old, new and yet to come.
Happy new year.