Read about Cole’s trip to Peru last summer! (2016)
As someone that is passionate about travel more than anything else in life, the opportunities that the travel bursaries can provide excite me more than anything.
I put myself forward to construct the teams travel plans to Finland, which turned out to be very successful. The prospect of Finland excited me but the idea of experiencing Peru surpassed all these feelings. When I found out that I was successful and I was going to Peru I was completely fulfilled with joy and adrenaline. I immediately called my mum to tell her the amazing news as I just needed to share my excitement with someone.
The adrenaline factor was due to the fact I would be taking this 3 week journey completely alone. I had a fair bit of backpacking and travelling experience prior to the trip but none of it had been solo. South America wasn’t exactly the usual place to take your first solo trip but this only fuelled my passion for the trip.
Before I flew to a different continent, the director of the Team Academy Peru paid a visit to Newcastle where I got to meet him prior to my visit. Me and Nicolas immediately became friends and even went out for a night out in Newcastle which we both enjoyed a lot. During this time we were able to talk about my trip and organise a loose structure for my visit.
Day 1: Early morning connection flight to Amsterdam and then the rest of the day spent flying to my destination. Late night arrival in Lima followed by a taxi to the outskirts where I would meet my host, Diego. You may think…host? Not a hotel?
For my time in Lima, I used couchsurfing. Couchsurfing is a site that connects fellow travellers from all over the world and puts them in contact so that people can organise to meet and accommodate each other to ensure travellers have the most authentic experience possible, and don’t have to spend on hotels.
Diego was an awesome host, we, along with his boyfriend, climbed to an aerial viewpoint of the city, went fruit shopping in Lima’s oldest market, cooked traditional food, went for beers and shared lots of stories from each others lives.
During the day times, I went to the Team Academy Peru hub and had a tour of their premises, learning all about how they operate there and how it differs to ours. I also joined the management team whilst visiting schools where I got to talk and spread the message of Team Academy to lots of young enthusiastic students.
By the end of the week and a half spent working with the guys at Team Academy Peru, I was running my own sessions to the management team on how I thought they could improve their operations from what I had witnessed during my time there.
I met the students from their teams and developed both professional and personal relationships with a large scope of people at the academy during my time there who I still talk to regularly.
Me and Estefania, who is a teampreneur there, skyped very recently to talk about social media marketing and in particular how to monetise accounts on instagram.
I also got to work on Nicolas’ guinea pig farm in the foothills of Lima, guinea pig meat being a popular delicacy throughout Peru. This gave me an insight into how the growth of small businesses in Peru differs to that of those in the UK. Also, I got a look into a sector that I previously had no knowledge of. After my time working on the farm, I acted as a consultant and put forward what opportunities and improvements I thought the business could act upon, which proved to be mutually beneficial.
My week and a half spent with TA Peru was genuinely incredible and I believe it gave me a next level understanding of how Team Academy differs throughout the world. At first I was naïve, and thought that team academy would just be the same everywhere and that’s how it should be. However, Peru’s approach to Team Academy differed an appeared to be working for them in their own unique way.
The lessons taken from my trip vastly outweighed any personal studying I had done for months and I can’t quite put into words the value this provided to me, my understanding of small businesses and my understanding of Team Academy as a whole.
The next 9 days were spent backpacking around the Peru exploring it in all its glory. I got the opportunity to make a dream come true and hike up to Machu Picchu and experience my first ever wonder of the world. It’s very difficult to explain how incredibly humbled I was whilst there, I felt a level of content that I don’t think ive ever reached before. The photo below shows me there.
I also got the opportunity to pursue another dream which was to enter the amazon rainforest. Whilst there I slept in jungle log cabin, fished for piranhas, swam in the Amazon River and hugged a sloth!!
Both those photos were posted to my instagram which focuses on travelling and has an audience of four and a half thousand people. My instagram is a key part of my business and these opportunities are the kind of thing that have helped to make it grow and get better and better.
My business mainly focuses on travel video creation and this trip also provided me with the opportunity to create my best video yet. My video has now been published into Peruvian press and been adopted and shared by the Peruvian national tourism board that has a social media reach of 1.3 million people just on facebook alone. The exposure that this has provided me with has been fantastic and without the travel bursary wouldn’t have been possible. (video can be seen here Peru Video)
In total, my time in Peru came to 21 of the best days of my life. Trying to tell the story of these three weeks in words will never be able to do it justice but hopefully the magnitude of the benefits I received from this experience can be felt. This experience has benefited me both in business and in my personal life and I cannot begin to express how grateful I am for the opportunity.
This experience has only encouraged me further and I hope to spread my message and push onto Shanghai next.