December 29, 2010
Very few people on the planet can top the travel tales that Tony Martin, Kelly Ferris and Antonio Santiago will share today.
The three globetrotters spent the past year visiting nearly 200 countries. They traveled more than 275,000 miles as the tireless stars of Coca-Cola’s Expedition 206.
Coke sent the “happiness ambassadors” around the world on a quest to discover what makes people happy. The mission, which Fast Horse helped organize and promote, coincided with Coca-Cola’s “Open Happiness” marketing campaign.
Everywhere the travelers went, they asked people what makes them happy. From Aruba to Zimbabwe, they heard the same answers: friends and family, music and dancing, sports and food.
The trio began their expedition in Madrid on Jan. 1. They mark the end of the mission this week with events in Atlanta, the world headquarters of Coca-Cola.
They shared stories and answered questions today. Martin, 30, is a Washington, D.C., native who teaches kindergarten in Munich. Ferris, 24, is a college student from Brussels. Santiago, 25, is a university student from Mexico City.
The travelers came away with plenty of lessons about happiness.
“When it comes to happiness, finding many small moments of joy are more important than looking major milestones,” Martin said. “Don’t wait until you have the time to write a whole book. Just spend five minutes a day writing a sentence.”
“I think happiness is something we all have within us,” Ferris said. “We express it and experience it by sharing with others.”
“The happiest people are those who follow their dreams,” Santiago said. “Next up are those who are surrounded by those people that mean the most to them. Combine the two and you’re set.”
The trio also offer plenty of other observations and travel tidbits.
Most Beautiful Sunset — Greenland
“I was there in May,” Ferris said. “The sun starts to set around 9 p.m. and finishes around midnight. I watched the whole thing form a rocky shoreline that is just out to the sea. A wonderful experience.”
Most Interesting Animal Spotted — Kudu
“While on safari in Botswana, I saw this animal called a kudu,” Santiago said. “They have extreme grace and can jump over cars! They have these really long twisty horns and it was just beautiful.”
Best Hidden Beaches — Croatia
“There are a lot of rocky beaches there, but the water is amazing and if you know where to look, you can find some amazing sandy beaches hidden on the small islands near Dubrovnik,” Martin said.
Most Indispensable Travel Item — Smart Phone
“It’s not just my phone. It’s my book (I’ve read 42 books on my phone while waiting in customs, catching flights, or driving to places this year), it’s my movie screen, it’s my notebook, it’s my voice recorder, it’s the place for my ideas, it’s my to do list, it’s my map when I’m lost, it’s my internet when I need information, it’s my email, it’s my Facebook to stay connected to my family and friends and so much more.” – Tony
Honorable Mentions for Indispensable Items
* Quick-drying underwear
* Hooded sweatshirts
You can get a taste of the expedition via this cool set of Flickr photos:
And of course you can check out the team’s YouTube channel. Here’s a good one from June, when Santiago gets some very manly face paint.