What do you want to do before you die?
This is a question Contiki is now asking their clients through their partnership with four young men challenging others to cross items off their bucket list -- the stars of MTV’s The Buried Life. At a swimming pool newly converted into a theatre space in Toronto’s Casa Loma on Wednesday, two of these stars, Dave Lingwood and Duncan Penn, told guests about their own journey to change the world, one crossed-off list item at a time and about a new contest so others can achieve this as well.
In 2006, The Buried Life, whose members hail from Victoria, Canada, made a list of “100 Things to Do Before You Die” and for every list item they accomplished, they helped a stranger do something on their own list. Since then, they've crossed off “'Make a TV Show,” “Write a #1 New York Times Bestselling Book,” “Play Ball with President Obama” and “Outfit a Teenage Girl with her First Bionic Arm.” They have also given motivational presentations at over 100 North American college campuses and several TEDx Talks across Europe. Along the way, they’ve encouraged millions to believe that anything is possible.
“Marie Anne MacRae from Contiki actually approached us after one of our talks and said,’Do your fans ever want to do anything to do with travel?’” said Penn. “The number one thing we hear is always to do with travel. And she said, ‘Well, I work for this company called Contiki. Why don’t we help people do some things on their bucket list?’ It was amazing.”
“I have always believed young travellers can be united through inspirational videos and inspirational storytellers,” said Brad Ford, president, Contiki Holidays Canada.”I think you see some similarities in Contiki and The Buried Life -- some crazy energy, some passionate beliefs and some enabling of young people to achieve their dreams.”
Penn told stories about a young woman who had never been off of her reservation in New Mexico, who Contiki flew to Europe to experiences things she’d never dreamed she’d see. Another young woman had fallen in love at age 10 with a boy, with whom she had stayed in touch for ten years after their families moved away from each other.
“It turns out he was in Italy. So we organized her on a Contiki trip to Verona, which is in Romeo and Juliet. And so we brought her out onto Juliet’s balcony, the real balcony from the fictional story and there he was. And they got to spend the rest of the trip in Italy together.”
The Buried Life have embarked on two Contiki experiences thus far -- the Italian Espresso and attending Contiki’s global conference in Athens, Greece.
“When we first partnered, we didn’t know what to think. We were backpackers by nature,” said Penn. “And we went on this trip and we were so blown away. They’re pros. They have been doing it for so long that they know exactly what to do and how to do it. And it’s like you kind of have a VIP pass to countries -- you don’t have to waste time figuring out how to use the metro or wait in long lines for things. A bus picks you up and you go right in and you’re posting your pictures pretty soon after. It’s very low stress and if you’ve ever been backpacking, you know it can be pretty stressful.”
Penn says if Contiki keeps asking, they’ll keep going: “They keep mentioning new trips and we keep trying to sign up for them. We’re crossing off items from our own travel bucket list as well.”
In October, Contiki and The Buried Life announced “The Most #EpicBucketList Contest (Ever).” Millennials can go to the contest website (www.epicbucketlist2014.com) and select five out of the 20 EPIC Bucket List items, such as “Swim with Sharks in the Galapagos,” “Sail the Greek Islands on a Private Yacht” and “Snowball Fight on a Glacier in New Zealand.” Participants can increase their chances by sharing lists through social channels, choosing their travel partner, uploading videos and photos, referring friends and achieving special challenges. The Buried Life and Contiki will personally select the grand prize winner and make the announcement on Dec. 1 The winner and a friend will cross items off their list while adding some new ones with The Buried Life.
For more information on Contiki, visit www.contiki.com.
PHOTO: Dave Lingwood, The Buried Life; Brad Ford, President, Contiki Holidays Canada; Duncan Penn, The Buried Life.