“3 guys, 44 days, 11 countries, 18 flights, 38 thousand miles, an exploding volcano, 2 cameras and almost a terabyte of footage… all to turn 3 ambitious linear concepts based on movement, learning and food ….into 3 beautiful and hopefully compelling short films.”

That’s a quote from Rick Mereki, who with two buddies (producer Tim White & actor Andrew Lees) somehow convinced Australia’s STA Travel to fund their exotic, 11-country jaunt!   Their pitch, to create three 1 minute videos on the theme of Moving, Eating and Learning.  After sifting & chopping through a terabyte of what appears to be DSLR stock, Rick posted his new short films on his Vimeo page on Wednesday and they’ve already gone viral, Entertainment Weekly reports. Rick just posted on twitter that the three vids have hit 5 million combined views already & are being seen by Diane Sawyer, Pharell & Oprah! Must be crazy times for that man!

Each features a different style of storytelling, with MOVE composed of clips spliced together in to give an animated feeling:

EAT starts out with cunning split-screen closeups of cross-cultural dishes, shifting to closeups of Andrew noshing bugs:

LEARN is where the real narrative is. It’s good to see these guys weren’t collecting passport stamps or simply on the piss. In LEARN, you get the impression that these guys genuinly wanted to connect with people and culture and learn new skills.

Having visited over 50 countries on various escapades, I’m a massive advocate of travel

l (check my ode to adventure here).  Seeing the world opened my eyes to nature’s beauty; poverty and materialism, experiencing different ways of life and building a sense of adventure and exploration, as well as seeing past the rabbit wheel of day to day work.  Not only that, but being in potentially sketchy situations when you’ve only really yourself to rely on leaves you with a sense of world wise confidence that lasts a lifetime.

But for me, two quotes that together summarise travel for me are:

“You can’t discover new ocean’s if you’re afraid to leave sight of the shore” – No Fear

And the slightly less concise:

“Stripped of your ordinary surroundings, your friends, your daily routines, your refrigerator full of food, your closet full of clothes – with all this taken away, you are forced into direct experience. Such direct experience inevitably makes you aware of who it is that is having the experience. That’s not always comfortable, but it is always invigorating.” – Michael Crichton in his book ‘Travels’

Although the three shorts show locations familiar to me, the thing it’s really done is captured the spirit of travel.  Travellers can be snobby about how adventurous other travellers are, but travel remains in your blood whether you give it Travel Lite, on the piss up and down Australia’s east coast, or take it a step more hardcore braving the tiger-infested mangrove forests of Bangladesh.

STA Travel Australia are firm believers of such a lifestyle, and I think it’s ace that they helped these chaps accomplish what they did. In fact, I’m gutted that I didn’t have the nouse to get STA travel to pay for my trips!

Here’s to Moving, Eating and Learning; and to Travel, with a capital T!

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