Announcing The SOTM World Tour


Here’s the Earth – I’ll soon be going around it, taking SOTMs along the way!

I’M going around the world.

Not long after I started Someone Once Told Me, I realised how great it would be to take it around the world, visiting people in their own countries, finding out the memorable things that they’ve been told in their own languages and photographing them in far-flung places around the globe.

So that is exactly what I am going to do.

I earn a living as a journalist for the BBC News website. But my boss has kindly agreed to a career break – which is common at the BBC – and I will be travelling the world for one year from the start of June. I will not be drawing a salary from the BBC during this time.

The Itinerary

My route is largely driven by SOTM readers. Since early in the site’s existence, I’ve had offers from SOTM readers around the world to visit them where they live, from Italy to India and across the United States, among other countries.

Although I expect the itinerary to change significantly in the coming months, these are the destinations that I hope to visit:

  • France (Paris)
  • Germany (Berlin)
  • Switzerland (Geneva, Zug)
  • Italy (Emilia-Romagna)
  • Malta
  • Egypt (Cairo)
  • South Africa (Port Elizabeth, Cape Town)
  • UAE (Dubai)
  • India (Punjab, McLeod Ganj)
  • Bangladesh (Chittagong)
  • Thailand
  • Malaysia
  • Cambodia
  • Vietnam
  • Philippines (Manila)
  • China (Hong Kong, Shanghai, Beijing)
  • South Korea
  • Japan (Tokyo)
  • Australia (Sydney, Melbourne)
  • USA (cross-country tour)

I’d also like to include Scotland, Brazil and Mexico but that will depend on my budget so I’m leaving them off for now. If I can find a way to get to those places then I will add them in.

Giving Back

I’ve plan to continue my work with Operation Smile, the charity which operates on cleft palates for children around the world. All profits from the SOTM app already go directly to it, and I’d like to visit one of its clinic events while on my travels, to take SOTMs of the children and parents there. I’ll need to work out if I’ll be close enough to a clinic when one is in operation, as they run at certain times in various locations.

In addition to the app, I’m considering more ways in which the SOTM World Tour can support Operation Smile and the life-changing work they do for children.

Documenting The Trip

I’ll be blogging about the trip here on SOTMario and putting video clips on the SOTM YouTube channel. Plus I’ll be sharing on SOTM’s social media outlets including Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram.

Even more news: I’m planning to write a book about this journey.  It will be a memoir combining my own stories from the road with those of my most fascinating SOTM subjects.

This trip is something I’ve thought about a lot over the years. Whenever I considered SOTM’s future, I kept returning to the idea that doing a trip like this would advance the project in a beautiful, noisy, thrilling way. So I intend to gather as many pictures during this year as I flipping well can, hopefully at least 1,000 which will tell three years’ worth of daily stories on the site.

The thought of doing this trip is immensely exciting, hugely challenging and very terrifying at the same time. It will change my life forever. I’ve always wanted to travel the world, and now I have a website as a theme with which to do it. It won’t be without its challenges – it’ll mean living in casual clothes for a year (I love my suits), not having access to an iron (I love my iron), and sleeping on a fair few floors and couches (I sleep badly in a bed, let alone on a floor).

I Need Your Help

This trip can’t happen without you.

My budget is extremely tight. If I were to delay, it would be until Spring 2014 and for various reasons that’s too far away. If I’m ever going to go, it’s got to be this summer. So I have to keep the costs down by relying on people’s goodwill.

These are the sort of things that I need:

  • Contacts in the countries I’ll be visiting. Would you like to pose for SOTM, round up friends who’ll be photographed, and possibly translate into English where necessary?
  • Places to stay. Do you have a spare room or couch where I could stay for a few days? In return, you’ll receive my eternal thanks, a print of your SOTM photo, and a special mention on the SOTMario blog. I’ll buy you a nice dinner, too.
  • Contacts in the press anywhere in the world, particularly in those countries that I’ll be visiting. Do you work in the media – online, radio, and TV? Would you be interested in writing about the SOTM journey? I need as much media coverage as possible, to get people’s attention so that they either offer to meet for a photo, or send one in. The SOTM story makes for an eye-catching picture feature, as it already has in the London Metro, Times of Malta, and Boing Boing.

Please do get in touch if you can help with any of the above – you can contact me on Twitter, Facebook or you can email me via mario [at] sotmario [dot] com.

Thanks for reading all this, and look out for further updates as time edges closer to my departure. It’s going to be a hell of a journey, and I’d love for you all to come with me, in some way or another.

7 Responses to “Announcing The SOTM World Tour”

  1. Morgan says:

    This is amazing and such a clever idea! Props to you!

  2. Steph says:

    Hi Mario
    Sorry I missed you in Geneva. With regards to your RTW budget have you considered posting your project on a crowd funding site such as or
    Then the people who want to sponsor your project can make a donation
    All the best and let me know when you are passing back in Switzerland next year… Steph

  3. This is something I’ve thought about long and hard, and have asked around for – and I still haven’t come up with an answer. One person told me they did an RTW trip 10 years ago on £12,000 “and it wasn’t entirely a budget trip” while another lady said it cost her £10,000 to travel for a year with her husband in 2006 – that’s per person. Again, not all of that was a budget trip. So I think more than £10k for sure and try to pull as many favours as possible with friends, long lost cousins etc as keeping the accommodation costs down will really help you out. Drop me an email and let’s take your SOTM when I get back from the trip!

  4. Hi Mario,

    The itinerary sounds awesome! Do you mind if I ask what’s the budget that you’re counting on?
    I would love to do the same, but I am a bit lost financially.
    I’d be happy to host you, but I’m now living in London, so I guess I’m a bit useless at the moment. lol

    Good luck with your rtw trip! :)

  5. Tommy Darker says:

    Good luck with that Mario!

  6. Mark Stephens says:

    pls call me to discuss.
    i can hook you up in kL and will be in Cape Town for a massive conference at the begining of april

  7. Love to hear this, Mario! Happy for you and a great itinerary!

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