I spent a lifetime in the advertising business in Canada. At least it seemed like a lifetime. From pushing ungainly Cadillacs at Maclaren in the seventies, to shamelessly hawking everything from beer to soft drinks to burgers at JWT in the 80's, I wound up in the lofty climes of management as President of DDB Toronto by the new millennium. A seven year run of stellar growth, huge new business wins, worldwide creative awards and industry leading profitability led to the inevitable conclusion - I got fired. Must have missed the lesson on politics.
At least the whole thing provided a host of storytelling opportunities. Oh so close to dying on a Pepsi shoot in Venezuela when the cast/crew speedboat nearly sank in the dark coming from a shoot on a desert island. The million dollar ski spot for Labatt's in British Columbia that was derailed by no snow and an avalanche that killed 3 extreme skiers close by and took all our helicopters for 3 days. The monster six week January shoot in LA that set new records for decadence and a $77,000 hotel bill at the Sunset Marquis. Ah, the good times.
In 2006 my wife, Ellen and I pulled up stakes and moved to Singapore, then to Shanghai and back to Singapore and now Penang. We began writing about our travels as a means to keep in touch with friends back home. Bali, Vietnam, Thailand and Cambodia were quickly knocked off like chess pieces. Soon to be followed by Beijing, New Zealand and Tuscany. Of more recent vintage is Perth/Margaret River and Sri Lanka soon followed by St. Tropez, Dubai, Langkawi, Barcelona, Luang Prabang, Hoi An and this year - India.
While leaning toward 5 star experiences, we are occasionally smarter than that. Renting villas with friends in Europe can be a bargain if you find the right place & people. And, 5 star all over Asia can still be had for a fraction of the price of say, the Caribbean. However you cut it, the hotels we choose tend to be fantastic and the experiences getting to and from half the fun. Not surprisingly, it is the people you meet, the mates you travel with, the food, the drink, the sunsets that make it all memorable and worth writing about.
We hope you enjoy them.
Jim & Ellen