A year goes very fast – even for someone that has spent over two years crossing Africa by foot and kayak between 2015 – 2017, like myself. And exactly one year ago, in December 2017, an international film crew joined me in Egypt to shoot a few episodes about my solo project and life as a global citizen, for an award-winning project called #LiveMoreShareMore.
I guess that is what happens when you believe in your dreams: people find you and support you. There are thousands – if not Millions – of travel influencers out there, people going places and creating content on a daily basis. But, somehow, my African expedition caught the attention of a digital agency in Vienna, which invited me to be part of a global campaign. Back then I had less than 10k followers on Instagram.
#LiveMoreShareMore was developed by RDB | Robin des Bois, an international Media agency focusing on Influencer Millennial Marketing and Branding Campaigns in Vienna, London and Manilla, and the project is powered by Western Union – the global leader in cross-border, cross-currency money movement in over 200 countries.
After watching previous episodes of the web series featuring influencers such as Mihaela Noroc, author of the project “The Atlas of Beauty”; Nuseir Yassin, creator of the one-minute daily videos channel @nasdaily; Youtuber Maria @LaCooquette and also videos featuring American UFC fighter Cat Zingano, all of them very driven and inspiring influencers – I had a crew following me from 8:00 in the morning until very late in the night in cities such as Cairo and Alexandria to mark the end of a long walking started in 2015.
The team of professionals spending five days with me included German film director Rainer Frick, filming assistant Jan Pilny and the London-based Journalist and producer Marcio Delgado, a Global Content Manager and social Influencer Headhunter for RDB and whom had interviewed me over the phone and signed me up for the campaign several months before we finally met, in Egypt, to start shooting together.
Being part of a Global project like that for Western Union, a brand I personally use and have always used even before being approached to work with, also gives you some insight about how campaigns are made and how much work goes into each step of the production process, with a crew spending approximately 100 days on the road, each year. Who would have thought that those videos would take so many days of intense labour?
“It is like a puzzle to align crew and influencer in a specific location to start shooting. After months talking almost weekly, there are also lots of travelling involved before the first filming day. And the team working behind the cameras also had to constantly adapt to very different weather conditions: from monsoons in the Philippines to the dry and warm African landscape. However, the people we met and the stories we heard made it all worth in the end” – acknowledges the series producer, Marcio Delgado. Follow Marcio Delgado for some behind-the-scenes updates on Instagram: @marcio_delgado
The #LiveMoreShareMore filming schedule also brought me to Uganda, where I visited the Western Union Foundation and even met Golden Globe winner Forest Whitaker, RDB CEO Mario Debout and Western Union CEO, Hikmet Ersek, on a visit to the Kiryandongo refugee settlement. The Foundation has been working with The Whitaker Peace and Development Initiative to connect 10,000 refugees to the global economy through business education and conflict resolution.
As a modern explorer, it is definitely great when we see the videos go live knowing how hard it is to capture shots in difficult places . It is a part of my story that have been immortalized forever, on camera, and at any time, later in my life I can look back and say: ‘I have made it!’.
By the way: all episodes are published across Western Union’s social channels, including Facebook and teasers on Instagram, and they are also made available to watch in a dedicated blog about the Live More project. In case you haven’t seen my two episodes already, I invite you to have a look at: https://www.westernunion.com/blog/sharemore/#mario Episodes of the current second season are published weekly on www.facebook.com/westernunion
Now i’m working on my next expedition #ProjectEVA (Electric Vehicle around Africa) which will start early next year. The expedition will have me driving a pure electric vehicle around the continent of Africa to help promote sustainable energy and transportation. To find out more about it please visit www.projecteva.org or follow any of the social media links below.
Connect with Mario:
Was born in Turks and Caicos Islands and spent his childhood in a small village near Stuttgart, Germany, before moving to Toronto, Canada at age 16. He has always had a tremendous drive to push the limits in athletics, exploration, and almost anything he puts his mind to. It was never enough to be the norm. Rigby recently completed his Crossing Africa journey, a two-year trek walking and kayaking from Cape Town, South Africa to Cairo, Egypt – all while sharing his experiences on social media and inspiring people across the continent, and the globe, to get out, be brave, and see the world.