What would you do if you had three free tickets to the World Cup, but no obvious way to get there? Three of our colleagues decided they would take on a challenge of a lifetime and that they didn't need planes or trains to make it to Russia. So they did what any diehard football fan would do: they went the unconventional route and supported the Red Devils by hitchhiking...all the way to Russia. Vincent, Elisabeth, and Thomas packed their backpacks and prepared for more than 2,500 kilometres of road to get to Saint Petersburg!
The Road to Russia After-Movie
One Crazy Idea Turned Into One Crazy Plan 🗺
Sometimes the craziest idea is the best one! The random and seemingly unlikely idea to hitchhike to Russia popped up in a team meeting over two weeks ago, and it didn't disappear. We knew we had ING Belgium's full support for entrance to the World Cup game (if Belgium even made it that far), but how would our crazy colleagues get to the game?
Completing the journey meant the lucky three would have to hitchhike through a total of eight countries, cover 2,500 kilometres, and arrive in only four days. We've done crazy things before at StoryMe, but this was a dare way too good to pass up. When the whole team got news of this travel plan, more than 15 people volunteered to take the challenge on! Only three were chosen, and a quick 24 hours later they would set off on the open road with just their essentials and their cute plush mascot (courtesy of ING), Red.
Meet the Crazy StoryMe Three
Thomas Vangeel (Art Director), Elisabeth Puglia (Art Director), and Vincent Lefevre (Video Marketeer), were the lucky three chosen to travel. They represented StoryMe and Belgium proudly in the four days of their hitchhike, and it was pretty impressive how laidback they were about the whole situation considering there was no guarantee Belgium would win against Brazil that Friday. We talked to them before they hit the road, so get to know them in their intro videos below!
The Race to Get to Russia
With time running out fast, the excitement and curiosity growing around their adventure caught the attention of news outlets in both Belgium and France. And since their trip deserved real-time coverage and updates, our content team created www.traveltorussia.be complete with a live-tracker, social updates, and highlights to update our followers of their progress. It was great to see them using video to create cool content of gun-range stops, car rides, gas station parking lots, hanging out with locals, completing challenges from our sponsors, and enjoying the atmosphere in each country along the way.
A Once In a Lifetime Hitchhike
The StoryMe attitude and mentality is something we pride ourselves in. We believe some ideas are just worth rolling with, in other words, a f*ck it, let's do it mentality. This trip was a perfect chance to practice what we preach and go for a big challenge in a lean and mean way.
It was great to see our sponsors ING and McAlson support the journey wholeheartedly. Our Founder Lorenzo Bown says, "We were able to count on the support of ING Belgium for the entire trip. Not only for the sponsorship but they really encouraged us in this crazy challenge."
As expected, the trip was a wonderful, and at times definitely bizarre. Along the way, they encountered people from all walks of life and stories. There was only one bump in the road when they came across an aggressive driver in Poland. The rest of the journey was full of hospitable and kind people who wanted to see them complete their long journey. Support even came to them in the unlikely form of a Belgian living in Latvia. Tom was so supportive of their cause that he drove them the last 500 kilometers to St. Petersburg!
Thanks to their tracker we could follow their route in real-time.
Ready for the World Cup
Thanks to Tom, the three made it to St. Petersburg in time to grab their FanIDs and take a long, well-deserved nap. Once all the logistical details were behind them, it was time to let go and party with other proud Belgian visitors before the match. "The feeling of pride and excitement that we felt there is second to none," says Thomas. And as for if they'd do it again knowing how tiring the trip would be? Vincent says, "Without a doubt."
Once in the stadium, it was time to root for Belgium!
Although the trip didn't end with Belgium winning against France that Tuesday night, Elisabeth explains, "It's amazing to know that any place in the world is accessible with determination, and I'm proud of the journey that Team StoryMe and the Red Devils have accomplished together!"