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BootsnAll’s Interview with the Coca-Cola Expedition 206 Winners

By now you’ve probably heard about Coca-Cola’s new round-the-world travel adventure, Expedition 206. The winning trio of travelers – Antonio, Kelly, and Tony – will spend 2010 visiting all 206 countries in which Coke products are sold. Yes, that’s 206 countries in one year. I’m absolutely not a math whiz, but my calculator tells me that’s not even two full days in every country on the list – and of course that’s not including transportation.

It makes me tired just thinking about it.

Expedition 206 winners: Tony, Kelly, & Antonio
Expedition 206 winners: Tony, Kelly, & Antonio

But I’m not one of the people going on this trip, so I’m content being just a wee bit envious of the three who are. After all, not only do they get to make an epic journey at someone else’s expense, they’ll also get a glimpse of a few events taking place in 2010 (including the Vancouver Olympics and the World Cup in South Africa) that will make the trip even more out-of-the-ordinary.

The winning team of three was announced at Coke headquarters in Atlanta this past Monday, and within a couple hours I had a chance to chat with all three via Twitter. Of course, there were questions we didn’t have time to get to, so the gang was kind enough to answer a few more via email.

Here’s a transcript of the interview for your reading pleasure. I’ve removed all the Twitterifications, such as the Expedition 206 address of @x206 and the #x206 hashtag, but keep in mind most of this interview was conducted in 140 characters.

BootsnAll Interview With Expedition 206 Winners

Hello & congrats to Antonio, Kelly, & Tony! I know you guys are busy, so I’m going to dive right into Qs. What country or event are you each MOST EXCITED about on this trip?
All 3 of us are excited for Asia… To get a chance to experience a vastly different culture.

Now, be honest: what country are you each MOST NERVOUS about visiting? In other words, where is most “unknown” to you?
Actually, excitement is the primary emotion here. So much excitement going on, no room for nervousness.

This is what the Expedition 206 trio looked like as they answered my questions on Twitter!
This is what the Expedition 206 trio looked like as they answered my questions on Twitter!

You’re going to be spending a year together: what’s 1 thing your companions should know about you? Any snorers? Sleepwalkers?
Kelly snores, Antonio burps and I (Tony) talk way too much. We’re working on my talking though Actually, Tony has been known to sleep walk as well…

How many (& what) languages do you speak between the three of you?
We have 5 languages between us. English, French, German, Spanish and Dutch.

That’s impressive, & I expect will be helpful. I hear you’re learning how to ask “what makes you happy” in many languages?
Yep. We had a great language lesson today and we expect the public to help us out along the way with much more. We’d love for the public to get involved and teach us how to say these things in their language! This trip is all about the public. You all know these places better than we do and we want your input.

Given the tight schedule, @TheWorldCalls asks: How well do you sleep on planes?
Kelly can sleep anywhere. She once fell asleep next to a formula one racetrack. With travel pillow, Tony can sleep anywhere and Antonio can do the same. We’ll probably work a lot on planes though.

You’re lucky if you can sleep anywhere. We’ll have to see if the travel community has rec’s for the best travel pillow!
Tony has an inflatable travel pillow that is wonderful! Soft and fluffy

The itinerary looks amazing, & also exhausting. What do you think will be the biggest challenges of the trip?
We think the biggest challenge will be leaving some of those super cool places that we fall in love with

So, since this is the point of the project: what makes YOU happy?
For Kelly, what makes her happy is meeting new people, experiencing new things and facing new challenges in life. For both Antonio and Tony what makes us happy is being able to be creative… being able to follow our passions.

I look forward to hearing about the biggest surprises of the trip once it’s done. Buon viaggio!

And here’s where we pick up with a few more questions, courtesy of Kelly via email…

Do you think this trip will satisfy your wanderlust, or make you want to travel more?
We will have very little time in each country. I think it will make us want to go back to certain places we’ll fall in love with.

Is there any aspect of the trip you’re NOT looking forward to?
It will sometimes be tiring and we will be spending lots of time in airports and planes but that will also give us the time we need to catch up on sleep and work on our content.

What’s the longest each of you has spent constantly traveling, prior to this trip?
We’ve all traveled alot but Tony has been traveling the most, from Australia to Croatia and everywhere in between.

When you’ve traveled in the past, was it usually alone or with friends/family?
We’ve all traveled with our family and friends, never alone.

What made you want to be a part of Expedition 206 to begin with?
First of all, the idea of travelling the world and experiencing new cultures. Also the philosophy behind expedition 206 really appealed to us. Who wouldn’t want to search for happiness?

More Information About Expedition 206

Even getting follow-up questions answered via email doesn’t give a full picture of the Expedition 206 trip. So, for more information about it, here are some sites to check out:

top photo courtesy of the Coca-Cola Expedition 206 PR crew, and bottom photo by Jen Leo