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Big Trip Blog Bigtripblog is a multimedia travel experience capturing the adventures of Kevin and Valerie during their one year trip around the world.

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My name is Kevin Allgood and I love two things: travel and technology. I’m hoping they make a decent marriage as we set out on our endeavor here. I graduated in 2003 from the University of Georgia with degrees in History and Telecommunications.

When I was a junior I spent a year studying at the University of Northumbria in Newcastle, England, and I’m pretty sure that’s when I became obsessed with seeing the world. My first major trip was a two week solo adventure to Egypt, and it was an absolute blast. We just got back from two years on the JET Program, teaching English in Kyoto, Japan. Needless to say that was pretty amazing, and we got to see a few of the nearby countries in addition to seeing a bunch of cool spots in Japan.

I would like to make a career out of non-fiction television, writing, or new media, and hopefully some combination of all three. Of course I’d have to travel a lot. But since I’m not quite sure how that will all work out, I’m lugging my powerbook, an HD camcorder, a tripod, and some recording equipment all the way around the world. That way no matter what happens in the future I’ll have given myself the opportunity to pursue all of my interests at the same time, at least once. I hope you enjoy my efforts.

Hi, I’m Valerie Marshall and I’m 24 years old. I grew up in Marietta, Georgia, the suburbs of Atlanta. I majored in Anthropology and minored in Art History at the University of Georgia. My schooling fueled an interest to see the cultures and art of the world after studying them so much in my home country. During college I studied tourism to Kenya and had an amazing experience especially on safari in the beautiful national parks and meeting so many incredible Kenyans.

After graduation, Kevin and I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to teach English in Japanese public schools through the JET Program. Learning Japanese and getting the hang of things there over the course of two years was a completely different and enriching learning experience than I had in school. It didn’t hurt that we lived in Kyoto, the culturally rich former capital of Japan. Despite the endless amount of temples, shrines, and gardens, Kyoto is a pretty urban place where you can take a train almost anywhere and feel as cool as the next guy belting out those 80’s favorites at one of many downtown karaoke clubs. Lots of Japanese people asked me why I wanted to live there, but I felt like “I like foreign countries” was never a good enough answer, even though it’s always been as simple as that. I’m not sure exactly what they wanted to hear. Maybe they wanted me to say since childhood I’ve wanted to go to Japan for reasons X,Y, and Z.

In any case, after going to Kenya, Japan, South Korea, and the Philippines, I think each place I go to is unique and interesting. And I like being able to say, actually, not everything in Japan is ridiculously expensive. And no, unfortunately I am not taller than everyone (or even most people). I like knowing that in the Philippines, it is completely normal for a guy to sport a giant machete on his hip, climb up a 30-foot palm tree in less than a minute, and hack off a few coconuts from the top.

Anyway, this trip we’re about to go on is much bigger than any adventure I’ve had so far, so we’ll see what happens. Hopefully we’ll make it all the way around without any major complications or setbacks. Other than that, to say I’m excited is a ridiculously huge understatement.

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