By Trevor Allison
Two Baylor alumni are making their dream to travel the world a reality.
David Aycock and Toby Tull, 2007 Baylor graduates, are spending all of 2012 on a journey around the world called Global Encounter.
According to their online itinerary the two alums are currently in Cambodia until March.
Tull said the trip started as a dream they had while still in school, but it has undergone some changes in the years since.
“While Global Encounter started off as a dream both of us had to travel the world, as we planned the trip of a lifetime, we felt it was very self-serving,” Tull wrote in an email to the Lariat. “The primary reason behind creating Global Encounter was to add meaning behind the trip.”
Tull said they made it a point to set aside time to volunteer.
“We’ll be helping with flood relief efforts in Thailand, working with an orphanage in Nepal, helping at a school for the deaf in Malawi and serving an organization that sponsors and trains students in Kenya,” Tull said. The two will spend a month in each of those countries.
Tull and Aycock are also working with schools in the United States.
“We partnered with more than a dozen elementary schools nationwide and created a workbook curriculum that follows our 26-country itinerary around the world so the students can learn about each country as we visit them,” Tull said. He said they also created a website where students can watch videos of their adventures and interact with them in a forum.
The travelers said they have partnered with Cook Children’s Medical Center in Fort Worth as well.
“We’re also traveling with their stuffed mascot, Safety Bear, who is corresponding with kids there and is even sending back ‘Where’s Waldo?’ style pictures to use as distraction games,” Tull said.
However, the journey around the globe has not been without challenges. Aycock said Internet access has been the biggest obstacle.
“As travelers, we’ve realized that access is a privilege that you either pay for with money or with patience with poor connectivity or bandwidth,” Aycock wrote in an email to the Lariat. “That’s definitely made it a really big challenge to manage our website and upload videos and pictures.”
The language barrier has also been an issue at times. Aycock said he speaks a little French and Tull speaks a little Spanish, but that hasn’t helped them so far, as their stops have been in New Zealand, Australia and China. “Here in Asia, your best bet is to try very basic English, find someone to interpret or just use trial and error,” Aycock said. Tull said they have set up a website, Twitter account and Facebook accounts as a way to stay in contact with friends and family.
He said videos posted on the website are their most frequent updates. Both men have extensive travel experience, Tull said.
“As friends since college, we’ve actually taken several hiking trips to national parks around the U.S., the UK and Patagonia in South America,” he said. They also took a year off in college to do youth ministry and volunteer in Hartlepool, England.
Senior lecturer of finance Colene Coldwell, has stayed in touch with Tull. She said she is not surprised to hear that he is undertaking such an adventure.
“He not only has the passion to do things, but makes them a reality,” Coldwell said. Aycock and Tull offered advice to students who might have a desire to travel in a similar way.
“Do it now before other commitments in life would prevent the possibility,” Aycock said. Tull said that many of the people they tell about Global Encounter say they could never do something like it, or call him and Aycock brave. “The thing is, it’s amazing and it’s challenging and difficult at times,” Tull said. “But when is anything worth it easy?”
The trip is entirely self-funded, Aycock and Tull said.