BMT 056: Leveraging Creativity to Live and Work All Over the World with Mark van der Heijden

Mark Van Der Heijden

Join us as we chat with Mark van der Heijden, also known as The Backpacker Intern, in a conversation about how he leveraged his career skills to get him free accommodations and food all over the world. To take it to the next step, Mark has started a company that enables other travelers to do this exact same thing. Listen to find out more about his new company, Wanderbrief.

About Mark

Mark van der Heijden hails from the south of Holland, a quaint country that is known for tulips, cheese, clogs, and coffee shops. For the past seven years, he has been immersed in the Amsterdam ad scene. From his day job as a Creative Copywriter at LEMZ to his night job as an advertising instructor at the JUNIOR* Academy to his hobbies as a board member of the Dutch Young Creatives and co-founder of Creatives, Cocktails & Dreams, there is not a corner of the ad world Mark has left unexplored.

In January of 2014, Mark said goodbye to his job(s), tossed his home into a backpack, and hit the world as The Backpacker Intern, helping out agencies, brands, and charities across the world in exchange for room and board. The journey has taken him to 27 countries on 7 continents, where he has worked with 32 companies. These include Amnesty International Thailand, TBWA/Chiat/Day Los Angeles, Ogilvy Cape Town, Red Bull Austria, JWT Buenos Aires, DDB Vietnam, and UNICEF New Zealand.

He has worked with legend Nile Rodgers, with ex-drug traffickers in the favelas of Rio de Janeiro, and on the coldest continent of the world: Antarctica.

Mark shared his story at TEDxTeen in NYC and Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity. He was invited to a summit at The White House, was featured by Mashable as an Inspiring Travel Instagrammer to follow, and is one of the Top 100 Most Influential Travel Bloggers in the World.

Mark now works as an Entrepreneurial Creative for agencies and brands, gives speeches to inspire students and businesses at events, and writes articles for companies like Virgin.

In June 2015, Mark co-founded Wanderbrief, a global community that connects creatives and companies around the world, where people can exchange their creativity for experiences abroad. Wanderbrief helps to create meaningful connections that refresh the perspective of people, companies, and eventually, the world.

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