Hi world, my name is Mark van der Heijden. I’m a creative entrepreneur from Amsterdam, the Netherlands. From January 2014 until January 2016 I’ve traveled the world as ‘The Backpacker Intern’. Helping out agencies, brands and charities. But I didn’t want to get paid. I just wanted to trade: a day of my work for food and a place to sleep. My mission was to gain experience on 7 continents (which I did :)) and I hope to inspire people with my story along the way and on the web.
It started with this short video.
After putting it on this website and my social media channels (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn), my idea got picked up by a lot of international media, TV and blogs, such as Adweek, Campaign and MTV. In just one week I’ve received more than 750 job-offers from all over the world.
In two years I’ve been on 7 continents, in 27 countries and worked at 32 companies like Amnesty International Thailand, DDB Vietnam, TBWA\Chiat\Day Los Angeles, JWT Buenos Aires, Red Bull Austria, UNICEF New Zealand, and Ogilvy Cape Town. I worked with the legendary hitmaker Nile Rodgers in New York, ex-drugtraffickers in the favelas of Rio de Janeiro, helped out a dog shelter in San Francisco, served food to homeless people at a Soup Kitchen in Malaysia and helped out One Ocean Expeditions during a polar expedition to the coldest continent in the world; Antarctica.
I gave presentations about my project at TEDxTeen New York City, Cannes Lions Festival, PechKucha, Creative Mornings, SXSW Festival, United Nations HQ and many more. As a public speaker, I want to help and inspire people to create an awesome life. I believe that we can change the world if we start by changing ourselves.
With all the learnings, experience and network I built over the past two years I now want to make work-life experiences accessible for a whole generation. That’s why I launched ‘The Backpacker Intern Academy‘, an online course to help you build your personal brand and stand out to land dream jobs abroad.
If you’re interested in collaborating please send me an email at email@example.com or use my contact page. Thanks for your support!
“The biggest adventure you can take is to live the life of your dreams.” – Oprah