Competition winner plans focused gap year

The winner of's World Culture Competition has said that she plans to use her prize to develop her passion for photography. 
Alison Campbell, 32, was one of many who entered the arts, music and culture contest to win a round the world flight, courtesy of our friends at Round The World Experts. Entrants were required to come up with a short list of festivals or other cultural events around the world they could visit on their gap year and explain why they would like to attend them. 
Alison said: "I was so surprised to hear that I'd won, it's only just starting to sink in! I am really grateful for this amazing prize and can't wait to start planning my trip!"  
Her entry, which included the Rio Carnival in Brazil, the Full Moon party in Thailand and the New Orleans Jazz Festival in the United States, was judged the most engaging and inspiring by competition judges. Suggestions from other entrants included Chinese New Year in Hong Kong, the Running of the Bulls in Pamplona, Spain, and a bull testicle-eating festival in Montana, United States.  
Alison, who lives in London and only joined when she heard about the World Culture Competition, explained that she's keeping the theme of her trip sharply in focus. "I'm really passionate about photography," she said.
"One thing I try to keep an eye out for is local photography tours when I'm travelling. Last year I did short courses with Jackie Rankin in New Zealand and Alfie Goodrich in Japan, both of which I would highly recommend."
The competition winner has had little experience of long-term backpacking, but has big plans of where to go on her round the world trip. She said: "I have a long list of places I want to visit - it might be quicker to make a list of the places I don't want to go!
"Every single one of my friends who have been travelling tell me that I have to go to Thailand. Apparently it has the most beautiful beaches in the world, not to mention friendly people and amazing cuisine. And Japan because I would love to go back and explore their traditional temples and gardens."
This is a brand new opportunity for Alison and she plans to really make the most of her taste of independent travel. She said: "Aside from the obvious benefit of being more economical, the thing that appeals to me about backpacking is the fact that it's the best way to get under the skin of a place. It gives you flexibility, community and support from travellers and it's a great way to make new friends."
The World Culture Competition was launched at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival at the end of August and closed on 14 October.