At thebigword, we take pride in our employees and the activities they take on outside of the work place. From interesting hobbies such as travelling and writing to raising money for charity, we are proud to have so much diversity and passion in our community of over 600 employees. Research has proved that hobbies and interests outside of work not only refresh the mind, but also help with performance in the workplace.

A rising passion

Exploring the world and learning about other cultures and customs has always been an interest of mine. Luckily for me, over the past 12 years I have been able to use my hobby of playing guitar as an opportunity to travel across Europe and beyond.

My first experience of playing gigs outside of the UK came when I was 18, when my old horror punk band named ‘The Ruined’ was booked to play a festival in the Czech Republic called Mighty Sounds. Excitingly, our singer booked us some pre-festival gigs in France and Germany and we meandered across the continent with the opportunity to experience other cultures along the way. Looking back, we had a great time, and I felt very privileged to have done something like that at my age.

Going solo

After the band broke up a few years later (horror punk isn’t as popular as we thought – who knew?), I decided to give the ‘acoustic musician’ life a go. My first solo trip to the mainland was a six-week jaunt, which took me out to Poland, Slovenia, Austria and everywhere in between. It was a lot of fun!

I have been able to use the DIY music scene as a platform to meet new people, get contacts and book gigs across the continent, even on the east coast of the US. I’ve played some bigger festivals and concerts, but 90% of my gigs have been small venues – clubs, bars and cafes. The experiences these tours have afforded me though have been some of the best of my life.

Worldwide opportunities

Playing music has given me so many opportunities and the freedom to visit several countries. I have definitely experienced a few of those life-changing and life-affirming moments while on the road. The most beautiful country I’ve played in is Slovenia; one year I had a couple of days off between gigs so I drove to Lake Bled and along the Soča River – it’s a part of the world I would recommend everyone to visit at least once.

I played to 15 people once in a café in Szczytno, a town in northern Poland. Nothing particularly overwhelming about that, but afterwards every audience member bought a CD and asked for it to be signed – a moment which meant a great deal to me!

I can confidently say that my musical ventures have definitely opened my eyes and this certainly helps my performance at work. Experiencing different cultures gives you an entirely different perspective and it’s great to be able to bring this knowledge to work.

Touring can be mentally exhausting, expensive and – if you go alone – lonely, but it’s already given me a great deal of experiences, and I hope it gives me lots more in the future.

Andrew Cream, Client Account Manager