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This KEDGE graduate dropped everything to backpack through South America!

A native of southeastern France, Solène Dony (ESC 2013) came to Bordeaux to study at KEDGE Business School. A fashion and luxury goods enthusiast at the time, she naturally chose to specialize in that sector, interning at Hermès and The Kooples in Paris and for prestigious wine and spirits brands in New York. After graduating, she decided to settle in Paris, where she worked in prêt-à-porter women’s fashion at Monoprix. A stint in Paris is a must in this industry, but life there quickly became routine. Solène was tired of the stress of the city, but it was especially her other passion, travel, that got the better of her.

That is why, just after Christmas in 2015, she decided along with her boyfriend Marc to leave everything behind and backpack through South America. One of their craziest dreams became reality.

‘My trips to the United States and through Europe, and especially my seven-month internship in New York during my studies at KEDGE, had already given me wanderlust. We wanted to see breathtaking landscapes, try local specialities, and meet locals who have a different idea of happiness than our own. More than anything, this trip was a way to escape the daily grind and get the perspective I needed to better think about the future.’ 

The departure date was set for 10 October 2016 to give them ten full months to prepare.


Their goal was to get to know South American culture, interact with locals, including through volunteer trips, and above all to share their experience honestly and with a sense of humour on their French-language blog. Their account of their adventures on the platform exhibits no taboos and plenty of self-deprecation and short anecdotes. The ‘About’ section sets the tone!

‘We spent a long time deciding between travelling the world and visiting one entire continent. Both options are equally rich in terms of experience. One would give us a much wider view of the world, with the chance to explore very different cultures from one continent to the next, while the other would be a way to explore each country of one continent from top to bottom without any time constraints.’ 

They booked a one-way ticket to South America. ‘We plan to move along or stay by feeling rather than based on specific dates.’ 


The couple plans to travel through Brazil, Chile, Bolivia, Peru, Ecuador, Colombia, and maybe Panama, Costa Rica, Nicaragua, and Mexico, budget-permitting, on a trip sure to be full of incredible discoveries and a huge variety of landscapes!

To all Kedgers who also want to travel, Solène offers the same advice: ‘If you dream of dropping everything to travel but the idea scares you stiff, get to work! Of course it’s scary to leave a job that took you a long time to get, to find yourself without an income or accommodations, and to wonder what tomorrow will bring. But if you’re asking yourself if you could do it, part of you already knows the answer. The good news is that your dream is within arm’s reach.’


So when are you leaving?


Follow Solène and Marc’s adventures:


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1 Comment

Isabelle NOCA (EUROMED Programme Grande Ecole / ESC, 1991) 28 January 2017 à 14h48

quelle surprise! Je ne pensais pas du tout trouver cet article en tapant un lien Kedge! Bravo pour cette très belle expérience. ça donne très envie. Bonne continuation. Isa