The stamps on Joel Moss Levinson's passport are enough to give you travel envy.
“When you see how other people live and work and hang out and play, it gives you a different sense of how many different ways there are to be a human being,” he said. “I think all of that adds a lot of value to my life.”
The filmmaker — who is a viral video version of "The Prize Winner of Defiance, Ohio" — will check off Africa, thanks to the all-expenses trip he won to Kenya from LifeStraw, a company that sells straw-style water filters. The company donated fresh drinking water to a million children from the continent.
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After his trip next month, the Yellow Springs resident and Dayton native will have visited each of Earth’s seven continents for free, thanks to online contest wins.
Joel has won trip after trip since winning a six-week tour around the country dressed as Planet Smoothie's Cupman a decade ago.
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His free international travels began in 2007 when he and his brother and frequent collaborator, Stephen Levinson (who is now a writer for "The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon"), won a Delta contest for travel in Europe, South America and the Middle East.
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The father of two said he’s learned a lot about himself by traveling the world.
“I can be comfortable alone, though I prefer to be with others,” he said. “I have learned there is no food I won’t try.”
That try anything includes eating kangaroo meat pizza in Australia.
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“I thought it was a normal thing -- it was on the menu,” Joel said.
The Australians didn’t think it was so cool that he was eating their national animal.
Joel is the son of Dayton Daily News reporter Meredith Moss and James Levinson, a retired assistant Montgomery County prosecutor.
His latest win is part of a social media campaign from LifeStraw. He will be in Kenya for two days of free water filtration installation training.
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He will film and photograph the LifeStraw’s charitable efforts in the Kakamega region of Kenya for five days.
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Joel has also won cars and a variety of other prizes from online contests.
Here is the rundown of trips Joel has made around the globe:
Melbourne and Sydney from Little Penguin Wines
Singapore from Singapore Tourism
Dubai twice: once from Delta, and a second time from Conde Nast Traveler
Oslo and Arctic Svalbard from Nature Valley Granola Bars
Budapest and Copenhagen from Delta Airlines
Bahamas from Bahama Tourism
USA: Chicago from 3M, Los Angeles from Tongal and New York from Klondike/Unilever
Buenos Aires from Delta
South Georgia Islands from Nature Valley Granola Bars
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