Over the last few days I’ve seen several friends share a link to a shiny new crowd-funded travel site on Facebook, and each time I’ve seen it, immediately I think, “nope”. Perhaps it’s the way Trevolta is promoting it. The idea is that we’d plan a big and amazing trip, and then ask our friends and family members to help pay for it. Sounds great, right? Who doesn’t want to see the world for free?
At first glance – Why I don’t like the idea
While the idea of having a free trip is always enticing, part of the satisfaction of scrimping and saving for an adventure is knowing that you worked hard for that privilege. For every “extraordinary trip” I have taken, I’ve had to save and make sacrifices. I had to EARN those experiences, and part of why they are so precious to me is that I had to make the hard choices required to be able to afford to do them. This whole crowd-funded scheme just makes me feel like people are being encouraged to stick their hands out and have trips given to them, and I find it a little distasteful, to be honest.
“Plan an extraordinary trip and get it funded by inspired people, amazed friends and generous sponsors.”
Now, if someone had a travel-related/focused project that they wanted to do, then sure, I’d probably be more open to it. Some great ideas that I can see this working for could be:
- an art project at Burning Man (or another festival)
- an extended trip to track down their ancestry, or find long lost relatives
- spending a semester abroad
Or perhaps you came up with a fantastic idea, like any one of the ones submitted to the The G Project, but didn’t win. Using Trevolta to help make that idea come to life would probably be a really great thing! Otherwise, I think this would be a tough sell. I don’t think Trevolta is going to be the next Kickstarter or Indiegogo. Nearly everyone wants to travel, and unlike those other crowd-sourced sites where you actually have to make something, travel is something available to everyone (provided you have the money, natch). I think the key here has to be that it’s something spectacular – partying in Thailand or watching the sun rise over the Grand Canyon isn’t going to cut it.
Since posting this article on Facebook, a lot of really great conversations took place. The biggest surprise was that this immediately went to a rich/poor divide issue, which is not something I had in mind while writing the post. While I wasn’t the only one who felt uncertain about the idea of crowd-sourced travel (especially given the lack of information on the project’s website), there’s another side to this that I didn’t immediately see. That this could be is the only chance for someone without means to see a rainforest or the ocean. Or conversely, that for those who choose to be altruistic (that is, the money-giver as opposed to the person setting up the crowd-sourcing), this could be a great opportunity to give amazing experiences and life-long memories that could open new eyes to the possible paths in life .
A third point of view to this whole issue was made that “crowd funding — like all information and ideas spread between people in a highly connected world — is going to become diluted among many other ideas. Some are less or more interesting than others. My personal assessment of this idea’s value is irrelevant, either I contribute or I don’t. That’s the beauty of the Internet.”
What do you think?