Did you know that many famous explorers of the yesteryears crowdfunded their adventures? Christopher Columbus received half the money for his ships from the Queen but crowdfunded the rest. Crowdfunding for your travels may not be as irrational an idea as you may think!
Though it is far from popular in a country like India (but likely to become so), creating a crowdfunding campaign to pay for your travels is possible and has been done thousands of times in the past; usually in the west. Crowdfunding itself is still new to India, with a number of thriving platforms that largely focus on NGO crowdfunding and medical crowdfunding, like Impact Guru. While dubious Indian givers are slowly digesting the idea of contributing to a nonprofit or medical cause on an online platform, to do the same for someone’s travels is unimaginable.
In a country like the US, donors and campaigners are knowledgeable on how crowdfunding works and are comfortable with the concept of asking for money on a fundraiser. In the west, issues that are commonly seen in India like underprivileged communities, malnutrition and illiteracy are practically non-existent, and donating to a friend or family member’s vacation seems like an acceptable expectation. While most of the internet frowns upon the campaigners that crowdfund for their whimsical vacations, it showers its blessings upon the occasional travel fundraiser that comes with a touching story we can’t resist; it may be a person crowdfunding to volunteer abroad or a patient with a chronic disease aspiring to see the world in their last days.
Here are two unique travel fundraisers we came across that moved us.
Destiny’s mission to travel the US before going blind
Destiny Nash was an 18-year-old back in 2015 when she started crowdfunding on GoFundMe. She suffers from a genetic degenerative eye condition called retina pigmentosa. Her vision has been progressively getting worse since she was young and she will eventually lose her vision entirely. Born and brought up in a rural village in Alaska with little to no internet connection, Destiny had never left the state and desired to see the rest of her country before losing her vision. By mid-2016, her fundraiser was funded to over 60th of its goal and she had visited Seattle, San Francisco, Grand Canyon and a number of other destinations with her grandmother. Today, her goal of US $15000 has almost entirely been funded. Currently, she is preparing to travel to California to attend a camp for the blind.
The single-handed sailor’s fundraiser
“Every cruising sailor has an interesting story to tell.” Dustin Rey has by far, the most striking story we’ve found. A head-on collision in 2008 with a drunk driver changed Dustin’s life forever. The accident left with punctured organs and lost him two of his limbs, his left arm and left leg below the knee. Soon after, his own insurance company sued him into bankruptcy and Dustin was at a loss, devastated like never before. With an unmatched resilience, he picked himself up, sold everything he had, bought a cruising sailboat and was then unstoppable. In 2014, Dustin set sail from Hawaii all alone with nothing but one month of sailing experience and US $20 in his bank account. What pushed him forward was the determined aspiration to become the world’s first ever double amputee to sail the world’s oceans. By 2016, he had sailed 20,000 miles to 11 countries. His lack of limbs never stopped him – but his failing engine and transmission did pose obstacles. His 45-year-old boat had him towed back to the mainland from Bali after making two attempts to sail out into the ocean. He started crowdfunding with GoFundMe for a safer boat and soon did afford one, but still has a list of repairs left to get done before he sets sail for the Indian ocean.
A note to get you started on your travel fundraiser
Before you create your fundraisers, take a look at successful campaigns and learn how crowdfunding works. What helped the most successful of travel fundraisers in the past were their heart-wrenching stories. If you don’t have a striking story to tell, consider looking for a creative pursuit or project that requires you to travel to your aspiring destination, like writing a novel or making a documentary. People are always willing to help if they find a reason to believe your project is worth funding or are able to relate to your project.
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