From crowdfunded long distance motorcycle rides to Antarctic expeditions, money is no longer a large constraint. If you have an interesting itinerary and a cause to boot, there are funders who’ve got your back.
In April 1977, Robyn Davidson, a 27-year old Australian woman walked from Alice Springs to the west coast of Australia, over a length of 2,736 kilometers across the Australian outback. Learning about this near impossible feat, the National Geographic Society offered her $4,000 in exchange for telling her story. Made into the 2013 movie Tracks starring Mia Wasikowska, the experience implied that adventures, if presented attractively, could attract big investments. Fast forward to today, an emerging generation of young travellers are crowdfunding their trips with the promise of perks for backers, and fueling the trend are homegrown crowdfunding websites like wishberry.in, ketto.org and fundmydream.in “The travel bug has bitten the country’s youth and many are following their yearning for travel. This is where crowdfunding websites help. But people will not spare money unless they get something in return, so a crowdfunded traveller has to bring the experience back in the form of a film or a photo book,” says Anshulika Dubey, COO of wishberry.in.
Itinerary: A skydiving adventure in Spain Funds: Rs 2 lakhs on wishberry.in Perks for backers: Exclusive access to photos and videos captured for the documentary From 13,000 ft
An adventurist by heart, Darjeeling-based Tuladhar had a moment of epiphany when he watched a crowdfunded documentary on parkour titled, People in Motion. Working as a financial advisor for a Bengaluru startup, the 28-year old realised that his lifelong dream of sky diving is achievable in spite of the Rs 1.70 lakh (2,200 euros) AFF course fee. “I launched a campaign on wishberry.in titled From 13,000 ft. Initially dull, a video I posted requesting funds went viral and the campaign soon picked up speed. By the beginning of last March, I had managed to source Rs 2 lakhs, after assuring backers they will have access to the videos I shoot while skydiving,” says Tuladhar, who then proceeded to the Freefall University in Madrid to realise his life-long fantasy. Tuladhar adds that the experience was humbling and that it inspired him to work full time with Khempalung Adventures in Nepal. Details: therewat.wordpress.com
Get trips funded
Varun Sheth, the CEO and founder of Ketto.org, which has raised over Rs 20 crores in crowdfunding out of which 10 per cent was for crowdfunded holidays, shares the secrets of getting others to foot your
● No one wants to fund a vanilla holiday. Come with an interesting itinerary, probably the arctic circles
● Put yourself in the shoes of a backer and ask yourself why you should part with your money
● Each campaign requesting travel funds should be original and not an imitation of a previously
● Try to add an interesting storyline or a worthy cause, which would work
● Learn to market yourself, an interesting video or social media account could help
● Be realistic and do not set the target amount very high, such a campaign is bound to fall flat
Itinerary: Backpacking through India with an American girl Funds: Rs 3.47 lakhs ($5,248) on Indiegogo.com and
Rs 5 lakhs on wishberry.in Perks for backers: Souvenirs, names in credits of the documentary made en route and its private screening
A neuroscience graduate from Johns Hopkins University, Kulkarni was smitten by backpacking after losing his way on a trip through Mexico. What followed after graduating was an 8,000-km biking trip through Peru, Chile and Argentina that lasted over a year. “I wanted to prove that it is okay to take time off and travel after graduation and to advocate solo travelling. Though I had travelled around the world, I was aware that India possessed such rich cultural diversity, which is rarely appreciated by backpackers,” says Kulkarni, who was accompanied by his friend Samantha Jo Fitzsimmons from California. Both backpacked from Mumbai to Nagaland last year and Kulkarni’s interest in film making was a respite for the duo. “I had crowdfunded Rs 3.24 lakhs on indiegogo.com before my trip, I followed it up with a second campaign on wishberry.in, which was for our travelogue Riding on the Sunbeam. This grossed Rs 5 lakhs, which greatly helped with post-production work,” adds the 36-year-old. Riding on a Sunbeam will be screened at Shoonya, Bengaluru on April 24 from 3 pm onward. Entry at Rs 100. Details: facebook.com/ridingonasunbeam
Paid in art
Meet JNUites Meenakshi J and Jey Sushil, the married couple in their 30s who live on their Royal Enfield, travelling around the country and supplementing their travel expenses and accommodation with art. “I wanted to ride our bike across the country, and all Meenakshi wanted was to paint. So we decided to fuse our passions and we have been travelling partners and painters since 2013,” says Sushil, who had just returned with Meenakshi after a 45-day ride in December from Delhi through Patna and Nalanda. Connecting through social media, the duo fill the walls of people who accommodate them with art, with the latest being the walls of the Dasna prison in Uttar Pradesh. Details: artologue.in
Itinerary: A trip to the South Pole as part of the International Antarctic Expedition Funds: Rs 4.3 lakhs on wishberry.in
Perks for backers: HD pictures and short movie on the Antarctic, author Robert Swan autographed book, Antarctica 2041: My Quest To Save The Earth’s Last Wilderness and Rathore’s module on leadership, sustainability and climatic change.
An aeronautical engineer turned Teach for India Fellow, Shaivya Rathore was imparting leadership skills among government school students in Chennai, when she learned about English environmentalist Robert Swan, who had walked to either poles of the earth. Experiencing the effects of El Nino through the Chennai floods, Rathore believed The International Antarctic Expedition, headed by Robert Swan was the perfect opportunity to witness the effects of climate change and to visit a place that only five thousand visit in a year. “If a teacher like me could explore the Antarctic, imagine what message it could send to my students — they can achieve anything they set their minds to,” says the 25-year-old, who had to turn to crowdfunding, when a personal loan, savings, contributions from friends and family couldn’t meet the Rs 7.70 lakhs ($11,520) expedition fee. A campaign on wishberry.in, launched this January, which was even endorsed by Shashi Tharoor, was quick to rake in Rs 4.39 lakhs (40 percent of the fee), which helped Rathore embark on the two-week-long expedition from which she returned a fortnight ago.
Fundbound and inbound
Frenchmen Mathieu Svtre and Sylvain Ardli started from France two years ago and travelled through the Silk Route (Italy, Croatia, Turkey, Uzbekistan) onto India to spread something contagious — the power of music and compassion. The 25-year-old musicians hosted their campaign, ‘A musical journey on the Silk Route’ on ulule.com, which would record an album stopping at orphanages enroute. “Our first track opens with Hindustani music filmed at the Kalkeri Sangeet Vidyalaya, near Dharward in Karnataka. There are also Nepali folk songs and traditional Kyrgyz music recorded in an orphanage in north of Kyrgyzstan,” says Svtre who crossed into Nepal. The duo was so smitten that they bought two Royal Enfields, on which they visited 22 states in India. “Our backers have been assured post cards decorated by children, access to tracks and India on Bullet t-shirts depending on their contributions,” adds Svtre. Details: indiaonbullet.fr
Itinerary: Solo Royal Enfield ride across Asia and Europe spanning one lakh kilometres Funds: Rs 6 lakhs on fundmydream.inand sponsors from Wicked Ride, Wrangler and Ustraa of the best photographs from the trip and priority access to the travelogue, After
all its your Life
Rider and travelling enthusiast Rohith S originally wanted to prove his friend wrong. The latter opined he would vanish if travelling was free. The challenge made the 21-year-old recent graduate look for ways to fund his transnational ride. “I started a campaign called the 25 million metre ride in fundmydream.in. The nature of the trip caught many people’s attention and funds soon poured in. In February 2016, at the beginning of the trip, I had already crossed the target of Rs 6 lakhs,” says Rohith enroute to Gulmarg, who instead of vanishing into the blue, has to update his whereabouts regularly through social media, as part of the obligations for the backing. Discounting the obligations, Subramanian adds that he could have never afforded the Myanmar inland permit costing Rs 3.5 lakhs without crowdfunding, which was essential to cross into South East Asia to complete the trip. Details: facebook.com/misfitmagellan
By P Peter