Last year I met a Belgian guy who made me insanely jealous. He was traveling the world indefinitely using social media to connect, find places, set his itinerary and generally have a great time.
Along the way he was tackling crazy challenges suggested by the online community he has fostered. Right now he is riding alone on a tandem bike from Kuala Lumpur all the way to Hong Kong. He’s trying to do the ride of more than 5000 km in 3 months.
Turns out Bjorn is a really nice guy, which probably explains why his adventure is still progressing smoothly after a few years of non-stop country hopping.
Beyond having a great time and making us office workers jealous, Bjorn is also trying to make a difference to the communities he visits along the way by helping small local charities in each area.
And that’s where you can help. I have chipped in to sponsor a few kilometers of Bjorn’s travels knowing he will help small charities along the way….and I encourage you to do the same. It doesn’t take much to make a difference in some of these communities so help Bjorn help other and then follow his adventures from the comfort of your laptop.
Here is Bjorn’s full story….
The Social Traveler
I started this project early 2010 when social networks were still developing and growing at a fast rate. I realized that via Facebook it was the first time in history that people were this connected with each other around the world. I decided to explore this connected world and came up with ‘The Social Traveler’ idea.
How it works.
From the start people told me where to go, what to do, how to get there, who I should meet, where I should sleep… via social networks or in real life. I never used a guidebook. I kept following people’s suggestions and basically traveled from place to place, people to people, life to life. Sometimes people invite me for a coffee, a beer, diner or even offer me a place to sleep but it’s never a requirement. I just gladly accept invitations and keep exploring a connected world.
Because the way I’ve been traveling the past 2 years I learned that you should never be worried as long as there are people around. Just smile and talk to them. I can assure you that people are happy to provide you information, help or even offer you the most amazing things. Today we more and more live in a society that forgets that there’s people around them. Not talking to strangers on train, bus, street anymore… It kinda takes the life out of our every day lives. So I try to encourage people to ‘Be Social’ more. Just say hello, have a chat with the people around you.
From the beginning I let people challenge me to step out of my comfort zone. I didn’t accept everything because I didn’t want it to turn into some type of a jackass show. So up until today I walked Camino de Santiago in Spain, drove a Royal Enfield through the south of India, hitchhiked around New Zealand, didn’t drink alcohol for 40 days in Australia, ran city to surf and did many other small challenges. There are more challenges that I accepted but most of them are location dependent so I will tackle them when I get there.
My current challenge
Today I’m trying to complete the hardest challenge I ever got. I’m cycling from Kuala Lumpur to Hong Kong on a tandem bike. I’m alone on the bike and anybody can jump on or off any time and join me. Also for the first time on my travels I added a 3rd social layer to the project. Because I’m doing these challenges anyway I wanted to link them to small charities that I visit on my journey. So on this tandem journey I support and help 5 different charities. 1 in every country I go through. I visit every place, ask what they need and then will try to help them realize this via the network that is following my adventures. I’ll also sell the bike once I reach Hong Kong and will divide the money between the 5 charities.
My ultimate goal
I want to make it around the world via my social travel trajectory all the way to the finish line in Santiago de Compostella, Spain just by being social.
I kinda layed out my social travel trajectory around the world. On this trajectory I’ve already got many people to go visit and challenges to overcome I just need to connect the dots and make it there. Check the trajectory here: http://g.co/maps/xzg8q (the red line is what I still need to do, the blue is where I am now)
Be part of the adventure
Now all this is not possible without the help from people, companies or brands. People are part by joining me on the challenges, guiding me or inviting me to their life, city. Companies can be part of this adventure by supporting a certain amount of kms of my trajectory.
1km = 1 AUD
How does the sponsoring work?
During the trajectory that you sponsor I tag, link you / your company as a supporter in live updates on Facebook, Twitter, Google+ & in the blogposts, video episodes that cover that part of the journey.
What’s the benefit for you?
You get exposure in the moment as it happens but also later when people read or watch episodes of my social travel adventure. You understand that over time your exposure will grow.
Here are some current stats:
- 1467 likes | Talking About: 10 to 15% (= high engagement) | Weekly reach: 4500 to 6500 Uniques | Demo: 20 – 40 yo / F: 60% M: 40% / + 30 countries. Friends, Travel enthusiasts, People working in Digital, Social Media.
- 1722 Followers | Klout: Between 40 & 50 (= good score) | Travel Bloggers, Travel Enthusiasts, People working in Digital, Social Media
- in 4271 circles | Circle Count: 12.869 out of 18,5 million indexed profiles | Early adopters, People working, dealing with Digital, Social Media, Travel Bloggers
Foursquare (linked with twitter) https://foursquare.com/social_traveler/list/social-around-the-world
- 1000 friends (maxed out). I Get new friend request on daily basis… | ‘Be Social’ Tips become more popular and popular
Instagram (linked with twitter)
- 148 followers in less than month | No more stats on this so far…
- 18500 video views
By informing your local blog or press you can get even more exposure, a sympathy vote and maybe even attract new clients. I recently got an article about my journey in a local Malaysian newspaper. The journalist saw a picture of me and the tandem bike on Facebook
Check it out here: (https://lh6.googleusercontent.com/-PFPAbhFzX8o/T7CnAzBqKPI/AAAAAAACFJA/tYbUGdZCv8k/s576/1336977146822.png). More press clips here: http://www.thesocialtraveler.net/search/label/Press
You help me help charities.
You are part of a unique social travel adventure around the world.
What do I use the money for?
Basically it keeps me going. I use it to buy travel gear, tools to complete my challenges, food, drinks and accommodation. For my tandem challenge for example I bought the bike and all necessary gear and do necessary repairs (I’ve never seen so many bike shops in my life! ) I always go for the ‘backpack’ options since that’s the cheapest and most social.
Are other companies already part of this?
Up until today I got 2 companies signing up for this type of sponsoring.
- AGX, a digital agency from Belgium for 1000 km
- Engagor, a social media management tool for 2000 km.
Let’s do this!
To make it to Hong Kong I need 3000 more km sponsored. To make it around the world even more but I’m sure one thing will lead to another as it always does.
Your help is really very much appreciated since I’ve put all my heart, energy, means and effort into this entire project.
Visit Bjorn’s website
Follow him on Twitter
Follow him on Facebook