I`ve also been thinking of ways to make that 'sharing' interactive or 'both ways'. The reason for this being that I want to attempt to eventually build a devoted and loyal audience. Not only do I have a story to tell and travel resources to share but I also need to build an audience to enable me to monitise the site in various ways to enable my travels to continue. So a little 'out of the box' thinking was needed.
What I have in mind is a sort of personal video postcard. I guess this all goes back to my days as a DJ and radio presenter when people would ask for requests and/or dedications.
This video postcard idea, would, I suspect, only appeal to those who are in tune with what I`m doing. Namely those people who are concerned about the world we live in, helping those in need who are not as well off as most of us in the west and those who are charity conscious for want of a better description. It`s a bit like those gift cards you can get to sponsor an endangered species, a rare tiger in Tibet, a rare polar bear in the antarctic or whatever. Only this time, you`ll actually be sponsoring me. Maybe not a rare species (depending on your viewpoint) but at least someone you know who is preparing to go to the far flung corners of the planet and engage in volunteer work for the good of those less fortunate or to help those doing good work to make our planet a better place to live. And this is exactly the kind of person the website is aimed at anyway.
So, what will you get, who is it for and how much will it cost? Well, the cost is the easy bit. Bearing in mind that £2.50 in the UK converts to anything between £5 and £10 in many of the counties I`ll be visiting and the only thing it will cost me is a little additional time (as I`ll be making video`s anyway), I reckon £2.50 is adequate.
Who is it for? Anyone who you think would appreciate something like this as a little gift or thank you. (Bear in mind the types of people who may appreciate this, as stated above). It could be a birthday, an anniversary, a Christmas gift, a get well soon message, anything really.
What will you get? Well, here`s where you need to use your imagination. Imagine me shooting some video footage in, say, Cambodia with the children at an orphanage. In the middle of a town or city in Thailand while I`m shooting some street food scenes. (You may even want to go down the cheesy route and use the video postcard fee as a dare to see me eating a fried insect from one of the Thai street stalls). In a small rural village in the hills of Laos helping an eco project. Assisting at an animal sanctuary in the Malaysian jungle. Or even trekking in Nepal at the foot of the Himalayas. One day, if I`ve had a video postcard request from you, I`ll spend a few minutes producing a dedicated piece of footage. And with the backdrop of wherever I am at the time, I`ll say something like...
"Today I`m at the Elephant sanctuary in the Malaysian Jungle near to the town of Lanchang. I`m making a video about how the sanctuary not only helps the local economy but also protects these huge friendly animals, which you`ll be able to see soon on the Lovely Planet tv website. However, I`ve had an email from one of our Lovely Planet tv supporters called ?????? from ?????? who tells me that her daughter ???????? is celebrating her 15th birthday on ????????. So, can I just say, Happy Birthday to you ???????, I hope it`s a great day and this little bit of film all the way from the Elephant sanctuary near Lanchang is especially for you from your mum who says she loves you loads. And your mums great too cos she`s helping to support me and Lovely Planet tv. ...Thanks for your support mum". ...etc, etc.
Get the picture? The message could be anything of course, to anyone, family, loved one, friend and for any reason whatsoever. All you need do is fill out the video postcard form which I`ll place on a page on the website and pay the £2.50 via the paypal link on the page. I`ll need a week or so advance notice as I`ll have to film and edit the video postcard and upload it for online distribution. Once I`ve uploaded it, I`ll send you the link in an email and also embed the video postcard on youtube, facebook and this website so there`ll be plenty of places online to view it.
Before I spend time designing a dedicated video postcard page, can I ask you ...what do you think of this idea? Please be honest...
Please contact me me or comment below as follows: 1 - meaning: a great idea and you may decide to buy one of these for someone in the future. 2 - good idea but don`t think you would buy one but maybe someone else would. 3. Not sure whether this is a good idea or not. Or 4 - stupid idea so I`d just forget it if I were you.
Thank you. Your help is much appreciated.