Around the World for Free: A post-Amazing Race blog

If you watch “Amazing Race” you know the drill: on certain segments the last team can still continue the race, but without the benefit of money. Apparently one of the previous contestants decided to embrace that worst-case-scenario throughout his 5-month trip around the world.

Now in Santiago, Chile on its 70th day, “Around the World for Free” follows the TV show’s alum Alex Boylan on his trip, with daily videoblogs. More accurately, the website’s viewers direct his travels – it’s interactive. Somebody might suggest a place to pick up work; another person might recommend a friend’s house to stay at for free.

“Too often people have a tendency to rely on money to have meaningful or fulfilling travel adventures,” Boylan said. “This journey is all about relying on input from others as well as resourcefulness on the road. It’s a bit scary to think soon I’ll head off penniless around the world… I am really going to need help from the online audience or it will be a very bumpy ride.”

Not solely working with a grassroots web audience, the website is featured weekly on the CBS Early Show. And despite the simple premise, it’s difficult to imagine that a trip with this type of interactive support would be possible for the average person — without the initial backing of money (did I mention that Alex won half of the million-dollar prize money on “Amazing Race”?) and the famous names of other reality show alums involved (Burton Roberts from “Survivor” and Danny Kastner from “The Apprentice”).

But kudos for using the publicity to the benefit of the Red Cross. The organization will be featured throughout Alex’s travels and anyone who registers online will be prompted to get a Red Cross kit.

What I like about the project is that it’s based on the serendipity of travel: the generosity of strangers, subjective nature of advice, and randomness of luck. We’ve all been there.

Posted by | Comments (1)  | November 27, 2007
Category: Notes from the collective travel mind

One Response to “Around the World for Free: A post-Amazing Race blog”

  1. Tim Says:

    Yeah but…

    There are scads of grubby outcast backpackers out there who are mooching off others constantly. They are not only taking advantage of that “generosity of strangers”–they are taking that will to lend a hand for granted. Anyone who has hung around Khao San Road and similar backpacker ghettoes long enough has seen the begging and panhandling first hand. Most people who are hosts for Couchsurfing or Hospitality Club have also seen their share of demanding moochers who simply didn’t save enough money before hitting the road. This show only encourages more of that behavior, giving the impression that it’s fine and dandy to set off without proper funding or a will to work.