As we have mentioned before, during the anxious "preview" to our trip, we have been following different travel blogs and travelers on their videos and social media. A few months ago, we were watching a video of Herman Zapp and his wife, Candelaria, known as "Catch your Dream". On this 18 minute video, the Zapp family goes about telling some anecdotes and we were specially captivated by their first, from the early beginnings of their Adventure.
The tell us how from the first miles, people came up, strangers, road-friends, unknown angels, and helped them without any quest for money or fame, but just to be part of their amazing adventure (to cross the Americas from south to north on a 1920's Ford) and as they phrase it: "to become part of their dream".
This is how an extension to our already challenging dream was born: to have a solar panel on the top of our caravan and keep our energy consumption on our home, as sustainable as possible. We knew that we had spent most of our savings already and so, the help would have to came from road-angels, but thanks to Internet we would be able to extend the network of friends to anI un limited boundary.
About mid 2014, one of those very special travelers, those "clients" that cross the client-vendor world to become a friendly acquaintance gave me insight into a (until then) unknown world: crowd funding. Also known as collective financing, this is referred to as an action based on cooperative raise of funds taken place among different individuals, usually used for NGO projects, musicians or even political movements and all the way to the birth of small business and entrepreneur actions.
On the last five years, crowdfunding campaings have grown at an amazing 500% yearly and in 2013 crowdfunding campaings raised five billion dollars. YES!, five billion! raised by ordinary people for proyects of ordinary people. recaudados por particulares para particulares, and if you believe that your campaing is not worth of a crowdfunding campaing, you may be right, since there can be found all sort of campaings among crowdfunding proyects. The most well known american site is www.kickstarter.com and last year they raised 1 billon dolares and in South America, at a much smaller sclae, the strongest site is www.idea.me that in 2014 raised over 1 million dolars and was chosen as one of the "startups" of the year.
Once we decided to start a campaing, we set ourselves to establish clear, humble and realistic goals, so we decided to fund our Electric System based on solar energy, a sadly expensive yet very important goal. Our idea wasn`t just to power our caravan energy thru a Solar Panel system, but a broader and more ambicius proyect: to be living witnesses of the usage of non-renewable energy and so, spread the word along the Continent.
In terms of Solar Energy research , Gonza decided to sign up at the UTN (Universidad Tecnológica Nacional of Buenos Aires) and took an 8 week course specialized in Solar and Wind Energy, to not only aquire information, understand the subject, but also to design, be able to work and share our own system. By the end of 2014 he finished the course and has already signed up for a new specialized course in 2015 on the same area.
When thinking about advantages on which crowdfunding platform to use on our behalf, we found that and advantage that Ideame has, compared to other spanish speaking sites is that it accepts payments in different countries and currencies, for which you may pay with credit card, paypal or even go to your local "payment house" and pay phisically there. If anyone may wonder on why we didn't go with Kickstarter, the answer is easy: You need to be an american citizen, and by american, we of course mean, from the USA, not America, the Continent.
At the beginning of 2015 (January 15th) we launched our campaing "A Solar Panel for our home" as we speak (with 10 days to go still) we have raised 65% of our goal, which makes as feel very proud, and although we have not yet aquired the 100% goal, 29 people believed in our proyect and supported our dream, as as idealists that we are, we believe that "one person can change the world". For those that still has not seen our campaing, here is the link: http://idea.me/projects/26460/a-solar-panel-for-our-home
To Idea.me all we have is a Big Thank You sign, since we were chosen, for 7 weeks in a row as one of the 3 Featured Ideas. Thanks Ideame to believe and thanks to all of the dreamers that have and are still joining us on our dream!