Dear American Friend
I’m writing to tell you about my forthcoming coast-to-coast trip which I’ll be making in March and to ask for your help and support. I’m calling it “Please Look After This Englishman” and it involves me traversing the real-world instantiation of my online social network, acquiring and telling stories as i go.
What I’m doing
I’m going to arrive somewhere on the West Coast on March 1st. The location isn’t decided yet but it will likely be somewhere where I have a relatively large group of friends and it needs to be somewhere that I can fly directly to from London. So San Francisco is looking a good bet although I’m still open to suggestions.
I then plan to attend SXSWi in Austin, TX from March 11th – 15th. This isn’t an absolutely must do, but it’s an important event for me to be at – it’s the chance I get each year to connect with far-flung bits of my online social network and it provides a stable midpoint for the trip.
From there, I intend to travel on and leave from the East Coast (probably Boston or NYC) on March 31st. I have a strong desire to revisit New Orleans and it would be great to be able to meet up with friends I made on last year’s trip in all the other cities we visited.
What I do between these beginning, middle and end “plot points” is rather up to you. Where I go, how I get there, what I do, who I meet, is all up for grabs although there are a few constraints. In particular it’s important to remember that:
I don’t drive
I won’t have pots of cash to throw
at every problem
It’s more about having an
adventure than about reaching a particular destination
I want to strike a balance between
planning and spontanaiety.
Of course I’ll be writing, shooting video and photographs practically everywhere I go and using the blog and these other sites that bind us all together to let people see what’s going on, participate in decision-making and providing practical support. So for example, on March 1st, I could well be tweeting “Guys and gals, I need to be moving out of the city in an easterly direction, south-easterly would be best. Anyone able to help?” followed by “w00t! I got a lift as far as Vegas, anyone have a couch I can crash on tomorrow night?”
How you can be involved
Whatever you think you can do or would like to do, please get in touch and talk to me about it. I think involvement might come in the following flavours:
Spread the word – if you can do nothing else, *please* just tell some other people about this weird English guy, what he’s doing and where they can find me if they want to take part.
Just watching – gasping with amazement, pointing and laughing, making suggestions for next right steps – for now keep an eye on http://t2t2.posterous.com
Patronage & Sponsorship – I don’t want to throw money at this, but equally I don’t want to freeload the whole way – I also have expenses back in the UK to cover while I’m away. If people give me money or other help, I want to provide them with some value in exchange. This might range from me giving you the benefit of my brainpower and facilitation skills, through me entertaining and inspiring your staff with my tales from the road and a spot of ukulele fun, all the way to me wearing your logo on my t-shirt and evangelising your product wherever I go. However, if you’d like to make a donation to make sure that this thing can happen, because you just want more stuff like this in the world, that works for me too.
Lending a hand directly – I will need people to stay with, to drive me long distances, to feed me or at least eat with me, to show me around, to introduce me to interesting people and places, to smile at me and tell me I’m nuts but that’s OK and all manner of other things that I can’t imagine or am embarrassed (in my adorable, but infuriating, British way) to ask for.