photo by Livia Meneghin

hi there.

Welcome to my blog. I'm spending a year capturing happiness, and I invite you to come along as I journey toward a more joyful living. I also write about travel, food, and matters of the spirit. Hope you enjoy!

Excitement!

Excitement!

Today was a snow day, so I gleefully stayed in bed all day writing. 

I did not, however, finalize my application for a writing contest because something happened this evening to interrupt my process:

I had a phone conversation with someone who ROCKED MY WORLD.*

*This sounds questionable. Don't take it that way.

You might recall that in one month from today (dear sweet Jesus) I leave for The Global Scavenger Hunt. Part of what my teammate and I planned to do was raise money for a worthy cause before we leave so that we can spread our joy from this adventure with those in need.

We've been researching organizations with whom we have personal connections to see what their needs are, and we had almost decided on one, but something just didn't quite feel right for me. There was something missing--not from the organization's standpoint. We found a really great one (in fact I blogged about them in my Musana post!), but in the way it all came together with us, the big picture.

Well, then I took this phone call. A friend of a friend is an expert videographer and fundraiser, and he has created campaigns that are featured on major news outlets and blogs-- there's no doubt you've seen his videos going viral on social media at some point in your life. In fact, just the other day I watched one of his videos (unknowingly) about a 24-hour fundraising effort they did in Greece to raise money for refugees.

Talk about close to my heart!

Anyway, he offered a new way to think about the fundraising efforts, and I'm going to post them here in case anyone wants to offer feedback, but I THINK IT'S AN INCREDIBLE IDEA.

To remind you of the details of our trip:
- 10+ countries
- 23 days
- we don't know where we're going
- we don't know who we'll meet
- we don't know what we'll see

But we DO know we'll be interacting with locals, making connections, and seeing parts of the world we've never visited. Wouldn't it be AMAZING if we set a fundraising goal for $1 per mile ($40,000) and gave that money to the greatest need we saw/experienced/encountered along this journey? How awesome would that be! Instead of telling you in advance what organization we will support, we could do something better:

We could ask you to help us decide.

Along the way, we're going to be recording our adventures, both in blog posts and with photos and videos (evidence that we completed our scavenges), so WHAT IF, for each country, we post the highlights of our trip, paying special attention to the people, situations, or places we visit that have the greatest need, that speak most dearly to our hearts? At the end of our trip, Mark and I can pick our top three choices and let our donors decide who gets the money and/or how it is distributed.

This way:
- Mark and I are personally invested in these causes because we experience them first hand. 
- Our donors can be personally invested by following along with our journey in real-time and seeing what we're seeing
- It ties into our time at the Global Scavenger Hunt, relates directly to the countries we visit, and will have an impact on the people we meet and the places we actually visit. 

Some other points:
- Raising money will be through a platform that supports 501(c)3's, so donors can get tax credit
- We will only be asking for small donations despite the high goal. I'm thinking $5 per person. Five dollars? Did you SEE your goal? you might ask... Well, I know for me, when I see a friend raising, say, 40K dollars and I want to contribute but only have $5-10, I feel like an a-hole and would rather not give anything. But we don't want anyone to feel that way. We want everyone to feel as if his/her donation is needed and significant, so my asking price is $5 and a promise to share our story/link. I believe many people performing small acts of kindness can create big change.  
- I'd like to make sure we can get updates from whomever we support so we can see how the donations are making a difference

So, I pose this to you all. What do you think? Would you be willing to support this endeavor and follow along? (If you already follow this blog, you may be stuck in that regard. I will keep you posted on the blogging site I decide to use). I am currently REALLY EXCITED about this, but I also tend to overlook details in my excitement, so I'd love constructive feedback in order to work out potential kinks/issues ahead of time, before I make my final case :)

At the end of the day, Mark and I are most concerned NOT with winning the grand prize, but with following our hearts to do God's work where we see it's needed. I hope you'll be excited to journey with us and share the love. 

Compassion

Compassion

Confetti Snow Bread

Confetti Snow Bread