Archive for Preparations

Chillin’ in South Hero

Despite the sound of “living in a van,” we’ve been in luxury’s lap for a majority of the trip. From mansions to apartments, there hasn’t been very many nights where we’ve been on our own. It also has given a sort of rushed feel to the whole trip, trying to park the van in downtown areas before we’re late to meet up with people. So we decided to just get away for a few days. The first attempt (Phippsberg, Maine,) didn’t pan out, so we’re on Round 2 in South Hero, Vermont, at the Apple Island RV RESORT. It’s pretty sweet, and it’s only $15/night (thanks to Passport America!) Here’s what we plan on doing here:

  • Exercise: Ben on the bike, Alexi running.
  • Eat cheap: Canned tuna.. again. Also looking for some of that Vermont White Sharp Cheddar.
  • Work on our projects & businesses.
  • Read.
  • Relax!

Popularity: 14% [?]

Social Media Marketing Efforts for RoadTrip20.com, Part 01

One of the things that we’ve loved about this trip is being able to test some ideas and concepts for getting the word out about the website. As some of you know, I’ve become very interested in social media marketing and the future opportunities that exist in that realm…both for businesses and consumers.

Despite only two months from coming up with the idea of the trip to our departure, we pushed hard to also create presences in various realms of social media. While we’re not necessarily looking at road trip blogging to be our primary source of income, we did feel that the entire process, lessons, and adventures might be compelling and interesting enough to entrepreneurs, marketers, travelers, and other mobile lifestylers that we wanted people to be able to find this information if they were looking for it.

We also wanted to learn what works, what doesn’t, and what we didn’t know would work and did.

So, here’s our marketing/social/internet geekery that we have setup.

Social Networks: MySpace and FaceBook. Since we’re quite familiar with each site and already knew several people on there, it has been relatively easy to get started on those networks. In the coming weeks, we will also be utilizing each of the services’ groups functions in order to find other “Friends” who may be interested in what we are doing as well.

Photo Sharing: Flickr. We actually debated between using Flickr or using Google’s Picasa. I personally use Picasa because I love their photo management software. But, when it came down to it, Flickr just has more features and more ways to bend and break and shape their data and access. It was ultimately a combination of extensibility and network size that won us over.

With Flickr, we’re tagging each image with the city and state that it was taken, what the photo is of, and any other local landmarks. Despite being only 6 days into the trip, we’ve already had a couple of people find our images through this tagging, mark photos as favorites and comment on them as well.

Video Sharing: YouTube. This decision was pretty easy and straightforward. Yes, we have the option of going to Metacafe, MySpace Video, etc. (And still can distribute our videos there.) With limited internet connections and upload speeds, we decided to go solely with YouTube because of the size of their network. Surprisingly, the same day we posted our first video, we received a message from Passport America, offering us a sponsorship with a free membership offering a 50% discount to their network of RV parks.

Blogging: WordPress. The ability to utilize the largest network of plugins, along with a high-featured and high-supported platform put them square in the lead in our decision. For anyone looking to start a blog, I would absolutely recommend them. Alexi is relatively new to blogging and has often been amazed at the ability to quickly implement features and launch our blog.

So, those are the highlights of our social media marketing efforts. As they expand, we’ll keep everyone posted. Since we’re also just getting a lot of it off the ground, we’ll also let you know of how things grow and any tips and advice we may have for your campaign.

Popularity: 31% [?]

Washington DC, Day 2

Day two was spent getting some needed supplies and hanging out with Alexi’s family friends Paul and Barbara.  They were amazing hosts who took us out for a fantastic Greek dinner and amazing breakfast.  In addition, we got a great night’s sleep and a shower in real beds.

It’s an interesting head trip to throw yourself into a minimal working life, then spend time in the presence of someone who has already done very well for themselves who loves what they do and work very hard at it.  It certainly brings more of an experience-based input into the combination of ambitions being lived out on this trip.

One of the things that we’re trying to learn is how to best manage our time in order to keep up the blog timeline, create interesting blog posts, client work, and business operations.  It’s a lot to juggle, especially considering the logistics of travel, the resources provided by the destinations, the sights needing to be seen, etc.

For example, on the way from DC to Baltimore this morning, I recorded 45 minutes of video interviews to my hard drive which I had tried to fit in yesterday morning.  On the drive to Philadelphia tonight, I’ll likely edit those videos as much as possible, then upload them tonight.  From your perspective as the reader, you’re probably not interested in investing 30-45 minutes watching several videos, so we then have to spread out when we publish those videos.  These are the kinds of things we’re still learning how to best address and work through, and there are about a 5-10 of these kinds of decisions a day.

Hopefully, we’ll have a good framework of considerations for mobile lifestyles so that we can articulate them for your benefit.

Popularity: 20% [?]

Video 02, Let’s Play a Game.

It’s called “This vs. That.”  It’s a doozy.

Enjoy.

Ben

Popularity: 25% [?]

It’s all fun & games

Lets face it, this thing is going to be a lot more fun for both of us if we have some games to keep us busy. What kind of games do roadtrip bloggers play with their readers? Hell, I dunno.. But I’m thinking something along the lines of a “Reader Challenge,” wherein you people suggest & then vote on actions that we then have to perform. We’re still trying to decide if that’s a good idea.

So, what other sorts of things can we do to keep entertained? :-)

-Alexi

Popularity: 24% [?]

Picking Up the Van this Tuesday!

Bright and early on Tuesday morning, I’ll be rolling out of bed and flying down to Tampa to pick up the van, returning the same day in an epic 18 hours of straight travel.  If I can find my crack pipe, I’ll definitely make it back alright.

I’ll be video taping parts of the journey and will hopefully have that produced and published by the end of the week.  You’ll all get wonderful and amazing van footage detailing the pinkish/reddish/purplish interior and how we’ll be arranging the abode.

If you’re lucky, you’ll also get a good story about the local DMV.  Last time I was there, it was quite awkwardly humorous.

Hope that I don’t die.

Popularity: 27% [?]