This has become a familiar routine but the joy never wears off. A knock each day from the postman, a slow accumulation of little gear piles in the corner of the room: electronics, camping gear, food, personal, miscellaneous.
Yes, expedition time is approaching and slowly the plan is being bound together like frayed rope-ends being cured by a….hold on! I haven’t packed a lighter yet.
During the prep phase for my first two journeys I got a little carried away by the sudden realisation that if I had a cool project it meant I could blag free stuff. Seriously, someone even sent me a remote control car because I managed to convince them that it would help me skateboard across Australia.
But those times are gone. The glee I now feel when receiving a sponsored product is akin to placing one of the final pieces into a nearly completed jigsaw puzzle. Almost everything I travel with is necessary. However I'll be travelling it'll be up to me to move my kit, if not carry it entirely. Keeping things light is essential.
These days the glow of building up to a new trip hasn't faded, but rather than relishing the particular item that postie delivered that morning it's the very fact that a company wants to support my journey which gets the juices flowing.
It's validation for my idea, my reaching out to them in the first place. That yes takes me one step closer to getting out there.
But as exciting as this is I balance the reward of a new ally and another bit of gear to go in the bag with the compromise it comes with.
Every choice and decision has a compromise, and in sponsorship terms this becomes a kind of commitment. What do you have to do in return? How much time do you have to give and work do you need to put in for the sake of getting that GPS unit, or down jacket?
On your journey you'll have to split your focus and take time to photograph and film and edit, then review and tag your sponsor in social media. Maybe they want you to go and give a talk or write a specific series of blogs.
And some of this might be great. You'll be learning new skills, potentially reaching a new audience, working towards a closer friendship which might reap rewards in the future.
But it's important to understand your balance. How much do you value your time and expertise versus what you're getting in return?
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