I am a grandmother paddling alone over 2,500 miles from Maine to Guatemala. Along the way I will be:
- telling the story of the children who live in the Guatemala City garbage dump community
- honoring their entrepreneurial mothers
- talking about the success of the Safe Passage model school and
- raising funds for additional grades for the school.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Slackpacking, Slackpaddling and Slacktivism: Gear and Donations

Deb and her gear in IKEA bags at Portland Sendoff
I'm carrying a lot of gear with me.
160 pounds of camping gear, clothing, food, water, technology, paddling gear, charts, business cards, etc.  The kayak is 75 pounds.  I'm 150 pounds.  So that's 385 pounds of weight I need to move through the water with each paddle stroke.  My Chesapeake 18 is a very efficient kayak at carrying gear, but this weight does slow me down.

A perfect solution keeps presenting itself on this expedition: "slackpaddling" is what I'm calling it.  In backpacking there is a term "slackpacking" which is for folks who do the hiking part of backpacking, but don't carry all of their gear for camping.  My "slackpaddling" version arose when someone was driving from my put-in to my take-out and offered to take my gear along.  Hey, I'm making up the rules on this expedition, so why not?  That happened Day 1, Day 3, Day 4 and now Day 5.  So far it was only on Day 2 that I carried the full load.  Ironically that was the day I was paddling into strong head winds during a Small Craft Advisory, and the day a lighter load would have been most helpful!

I don't think the "slackpaddling" is going to be happening much any more, but I will not refuse the offer if it comes up again.  Sure saves a ton of time packing and unpacking the kayak.

Deb with gear at Sendoff in Portland
I was pleasantly surprised to find that the gear does all fit easily into the kayak, thanks to Joey's Schott's redesign.  Space is not an issue,  Weight remains the challenge.

The goal of the expedition is to raise awareness and money for the children of the garbage dump in Guatemala City.  Specifically, the money raised will be used to add additional grades to Safe Passage school.  I'm paying all of my own expedition expenses, so all donations go directly to Safe Passage and are tax deductible.  Now here's where my next "slack" term comes in as well as my current big worry.  I was just given a link to an article that talks about "slacktivism".  That is the term used for people who join onto online humanitarian efforts by clicking in social media, but then don't take the next important step of actually getting involved and donating.  I was very excited to see the large increases in individuals accessing the social media about the expedition that have come about because of the stories in the press about the expedition.  I'm hearing from strangers who have seen the story on TV, on the web or in print in Australian, Canada, Europe, Central America, and of course all across the US.  Thats' great.  My big worry is this.  Will that translate into people making donations for the children of the dump, or is it just curiosity?

Send me your ideas about how we can best engage people with this story in a way that leads to engagement.  I may continue some more "slackpaddling", but I'd like to help minimize "slacktivism".

No comments:

Post a Comment