When I opened my ‘Travel With Me’ competition, I did so with the sole intention of finding someone unique and interesting to join me on a journey. Someone who had the same amount of passion for travelling as I do and who’d be able to offer me a different dynamic to life on the road – even if it was only for one week.
Little did I know at the time of publicising my competition that it would actually have a far reaching impact on people right across the planet. In a matter of days views to my blog views went through the roof and the WordPress analytic’s tell me that my site has been viewed by more than 15,000 times from across 142 different countries. WHAT?! I find that nothing short of insane.
To add a little context to what this means I have to fill you in on a little secret. Before deciding to make the big upheaval and switch from Blogger to WordPress I’d been experiencing pretty low levels of blog traffic. After a year and a half using Blogger I’d amassed around 13,000 views. I felt like this was some kind of achievement and I was happy with myself to quite a considerable extent. Fast-forward to the present day and within my first month of using WordPress I’ve long since smashed that previous best. Okay Anthony… take a deep breath.
About a week after switching to WordPress I also decided to create a Facebook page to work alongside my blog and to act a platform for sharing my latest uploads. I was pretty chuffed when I reached my first 100 likes. Today I just broke 1,000 likes. This is steadily getting more and more insane.
I hope I can keep this momentum going and I pray that my content is consistently good in order to keep my new found readership happy. I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t feeling the slightest bit of pressure. Eeeek!
Okay, so – back to the competition itself. Today is April 1st; the official closing date for all those wanting to apply to come travelling with me. Now I know some people saw that today was the closing date and thought “Oh aye… must just be an April fools prank”. Well, as cruelly hilarious as that might have been, I’m pleased to say this has been no joke. I will be taking someone with me on a road trip around Europe this summer.
Anthony bro, how are you gonna select a winner?!
Good question. Jeez.. I received at least 200 email applications, and hardly any of them are less than 800 words long. I’ve got some serious reading to do. What’s more, applications are still filing in from people who specifically asked that I extended the deadline for them. So I think I’ll still be receiving drips and drab’s from people until well into next week.
So here’s my plan. I intend to go through the mammoth task of reading and responding to all the emails that I’ve received over the past couple of weeks. I am going to develop a system whereby I can tally points based on peoples responses. Based on these ‘points’ I will then select 5 dudes and 5 girls as a form of ‘short-list’. I then plan to ask these ten individuals a series of follow-up questions and potentially also invite them to hold a Skype call with me, just so we can introduce ourselves in a bit more of a personal manner.
No matter what happens I plan to respond to each and every one of you that applied. So bare with me.
So what now?!
Once I have a winner in mind I’ll make a formal announcement. As many of you know, one of the questions on the application was “What is the craziest thing you have ever done in your life?” – I plan to compile a blog post with the best/funniest/craziest responses. So that’ll be fun to read. Don’t worry… I’ve gotten permission from all those who’s stories I’m choosing to share.
Some time between June and September, we’ll hit the road. It’ll either be just me and winner, or it’ll be me and the winner plus some of my friends. It all depends on timing.
I’ll be documenting the whole journey both with film and through my blog and I’ll try to encourage the winner to do the same.
I’d like to run this competition again in the future and I think it would be great if other people start to replicate it and suddenly we have some form of free travel movement!
I do hope you’ll stick around for the ride!