The Dormouse & the Capybaras
I was up on that big ole site in the middle of nowhere again today: the site that's in one of my first YouTube videos. There's something in the air up there, I'm sure of it; I always seem to have these really exciting days when I think I've stumbled across a great idea. I was there when I had the epiphany that I don't have to be bound to the conventional routes of funding flight training, it was there that I found the branch that became the trustee 'selfie stick' used in my 'Vlog from a log' and today I feel like I solved a problem that I have been wrestling with.
The problem manifested itself in my mind because of this: my crowdfunding campaign, although very much in its infancy, has not gone anything like I thought it would. I had imagined that the smallest donation would be the most popular, that it would be quite easy to get the video circulating outside of my 'crowd' and that would, intern, produce more of these small pledges from people who liked my sentiments but knew no more of me. I know, that was probably incredibly naive - but when you have been working on a project for so long you build a fairly strong attachment to your projection of its impact. Never ever did I imagine that my friends and family would be so unreservedly generous!
I have always considered myself to be a generous person, but it turns out I'm like a delusional Dormouse whose been swaggering around with his chest out, all pleased with himself because he's the biggest rodent in the world, only to turn a corner and walk into a troupe of Capybaras.
I am truly humbled by the generosity of everyone who has contributed to me being over a quarter of the way to having a pilots license. It's a fantastic thing crowdfunding; its really opened my eyes to the possibilities for our society if people are so willing to be so altruistically giving. I think its turning me into a bit of a socialist!
So the problem that arose is this; I want to achieve my goal, for the many reasons you all know of, but I also want to help other people achieve their goals - as my lovely cousin, Gen, said 'If you can't pay it back, pay it forward.'
I admit, I hope that the essence of this adventure - the message carried with my endeavours and belief in a possibility serves as an inspiration - not just to Aria & Bear, but to others who follow it. But, in reality, it's not enough of a return for the outlandish and very real physical help that has been given to me so far. Although I'm still a fair stretch from reaching my target I'd been racking my brains for a way of using this campaign to make a more tangible offering of help to others as well.
The clear air, open skies and memories of spring (running up and down the clean lines of bare earth planting trees at a ferocious rate) got me thinking of the new connection between planting trees and aviation. We, as a race, are finally getting a little more eco-conscious: there is a great deal of effort and energy going into making aviation greener, and at the same time a boom in companies offering ways in which fare paying passengers can offset the carbon footprint of their travel - we are understanding and paying far more respect to the carbon balance. The most effective way to re-dress this balance is to plant trees. I'm pretty good at planting trees.
So here's what I thought: I could do a fundraiser, asking people to pledge just £1, for every pledge I will plant a tree and I will give 50% of all the money raised through this pledge to a charity that helps other people realise their dreams. To make it interesting, a challenge and something worthy of a fundraising event I will start at 2000 trees (the most i've ever planted in a day) and attempt to plant the total tally within 24hours and set a World Record for Sitka Spruce/Douglas Fir trees planted in a day by a single person!
I just need to iron out some details and find the right charity - all suggestions, thoughts and contributions welcome.