Why Don’t You Pay for Spain Yourself?

There’s a stigma that comes with starting a crowdfunding campaign. Especially in a time when the economy is still a hot-button issue, there’s a feeling that people should fund things themselves. I’ve experienced this from both sides of the equation now. As a backer, you wonder if you’re not just funding someone’s chance to go screw around. As a campaigner, I worry that I’ll be viewed as little more than a panhandler. What most people don’t realize is that many campaigners, whether they’re on Indiegogo, Kickstarter, or elsewhere, are funding a significant amount of their projects and need that extra bit of help to finish the job.

What Are You Taking Care of Yourself?

This is true for me as well. In total, I will be putting approximately $1,500 into Words from the Road: Madrid to Barcelona. How am I spending that money, and is the investment worth it? I’ll let you decide.

  • $1000: 65-liter hiking pack, backpacking boots, sleeping bag, sleeping mat, dry bags, all-season tent, jacket with rain shell, water bladder, first aid kit, plane-safe cooking and eating implements
  • $100:  Assorted energy gels, dehydrated foodstuffs
  • $400: Any in-country needs
Barcelona Moyan Brenn

Photo by Moyan Brenn

So, Where Are the Indiegogo Funds Going?

The money I save personally and put toward this project will provide all the tools I need to be on the Spanish trails safely. The funds raised through the Indiegogo campaign will allow me to get to Spain and survive, but most importantly, they’ll get Words from the Road: Madrid to Barcelona written. This funding breakdown is published in the Indiegogo campaign itself, but here’s the breakdown of the project’s $1,800 funding goal:

  • $1,000: Airfare from Buffalo, New York to Madrid/ Barcelona to Buffalo
  • $600: Food and water. Luckily, vittles in Spain are incredibly cheap when compared to those stateside.
  • $200: Up to four nights of hostel stays in Madrid and Barcelona

As mentioned, the Indiegogo funds are really what will get me through Spain, ensuring that Words from the Road: Madrid to Barcelona can address the historically and culturally anachronistic story Spain has to tell.

Will You Get What You Pay For?

When you back a project, you have to ask, “Is it worth it?” Take “the Fan Package,” for example, the $50 funding reward for this campaign. For that funding amount, you’ll receive a postcard from Spain, an eBook copy of Madrid to Barcelona, a book dedication, and a branded sticker. Is it worth $50? Well, ultimately that’s up to you, but consider the following: when you back a campaign you’re not only contributing for an item, you’re also putting your money behind a person and an idea. In the case of my campaign, you’re making an investment that will launch a travel writing career.

Running a crowdfunding campaign isn’t about panhandling for a vacation. As you can see, in addition to my own personal funds, every cent raised through this campaign has a true, career-starting purpose.

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Now you know where the funds are going, but why should you back Words from the Road? Check out our in-depth look at the story of Spain.

What Stories Does Spain Have to Tell?

The biggest questions I’ve encountered since starting the Words from the Road: Madrid to Barcelona project are, “What’s the story you want to tell about Spain, and why should I care?” It’s too easy to say it’s a “human story,” or that I want to experience a place different than the States. Those things are true, but again, why should you care? If you’ve been asking this same question, here’s the story of Spain I believe needs to be told. 

The Tale of Spanish Cultural, Historical Diversity

Spain, like many parts of Europe, has a history rife with interactions with different peoples. Spain was under Roman control for seven centuries, falling with the rest of Western Europe into the Middle Ages in the late fifth century as the Western Roman Empire crumbled. A few hundred years later, Muslim invaders from Morocco and elsewhere, frequently referred to as Moors, stormed the Iberian Peninsula, where they’d remain until the 15th century. Next, Roman Catholic regimes ruled over Spain until the Spanish Constitution of 1978 banned state religion in an effort to promote diversity. All of this to say Spain has experienced and adopted the different traits of many different cultures, including:

  • Extreme range of architecture- Spain is home to a huge variety of different architectural styles. For example, within Cordoba you can find the Mezquita, a hypostyle mosque, alongside a wide selection of Roman archways and bridges. 
  • Variation in Language and Ethnic Groups- Although Spain is often described as having a homogenized ethnic and linguistic identity, that’s not exactly true. Almost all Spaniards speak Spanish, but many others speak regional, ethnic languages, like Basque or Catalan. Likewise, Spain is home to a wide variety of different ethnic groups, Canarians and Gitanos being a few of the more well-known examples.

I could go on about all the beautiful, unique intricacies within Spanish society. This variation and the need for other people to experience and understand it is the main driver behind Madrid to Barcelona, but it’s not the whole story.

So, Why Hike el Caminos de Santiago?

The only way to see Spain is via the network of ancient pilgrimage routes collectively known as el Caminos de Santiago de Compostela. For hundreds of years, pilgrims from France and Spain have taken these roads to the tomb of St. James in Santiago de Compostela. Hiking a number of these trails, namely Camino Madrid, Camino Frances, and Ruta del Ebro, means enveloping myself in a centuries old tradition, while experiencing all of the modern intricacies that Spain’s history has built. This anachronism, the meeting of tradition and modernity, is the story. 

Map of Caminos de Santiago

 

Map courtesy of Santiago-Compostela.net

What’s it like to move in and out of time? What are we missing when travel television only covers the most famous, the most “exciting” parts of the country? How does it feel to go from a center of modern culture like Madrid to el Camino de Madrid where you’ll see some post towns, but you’ll spend more time alone with the land? How does a foot trail feature into a world of buses, trains, and cars?

If you want to find out the answer to these questions and experience the clash of the old and new of Spain as much as I do, please contribute to my Indiegogo campaign, Words from the Road: Madrid to Barcelona.

Welcome!

Welcome to the official site for Words from the Road. Here you’ll be able to find updates on the ongoing Indiegogo campaign, posts about travelling the world by foot, and the progress of my first major work, Words from the Road: Madrid to Barcelona!

The site is looking a bit rough right now, but I plan to have everything up to snuff over the next few days.

 

Stay tuned.