RoadTrip America

Routes, Planning, & Inspiration for Your North American Road Trip

You Want To Go Where?: How to Get Someone to Pay for the Trip of Your Dreams, by Jeff Blumenfeld

This new book by Jeff Blumenfeld is a godsend for the thousands of would-be roadtrippers who write query letters to RoadTrip America or post a question on the RoadTrip Forum about how to find someone to pay for their adventures. I speak from personal experience when I say that the author really knows what he's talking about. Jeff Blumenfeld was the source of information that led to my one-year stint as traveling media spokesperson for the American Cancer Society back in 1997. He's guided countless other adventurers in their quests to find sponsorship, which makes this book a unique treasure trove of life-tested lessons in expedition financing. Blumenfeld has included some darn funny stories as well, making You Want to Go Where? not only a practical guide, but also an entertaining read.

Blumenfeld lays out nuts-and-bolts advice for creating a strategic plan for obtaining corporate sponsorship for any size adventure or expedition. This is just the first reason this book is more valuable than any Web research you might do. The second is that Blumenfeld presents the little-known stories of how some of the most famous explorers-from Columbus to the present-found and continue to find the funds to pursue their dreams. The Jeff Blumenfeld Agency has been at the forefront of shaping these kinds of pursuits into a recognized industry since 1982. The author is a member of the prestigious Explorers Club and the American Alpine Club and is the editor and publisher of the well-respected Expedition News, an insider's newsletter about adventure marketing.

Most of the people to whom I will recommend this book are in the beginning stages of planning epic trips. They're convinced that "somebody out there" is going to fall in love with their concept and pay for it all. In "You Want to Go Where?" Blumenfeld details concrete methods for making dreams like these actually come true. He also suggests ways for would-be adventurers to bring their lofty visions into the realm of reality, and thereby increase their chances for success.

Although this book is a practical guide for sponsor-seeking adventurers, I'm also going to be recommending it to anyone who needs a bit of spine-stiffening in these trying economic times. Because of the current challenges facing my firm and my livelihood, it was a wonderful and unexpected pleasure to get a mental boost from the stories in this book. As I read it, I couldn't help feeling renewed commitment to "stay the course." Blumenfeld writes about people who put everything they had on the line-just to earn the privilege of risking their lives doing something other people might call crazy. It makes mundane challenges like paying bills seem downright minuscule.

Here's another good reason to purchase this book and keep it handy. Its eleven appendices represent some of the best resources for adventure planning and recommendations for gear that I've ever seen. The second appendix is worth reading for inspiration alone. It's a list of financial awards available to those with enough creativity and determination to claim them. Here's one that seems tailor made for a would-be road tripper:

"Journey of a Lifetime Award: BBC Radio 4 will award £4,000 as a travel budget for an original and challenging journey that leads to the production of documentary for the radio channel."

There are plenty more good reasons I'll be mentioning this book often in the months and years to come. Blumenfeld's prose is easy and smooth, and he's included really cool photos of some of the people he's worked with. I won't be loaning my copy out, however, so don't even ask. Get your own, and give it a permanent home on your bookshelf. It's a keeper.

Mark Sedenquist

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