I want to travel. To Europe. To Asia. Anywhere.

Well, maybe not Ohio.

But, it’s just so expensive. I mean, we’re talking thousands of dollars per trip out of the country.

So, let me ask: If you could travel anywhere in the world for free, with the only catch being maintaining a blog and collecting some research — maybe — would you do it? I sure would.

And that’s exactly what a new website, called Trevolta, floating around my Facebook newsfeed is trying to accomplish.

By using crowdfunding — a fundraising strategy where donors can pitch in how much or little money they want — Trevolta aims to offer people the opportunity to travel at the expense of generous friends and sponsors “who are looking for extraordinary, unique and unforgettable trips which will be followed and shared by hundreds of thousands of people.” And in return for their donations, the travelers will complete “specific tasks to be performed along the trip.”

Trevolta’s success is questionable and remains to be seen, but I believe in its mission, and I think that’s what will keep it around for good. Although I have to question why someone would pay for me to have an incredible experience if they could afford to go themselves. But, OK, let’s say it does work and there are those people and companies out there willing to fund these trips. Then this is a truly extraordinary opportunity.

It’s always tossed around that “you should travel while you’re young.” And I can attest to that.

In the summer between my freshman and sophomore year of high school, I spent 35 days traveling across the western United States. I backpacked in Yosemite National Park, played capture-the-flag in Goblin Valley State Park and climbed to the top of Angels Landing in Zion National Park. And while it certainly didn’t come cheap, I learned much more about myself and what this country has to offer than at any other point in my life.

I became more mature, more independent and realized despite the amount of time I spend in front of technology, my greatest memories have been when I was farthest away from it. It was life changing in the best possible way.

More people need to have this experience. And it doesn’t just need to be through a study-abroad program. Travel, even without having to go to a classroom, has the potential be as impactful on a person as a college education. Put simply, traveling teaches. Imagine the feeling and lessons from completing a climb of Mt. Everest or a scuba dive through the Great Barrier Reef.

And I guess that’s why I think Trevolta will work. It has the feel of a scholarship — perfect for giving the college-aged student that breathtaking — while — educational experience, he or she wouldn’t have been able to have without this opportunity.

And it’s important to note that Trevolta and the sponsors aren’t just throwing out money for these trips. Getting your trip funded takes effort. Your trip page needs to be fully detailed, including a video pleading your case — so I would bet that vaguely titled “Vegas Trip” probably wouldn’t rack up funds.

What I like most about Trevolta is that it promotes altruism — a culture of unselfish giving — in what feels like a very selfish world. Laws are being enacted purely based on self-interest. The government was shut down because some people couldn’t accept defeat. And it seems like nearly every day you find out about how someone scammed thousands of people out of money.

These crowdfunding sites give me hope that we are better than what the media often portrays. That even though I don’t understand why someone would pay for my trip to climb Half Dome, someone is paying for my trip to climb Half Dome. That even though school supposedly teaches us to be independent, critical thinkers, it’s OK to get help and support from others.

Now, can someone teach me how to book a flight?

Derek Wolfe is an LSA sophomore.

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