Ryan Dwyer is one of those rare people who’s so full of life that it’s severely infectious to us normal human beings. (For evidence, see picture below. We’re usually all startup curmudgeons, but just look at us! Grinning from ear to ear in natural light!)
Ryan has been a driver in our community since the beginning – and we’re so lucky to have someone this enthusiastic and passionate as part of the Ridejoy family.
We really can’t help but feel like mother hens now that Ryan, a recent graduate of the University of Nevada, is embarking on a three-month, 12,000 mile roadtrip around the United States in a VW Westalia named Bernie. He’ll be writing extensively about his trip on his fantastic blog, Travel Socially and more specifically, will be utilizing collaborative consumption networks (like a certain Ridejoy!) in order to complete his trip in a social, sustainable and wallet-friendly way.
He’s aiming to spend under $1,000 for the whole trip, or an average of $11/day. That’s quite the tall order, but if anyone can do it, Ryan can! (Fun fact: we considered titling this post: “RyanJoy,” but I was ultimately outvoted.)
We recently interviewed our intrepid adventurer before he set off. He’s already a veteran couchsurfer and ridesharer, so we can’t wait to see what this roadtrip yields for him!
Why are you going on this roadtrip?
My original reason was wanderlust: I just finished college, and I wanted to travel the country on a motorcycle. But I realized that purpose was selfish and wasteful. I’ve decided to go on this roadtrip to explore the possibilities that are available using social media and collaborative consumption services to share resources that people aren’t using. I am going on a sort of collaborative, green, social road trip, taking advantage of stuff that is already there and is available through new websites like Ridejoy and Couchsurfing.
Traveling around the United States in a Volkswagen Westfalia will allow me to try out different websites, collaborative consumption networks and methods of interacting with people to complete my trip in a less wasteful way. Not only will I be meeting people, I’ll be sharing resources with them, sharing costs and sharing experiences that would have never been possible unless I already knew people in every city around the US. But now you can find trustworthy people online who have similar interests and might be willing to share a bed, food, or a ride. It’s like having an extended family everywhere you go. I want to show that you can travel in a way that is cheaper, less consumptive, and more adventurous than in the past.
Tell us about yourself. What’s your story?
I just graduated from college this past May. I got my degree in Psychology from the University of Nevada, Reno, I also dipped my toes in philosophy and sustainability. I plan to go to grad school for Social Psychology at some point, but in the meantime, I’m exploring different options and interests that I have. I worked my way through school, so I want to enjoy myself for a while. But I understand that this type of lifestyle can be very wasteful, so I am trying to relax responsibly. I love to travel, I love technology, I love interacting with people and doing new, fun, exciting things, so right now, I’m trying to combine all those different interests into this new project: traveling around the country using social media and collaborative consumption. The internet has changed human culture. We have the opportunity to change it for the better, and I want to help figure out how we can achieve that. New technologies are changing our culture, the way we travel and how we experience the world; I want to show how we can use these tools to live better and less wasteful lives.
What’s your experience with collaborative consumption?
I think my first introduction was using Couchsurfing. I went to Europe for three months and when I got there, I realized that if I was going to travel the traditional way, I would only last a couple of weeks. So I found Couchsurfing and started staying with people – they host you for free and you just have to be a cool guest (and hopefully return the favor by hosting other people when you return home). It’s a cultural exchange with a great community of people who love to share and are excited about traveling and want to show you their city.
Taking advantage of unused resources like an open couch seems obvious, but it has only recently become safe and realistic because of websites like Couchsurfing. Since then, I’ve been using Ridejoy to share rides. It makes sense to share rides and share housing and other things that people already have. It makes sense because everyone wins. People can get extra money for things they already have, you can cut costs by sharing things you need. Since Couchsurfing, I’ve been watching new websites start up that offer unique opportunities to collaboratively consume. I’m interested to see what the limits of collaborative consumption might be.
Tell me about the route you’re going to take.
I started from Reno and I’m here in San Francisco now, so that’s my first stop. I’ll head up the California and Oregon coast and head into Portland, go up to Seattle and from Seattle, I’m going to be traveling across the north of the country. I’m going to stop in Yellowstone National Park, see Mount Rushmore, go to Chicago and from there, I’m going to go to Maine and be there in time to see the leaves change color.
That’ll be mid-October. From that point, I’m going to start heading south, down the East Coast and stop in all the major cities: Boston, Philadelphia, New York and make it down to Florida by mid-November, so as the weather’s getting colder everywhere else, I’ll be enjoying the sun and the beach! From Florida, I’m going to go around the Gulf Coast to New Orleans and across Texas through the southwest and probably end up in San Diego before heading back up the California coast and ending in Reno.
Are you nervous at all?
Not really. I’m really flexible, so I can roll with the punches. Whatever happens, I’m OK with it. I have a bus that I can sleep in, so worst case scenario, I’ll just sleep on the side of the road somewhere. I like meeting new people, so I’m not nervous about that. I just don’t want my trip to be a waste. Despite using collaborative consumption services, I will be using lots of fuel. I hope that the insights from the trip will outweigh the cost in used up resources. I want to raise awareness that we can use less and be equally happy. It’s a simple truth that can be hard to adopt. But if it is embraced, it could change the world.
What are you hoping to gain from doing this?
A lot. There are multiple reasons I’m doing this trip, many different elements that go into it. I want to be the type of person who actually did something he liked with his life. I want to take a risk and work on something innovative. In general, I just hope to have a new experience, try something new that I don’t think has really been done before, see how it works. If I can bring a little attention to the sphere of collaborative consumption, I want to highlight the new opportunities that we have to share our excess. As well, I want to develop personal skills like writing and publishing. I plan to write a blog about traveling socially. My blog will break things down and hopefully make it a little more accessible for other people who might be interested in using social media and collaborative consumption networks.
You should all be going to Ryan’s blog, Travel Socially, right-gosh-darn-now to read up on his adventures and get saucy (and by “saucy,” I mean “super useful”) tips on roadtripping and how to get the best of out of your collaborative consumption networks.
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