MMM - More Makes Merry
Our guest today is David Shekleton, from Melbourne Australia. He founded MMM, a site for travellers, bloggers and charities who want to make the world a little more merry, one trip at a time. We have conducted an interview with David.
What is MMM and what kind of community website have you developed?
MMM stands for MORE MAKES MERRY. Its name is obviously a play on the phrase the ‘more the merrier’. For me, it’s the major conundrum of travel. ‘More’ can be extremely helpful, or it can be as equally hindering.
There are times when you want loads of people around - friends, family, and strangers to share your travel experience with. However, often, and now more often, you want less people because it means less pollution, noise, cars, plastic and all the other negative knock-on effects that travel brings with it.
With 1.4 billion international trips annually now we’re asking more and more of these great destinations and not finding ways to give back. Yes, travel does impose some negative effects but it also has the potential to have the greatest effect as a global movement towards adding value to the world, and not just taking it.
So rather stop saying, ‘the more the merrier’, because the world can’t handle the negative impact of increased travel we should start saying ‘more makes merry’.
We should be using the sheer number of travellers and travel bloggers to give back, even if it’s just a little bit, to the destinations we all visit and help them become viable travel destinations for decades to come.
As a community and as a website MORE MAKES MERRY offers anyone who is travelling, writes about travel, is a charity or local business to get involved and make it easier for travelers to be able to give back before, during or after they travel.
Where did you get this collaborative project idea? What inspired you to start it?
Everyone wants to be able to give back. It’s within everyone. It may not be a loud voice but I guarantee it’s a whisper or a feeling. For me, it’s been a voice that’s been getting louder over the years.
In 2014 ‘it’ just snapped. I was returning to dive in Sipadan, East Malaysia and I just noticed the amount of floating plastic above and below the water. I was bringing back pockets full of plastic after each dive until it got the point where I just felt like it was useless. So I had to ask myself what could I do? I was on a week-long holiday, I didn’t have much time and like most people I didn’t have a great amount of money to donate to help the situation. Most importantly I didn’t have the faintest clue where to find a charity to give it to.
I ended up looking for a way to solve my own 3 main barriers to being able to help. Which I am sure are the same as everybody else’s.
1. We don’t know where or how to help.
2. We don’t have the time to volunteer.
3. We don’t have the money to donate.
These are the main issues we all face when wanting to help while travelling. I believe if I could solve them for myself it would also help a great number of others at the same time.
Who is it for? How does the content in it benefit the travel community?
It’s for anyone who travels or wants to travel. Even if you don’t have a blog you can share something you see or find. The content, whether it be something you’ve found, a blog post to share, a charity, your charity, or a local business, it helps, especially if it benefits the destination. 1.4 billion people travelled internationally last year for certain that a lot of them if they could, would love to give back, especially if they knew if wouldn’t cost them a cent. Basically, it benefits anyone who wants to use their power as a consumer to help rather than hinder.
Which charities do you benefit?
Firstly, I think that just by raising any awareness of charities is something in itself. They really don’t get enough recognition or financial aid. There’s too much economic leakage, especially in developing nations where it’s the most critical. Charities arise when people love the places we love to visit. Without them, we would be ignorant to the issues of tourism. We’re trying to map as many as possible. So, with that in mind, we feel we’re helping all that we have listed. However, we’ve given small amounts here and there where we can but right now we’re building up to give a larger donation to the R.O.L.E foundation in Bali to help educate marginalized women which in turn strengthens the Balinese tourism industry.
What kind of proof/supporting documents do you show for ''100% of any commission from any of these travel service providers goes directly to charity'' (as stated on your site)?
Trust is a hard thing in the world these days and right now that’s what we’re relying on. It really shouldn’t be an issue. We’re more than happy for our users to write in and ask us for the aligning financial papers associated with their purchase. It’s all very transparent and straightforward. We don’t make any money from the travel commissions and we don’t plan to. We are looking for a Tax consult / specialist to sponsor us to help back us up which would be a great step in gaining more trust. Until then, or until our not for profit status comes through we’re about trust, or if anyone is skeptical, they can ask for the paperwork – no worries.
How can more people contribute to your cause?
Anyone can contribute. If you travel you can help. Share a photo, a story, your blog, your charity or promote your business and we’d be happy to give it a shout out. Or go to www.moremakesmerry.com and chose your favorite travel service to book through when you go to travel next as all the money earned from your trip will go to charities listed on our site.
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