So you want to know how we make money?

Somewhere in the barrage of comments from my last blog post, someone mentioned that they’d like to know more about our relationship with Intrepid Travel.  Which is a fair point. We never really explained the partnership beyond a brief mention in our cartoon.   You might be wondering why a company wants to fly us around the world sharing free stories about food.  In fact, our most common question in emails, conversations etc. is – “how do you pay for this?”   Obviously it’s a dream job, so the question, despite being less than proper, has some merit.

Last February we were invited by Intrepid Travel to go on one of their food related trips to Vietnam.  Excited by the opportunity to eat our way across the land of pho, we jumped on board.  There were no obligations, but we brought our camera along and filmed everything we ate.  The result was an extremely popular montage of our trip – see “A Taste of Vietnam.”

It was around the time that video came out that our Road Trip season was coming to an end and we were wondering what to do next.   We knew we wanted to continue to make films, but didn’t want to spend another full year on the road.  So we approached Intrepid Travel.  They are, after all, a company that had some similar goals as us: promote local culture/food/economy, encourage understanding and dialogue, and advocate for travel as a way to become more engaged world citizens (I guess that wasn’t a goal when the show started, but we do see it as important).

We suggested to them that we visit 6 countries — creating several Perennial Plate style episodes (and one “A Taste of Vietnam” style food montage) in each.  We wanted to share the inspiring stories of people producing their own food around the world.  But we also liked the idea that through our stories of real life experiences and people, folks would be inspired to travel.  Not just travel, but engage and challenge their perspectives on global relationships.   To our great surprise, they came back with the idea of going to 12 countries!  Hallelujah!

What resulted is really an amazing partnership.  I don’t know if it’s part of Australian culture (Intrepid is from there), but it isn’t often that you work with a company that is so understanding and flexible.

Our relationship works as follows:  We find stories, often with the help of guides from Intrepid.  Then we plan a trip based around those stories as well as visiting some of the great travel/food spots in the country.  Along with taking video for our PP series, we also capture pictures and videos that Intrepid can use in their own marketing campaigns.  We have complete creative control in our work, but we owe it to Intrepid for helping to make this happen. Their guides act as our translators and bring us to lesser-known spots that they frequent on their normal itineraries.  To “advertise” the partnership, we share their logo/links on our videos and on our website, we also write blog entries and recipes for them about our experiences in country.

I believe in travel.  I know it has large environmental drawbacks.  But visiting the world brings new understanding and tolerance.  Hopefully some of our videos bring that out too.

So any doubts or curiosity that you may have had about the relationship, I hope this makes sense.  Intrepid Travel obviously wants people to go on trips.  But they also want to foster a more understanding and sustainable world.  And by supporting our project, they think that will encourage people to do so – I happen to agree.  But regardless, I’m extremely happy to have the opportunity to work with them, to travel the world and share these real life experiences.