"You're a travel insurance company that shot a documentary series? How does that work?", is generally the response.
As much as we think of ourselves as more than just a travel insurance company, it probably does seem a little left of field that we'd decide to run off and shoot a documentary.
So what made us decide to take a gamble and do it?
In February 2006 I was walking back with our Managing Director, Simon Monk, from a meeting with World Expeditions, an adventure travel company.
We'd been discussing how we could use Footprints to help fund community projects being run as part of World Expeditions own community project travel program.
What is Footprints? Footprints is an online philanthropy project that harnesses the collective power of many individuals making micro-donations to fund community based poverty alleviation projects globally .
Anyone that buys a policy through World Nomads can donate between $1-$5 to a community development program around the world. We felt the projects World Expeditions were involved in were ideal candidates for Footprints funding. But a funny thing happened on the way back to the office.
You've got 16 travellers going to Nepal to work on a community development project, instead of choosing to sit on a beach.
What makes someone want to do that on their holiday?
What effect does it have on someone who chooses to make a difference when they travel?
Is it over-rated and does the community they visit want them there, or care they've travelled across the world to help?
"What's your point!?" I could remember Simon saying as I rambled on.
To me it sounded like something I wouldn't mind watching as a documentary. And that's when my mind just took off on it's own tangent...
We could send a friend of mine, Trent O'Donnell, who happened to be an excellent cameraman, director, editor and keen traveller to follow these people and see what community project travel or 'voluntourism' is all about.
World Expeditions, god lov'em!, jumped on board to support the idea.
I felt confident we could capture some amazing stories and get a real insight into this type of travel. I also knew that if they were good, we'd find an audience outside of just our community.
Maybe I could get the documentary onto airlines, so other travellers could be inspired. Perhaps even dream a little as a very independent first time documentary series producer and get it onto television.
Well, both have happened.
We shot a pilot Positive Footprints - Nepal and managed to get it onto over 15 International Airlines such as Qantas, American , Virgin, Thai.
We then had the good fortune of meeting a distributor who'd seen the documentary and wanted to pitch it. So like a scene from a Guy Ritchie film, plane takes off, lands in Cannes, quick handshake, back to Australia.... and
Nat Geo Adventure want a series !
What???!!! holy $%#&
So from a decision made in the space of two city blocks, we've created the Positive Footprints documentary series.
Enough rambling from me, here are the first 4 episodes of Positive Footprints
India and Cambodia will be shot in October & November, so stay tuned !