So far my lists are still short. I have to take back cherry jam for my sister, fabric for Provence Rugs, and Camargue salt for a friend. My list of goodies to bring back to France includes shredded coconut (the carrot cake is nothing without it and I can't find it), my lightweight down blanket and my Huggable hangers (I know, sounds stupid but they rock and save so much space). This list gets smaller and smaller each visit to the states as I become more accustomed to what I used to consider the oddities of life here in France. I mean, no shredded coconut? Really? But on that list I also have many other things that my french friends want me to bring back from the states, either because they are so much cheaper or because they simply can't be found here. So far that list includes camera cases, language translator, jeans and eyelash stimulator. It will get longer before I leave, of that I am sure.
I'm lucky because I have so many visitors who are willing to bring me things I miss, another reason why my list is so small. But this week a few things came across my desk that seem to be ingenious ways to solve the want/need issue.
This site pleasebringme.com is a very basic site that allows you to ask travelers to bring you something from their country, or you can offer to schlepp something to someone in a country you're traveling to. You can specify what you would like in return, if anything. For instance, some people ask for a ride from the airport, some ask for a city tour and others ask for nothing. The site is very basic and not very easy to navigate but people seem to be using it. There is a guy in Sidney who is offering a tour of the city to anyone willing to bring him Monster Munch chips from England. Another guy in Brazil is offering $200 if you bring him a Macbook air.
A similar site, and the one I prefer, is called mmmule.com. They offer the same service but it's much easier to navigate and you are not only allowed to enter where you're going and where you're coming from, but you can filter the announcements by the reward offered and the items wanted. Pretty nifty. I've already replied to a guy in Minneapolis who would like someone to bring him a bottle of Suze and he responded by offering me a couple of drinks in his favorite bar or $20 plus the cost of the Suze. I'll decide when I see what he looks like! Another guy here in France is offering a tour of his city if you bring him comestible insects. Yeah, I had to look that one up too; he wants to eat them! I'm trying to determine where I can get edible insects in the states, if I can get them across the border and if I REALLY want a city tour given by a man who enjoys eating insects.
Angel Mule and this is a section of the site that is specifically for travelers willing to bring needed items to charity and humanitarian organizations around the world. Requests range from pencils and children's toys to clothing and paint for the school. Most of the requests come from countries in South America or Africa but often they proffer accommodations or language lessons in return. This seems to me to be an awesome way to do some interesting travel.
And speaking of interesting ways to travel, how about this site, Miss Travel? The following is an excerpt from their site:
Umm...umm...I guess it could work but can you say 'concubine'? Although I am waiting for someone to dare me to dare this...just to see how it works. On the other hand, I'm old, I have a baby belly and my boobs are very small and entirely natural (meaning they're closer to my belly button than my shoulders. I'm not sure I would qualify to go gallivanting with a
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