“Sponsoring yourself or being sponsored?”
As you most probably already know, here in overlanddiaries we rely exclusively on our own funds as an income to fuel our overland expeditions. No matter how much money we have available, it is the concrete base where all our overland expeditions are built on. With that said though, we give much respect to any other alternative way that people use to fuel their overland trips. We have come across people that organize funds or start online campaigns, although we have not attempted something like this as we could not find any reason why someone will want to support someone else who wants to go on an overland trip and does not have the money to do it. As a general rule, do not expect people’s enthusiasm and interest to help you with what you are about to do. However, it is completely acceptable and you have nothing to lose by giving it a try and see how it goes.
Another way is to go for sponsorships from businesses that sell part or all of your desired gear. We have met a lot of overlanders that go for this option but only some of them succeed. Most of them end up losing their sponsor half way down their trip, at a time that they actually depend on them, as they fail to deliver what they have originally promised. Do not expect, for instance, to be able to upload a huge 4K video showing your sponsored winch working in Sahara or over the Andes. Most likely in these places you will be lucky if you download one email. Your sponsor on the other hand expects it since he was promised. The bottom line is that it is much easier for a company nowadays to use the social media and promote their products than us. Worth considering here is that having sponsors involves hard work, commitments and time sacrifices. We have met people that were shooting images again and again until they captured that perfect scene and then spent the rest of the day in front of their computer editing, uploading and finally sending them out. To sum it up, ask yourself if it is worth committing to such a responsibility or putting yourself in the difficult position to be forced to write a review about a kit that failed dramatically just because you were sponsored by it for free. At the end of the day, overlanding means freedom.
Lastly, following the trend of our times, a YouTube channel as well as an Instagram account, with many followers and subscribers, has been “the in thing to do” the last few years and is now the way people become “famous” making some good, fast cash. The only drawback we can find to this is that there is a lot of competition out there and you put yourself in a position of daily proving to your followers and subscribers that they should prefer you over others who do exactly the same thing as you are. Let’s face it, this is not overland travel but a proper job.
As a conclusion, try to get the most out of your travel not by aiming in tons of sponsors and hundreds of followers and subscribers. At the end of the day, you are stuck in the mud because you chose to be there. You are looking at the stars and the Milky Way; you are there to experience it for yourself. Your overland trip is not a show but just a personal story that one day you will share with your friends, possibly around the campfire.