Woman asks people to GoFund her $10k trip around the world
THERE are numerous worthy causes on crowd-funding site GoFundMe.
Examples include a teacher in Ipswich trying to raise $10,000 to take a class of special needs kids on a trip to Tasmania and a family struggling with the news that their 11-week-old baby boy has terminal cancer.
Crowd-funding has also helped many people with a savvy business idea turn their dream into reality, and in turn, provide a community with a genuinely useful item. It's big business - in 2015 it's estimated the total global crowd-funding volume was $34 billion.
But when people start using crowd-funding sites to fund their whims, it might be time to ponder whether the whole concept has jumped the shark.
This week, the internet was quick to turn on Becca Gronski, who is aiming to raise $US10,000 ($13,000) to fund a trip around the world.
The self-proclaimed "spiritual teacher, life coach, reiki and crystal healer" from the US, set up her GoFundMe page in February.
"I'm raising money to support myself on my travels and spiritual journey around the world," she explains in her post.
"I believe we should all have the opportunity to have the things we need at our finger tips, whether or not we have the money for them.
"I have set up this go fund me so that anyone who feels I have helped them in any way or would like to be apart (sic) of what I am doing and would like to help me fund my travels back to Australia (where I would eventually like to create my home base) and around the world, they can do so. :)"
She outlines what she plans to do with the money:
"This money will be used to sustain me while travelling, writing my book (about my personal journey), creating an oracle deck (something that has brought great clarity to me on my journey), putting out videos on my YouTube channel, creating my art ..."
"I, myself, am currently low on funds and working to get on my own feet. But I have always been so blessed by other people with kind hearts, who have helped me get by when I was really low and I am so thankful!"
At the time of writing, her campaign had been running for a week and 25 people had contributed $285 to her $10,000 goal.
It would seem that most people who donated used the page as a platform to promote their own brand of comedy.
One man named Greg Spring donated $5 and wrote:
"Namaste Boo. I've donated the modest sum of $5, and I would ask that you make Dublin the first stop on your world tour of self love and expression. You see I'm the kind of guy who dances likes everyone is watching. Like everyone in the club is preoccupied with my next dance move. It keeps me on the straight and narrow scarlet wise, but I'm wound up like an old rusty spring the whole time, which is NOT cool. I'd sooner French kiss my Dad than open up about my feelings, so if you could give me some of that Namaste I'd be really grateful."
Another chap named Karl Toomey also donated the minimum amount of five dollars and wrote:
"Fair play and Namaste to you Bec. Travelling really helped me discover my inner creativity and my love of fonts (I'm a designer) It also really helped me with my IBS."
It even sparked a spin-off GoFundMe campaign:
"Hi guys, Let me help Bec on her Spiritual Journey. I will follow along with a megaphone offering moral/spiritual support. NAMASTE!"
In turn, social media hasn't been particularly kind to Becca.
One Twitter user wrote: "I have an idea for this traveller. Get a job!!"
Spiritual Journey and Travel Fund https://t.co/qEh4nSff1K— E M M A (@shutupimdancing) February 22, 2017
NO NO NO NO NO. NO. NO. ABSOLUTELY NOT.
Another wrote on Facebook: "Why don't you do some good and if you legitimately care so much about people donate it to a charity or actual cause vs. your own personal travels."
It's important to note that (according to The Independent) Becca Gronski lists multiple jobs on her Facebook page including being an artist of vagina paintings and selling dreamcatchers on Etsy ... so it could indeed be a prank.
But watch a few videos on her YouTube channel Soul Journey and you get the sense this is legitimate.
The video of her cutting her hair as an exercise in empowerment is particularly earnest.
There seems to be a growing trend of slightly dubious crowd-funding campaigns - particularly from "selfish, unimaginative millennials with no reservations about panhandling on the internet," (as bossip.com puts it in the post Here's how millennials have killed crowd-funding).
This week Kayla Lewis - the girl who coined the term 'on fleek' - set up a crowd-funding page for people to pay her for her contribution to pop culture.
"I have a problem with crowd-funding just for the sake of crowd-funding," writes Brandon Wenerd from BroBible.
"The internet has run amok with crowd-funding campaigns attempting to be absurd phenomena these days, with the most notorious example to date being the Kickstarter campaign that raised $50,000 just to make a bunch of potato salad.
"It's not because I hate fun or just how silly-awesome and circle-jerky the internet can be, but because I think it's teaching an entire generation that they can simply get what they want by asking strangers for it, rather than working to achieve a goal.
"The way a current generation abuses crowd-funding to finance a good time fuels an unrealistic expectation of how someone should be treated by strangers. Quite simply, no one owes you anything."
But we can take mild comfort in the fact that Becca seems to have cottoned on to the fact that people are questioning the validity of funding her spiritual journey.
The roasting on social media didn't cause her to remove the campaign entirely, but she did post an update to the GoFundMe page on Friday:
"UPDATE! If we reach $5,000, I will donate $1,000 to the charity of your choice! With your donation, please comment the charity you would like the money to go to and the one with the most votes will get the money! Peace and love to you all!"