Sharing Roots are Clémence Brière and Clémence Trébaol-Pelleau, two French Business Masters students, who are traveling the world through seven countries in as many months. Only it’s not quite that straightforward. They have set themselves the task of traveling, sleeping and eating using only the sharing economy.
Why? Well, they want to promote the collaborative economy as an alternative economic model. They identify a three-fold crisis (social, economic and environmental) in today’s world, and aim to research – and raise awareness of – a more sustainable system. And they want to prove a point: to demonstrate that the onward march of the collaborative movement means it’s now possible to travel on an entirely alternative market.
Fat Lama was lucky enough to catch up with Sharing Roots whilst they were traveling through Japan (country number 5). We asked them some questions about their experiences so far…
1: What is the idea behind your trip? Why travel on the sharing economy alone?
Sharing Roots is a 7-month around-the-world trip only using the sharing economy, from Iceland to Russia passing by Cuba, Bolivia, Chile, Japan and Mongolia.
Indeed, as a tourist, it can be frustrating to discover a country without meeting local people. The sharing economy – as a community-based system – permits us to understand the local culture. That’s why our challenge is to travel, eat and sleep with only the help of local people.
We also promote this socio-economic model as an alternative solution to the current economical, political and social crises of our system.
As final year students in a French Business school, we are also meeting and interviewing collaborative entrepreneurs for our thesis, to analyse the impact of political ideology on the redistribution of value in their business models.
2: You’ve travelled to Iceland, Cuba, Bolivia, Chile and Japan so far. Where has the sharing economy been strongest? Why do you think that is?
The sharing economy is a socio-economic model where resources are shared, given and exchanged between members of a community.
As the sense of community is really developed in the three insular countries we have travelled to – Iceland, Cuba and Japan – it has been really easy for us to hitchhike and sleep with locals there. Traveling only using the sharing economy has not been complicated because it is part of people habits there!
Nonetheless, Chile is the country where the sharing economy is most developed, with a high number of collaborative platforms (car sharing, meal sharing, couchsurfing platforms, like Fat Lama). The access to the Internet and the great collaborative start-ups contribute to the spread of this model. Young people are eager to offer an alternative to old ways of consuming. As students in a business school, this was really inspiring. We want to be active members of a generation who actually change things and offer alternatives!
3: Who is the most interesting person you’ve met on your sharing economy travels so far?
That is impossible to say! Each and every person we crossed on our way was interesting… Pjorbojg and Oskar in their Icelandic farm we met on Workaway (a similar platform to Hippohelp) Alejandro on his boat sailing around Cuba that we contacted through FindaCrew, our couchsurfings who opened their home to us, especially AtSushi from Osaka…
4: What’s the most unique experience you’ve had? Is there anything that you would NOT have been able to do without the sharing economy?
Our most unique experience, that we would not have been able to do without the sharing economy, has occurred during our first day in Kyoto.
We were hitchhiking between Osaka and Kyoto. The 3 Japanese guys who stopped to take us also invited us to spend the day with them: they offered us a visit to the aquarium of Kyoto as well daily kimono rental! We happened to end up disguised as geishas, visiting the most touristic temple of Kyoto! What a unique experience, only possible thanks to the sharing economy.
5: Fat Lama is creating a marketplace where one day everyone will be able to borrow whatever they need from their neighbours, quickly and cheaply. What ONE item would you have borrowed from local people in each of the countries you’ve visited so far?
Iceland: A snow-sled to discover the land of ice
Cuba: A selfie stick to take the best pictures of the Rolling Stones concert
Bolivia: A lama to carry our backpacks to the summit of Huyana Potosi (6088m). It would have been much easier…
Chile: 2 segways to visit the historic hills of Valparaiso
Japan: A rice cooker to feel and eat Japanese
Mongolia: 2 Mongolian fur hats to warm our little ears
Russia: An electronic translator