If you're traveling this summer, consider being a mule. mmMule is a new project headed by three travelers who want to connect people and help local charities, all with a simple exchange.
The concept is simple: you bring your 'local' something they've been wanting, whether it be moccasins or a pack of coconut M&M's, and in exchange they'll take you out to dinner or pick you up from the airport. It's a harmonious relationship of give and take that can result in long lasting friendships.
The website builds a community of 'locals' and 'mules' -- the former being the person requesting an item and the latter being the traveler. Sign up is easy and detailed. If you're a 'local', you'll choose the item, where it can be found, the approximate cost and any additional information that can help someone locate it. Travelers can search through requests by their travel destination or current location.
mmMule is the place for adventurous travelers who want to explore a city off the beaten path, but the program dedicates a page to list regulations and safety precautions. The network also provides a messaging system so travelers and locals can get acquainted before the trade-off. As with any travel site and traveling in general, always be careful about the environment and the people.
The social aspect of mmMule is presented in the 'talk' tab located on the main navigation. It offers a message board to informally talk about travel plans and to make requests a little more detailed than the regular 'deliver and trade' method. The message board also caters to travelers who are looking for fellow travelers to venture off with. It's a great addition to the budding travel network and will hopefully become more robust in time. For now, it's a simple exchange of words, much like the premise of the whole network, but that's all you need spark a new journey or friendship.
The idea goes beyond meeting new people and trading yummy snacks and helps out non-profit organizations with a sister network called AngelMule. Much like mmMule, organizations in need can request for items to be brought to them by travelers. The travelers supply resources like crayons, health supplies, clothing and volunteers themselves. In return, they get the satisfaction of helping a community and perhaps a glimpse into a world they would never experience otherwise.
The idea of mmMule may be a simple one, but it opens the door to a unique way of social traveling. There are a number of great services that aid in finding affordable hotels or activities to do in new cities, but mmMule's community offers experiences that are more personalized and tailored for each member. Rather than reading Huffington Post Travel section or reading about a new destination in Fordor's city guide, mmMule instantly connects you with a person and the city's culture.
mmMule is translated into a bigger cause with AngelMule and makes donating time or items to a charity easier and once again, more personable. It's not a monthly check or donations in a donation box; an AngelMule can immediately see and be submerged in the cause they are helping, which makes this idea so appealing. It simplifies volunteerism while magnifying the benefits of it for both parties.
It's a different approach to traveling off the beaten path but it’s a network that represents doing good, whether you’re bringing goods to a new friend or helping out in at a non-profit organization. mmMule is a travel network that makes real connections and a big difference.