Thursday, 10 April 2008

Action Expeditions

Me and a friend had a few beers and brainstormed this business idea:

What if on a whim you wanted to do something really useful next weekend?

Action Expeditions are an inspiring, not tiring, kind of travelling.

Action Expeditions’ aims are to enable people that seek active holidays to participate in outdoor environmental work in a so far unheard of level of comfort. AE’s purpose is to enable active, healthy recreation by making a positive difference to the world.

AE are for people who want to take short holidays where they can do something useful, get some outdoor exercise, travel to interesting places, meet people with a common purpose and, at the end of the day, enjoy themselves. AE also serves organisations that need flexible, mobile and self-sufficient volunteers. By pooling and aggregating the work opportunities and matching them to a workforce who are paying their own way and supporting them with innovative technology, AE expects to greatly reduce the cost and environmental impact of those projects. By making such opportunities as attractive as possible, it will increase the potential workforce available and greatly improve the flexibility of their response to any given need.

How it works:

On joining an Action Expedition at a meeting point in the United Kingdom, AE guests travel in a specially equipped sleeper-bus on its advertised itinerary of three to seven days to the destinations where manpower is needed on projects to protect or study the natural environment.

The project might be a beach clean up, wildlife survey, footpath project, archaeological dig and so on, according to the host organisations’ needs. Participation in the work opportunities is voluntary although tasks are carefully matched to each of the guests’ ability and each guest is briefed on their expected role long before arrival.

The expedition vehicles are custom built using technology derived from the organisers experience in music touring and overland expeditions. The AE vehicles carry the tools and equipment needed for the work projects, a galley, toilets and showers and become the base camp where the guests stay and have their communal meals. Outside of the working time, guests are encouraged and facilitated to pursue their recreational and educational interests by the interpretation and reference material carried. The Information Technology on the vehicle enables guests and organisers to keep in touch with suppliers and customers, organise the expedition and record and interpret results.

The AE fares charged per diem covers all the accommodation, meals and the travel on the bus from the meeting points to the work sites. Discounted fares are available for those who are willing to work under the direction of AE with support tasks such as cooking, provisioning and setting up camp.


Throughout the expeditions, all guests are thoroughly instructed in safety issues and environmental impact mitigation and will likely become further inculcated with a respect for the environment. Experience with organisations such as Outward Bound shows that guests can derive a great deal of personal satisfaction and growth from the challenges of such experiences whilst the organisers can enable participation in the safest possible environment.

By travelling in the most ecologically advanced and fuelled vehicles, specially designed to enable a great deal of self-sufficiency, the environmental impact of the recruitment, transport and housing of a workforce for short term projects in environmentally sensitive areas is reduced when compared to conventional methods.

Action Expeditions will have an extensive portfolio of useful tasks it can reliably and quickly train people of mixed abilities to perform together. In some instances this might be supporting a more expert workforce on a project or it may act on its own initiative. There is, after all, sadly no lack of litter on our nation’s beaches to collect while it gets constantly replenished.

The attraction for participants is that the work sites are usually in places of outstanding natural beauty or scientific interest and may be impossible to access otherwise. Other attractions are a sense of value and purpose to the holiday, wide opportunity to experience of new things and gain new skills and meet people. The organisers are experienced at facilitating groups and encouraging a cohesive social dynamic.

Although the participation in the work is voluntary, there is little point in not engaging in work as all the benefits are derived from it and, as everyone will be paying their way, nobody can freeload. By focussing on small, simple, short and local initiatives, it makes the commitment from the participants less onerous, more affordable and so more attractive to adults who may have plenty of enthusiasm and are likely highly skilled but generally might lack the time to locate, travel to and participate in such opportunities in the conventional way.

Do you know of a scheme like this already? If so, could you tell me about it?

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