Saturday, October 8, 2011

Journey at the mercy of social media

5/10/2011

The Dominion Post and stuff.co.nz

A Kapiti woman has put her fate in the hands of social media as she travels the world on her bike.

Diana Tansey, travelling as her alter-ego Indiana June, is biking around the world, but only going to places her online followers choose.

The idea is based on the pick-a-path adventure stories Miss Tansey grew up on, where the reader must pick one of two options to decide the fate of the protagonist.

It was a Customs officer in New Zealand that got the ball rolling. He misspelt her name - she went from Diana June to Indiana June, an unintentional nod to one of popular culture's most famed adventurers.

It culminated in her new style of travel blogging or, as she calls it, "getting on a bike to be at the mercy of anyone who has an internet connection".

Miss Tansey, 31, blogs, tweets and uses Facebook to garner suggestions and have her followers pick her path.

She puts two options up for the vote and whichever wins is where she goes. The intrepid traveller has even let her followers dictate what food she will eat.

Her journey is self-funded so she is doing everything on a shoestring budget.

"I wanted to be able to share my stories with everyone, from my workmates, to grandma and friends."

She began the adventure seven weeks ago, and has clocked up about 2000 kilometres so far, starting in Ireland and working through Britain. Miss Tansey is currently in France.

So far she has swum with a dolphin, worked at a pig farm, attended a party where a goat was crowned king of a village, visited a Scottish biscuit factory and watched the recent All Blacks v France Rugby World Cup match in a bar in Paris, surrounded by "French wearing the flag on their faces and berets on their heads".

She enjoys the random occurrences that happen while biking, like when when she was in west Ireland as a massive flock of pigeons was released from a van as she biked past.

"Two old men with no teeth were training the pigeons for a competition. They were telling me all their secrets to the training, looking around suspiciously the whole time."

Her life is wrapped up in four pannier bags, and she dreams of hair conditioner, but says she is learning invaluable lessons along the way.

"I like the idea I'm not causing a drain on resources and pollution. Apart from the odd train trip it's pedal power and trying to eat local foods."

While the nature of Miss Tansey's adventure dictates she can not plan very far ahead, she would like to make it to Australia later in the year, and then back to New Zealand.

You can follow Indiana June at indianajune.com