Ah, bartering. My first introduction to the term was a lesson on Native American tribal currency in the third grade. We each brought some piece of useless plastic, like a pencil eraser shaped like a rainbow that would never get used, to trade for someone else’s keychain from their last summer vacation in Destin. Nevermind that said keychain had the other kid’s name on it in sparkly letters; we were buying things without money! Think of the possibilities!
But then we entered high school and had to get part time jobs because we realized that bartering isn’t really considered a viable currency in our capitalist economy.
But who says there can’t be a resurgence of trade and bartering sans paper money and coinage? We love the idea of trading our time and/or skills for something valuable to us.
Which is what we did, incidentally, for nine months in New Zealand. We traveled to the other side of the world and stayed with different host families, working for them in exchange for accommodation and meals. (Check out HelpX.net if you want to get in on the action too.) Sometimes we weeded the vegetable garden or mowed the lawn. Other times we washed the windows or babysat the kids. And almost inevitably, if our host had a business of any sort, we helped them update their website and integrate social media. One host even sought us out and had us create this wild website for Go Wild Productions–in between trips to the stunning beaches of Gore Bay and movie nights with the biggest DVD library you’ve ever seen. Not too shabby for a nine month vacation that was verging on free!
I guess you could say we’re hooked on the whole concept of bartering now. Of course, until the utility company decides to let us wash their windows in exchange for free hot water, we’ll still be needing some form of income. But there are plenty of other items that we are actively searching out for bartering. For instance:
- CSA season with a local Nashville farm. We love good, healthy food. Cooking it, eating it, even buying it when we get a great bargain from local farmer’s markets. We would love to design a brand new website for a local Nashville farm (or give an existing one a makeover) in exchange for a CSA share of produce and meat.
- Camper Van. These puppies are everywhere in New Zealand. Backpackers buy beat up old camper vans upon arrival, tour the country in them, then sell them when they leave at car fairs or on hostel notice boards. We were blessed to inherit our friend’s 1982 Toyota Corolla, but after seeing so many vans on the road and at campsites, we decided we want to fix one up for a tour of the United States. Ideally, our van would have a diesel engine so it could be retro-fitted to run on recycled veggie oil.
- Vacation Accommodation. We love to travel, and traveling as close to free as possible is A-OK in our book. Let’s say you have a vacation rental property that we could use for a week or two. Or you live somewhere fantastic and need a house-sitter for a couple weeks. Or perhaps you have lots of airline miles that will send us wherever we want to fly in the world (even better if you own your own jet plane, but hey, let’s not get carried away, shall we?) We’re game to travel anywhere, but on our list right now are Hawaii, Thailand, the Pacific Islands (Samoa, Vanuatu, Tahiti, etc.), Israel, New York City, and Greece.
So if you have any of those things in exchange for an amazing new branded web presence, give us a holler. Or maybe you have something for us that we haven’t even thought of yet. Let’s talk about how it can be a win-win situation for everyone!
The Green Pond Creative Team