"Get anything you want from anywhere in the world by rewarding a traveller for delivering it." www.mmMule.com
Have you ever found yourself craving something from another country? Like a bottle of wine you had at a particular place, or special desert from a magical picnic you took with friends – something you can only find at a place you've been on holiday? It can be anything that evokes a nostalgic memory and brings back warm feelings - www.mmMule has a solution to your problem!
mmMule is a social network that puts you in touch with travellers who can bring you the special thing you're longing for. And the best part is that it won't cost you much - just a bit of your time. Sound a bit too good to be true? This week Essential Travel caught up with Avis Mulhall from mmMule to find out exactly how this works.
Essential Travel: For readers who are hearing about www.mmMule for the first time, can you give us a quick rundown of how it works?
Avis Mulhall: Sure thing, well mmMule is essentially a social network that connects locals and travellers. The idea is that if you want something you can't find in your city - say your favourite chocolate from Switzerland - a traveller coming your direction will deliver it to you in exchange for a local experience - like a night out with your mates or maybe even a place to crash.
The reason we built mmMule is because we wanted to enable people to travel and experience places like locals instead of feeling like tourists and just blindly following a travel guide around the world. It's such an amazing way to meet new people, but it's also a great way to give back to the communities you visit, as part of the site is also dedicated to helping not-for-profit projects AngelMule. AngelMule uses travellers to deliver urgently needed supplies to not-for-profit projects around the world and in return travellers have amazing experiences like free volunteering, local tours and sometimes up to three weeks free accommodation.
Essential Travel: Love the name. How did you come up with it and when did the concept come about?
Avis Mulhall: There's no way on earth you'd actually guess where the name came from. Funnily enough myself and Andrew (two of the founders) decided to go into business together while we were travelling in Ethiopia: we were halfway up a mountain with a dancing priest and a goat named Henry - if we're going to get precise about things. Anyways, while off on an adventure through the Danakil Depression, we saw trains of camels and mules laden with salt, travelling for miles from the salt flats to the cities - along the way the Afar people would trade the salt for food, accommodation and even clothing. That's where the idea came from... and as for the three mmms, well that's easy to explain - the site is based around cravings and whenever you eat something you've been craving it's like mmmmmm. Plus we thought mmMule was a little more catchy than camel!
Essential Travel: Ha, classic! What are some of the most common things people ask for?
Avis Mulhall: Food! I think the more people have travelled, the more they miss stuff they've tasted overseas, plus there's a huge amount of expats who live overseas that want stuff that reminds them of home. But that said, we've got all sorts of weird and wonderful requests including saris from India and vintage bow ties from New York, and then there are plenty of requests for specialist alcohols and cosmetics.
Essential Travel: Where have you found most people are posting from and to?
Avis Mulhall: As we're based in Australia, that's one of our key areas, but we have heaps of folks from France and lots of requests from the USA too. We've got people from all over really - over 100 countries around the world.
Essential Travel: If you can say, what are some of the weirdest things that people have requested?
Avis Mulhall: Well we currently have an AngelMule project that needs prosthetic limbs - And we've managed to get them delivered too! Actually one of the things I love is that a lot of people are not asking for anything specific, they're asking for a surprise or a treat from the traveller's home country or even the opportunity to just practice English - we love this as it really shows people are just fascinated with meeting new folks and doing good deeds just for the sake of it. And because Karma is at the heart of mmMule, this is really awesome to see.more blog posts