On Episode 4 of the podcast Upvoted by Reddit, Jordan Axani was interviewed since his post on r/canada went viral. This insightful interview showcases the power of travel and the Internet and highlights the connection two strangers can make. This incredible story has prompted Jordan to start a charitable non-profit, A Ticket Forward, fundraising trips for those who have not yet had an opportunity to travel the world.
The TL;DR of the story is this: Jordan was bullied as a child and, as a result, lost a sense of self-worth. He then decided to bike across Canada and quickly learned that the world was much larger than the community he grew up in. For Jordan, traveling saved him, but in his 20’s, to his dismay, he found himself back at a corporate job as a real estate developer, attending meetings and sitting in front of a computer. After a year of dating a woman by the name of Elizabeth Gallagher, Jordan purchased airline tickets to travel 7 countries in 3 weeks as a Christmas gift. Unfortunately, weeks before their trip, the two broke up. Jordan called the airlines to attempt changing the name on the non-refundable tickets. All three airline policies of acceptable name changes had the following criteria: 1.) Get married; 2.) Get divorced; or 3.) Death. Since none of these applied, he decided to post a Facebook status describing his dilemma and asking if there were any Canadian citizens named Elizabeth Gallagher who would like free tickets to travel the world. Jordan wasn’t expecting much, but within a week his post went viral, reaching millions with his story being published in news articles. This eventually resulted in finding 18 Elizabeth Gallaghers who all wanted a free trip to see the world! To make a selection between one of the 18, he set his selection criteria to someone who would really benefit from this trip in the sense of never having traveled before. Jordan, 28, and new Elizabeth Gallagher, 23, met in the departure lounge for the first time, about to set out for 3 weeks together. In interviews, they both describe their relationship as platonic, Elizabeth stating that she already has a boyfriend. This brings us to our question: Would you travel the world with a complete stranger of the opposite sex?
Emily: While I would like to say that I am as brave as this Elizabeth, the thought of traveling with a man I don’t know is frightening. When I was single, I was cautious just meeting an OKCupid user at the local coffee shop. To say I would hop on a 14 hour flight, in a foreign country, with foreign languages, currencies, etc., is really scary especially in a world where you see headlines of rape, kidnappings and murder. I’m glad it worked out with these two and they seem like they had a lot in common, but free trip or not, I guess I am not as free-spirited. I would do a background and reference check on the guy first. If a chick offered you a free ticket, would you go?
Chris: A free trip is pretty hard to pass up. Seven countries in three weeks – that sounds amazing. But would I go with a girl I’ve never met before? I think doing some recon would definitely be in order – Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, etc. I’d try to see what I can find on her, maybe talk to her on the phone beforehand. Otherwise, I would lean towards going. I’m pretty good with directions, and fortunately men don’t fear getting physically/sexually abused by women. Maybe we should be more cautious, but we’re dumb like that.
Emily: Yeah, as a guy it’s a no brainer. Pitching you another hypothetical: What if the person given the option was your sister, or me, your girlfriend? Would you let me go? It is 7 countries in 3 weeks – pretty amazing.
Chris: Would I let you go with a male stranger? No. I’ll let Eddie Murphy explain why.
Chris: Even the unjealous boyfriend would not be ok with allowing their girlfriend to go on a three-week vacation abroad with another man. I’m assuming the same applies for women, too.
Emily: Yes, agreed. I find it surprising that Elizabeth mentioned she already had a boyfriend and still took the ticket. Traveling is definitely a luxury to take advantage of when you’re single. If you’re in a relationship, hopefully you can plan trips with your significant other… before kids.
Question: Would you travel the world with a stranger of the opposite sex?