Paying It Forward – GoPro and pass it on: the GoldenPro project

By Rachael Golden

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I tried to stay positive

My GoPro was my lowest moment.

I was making plans to travel South-east Asia solo, push my boundaries, and I wanted terribly to collect and savour the moments which changed me as a person.

In Singapore, the GoPro salesman pressured me and was forceful. I ended up overspending on the camera – by $200!

At first, I felt bitter. I tried to stay positive; I told myself, “it’s alright, it will still serve its purpose.” But whenever I tried to use it, the battery would fail and my first-time moment was lost. The last straw was overcoming my fear of water, diving to 28 meters, only to find again a dead battery.

Bitterness took over. I felt resentful every time I saw it in my bag. I was carrying something too valuable to throw away, but if I sold it the money I overpaid would be lost.

For 3 months I carried it, thinking only of how I’d been cheated. Always regretting, always resenting, but too focused on its monetary value to sell or give it away. Whenever I tried to cut weight in my pack, I saw it again and again swallowed my bitterness.

I arrived in India, and in Jaipur undertook a Vipassana course. On the 6-7th day of the course, truth, honesty and love started pouring into my soul. I was able to reflect on every area in my life and find something beautiful.

I realized the negativity I carried towards the camera was there because I had made a choice to have it there. Simply buying a new battery would have fixed the whole problem, but in my stubbornness I had rejected spending more money.

The option to reverse that negativity with a different state of mind embraced me.

Rather than possessing the camera for myself, it could be globally enjoyed by all travelers like me.

GoldenPro was born

I ran into other travelers often, debating if they should buy a GoPro for the journey or not. But traveling isn’t cheap; the cost was always hard to justify.

I realized I could remove money from the equation, and GoldenPro was born. I might have missed out on keeping my first times, my moments, but that only motivated me more to make sure others had them.

If a traveler took the GoldenPro to a special place, it could inspire someone else to go there. They may connect with each other, share advice. The camera might even inspire travelers to do more and go further than they had originally planned.

When each adventure is completed, captured on the GoPro, how amazingly beautiful it would be to open-heartedly pass it to the next stranger/traveler, so they can enjoy their experience in the same way! The positive impact on the next owner would be huge.

It’s a ‘pay-it-forward’ project; a new way for people who are simply trying to enjoy the world to help each other.

Paying it forward, and learning to let go

In the end it also teaches a valuable lesson in letting go.

Regardless of the memories you’ve made with it, there is the chance to give the opportunity to someone else.

And however attached you feel yourself getting to this technological object, as you make memory after memory, the time will come to pass it on. It will never rule your life.

It’s not just about the GoPro: the experience is also in receiving and giving; having, then letting go.

It only took me a second to know which group to pass it onto – NOMADS.  I was lucky enough to get involved with this group on my second week of being abroad, and it has been nothing but amazing. I love the whole family.

Being on the road is often difficult. Many of us may carry bitterness as well as bags.

If someone had gone out of their way to give me a tool for the simple purpose of recording my memories.. I can’t imagine the positive energy I would have felt.

But I think there is no better gift than giving. Luckily now I have the camera to do exactly that.

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not pictured : a months-long symbolic journey (or functioning battery)

Rachael Golden is currently travelling in Australia, driving tractors and tickling happy turtles.

Follow the GoldenPro project by joining the Facebook group.

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