Travel and soul searching are inextricable partners. Some of the world’s greatest literary stories are hinged on enlightened journeys. Kerouac took to the road, Thompson rambled to Vegas, de Saint Exupéry’s Little Prince explored the Sahara, Agatha Christie solved murders on the Orient Express, and Hemingway ambled around Spain. And where there’s travel, there’s a definite need to find a mode of transport, though we’ll pass on the boat Yann Martel stranded his character Pi on, thanks very much.
Since it launched its Find Yours campaign last fall, Expedia has been exploring this intersection of adventure and practical locomotive needs with a series of moving and, dare we say, inspiring films about people who’ve found whatever it is they’re looking for—curiosity, perspective, strength—through travel. The best of the films, "Find Your Understanding," featuring a father confronted with his feelings about his daughter’s same-sex wedding, is even a legitimate tearjerker. (To add to the tears, the understanding Dad, Artie Goldstein, recently lost his battle with prostate cancer.)
Now, Expedia has handed the "Find Yours" storytelling over to its customers with an interactive Facebook app that allows users to make their own transformational videos. Created by agency 180LA and digital shop Unit9, the app accesses users’ pictures from Facebook or Instagram and uses Google Maps to create a slide show video of their travel photos. People are prompted to answer questions such as "what are you looking for" and choose locations, photos, filters, and music in order to create their own shareable short film.
"The Find Yours campaign celebrates the true power of travel," says Gavin Milner, creative director at 180LA. "There are as many different trips as there are travelers, and each transforms us on some level. We told that story with our anthem spot, and then the "Find Your Understanding" and "Find Your Strength" films. But we can only tell so many stories ourselves. We really wanted to give everybody the ability to make, and share, their own stories."
And if there’s one thing people are willing to share online, it’s their own, obviously epic, stories. As the agency notes, people upload on average over 250 million photos to Facebook every day. Save for streams of baby photos and snaps of artisanal food, travel photos are the mostly likely images shared online, with over three-quarters of travelers sharing their jealousy-inducing account of beaches, mountains, and exotic cocktails. With the app, Expedia hopes to make sharing these personal journeys more personalized.