If you’re obsessed with globetrotting like I am, there’s a fairly high likelihood you have a trip coming up soon—probably before the end of 2015 even. If that’s you, keep reading! If that’s not you, keep reading anyway! I have a special campaign for all my fellow travel lushes out there and it involves a few of my favorite things: travel, fashion, and humanitarianism. Read on to find out about how I participated in the campaign this past weekend and how you can be a part of it too!
Ever heard of the travel campaign Route 99 in 99 Nations? Me neither—until recently. The reason you may have never heard of it is because it all began in the tiny Hawaiian region of Wahiawa. Route 99, a local lifestyle brand that got its name from the Route 99 highway leading to Wahiawa, was looking for a way to let the world know that both Wahiawa and its beloved highway exist and are well worth your vacation time! So they started a campaign asking people all around the world to represent Route 99 on their travels. Their goal is to collect images of people sporting any kind of Route 99 gear in at least 99 different countries around the globe. If they meet their goal of having Route 99 represented in 99 nations by the end of 2015, they will donate $500 to a recognized and reputable nonprofit organization!
The Route 99 store even created its own illustrated map of central Oahu and the North Shore, featuring both popular and lesser known landmarks and attractions along Kamehameha Highway, otherwise known as Route 99. The map highlights 9 must-see spots to visit while cruising down Route 99 in an effort to grab the attention of tourists who tend to overlook Wahiawa on their drives up to North Shore. The highway offers a multitude of tourist-worthy sites, including sacred ancient Hawaiian grounds and iconic pop culture locations. Although most visitors and residents opt for the more direct route along Kamehameha Highway, for more inquisitive travelers, Route 99 offers attractions that go largely unexplored.
How to Participate
I love this campaign for two reasons. First, it’s a great way to put the spotlight on a remarkable place that deserves to be explored by travelers like you who want to see something different. Furthermore, how awesome is it that a portion of the money they make from selling their Route 99 merchandise will be donated to charity? With just 22 countries left to go, they have just 3 months to reach the finish line.
Here is where you come in to help them get there. The Route 99 campaign is seeking to connect with travelers worldwide who are willing to spread some good ole’ Hawaiian spirit on their travels. If you’re traveling abroad this year, simply snap a photo of yourself rocking Route 99 gear and post it on Instagram with the hashtag #Route99in99Nations.
How I Participated
This weekend, I got a chance to rock my Route 99 tank while on a quick weekend getaway with two of my girlfriends. On the way to our destination, we decided to venture off our path and explore a landmark that we’ve passed dozens of times on road trips but never actually took the time to visit: Rock City on Lookout Mountain. With my natural obsession with good views, I’m surprised I never thought to visit the famed mountain that “promises” a magnificent view of seven different US states from a single vantage point (a claim that has yet to be proven). It turned out to be a rather quirky landmark, complete with strange gnome shrines, Mother Goose displays, and rickety bridges that made me feel like I was going to fall to my death. Aside from those small oddities, the beautiful scenery was totally worth the detour and served as a reminder that going off the beaten path while traveling can often be rewarding.
There are so many intriguing places out there like Wahiawa and Rock City that we completely miss on our travels because we’re hyper focused on following a plan. The next time you’re on a trip, remember to turn it into an adventure by exploring something unexpected. We put that into practice this weekend and it gave me the perfect opportunity to help rep the small town of Wahiawa in my own big way.