“One World, Two Feet” — an online community of international bloggers and photographers founded by Erika Zambello ’12 — has gained significant traction since its launch early last month in part through the contributions of numerous Cornellians.
The website was originally created to be a space for “explorers” to share their own travel stories and to inspire others to explore the world in unique ways, according to Zambello.
“I have always liked to read travel articles and I have been contributing to a website called ‘Ten Thousand Birds,’ which has many bloggers showcasing their daily travels, instead of having one person share his or her experience,” Zambello said. “I’ve noticed that not many travel websites are doing that, so I took this model and expanded it to include exploration and travel more generally.”
Focused on a broad range of explorers and topics, One World, Two Feet aims to inspire people to not only travel domestically and internationally, but also to explore locally and within their own neighborhoods, according to Zambello.
“There’s something for everyone,” Zambello said. “By following different explorers, you can find someone who fits your interests, whether you love cities, rural areas, biking, cooking, you name it.”
In particular, because of the diverse range of contributors — many of whom are Cornellians — One World, Two Feet has progressively gained more contributors and viewers.
“We are averaging over 100 views per day, which is significant for a website that has just launched,” Zambello said. “We are still increasing in both Facebook and Instagram followers.”
In an effort to expand One World, Two Feet, Zambello reached out to numerous Cornell alumni passionate about traveling to contribute to the project.
Rebecca Lee ’12, who was approached to become a contributing writer and photographer, currently lives and teaches in Florianópolis, Brazil and said she jumped at the chance to contribute to the website.
“Erika reached out to me when the project was just getting started,” Lee said. “Never one to turn down an opportunity to talk about my travels, I sent in a few writing samples and photos and joined the team. It’s been great to have an opportunity to publish and share my posts, pictures, and experiences in general.”
However, Nikkita Mehta ’12, who currently contributes a blog post once a month, said she was initially hesitant to take part in the project, but added that she has since learned a lot from the experience.
“I’ve always disliked writing, so at first I was hesitant about even agreeing to do anything beyond submitting pictures,” Mehta said. “One World, Two Feet, has been a medium for me to get more comfortable with my writing in addition to sharing with others different places I go.”
Cesar Rufo ’09, who recently returned from a five month backpacking trip through Thailand, Vietnam, Philippines, Japan, Taiwan, Malaysia, Cambodia, Myanmar and Singapore, has also been contributing photos and writing to One World, Two Feet, while maintaining his own travel blog.
When Rufo originally embarked on his trip, he did not have much a plan for his travels. Because of this, he said he discovered more about himself by taking himself out of his daily routines and learning to live with less. Through his writing on his own blog and on One World, Two Feet, he hopes to inspire others to embark on their own journeys.
“I really do believe that traveling is one thing that truly makes you richer as a person,” Rufo said. “You can accumulate all material things in life that you want but when you look back 20 years from now, you’re going to think about the experiences you’ve had and the people that you’ve met.”
Alicia Weigel ’12, another One World, Two Feet contributor, recently traveled through Africa for six months and documented her journey through the website.
“I decided to go to Africa because I knew that I wanted to change career paths,” Weigel said. “I went to visit my friends while volunteering with different types of organizations as a process of narrowing down what I wanted for myself.”
Through the One World, Two Feet platform, Weigel said she was able to share her journey and things she had learned through writing.
“It’s a group of people that are writing about these things in life that are all about the journey and not the destination,” Weigel said. “It’s a cool community of writers and photographers that are really emphasizing the journey. Even if you do have a full time job, you can gain happiness from the little things you can find and learn from the world around you.”
Seeking to disseminate content as widely as possible, Zambello added that One World, Two Feet is always looking for new content contributors and stories that might appeal to different people.
“We want to keep increasing our viewership and become a well visited site,” Zambello said. “Our goal is to help people become more effective explorers by showcasing different exploration stories from around the world that fit a variety of interests.”