Jackson Groves is a wonderful example of how a travel influencer can use their reach in a positive and meaningful way. With an Instagram following of nearly 300k content hungry, thumb-scrolling trail junkies spread around the world, he’s using a hyper-engaged audience to change the world, one adventure bag at a time.
The term “travel influencer” has become a rather painful cliche in today’s world — as long as you can master the art of writing enlightened captions that encourage others to live their dreams (based on travel quotes found through Google search), nail a tripod selfie (whilst looking like it hasn’t taken 12 attempts), and sell your own Lightroom presets at ridiculous profit margins then you pretty much qualify as one in 2018.
Which is why it’s so bloody refreshing to see what Jackson is doing with The Adventure Bag Movement.
What’s An Adventure Bag?
Jackson’s backpacked around the world for a few years and focused his travels and content on the natural environment; the hikes, waterfalls and beaches tucked away in the lesser visited corners of the backpacker world. His beautiful images and videos do justice to these places and have inspired throngs of wanderlusters to give the 2 finger salute to convention and buy a plane ticket to paradise.
However, it’s not all been paradise.
From the Philippines to Panama, Hawaii to Australia the places he visits are often riddled with rubbish, a disturbing sight given the number of travellers visiting these places.
“After a week of exploring trails in Santa Fe, Panama, by myself I had a lot of time to think. I was thinking about my character and what I stood for. I decided that I needed to lift my game. I wasn’t littering or using excessive plastic but I wasn’t helping the problem. I wasn’t being productive in saving our environment. I was inspired by many different people around me and decided that from that day onwards I would collect an Adventure Bag on every hike or adventure I went on.”
And that is exactly what he’s done.
The Adventure Bag Movement
He’s shared his experiences across his social media channels and let’s just say he’s struck a chord. People from all over the world have hopped aboard the Adventure Bag train, sharing images of their collected trail-trash to further power the movement. In a matter of weeks over 74k people have joined a dedicated Instagram page for it and it appears Jackson has activated a tribe of wilderness warriors who see this as an opportunity to finally do something about the problem.
View this post on Instagram
This #adventurebag was collected by @scuba.sarah . . Join the movement and tag #adventurebag or dm me your next adventure bag photo ?? . . This is an adventure bag. It is full of trash. Every time we go on an adventure we collect one adventure bag full of trash. It’s our way of saying thanks to Mother Nature for allowing us to enjoy her beautiful creations. If we have time to go on an adventure we have time to collect an adventure bag on the way back out of the trail once we have enjoyed the waterfall, the hike or the beach. Adventure hard!
He’s now running hiking meet-ups in Panama (where he’s currently based) to bring together travellers AND locals to clear up local trails and beaches. The first had more than 70 people attend! The potential this has to engage locally and feed awareness and action in the countries he’s travelling through is really rather exciting.
“The ADVENTURE BAG movement has an ultimate goal of helping to improve the current status of our environment. The movement is directly calling on adventurers, travellers and explorers to do their part in what is a huge mission to clean up our environment.
The ADVENTURE BAG movement is underground. There is no barrier to entry and I invite everyone to join. This movement is about inspiring and mobilising as many people as possible to do better!
I want this movement to spread to as many people as possible in the shortest space of time. Through social media, word of mouth, organised location-based clean-ups, and media coverage, the ADVENTURE BAG is going global.
I have been sent photos of people collecting their ADVENTURE BAG in Iraq, Machu Picchu, underwater at the Great Barrier Reef and in the Swiss Alps.
I will keep working to spread this message and this movement to as many people as possible. We need a global shift in attitude and it starts with us! The question to ask yourself is:
IF NOT YOU, THEN WHO?”
Having worked with Jackson on a campaign with Tourism NT last year, I was struck by his genuine personality, his energy, his thirst for adventure and his mind-boggling work ethic. The man’s a 1 man content machine who works incredibly hard to produce visual and articles for his website — Journey Era — to inspire others.
This movement isn’t bullshit and this isn’t some twisted ploy to grow followers. He’s combining his web of skills with a global network to fight against plastic pollution (it just so happens he’ll also amass more of an audience for doing so). We dig that and wish other “travel influencers” would consider more genuine motives like this too.
He also does a mean cliff jump and clearly has an almighty pair of metaphorical coconuts swinging between his pins, so we tip our 5-panels to you Jackson.
So How Can You Get Involved Then?
It’s pretty simple — take a bag on your next hike and spread the word! Give yourself a pat on the bag for doing the right thing and for those on Instagram, tag @adventurebagcrew on your Instagram story or @adventurebagcrew and #adventurebag on your photo post.
Tread lighter and lift your game…