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mmMule: Deliver things and have an adventure, do some good

“For mine is a generation that circles the globe and searches for something we haven’t tried before. So never refuse an invitation, never resist the unfamiliar, never fail to be polite and never outstay your welcome. Just keep your mind open and suck in the experience.”

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That quote from the cult movie, The Beach embodies the whimsical spirit of mmMule, a startup that rewards you for delivering things to people on your travels.

mmMule is essentially a crowdsourced courier service. As it depends on a healthy helping of chance and serendipity, it’s not a real replacement for postal and courier services, but with its human experience bias, it’s definitely a conduit for adventure and doing good.

As a traveller you get rewarded with local experiences — think free drinks in a bar off the beaten tourist track — for delivering something on your travels. As a local, you get items you want from around the world by rewarding an intrepid traveler for delivery.

It all began when Avis Mulhall quit her six figure salaried career to go work as a teacher in the Tanzanian rainforest. Resources were stretched and so there would always be a shortage of teaching aids and stationery supplies. Mulhall was aware of Tanzania’s healthy tourism industry, and thought about the difference it could make if people brought along a stash of pencils, or a bag of books, on their travels. That’s how mmmMule came to be.

So how does it work? Say you’re travelling from Paris to New York next month. When you visit mmMule and fill in your details, you’re likely to meet people like Lesley. Lesley would love a dozen macaroons from Paris in exchange for coffee at her local cafe in New York. You’d love to melt the malaise in the Big Apple with a local, so you send Lesley a message. She accepts your offer, you arrange the details and find a place to meet. When you arrive in New York, you meet up with Lesley, have a coffee and hopefully make a new friend.

Due to its origins, mmMule has a soft spot for non-profit organisations. Travellers that use part of their holidays to deliver urgently needed supplies to non-profit organisations are called AngelMules. There’s Projekt Kleine Engel from Namibia in need of children’s clothing or Hope Alive Uganda requesting seeds for a vegetable garden agriculture project. Check out more mmmMule non-profit organisations in need.

In order to avoid to avoid a negative experience, mmMule advises you to “protect yourself and use common sense, just like any other time you travel, do business or interact with someone new.” Sage advice.

It’s important for international travellers to be aware of exactly what they are delivering and to check that delivery items fall within duty free allowances, complies with all relevant import/export laws and does not breach customs laws. Avoid aspiring to be an AngelMule and haplessly ending up a DrugMule.

As mmMule only serves as a platform, it relies heavily on the trustworthiness and honesty of its community members. Therefore, if an agreement goes wrong, mmMule won’t be able to mediate disagreements.

Having raised these concerns, should you have an intrepid spirit and pay heed to the safety guidelines, mmMule could be the start of a new adventure, friendship, a way to do good or the most cost effective way of getting another bottle of that amazing peach moonshine you had on your last visit to North Carolina.

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