Innovation Fund 2017: Wanderlust

The 2017 Innovation Fund, our annual crowdfunding competition, has officially launched! You can find all of the Innovation Fund participants here. Read on for the story of Wanderlust Box, a subscription box for gifts from around the world, created by Bethany Stachenfeld ‘15.

Getting out of the box

We all love traveling, but what is it about traveling that we really enjoy? What makes us want to spend hard earned money to get on a plane and go somewhere new?

For me, it is discovering the differences between cultures and seeing how all people satisfy the basic human needs in various manners. We all eat junk food, but our tastes vary enormously. We all buy pets, but we love different animals. We all fall in love, but we express it in different ways. We all play, but we enjoy different types of games, sports, and guilty pleasures. How are we so similar, but still so different?

I travel at every opportunity I have, but while working in San Antonio for the last couple years I haven’t had many opportunities. I’m busy with my life here, and traveling is both time-consuming and expensive. I have begun to feel at home in my community, but also disconnected from cultures abroad. I would love it if somehow foreign experiences would come to me, so I could continue to feed my wanderlust without having to uproot my life.

Wanderlust Box is a way of grasping new explorations and stories, without having to make the trek. My goal is to understand how various cultures use different strategies to satisfy the same basic desires, and then share the tools that make those experiences possible with you. You may not have time to travel as much as you’d like, but you can still treat yourself to a foreign experience when it’s sent to your door. You can play with a new toy, taste a new flavor, appreciate local art, and try out natural remedies and massage tools.  

What’s in the box?

Wanderlust Boxes will be sent out each month, stuffed to the brim with gifts handpicked from around the world. They will contain a variety of snacks, art, games, natural remedies, and other unique items delivered directly to your door from foreign cities around the world. The components of the box seek to answer the question of how experiences are different in different cultures.  

I’m choosing a couple different themes to focus the contents of the box around. The Romance Box explores how love and relationships can be experienced with music, scents, treats, and massage tools from around the globe. The Play Box embraces that we all have fun in different ways, and is stuffed with items you can enjoy alone or with friends, like board games, sports equipment, toys, and ingredients for debauchery. The Traditional Box is the highlight reel of both, plus surprise items that are worth sharing. For all of the boxes, the question I will try and answer is: What can we only find in this part of the world?

No box will be like any other box, so you can always expect a surprise!

Beyond the Box

Of course it’s not possible for me to replace your own travels, but rather to augment your wanderlust. There is an endless wealth of new information and, frankly, it’s impossible to do everything by yourself. I’d love to connect people with ideas they’ve never known about before, and inspire new trips and connections around the world. Message me if you have any ideas and inspirations for places and presents based on your own travels!

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