It doesn’t take me long to get sidetracked when I’m on the computer. Sometimes it’s a google search that takes me through a maze of fun and informative travel websites. Other times, it’s a travel news alert that shows up in the email inbox.

Yesterday, it was this twitter post…

@wheresPAUL I love this project: Film about walking 1800 miles across New Zealand: http://bit.ly/53R5Uf via @BenjaminStarr

Of course, I just had to click and learn more about the who, how, and why of walking across New Zealand. Turns out Simon Cook, a passionate hiker, wants to hike and film the newly created Te Araroa trail which opens November 2010. Sounds pretty straight forward. There’s one little catch though. Like all travellers and adventurers, he needs money to fund his project.

But instead of heading to the nearest bank and asking for a loan (although for all I know he might be doing that as well), Simon has turned to Kickstarter for help.

Most intrigued, I started exploring Kickstarter.com to learn more. Turns out that it’s an innovative social media funding platform for artists, designers, filmmakers, musicians, journalists, inventors, explorers, etc to get support from complete strangers.

Here’s how it works. Projects are pitched on Kickstarter with an outline of the concept, goals, and donor incentives (products, benefits, and experiences) and how much money they want to raise. If the funding goal is not raised within a set time, no money will change hands.

It’s a popular concept that has attracted hundreds of projects around the country, many of which are travel related.

Here’s five that caught my eye…

The Fishes are Photographing Every Sizzler in the United States of America! – a couple of artists from Los Angeles are planning on photographing all 206 Sizzler steakhouses across the States.

A Portrait of America Left Behind – a photographer from New York City plans on travelling the country roads in his trusty old Ford pick-up truck, complete with ladder, massive tri-pod, large format camera and photograph America and its forgotten places.

Up North Cookbook - a food writer from Austin, Texas plans on returning to the Midwest for 6 weeks, travelling through Wisconsin, Minnesota and Iowa while  researching a cookbook

The Global Citizen Project - a writer from Washington state plans swapping her BlackBerry for a backpack and take a sabbatical to volunteer around the world at 12 community projects in 12 countries over 12 months, promoting responsible travel and volunteer tourism.

Folk Architecture Tour –  an architect from New York City plans on taking a road trip from Bellingham to Houston, visiting and documenting sites expressing folk art structures, novelty architecture and fading American roadside attractions.

It got me thinking that this might just be the way to get one of my nascent projects of the ground…until I read the fine print and discovered that only those with US addresses and bank accounts can apply. If you meet that criteria, all you have to do is put in a pitch and wait to here from Kickstarter whether or not it will featured.

Anyone game?

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Liz Lewis is a New Zealand based writer who favors wine tasting and food markets over bungy jumping and mountain climbing.