University students Damon Dominique and Joanna Franco are setting out to change travelling for all students. Embarking this month on a web series titled “Damon and Jo on a Dime,” the two students hope to change the way American students perceive traveling. According to Franco, their goal is to establish a lifestyle brand. “The essence of the brand is our lifestyle: positive energy and free-spirit, basically we’re undercover hippies,” said Franco.
But YouTube stardom alone is not what these savvy college students are striving for. They claim there are too many “one hit wonders” on the video sharing website, and want to build an audience through other networking sites to build their brand. Both Dominique and Franco aspire to work in some field within the travel industry.
“I remember watching MTV, even when I probably shouldn’t have been watching (ten years old watching ‘The Real World’…no),” quipped Dominique. “And I always wanted to be an MTV VJ or on a show like ‘Road Rules.’ When I studied abroad in Barcelona in high school and Paris in college, I really discovered travel was a huge passion of mine as well. If you combine TV and Travel, you basically get the Travel Channel, which is exactly where I would love to have a TV show with Jo,” said Dominique.
Franco took a few more twists and turns before realizing that her true passion was in travel. She described herself as an “internshipobsessed/ get ahead at all costs kind of girl” when she first started off at the University.
This attitude led her to complete seven corporate internships by her junior year. This all changed when she and Dominique decided to study abroad in Paris together. Here they started taping their everyday activities that showcased their “cheap lifestyle” with Dominique’s SLR camera that his family had given him. As soon as they started editing these videos, “Damon and Jo on a Dime” was born.
Since their traveling days in Europe, Damon and Jo have had many new adventures, including trips to Baltimore, MD, Williamsburg, VA and Chicago.
Their videos are laid out so that the audience follows the two best friends throughout their entire journey—with price tags denoting costs along the way. These include the price of almost everything, from travel costs, to food and livings costs. They suggest that students stay in hostels rather than hotels because they are much cheaper and have a lot of information about alternative entertainment options at the front desk. Hostels are also usually inhabited other students, so they are a great way to meet new people that are the same age.
Both Damon and Jo agreed “The goal is to have a TV [show] on an MTV or Travel Channel where we can uncover the cheap travel wonders of the world. …The longterm goal is to establish a brand to inspire young travelers within the U.S., a brand that encompasses living life off the books, living and not just going through the motions. …We want to challenge our generation to get out of their comfortable American lifestyles and move away to find themselves. There aren’t enough Americans with an understanding of the world, different languages and being drama-free. We want to change all of that.”