Ever planned a trip and wished you knew a local? Someone trustworthy and familiar with the area that could guide you to see the best the area has to offer. Or perhaps you’d just like a nice sit-down, non-restaurant meal with good people who share your values? Maybe you’ve just wished you had someone to show you where and when to go to Church, since sometimes LDS.org meeting times are not always accurate, and it’s always nice to know somebody ahead of time. An awesome new resource was created just for these purposes: Mormon Explorer.
Create Your Profile
Mormon Explorer is an excellent new webservice that helps connect LDS travelers with Mormon locals along the route they’re traveling. It’s really quite simple, yet genius and timely. It’s also completely free, and beautifully designed and thought-out.
You simply setup an account and create a profile. In your profile you can upload a picture, and answer some questions about your area. Things like what someone should do if they’re only in town for 2hrs. You’ll also want to provide the details on the activities or services—called invitations—you’re willing to offer free, to others who visit your area:
- Host: let other LDS travelers stay at your place. You describe amenities you can offer free to your guests.
- Share a Meal: just like it sounds, you can offer to make a meal (or 3) for those visiting your area. Its an awesome way to meet people and share the karma, while not having somebody stay with you (though you can offer both).
- Tour Guide: explain your availability and suggested activities in the area, then if someone takes you up on it, you get to be their guide for a day, or 3.
- Church: list when and where your Church meets, so you can bring your new LDS friends to Church with you.
- Activity: list other fun activities you’re willing to guide, arrange, or simply bring out-of-towner’s to.
Enhance Your Own Travel
Once your own profile is setup, you can search by location, name, or email. The location search is obviously the most helpful when planning a trip. You just search, by location then select profiles of people in the area. From there you can see their invitations, and then message them to find out more details and if your travel plans will fit their schedule. Also, you can review and friend people. That helps you stay in touch, as well as to tell other travelers about your experience. Because anyone can sign up, the reviews will play a large role in helping those less daring or with children feel safer meeting and spending time with someone they don’t know. It’ll also allow the community to identify and remove those who are misusing Mormon Explorer.
As I’m writing this, there are just over 600 Mormon Explorers registered on the site, from all around the world. That means 2 things: 1. there’s already quite a few people, and there may be some invitations in areas you’ll be traveling to; and 2. there’s a whole lot more LDS people that could be signed up, to make this more useful to all of us.
So, you should definitely sign up if you’re at all interested in travel or connecting with fellow Mormons around the globe (I’m assuming you are if you’re still reading this). Don’t stop there though. You can help increase the amount of people registered there, by spreading the word. If you like the idea of a free meal with the great company of new-found LDS friends, or even a free place to stay with people who share your values, share this article with all your friends via Facebook, Twitter, Google+, email, phone, text, whatever. You can use the buttons at the end of this post to make it real easy. Just help get the word out!
The more people that know and sign up, the more opportunities there will be available to everyone. Plus, inviting new people into your home for dinner, or to stay for a few nights, or taking them on a tour of the area, is an adventure for you as well. You get to learn about their home, culture, language, and more. And, they’ll probably insist you visit them at their home, so they can return the favor.
Let us know what you think of Mormon Explorer in the the comments below.