2014-03-03

Co.Exist

Need Inspiration? Follow An Interesting Person Around For A Day

Lifetramp, a couch-surfing site for careers, links you up to a potential mentor.

Say you've always wanted to be a sushi chef or a lumberjack—something very different from what you do now. Or, at least, you've always wondered what it would be like to be a lumberjack or sushi chef, but haven't known who to ask, or where to start.

With Lifetramp, you can make a first step by meeting up with someone in your chosen field. It's a new site, born in Poland, that links up "mentors" with people looking for life changes. It's like couch-surfing for careers.

It works like this: You find someone interesting, book an appointment, and arrange to meet up. They let you shadow them for a day, and in exchange you buy them lunch or dinner.

"We want to bring back that thing between people that you really meet and talk with them and spend some time," says co-founder Michał Michalski. "You don't only communicate by the Internet."

The site launched only in February, but several intriguing people are already offering their time. There's Paweł, a furniture maker from Krakow. There's Yvonne, a tattoo artist from Warsaw. And there's Roland, a "3D artist and kitesurfer" from Amsterdam. And a few dozen others. All the mentors are from Europe so far. But the site is in English, and Michalski hopes to build a multi-continent community.

"I don't know if I want to be a software maker or a tattoo artist, but I can go to that person in my city or another country and I can check," he explains. "I can see what it's like, and be more sure it's something I want to do." In time, Lifetramp will probably move to a payment system. Career-surfers might contribute to something a mentor needs: $10 towards a camera for a photographer, say. But that's down the road. For now, Michalski just wants to get more people involved and swapping experiences.

[Image: Shadow via Shutterstock]

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