Getting to Web of Change is easy. Really.

Forget the planes, trains and automobiles (and buses and ferries). Just take the WOC vanpool.

It has been rumored that Hollyhock is a rather remote destination. Who are we kidding? It IS remote. That's part of the magic. But one look at the “Getting to Hollyhock” page might leave your head spinning.

As a three-time Web of Change attendee traveling from Colorado on a budget, I’ve become well acquainted with all sorts of Hollyhock travel options. I’ve flown to Campbell River from Vancouver. I’ve taken the water taxi. I know the cost of car rentals and bus fare. I know the price of a float plane from Seattle (though I’ve never been flush enough to take one - and inevitably they can’t fly due to storms).

Now, take a deep breath, and stop worrying about the other options. I have one word for you: Vanpool. Or maybe that’s two words but in that part of the world they have a penchant for putting “Van” in front of things and making it one word. Like Vancouver. There’s even a bank called Vancity. I don’t get, either.

The vanpool started last year and after checking out the options I decided to join in (a choice made easier knowing that Theo Lamb was organizing it).

For those preoccupied with ROI, I present my analysis of vanpool pros and cons:

Advantages

  1. Worry-free travel from Vancouver to Hollyhock’s front door. You’re not driving (unless you want to). You’re not worrying about ferry schedules or weather. You know when you’ll leave and arrive.
  2. A set price that’s lower than any alternative (unless you bike from Vancouver - yes, that’s been done). No haggling over ferry and gas costs. Certainty and efficient use of funds are useful when explaining the cost of this shindig to your boss, board or spouse.
  3. Intimate exposure to the ferries, roads and towns of Vancouver Island and Desolation Sound. It’s a beautiful part of the world that should NOT be experienced from the air.
  4. A head start on Web of Change. Several hours in a van and on ferries with some of the smartest people you’ll ever meet (instead of alone on a plane that’s probably stuck in Seattle due to fog) is worth the price of admission. Chances are good you will have a vastly improved digital engagement strategy by the end of the drive up to Hollyhock.


Disadvantages

  1. Admit it, you’ve always wanted to ride in an expensive, loud and cold float plane. They land on water!!! Vans do not land on water. Sorry.
  2. Your vanpool organizer may, yet again, prohibit you from visiting Dick’s Fish and Chips in Campbell River (mmm... fried fresh fish and beer!) because she “didn’t want to miss the ferry.” Well organized people tend to be like this. It’s a great trait in any other situation.
  3. Multi-passenger vans are not cool. There are a few hipsters in every crowd. This is your warning.


If you’re on the fence about the whole Web of Change thing because the place is remote, stop worrying. Take the vanpool. If you’re already in and trying to figure out how to get there, take the vanpool. Life will be simpler.

Final note, the vanpool means getting to Vancouver on Tuesday and leaving Vancouver on Monday. Unless you live in British Columbia, Seattle or other parts of the west coast you want that Vancouver time, anyway, as it is hard (or impossible) to get all the way to or from Hollyhock in one day. Enjoy the journey.

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