When my father finished grad school, my family moved into our Toyota VanWagon and drove around the west coast looking for his first job.
I imagined that we were pioneers, the three of us in our modern-day covered wagon with everything we owned in the world. It wasn’t much. Maybe my parents were scared, but I remember those weeks as the funnest memories from my childhood.
When I tell people about Barnacle, they often reply, “So it’s like ridesharing, but for cardboard boxes?” I usually let it go. Yes, cardboard boxes are looking to ride in the carpool lane.
But whereas ridesharing encourages people to own fewer cars by sharing each other’s, Barnacle encourages people to own more cars. We’re incentivizing driving.
Barnacle is part of the sharing economy, but it isn’t really about sharing. It’s about being selfish. It’s about being the sole occupant in a 4-passenger vehicle. It’s about motoring across the country in a pickup truck. It’s about being in control of where you are. It’s about having the authority to say, NO, Caltrain, I refuse to have my life dictated by your erratic schedule and limited stops. It’s about not paying $2000 a month for a one-bedroom apartment next to the train station.
It’s about existing off the grid, because humans don’t belong on grids.
California’s state parks are shutting down. Young people would rather rail about the sad shape of public transportation than save public parks. They want to improve the urban infrastructure to cram more people into concrete jungles. They don’t care about state parks because they’ve never been to the state parks. You need a car to get to the state parks.
Before we get all up in arms about our carbon footprint, listen: Electricity, housing, and entertainment contribute 250% as much CO2 output as the average car over the course of a year. You actually reduce your carbon footprint by shutting off the power and going on a road trip.
My best friend couldn’t understand why I took a two-hour detour back from Portland to help some kids move.
It wasn’t a detour. It was an opportunity to see a new destination.
Someday, Barnacle’s user base may reach sufficient density that it truly is about sharing and reducing the number of vehicles on the road. Until then, we’re drawing our drivers from the people who love driving.