Elizabeth Gallagher on free around-the-world trip: 'it can't be that weird'
Published Thursday, December 18, 2014 8:53AM EST
Last Updated Thursday, December 18, 2014 9:38AM EST
The "Elizabeth Gallagher" chosen to travel around the world for free with a man she has never met in person says she's excited to travel -- but may be even more excited about the charity it has helped to spawn.
Elizabeth Quinn Gallagher of Cole Harbour, N.S., will travel around the world with Jordan Axani, the Toronto man who made headlines last month, when he offered free around-the-world plane tickets to anyone with a Canadian passport who happened to share a name with his ex-girlfriend, Elizabeth Gallagher.
After Axani and his ex broke up, he learned he couldn't get a refund or transfer the tickets to someone new. So he offered them up in a Reddit post entitled, "Are you named Elizabeth Gallagher (and Canadian)? Want a free plane ticket around the world?"
When Elizabeth Quinn Gallagher heard about the giveaway from friends, she applied. And last week, she found out that she had been chosen from among 18 other hopeful Elizabeth Gallaghers.
Gallagher, a part-time student hoping to earn a degree in Social Work, told CTV Atlantic that earning the tickets was a lot more intensive than she had expected.
"It was a very long process," she said.
She says Axani and his brother sent her a questionnaire -- "which was pretty long, actually" – and that followed by a request to interview her by Skype.
"I almost dropped out," she said, "until they mentioned the charity that they're doing. I wanted to be involved in that, so I jumped back in."
The charity that Axani and his brother created, called A Ticket Forward, is meant to become a sort of “Make a Wish” crowdfunding foundation for dream travel.
Gallagher says she thinks the idea is a great one.
"It's for deserving people who would like to travel and have never had the opportunity," she says.
The charity has already chosen four people whose vacation dreams can be sponsored through the crowdfunding platform, Crowdrise.
"They're all really deserving people -- people who have had hardships in their life and now they who are giving back to the community," Gallagher says.
"It's really fantastic. It's amazing that something so great could come from just a wild trip."
That "wild trip" is due to begin next week, when Gallagher and Axani fly out to New York. Then it's on to Paris, Milan, Prague, New Delhi and Bangkok. The pair will be sleeping in separate hotel rooms and each is planning their own excursions.
Gallagher admits the whole plan is a bit crazy and she understands those who might think she's nuts to journey around the world with someone she's never met in person.
"That reaction is fair. When I first heard about the trip, I was thinking, 'Oh. I have his ex-girlfriend's name. That's not weird,' she says with ironic sarcasm.
But after speaking severals with Jordan by Skype and phone, she's confident it's going to go well.
"He seems like someone I could get along with and have a lot of fun with," she said. "And there's been enough media coverage on it that it can't be that weird."