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Instagram influencers under fire for asking strangers to fund their travels

A couple on Instagram gained flak for organizing an online fundraising campaign for their trip to Africa.

Catalin Onc and Elena Engelhardt set up a GoFundMe page to raise money for their trip, as per the couple’s official account on June 9. The influencers issued a statement two days later on Instagram revealing that they accept money from Engelhardt’s mother.

“Starting on the 20th of July in the middle of Germany, on a tandem, me and Eli will cycle towards Africa, and hopefully beyond,” Onc said on their Instagram post. “But we can not do this on our own. We need you.”

“We could tell you about following your dreams, or how important stepping out of your comfort zone is. We could tell you how beautiful traveling is, and [its] benefits, or the fact that most news don’t (sic) match reality.”

According to the couple, the funds will go to their biking gear, food, accommodation and SIM cards for updating their followers.

“We need funds now for preparation as well as throughout our trip,” they appealed. “Every dollar, every message, every couch or garden for our tent, any help you can offer will help us go further.”

While some of the couple’s followers praised their campaign, many netizens voiced out their disapproval. One Instagram user with the handle @kyle_thomas3 called them out with a question: “Your mom works two jobs to pay for your trip, don’t you think that’s impacting her mental [health]? It’s sad this isn’t all a joke, the self-importance you have is ridiculous.”

netizen
Image: Screengrab from Instagram/@another_beautiful_day_official

But the couple defended themselves from the comment about Engelhardt’s mother’s mental health. “Sorry Kyle but you know nothing about my mother or me. All the best on your journey.”

Instagram user @eyedee said that the couple is sending a harmful message to their followers: “That you travel the world under someone else’s dime on the pretense that you’re spreading a positive mental health message is incredibly irresponsible and naive. Extreme sense of entitlement is mentally unhealthy in itself.”

netizen
Screengrab from Instagram/@another_beautiful_day_official

The couple’s fundraising campaign has gained €220 (almost P13,000) of their €10,000 (about P580,000) goal, as of this writing. NVG

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