Saturday, 28 January 2017

my new life as a travel startupper (or how I started drinking coffee)

I've been quiet in here while my real life has been crazy busy for the last 2 months, in a good way.

When I started my blog here, I wrote that the world probably needs another blogger as mush as I need another hole in my head, (without that stopping me of course). This time I think I've found something that might actually be useful to a lot of people, at least people who love to travel. I'm so caught up in my project that I even believe it will change the way we travel. But right before I jump out and change the world, I wanted to give you a little update on what's been going on and how Pathport happened. And how maybe it saved my life or at least my sanity after a few months as (nearly) desperate housewife trying to escape the question that kept getting louder: what am I going to do with my life now?

Back in July I received an email from a French girl named Laurence Foucher asking me whether I would like to join the travel collective she was putting together made of Instagrammers willing to share their paths around the world. I just found that email correspondence and I can see that I replied yes immediately. I also remember that I thought her idea was nothing less than fantastic. It was so simple I couldn't believe no one had thought of it before. Let's stop buying expensive, traditional travel guides like Lonely Planet (and feel bad because we never get to the bottom of those history explanations or have time to google 25 different hotels to see what they look like since there are no pictures). Let's stop wasting hours on Instagram trying to find the cool spots; it's like looking for a needle in a haystack. She made a perfect summary of one of today's biggest paradoxes: so much content available and so little time to sort through the stream.

The idea? Sorting through the stream and serving one-of-a-kind personal addresses selected by inspiring Instagrammers, each time with the answers to 3 questions: why, what and when?  Plus adding their unique photos and an interactive map to find the spots easily. All of it downloadable and ready to be imported into your smartphone, directly into your pocket. For $4,99.

As Vogue put it this week: "Telling the story of travel through the well-trained eyes of its Instagram gang, Pathport is bringing the humble travel guide into the 21st century with an all-new accessible way to see the world". See how I just nonchalantly mentioned we're in Vogue? You can read more here: pathport-the-new-travel-guides-at-your-fingertips

I made my first path about Paris and a few months later one about our road trip in Portugal, but I kept thinking about the whole Pathport idea, it was in the back of my mind a lot of the time. Looking back, I realize a part of me already wanted to get more involved but I had just moved out of my Parisian apartment and all of my furniture was on its way to Washington DC, our new home. More than anything I was focused on the moving and adaptation process for our family. The timing didn't seem right at all.

Then, and it's kind of funny, Laurence told me she had just left Paris too for the US. She was now living in Miami and I happened to go there to visit a friend. We met for a drink. Actually I had a coke because my friend in Miami makes really good Spritz and takes me out sailing and drinking rose all day, (hey Mags). I almost didn't go because I felt so drunk/tired/hungover, or maybe a bit of all 3. It's funny to think how things would probably look a lot different if I hadn't.

We ended up talking for hours with Laurence and before leaving I mentioned the idea of me joining Pathport and the two of us partnering up. When a company is just the 2 of you, the most important thing is by far that you get along, that you have the same vision, that you can laugh at the same things, so I invited Laurence to come and stay with me in DC for 2 days. At this point she had just moved from Miami to New York, now only a bus ride away from me, another lucky coincidence.

That's how I came to join Pathport, how I started drinking coffee, how my days became longer, my nights shorter all carried by the excitement of starting something new, something I believe in and that happens to combine some of my favourite things: travel, photography and social media as well as the independence being a startupper brings with it.

It also means a lot of unknown. We're off to a good start but that doesn't mean we're going to make it. There's no certainty when you start your own company, none whatsoever, and the hardest part begins now; spreading the word, making ourselves known and of course getting people to our store and buying our guides.

No matter how uncertain things are, when you're doing something you like (that even includes watching SEO tutorials on YouTube) you have to feel lucky. And so, while I hope I'll still have time to blog from time to time, the next few months will mostly be about getting Pathport on everyone's radar.

I also want to add that some of you have been incredibly supportive all along the way and I really want to thank you for that. It means more than you probably know. When you've got your head and heart into something one hundred percent, getting messages from and seeing friends and people around you share your enthusiasm, it adds meaning to everything we do.

And of course a huge thank you to all the pathfinders who have joined us so far, it's probably the best part of this job, continuously receiving such inspiring paths and seeing all the work and efforts that have been put into creating these.

You can access Pathport right here:

And if you want to take a peek at the 2 paths I've created or purchase them:
Roadtrippin' in Pourtugal:
A more unpretentious Paris:

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