It’s a Small World (After All)
Travltalk published its 101st article this week. As the founder who has seen an idea from a bedroom now become a proper company, I had a cherished moment.
I remember being that girl at age 19 getting off an overnight bus in Banff, Canada, walking down the road and starting a conversation with another backpacker who had also gotten off the bus. I had only been on the road for 2 weeks. It was the first time I had properly left my comfort zone of Australia on my own and ventured out into the wide world of travelling. I enquired where the backpacker was from. She said Israel. I remember being shocked because my perception of Israel from the news was very different. I thought it was a war torn country. So how could these people travel? The girl looked at me, saw I was rather inexperienced and took off. I kept walking toward the hostel my Lonely Planet told me was down the road. My plan was to get a job in the town. And quite frankly at age 19 in Canada, I had no idea what I was doing.
4 years later I met an Israeli guy in Ecuador, we dated and I went to live in Israel for a period of time. It makes me smile to think not only did I learn in the intervening years travelling not to judge people based on what you have heard from the media, I also can reflect and say that travelling has truly given me the ability to see a situation from multiple perspectives. I now accept that often there is no right or wrong answer to many of the world’s conflicts – especially when it comes to religion and race.
As a 36 year old, I no longer see nationalities, I just see people. An individual should not have to account for the country they come from. My best friend is American. When we are out together she has to constantly state she does not support Trump, simply because people see an ‘American’ not an individual person. I believe those who use Travltalk see beyond borders and realise that a 19 year old on one side of the world is most likely in to similar things a 19 year old thinks about in a completely different culture. Going out, improving the world, wondering what to do with their life, and most likely at times, resenting their parents!
During my 16 years travelling, I have met the most incredible people, in foreign places that I would otherwise never had the opportunity to meet. When we grow up, as a product of our class and environment, we often have no reference points for a life outside our own.
Yet it was from age 19, that I really was able to develop as a person, as each new country I arrived in gave me a taste of what life looked like in North America, Central America, Asia, South America, Europe and Africa. No one person was the same. What I liked above everything else was as I met new people in each new city, we stood in front of each other laid bare, no support network, no past to fall back on, just two people in a chosen place with the goal of exploring. Of course, back in the real world, many of the people I met had alternate lives, but on the road, with just the money you have to keep going, somehow we all seem equal.
There are many new companies out there that seek to build audiences and monetise them in some form or another. While Travltalk is a for profit enterprise, we are yet to make any revenue. Our platform and mobile application were created by a girl with a love for travelling and with the aim of uniting new people every day who are curious and seek to discover a road less travelled. To remind people that regardless of race, religion, gender or ancestry, we can find other humans who think like us, in all corners of the world. And maybe through sharing these moments with another from a completely different background, we can demonstrate that our country’s politics do not speak necessarily for us individually.
Travltalk was built to allow like minded people from different cultures to connect while travelling, and hopefully remove the barriers that can exist when approaching someone in person. While I met numerous people through my daily interactions when travelling, occasionally it’s nice to see who else is in town that might share that specific interest you have in eating at that quirky local restaurant or going on an adventure out of town.
We’ve just recently been given some further investment to continue building out our platform. It’s getting exciting and we intend to use the money we receive to build out initiatives that help travellers. As a company we are growing, but as we do, it’s our users and community we want to support and we are always interested in your feedback and understanding how we can better help you on the road.
I like to say we are an ocean liner, about to sail out of the harbour. We have a map of the world and a crew of spirited Travltalkers excited for the journey ahead. Together we will forge a path and sail the seas and enjoy many a sunset under the one sky that unites nomads on their journey.
So Bon Voyage, and let’s begin… thank you for joining the adventure and for your support.
Are you travelling to multiple countries over the next few months? Looking to share your story and get a little extra pocket money? Apply to become a Travltalk contributor now!