Splitting headache, sore throat, and runny eyes. That was the general feeling on the day I met Naya. My flatmate had decided to host a Couchsurfer for our housewarming, but she arrived one day late, and missed out on the party of a lifetime. That evening we were all lying around the flat like a bunch of rotting corpses. The doorbell rang, but no one moved. After a long silence, I dragged myself over to the console and beeped her in.
It was love at first sight. One hour later I was walking around the streets of Brussels, completely awake and rejuvenated. Two months later I was climbing mountains in Georgia (the country) with my new love, and a couple of months further down we were living together in Thailand creating a travel app together.
Naya: I was doing a little eurotrip, and decided to find a host and check out Brussels. There was to be a party, but since I'm not much of a party-girl, I decided to arrive one day late. Once I arrived, I was let in by my hosts flatmate. He shuffled my luggage into a dark bedroom that smelled like a weird mix of whiskey and fart. I was not impressed.
Over the next two days that impression changed - at first gradually, then dramatically. I had a great time with my hosts, and fell in love with at least one of them. It ended with an emotional goodbye at the train station, and several loose ideas for future trips together. Back to Ben.
We had met at the best of times. Both of us had quit our day jobs to travel for a while, and had savings to survive for the next year. Since Naya is Russian, and I'm Norwegian, we decided we needed something to bind us together, and our lovechild turned out to be a cute little bundle of code.
We knew we wanted to make something we were passionate about, and seeing as I had worked as a software developer for the last 10 years, and never encountered a travel app I was satisfied with, our path seemed rather obvious.
Starting a company is never easy. Most people don't believe in success until they see it, and while there's always exceptions, you'll meet a lot of discouragement trying to do something of your own. Unless you have serious financial backing, you are facing a world of uncertainty, challenges, and prolonged poverty.
Then at a certain point, something has to surface and manifest itself in the real world. You're not ready for it, but you know the time has come. And if you've seen some newborn babies, you know well and right that they're not always a pretty sight. Slimy, fragile, and completely unable to survive on their own. You still have to nurture them for years to come, and give them their own legs to walk on.
Learning to walk
This is where we're at. Our lovechild is born. It's crawling along on its belly, completely depending on our external support. But a new chapter has started.
Over the next year we want to build a community of travellers and writers. We think there's plenty of room for improvements in the travel guide industry, and want to make something that doesn't skimp on the essential information for backpackers, just to cater to the average tourist.
We are currently working on improving our revenue streams, and want to work out a fair model for profit sharing with our contributors.
If you want to follow our progress, or be involved either as a user or a writer, please subscribe to our e-mail list below, or follow us on Twitter or Facebook.