Travel Blogs and Startups

Travel is awesome. It's fun, fascinating and can be a transformative experience. I certainly believe in the power of traveling. I've been fortunate to have grown up with traveling as the norm. For the first 4 years of my life I grew up on a boat sailing around the world. My mum wrote a book about that. In all I've been to 78 countries and here's some of the traveling I've done as an adult:

  • 3 months backpacking down the Andes (2004-5, 20 years old)
  • 10 days in North Korea (2006, 22 years old)
  • 5 months sailing from Fiji to Kiribati and then Brisbane (2006, 22 years old)
  • 1 year living in South Korea (2007-8, 23 years old)
  • 7 months around the world: Nepal, Eastern Europe, Caribbean, Central America (2008, 24 years old)
  • 7 months sailing from Brazil to New York (2011-12, 27 years old)
  • Moved to America: 2014 - now, 30+ years old

There have been smaller trips in between.

I've also worked in the travel industry. For about 18 months I worked at JTB, a Japanese travel agency.

And third, I've been interested and involved in writing, tech and entrepreneurship since I was about 25/26.

So you would think that it would be a natural fit for me to startup a travel blog or to do a travel startup, right? Wrong. In general I think travel is about the worst type of blog or startup you could do.

Most travel blogs I've read tend to focus on self-indulgent and superficial observations about the travel experience. It's usually coming from a good place of course but generally I've found few travel blogs deliver original thinking and insights.

As for the startup side most folks who do travel startups don't have much insight or understanding about how the travel market works. They tend to focus on the inspiration/discovery phase which is especially hard to monetize and, generally, isn't solving a real problem.

There are real problems and opportunities in the travel space but they're all in the boring end (GDS efficiency/transparency, scalable enterprise solutions, etc). They have as much to do with travel as streaming services have to do with Hollywood actors. It all sounds glamorous but the reality is essentially mundane and techy.

I'm not ruling out doing a travel startup or blog in the future. I just realize that it takes more than the sugar rush of an overseas trip to make it interesting or useful to an audience or a market.