Way ✈ far ✈ ing; adjective, noun: traveling, especially on foot.
Founded in 2013, Wayfaring.me has become an inspirational travel hub dedicated to connecting young travelers and celebrating the wild spirit of wanderlust around the world. Wayfaring.me offers tips, reviews, stories and products, creating the reader to take part in these incredible experiences around the world. The Wayfaring.me family of contributors come from a diverse travel community and publish first hand travel stories. I am proud to announce that I have recently joined the family of contributors for Wayfaring.me, offering my gen-y view on the world of travel – My first story will be published in February!
Today, I had the chance to talk to the two brilliant minds that formed Wayfaring.me. Brian LaFaille is the Founder and CEO, based in San Francisco, United States of America. George Himonas is the Co-Founder and Content Director, based in United Kingdom. Thank-you to both of these wonderful people for their insight into Wayfaring.me and the world of travel.
What makes Wayfaring.me different to other travel blogs?
Brain – Wayfaing.me isn’t a travel blog, and we don’t aim to be! Wayfaring is a unique, international hub built to connect and inspire Gen-Y travel. It’s a place for Millennial Wanderlusts to share their beautiful photos, wild adventures, invaluable tips and make their voice known to fellow young travelers. In short, we’re building the largest network of young travel writers on the web, and we’re helping them fund their adventure along the way.
Where inspired you to create wayfaring.me?
Brian – Simple. When I was planning my first trip abroad, I remembered seeing pictures, status updates or twitter posts from friends who had visited the same destination I was going. I asked them to spill their brains about where to go, what to see, what I couldn’t miss, etc. I mean, I tried all the travel guides – Fodors, Frommer’s, TripAdvisor, Lonely Planet – but they were all published with an older demographic in mind. I didn’t want to know where the best white linen restaurant was in Bangkok… I wanted to know where I could get the best street food! With my clumsy Facebook travel planning experience in my head, the idea hit for wayfaring.me. Since then, I’ve come across friends who were in my exact situation… Young people thirsting for travel information but unquenched by the one-size-fits-all, mass produced travel guides that wasn’t written for Gen-Y. Hence, wayfaring.me. But if we were going to build a travel site, I wanted to invest heavily in the contributing community. I felt that if someone was willing to share their valuable advice, stories, tips or photography, they should be rewarded according to how many people they’ve helped. That’s why, through our site advertising, we pay contributors based on how much traffic their articles generate.
Where and when was your first travel experience?
George – That’s a tough question to recall, not because I was young but because it’s whether or not you class a “travel experience” as being abroad. Within the UK we would go on family camping holidays or with a caravan (trailer) to the south coast, so roughing it and living out of a bag must have started way back in the day at a toddlers age. But if we are talking first trip abroad then…. My mother took me and my brothers and sisters to a resort in Crete, Greece in 1995, now I was pretty young then but as cheesy as it sounds it set me on the road to travel. I remember dancing on a wooden beer barrel with a girl similar to my own age at like 3am while the bar tenders created beautiful patterns with methylated spirits and set them alight around us. Pop music on in the background. I just remember thinking, this kinda stuff just does not happen back home in the UK, kids in bars, swimming pool open all night and practically setting the place on fire, in hindsight probably a dangerous practice but you just didn’t think like that in the 90’s. And when I think of my mother taking 5 of us abroad on her own, all of us under the ages of 13 it’s just insane. What a woman! I have (unintentionally) not flown anywhere with any member of my family since. Anyway I digress… Crete, summer of 1995. The time after that was to go to Cyprus, I worked all summer to afford the plane ticket. I flew on my own at the age of 14 to stay with family I had never met. I used to go to France for the day before then. Then it was most of Western Europe, oh the advantages to being a Londoner, the stepping stone into Europe.
How do you make the most of your 24 hours each day?
George – Sleep when you’re dead. When I travel I burn the candle at both ends, I sleep very little and I’m up early practically everyday. I see the hostel as a place just to catch a few z’s mostly and although great to meet people, great for information and a bit of a communal hub it offers me very little else. I don’t sit around doing nothing in a hostel, I can do nothing on the beach, by a waterfall or under a palm tree. If I sleep for longer periods it is usually in transit. Whether it be an overnight train or a shorter 4 hour bus journey. Recalling my days in Thailand for example, a typical day would consist of being up not long after sunrise, before the room gets too hot. And if I’m not sleeping in transit then I maximise that time to do something else, whether it’s to update my blog, write postcards or sort through photographs. And if there’s a siesta for example, then I embrace it.
What are your 5 best travel tips?
- If you have the luxury of making just one plan, then book flights well in advanced and try to be as flexible with your dates as possible. You will save yourself a lot of money. Don’t worry about planning thereafter, a lot of people I have met travelling fret and stress when a plan doesn’t work out for them. Don’t just check a place off a list. Leave your organiser at home.
- Maximise your time. Don’t put it off. Don’t wait for people that you meet travelling or your travelling partner, people will slow you down. You will wait around enough at airports, bus stops and a bunch of other places.
- Put yourself out of your comfort zone. Embrace a different culture in its entirety, eat a different food and do something that scares you. Document it all in journal and take plenty of photos and if you feel confident enough keep a video blog.
- Meet people. Actively meet people, other travellers and locals. Don’t just travel from one place to another, it’s a holistic journey too. actively engage with people without prejudice or segregation. The kindness of strangers and respect for our fellow man is a philosophy I lead my life with. Keep in contact, some of your best friendships will come from travel. I have met back up with a ton of my travel friends. In fact, Wayfaring.me was forged on a travel friendship when I met Brian in San Francisco.
- With all of the above said, be careful. As much as we would love it to be a careful, all-loving universe out there, there are things and people that may harm you. Please please use some common sense, read up on your governments websites for dangers. www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice (for the UK) or www.travel.state.gov for the (US)
Even something as seemingly small as a broken finger can hinder your journey in a remote place. I could go on forever with stressing tips in the department of personal safety. So, take care of your belongings, wear a helmet, a seatbelt, don’t drink to excess and for God’s sake, wear sun screen!
What did you do before wayfaring.me?
George – I served 7 years in the British Army. I was based all over and had done training and exchanges with a lot of NATO countries. Being based in Germany for 3 years was ideal, perfectly located in the centre of Europe, this gave me an ideal base to boost my travel portfolio.
What did you want to do after school, when you were in highschool and how has it changed since then?
George – I wanted to become an actor at first, then things changed. I worked the summer in a hotel and I loved getting a wage. So then I joined the Army. Then I guess I just exploited the links between travelling as a soldier, then travelling with every spare moment I have to inspiring travellers with our Wayfaring.me community. So it’s a far cry from acting I guess.
What is the best and worst thing about travel?
George – Best? The people you meet, the places you go, the things you see and the activities you do. The experiences! Worst? The actual travel. The process, being in transit is worst for me. But I do know some people love it.
What is your favourite travel inspired quote?
George – “Say yes more” – David Cornthwaite, he’s a professional adventurer, enough said.
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