Here’s a guest post by our good friend from Austrailia, Lana Hilton. She’s got a great blog called http://www.thefirsttimer.com/ filled with great posts about her first time experiences. Very into travel, she’s been all over the world and isn’t stoping anytime soon.
Originally hesitant of Twitter because Charlie Sheen uses it; I can now attest that it has opened its first door for me - well, not yet a full door, perhaps a doggy-door – and I plan on wedging myself half in/half out.
Desperate for anyone to notice me (and about one day away from placing an ad as a ‘single-wannabe-entrepreneur-writer’ seeking ‘like-minded individual with travel-associated aspirations and a job for me’) I was messaging everyone and anyone telling them how much I enjoyed their site and how their concept was really original.
I didn’t actually mean most of those messages… until now.
Enter Ben Chuchinsky, Co-Founder of www.tourbie.com
After a series of 140 character messages where we introduced ourselves and googled time-zones (he is in New York City whilst I am in Australia), we organised a Skype-business date. Two hours later than what was scheduled (thanks world time zones) we ended up face-to-face.
Ben, chilled out and professional, was clearly excited about the prospect of shelving his Major in Physics – just like the rest of his team – and putting the wheels into motion (pun intended) for entering the travel sector.
I could see where he was coming from, would you want to utilize words such as ‘methodical’ and ‘theoretical’ when you could be saying ‘hammock’ or adventure’?
I think not.
Tourbie is breaking into the travel touring market as a company who puts you smack bang in the heart of the city you plan on visiting, while arranging tours with a local guide who has experienced and loved it all before.
“As physicists we like solving hard problems so we thought we’d get to work on the specifics while you relax and have an amazing experience”.
“It is all well and good to travel spontaneously, to close your eyes and pick a country, to hop on the next plane and hope you’ve packed accordingly; but when you finally arrive in a city you don’t want to spend half the day scouring travel brochures to discover where the real culture lies”, says Ben.
The guides set their own prices so from as little as $10.00 Tourbie set you up with a cross-your-heart local who lives and breathes the city.
From the quirkiest eating places, the best happy hour bars, the finest photography locations to gasp-indulging architecture, the choice is yours.
If you don’t see anything you like you can always “post your idea” on their website and they’ll see if they can tailor something special for your trip.
Tourbie’s guides are selected via invite only and are personal friends of theirs – the screening process is carefully carried out to ensure maximum enjoyment as well as safety and they are only too happy to alleviate your reservations by answering all your questions about who will be guiding you.
The guides have a wide range of age groups and interests to better benefit a wandering traveller such as yourself.
(Katerina Vorotova whose specialty tour is a ‘Bizarre Food Tour in NYC’)
As my first business call drew to a close – and I hated the fact I was dressed in a fluffy pink dressing gown for such an occasion – I was excited at the prospect of one-day hiring the services of Tourbie, and potentially becoming a guide should their extensive travel plans include the Land Down Under.
If you want to travel but aren’t sure what’s on offer in a city, visit Tourbie.
At the moment they are focused on New York City but are wildly expanding their boundaries and foresee a Tourbie Guide in most major cities by July 1st 2012.
If you want the fun facts, the upfront facts, the sometimes too-much-information-facts - visit Tourbie. They don’t tell it like it is, they show you.
If you’d like more of a friend who genuinely wants you to get the full cultural experience - rather then a guide who jets off five minutes before your tour is due to end and leaves you with unanswered questions - visit Tourbie.
If you don’t have a lot of dough but are interested in seeing all the places that a true native would recommend - visit Tourbie.
In a nutshell, this idea is going to be huge so get a move on and become a fan or, if you are lucky, a guide!
Visit www.tourbie.com when planning your next trip!
I recently read a WIRED article about the 10,000 year old clock that Jeff Bezos(founder of Amazon.com) is building in Northern Texas. Basically, he wants to build a clock that will run for 10,000 years to encourage people to think more long-term. It will be open to the public, but he intentionally is constructing it within a mountain that is 2 hours away from the nearest airport and a hike just to get to the entrance. It’s an incredible endeavor akin to the Pyramids in Giza that takes massive amounts of money, engineering skill, and forward thinking.
courtesy of Flickr user dorlino
It got me thinking about the future, and how I’m always daydreaming about the next place I’m going to travel to. It’s amazing to think of how many incredible places there are to visit in the whole world, that I may never experience in my lifetime because there are so many.
And now, as if the Earth wasn’t enough, a few companies are making sure that space tourism will be alive and real before 2050. The prospect of going into space is probably one of my biggest to-dos on my bucket list (if I can afford it). With so many places to visit, including space now, I don’t know how I’ll find the time to do it all!
courtesy of Flickr user expressmonorail
After doing a bit of research to figure out if I could slow down time to be able to visit all these places, I’ve found that you can actually travel forward in time, if only by a little bit. In fact, every time you get on a plane you travel through time more slowly. Albert Einstein first wrote in his famous paper on special relativity, that if you sync up two clocks and then move one away from the other, and then bring them back together, the clock that had traveled will be behind the one that had never moved.
This led people to what some like to call the twin paradox, which essentially introduces the idea that if you have two twins on Earth, and one flies out into space at high speeds, and then comes back, the twin that traveled to space will be younger than the one who had stayed on Earth. In 1971, two scientists measured this effect by putting a bunch of atomic clocks on planes and flying them about. They found that if you fly East, you actually lose approximately 59 nanoseconds of time. However, if you fly West, you actually gain about 273 nanoseconds. Effectively, you’ll have traveled 273 nanoseconds into the future.
Obviously, the faster you move in relation to the people on the Earth, the farther in the future you come back to. Which means, even if you live in one place, the more you keep moving around and visiting places, the younger you’ll be(in relation to everyone else)! So keep traveling, you’ll stay younger for it.
Two weeks ago I returned from a trip to Israel. It was phenomenal. The best part was hanging out with friends I hadn’t seen in over four years. Practically no time was spent at the tourist spots and instead I became a local while I was there. Don’t get me wrong - it’s definitely enjoyable to see the sights, but I get a lot more out of experiencing what most tourists don’t get to do.
My third day in Israel, I was hanging with my buddy Michael (2nd from the right on the bottom row) and he brought me to a reunion his neighborhood friends have every year. It was good I showed up as they needed one more person to create their human pyramid - a yearly tradition.
It took us three or four tries to get it right, and even then when we held it together no one could take a picture in time! Immediately after this shot was taken we completely collapsed - at that moment I truly felt like a local and forgot I wasn’t.
Shortly after I was asked to teach the guys American football. For the first time in my life I knew I was the best football player on the field (for the record, I played soccer growing up). I ended up giving them the Cliff Notes version of it since I don’t even know all the rules, and we spent the rest of the afternoon fumbling through the game. It was a blast.
I also happen to play a little guitar on the side and mentioned it to one of my new friends. He recommended a bar in Tel Aviv where there is an weekly open jam. So I showed up with my guitar and they put me on stage with three guys I had never met. I don’t speak any Hebrew, but I think it turned out all right - check out the video and let me know what you think (I’m the guitar player on the right).
Without access to a local I would have never found this place and wouldn’t be able to now say that I’ve rocked out all over the world!
This is the type of feeling I hope every traveller gets a chance to experience - that’s my goal with Tourbie.
A year ago, we had no idea that Tourbie would be a living, breathing website as it is today. If this is your first time visiting Tourbie, we’re building a marketplace for travelers to connect with locals so they can have better, more unique travel experiences. We are Matthew Hamilton, Ben Chuchinsky, and Danny Cosson, really just three dudes looking to make people’s travel experiences better.
The feeling of traveling to a city is like showing up to a party where you don’t know anyone. As avid and adventurous travelers, we know this happens and want to change the way people travel for the better.
an example of an experience we’d like to improve.
Over the next couple months we want to:
- Open in new cities
- Put up tour reviews in an intelligent way
- Roll out a smarter guide recommendation system
We’ll be updating this blog with our take on travel, tours and technology in the coming weeks and months. Feel free to shoot us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org with feedback, or any questions you have about what we’re up to! We love hearing from people interested in the intersection of travel and technology.