Among the many projects I am working on, TheVagabondMonkey holds a special place in my heart. It’s my traveling hustle, and I get to build it with a very talented special someone.
I have always had a knack for traveling. I remember loving it when my grand-mother would take me on her senior club bus tours. With her, I visited Brittany and Austria. I was barely a teenager, generally the only person under 6o and I had a blast. Not only was I seeing new things every day but I was also allowed to provide the animation on the bus by singing and dancing for the participants. HEAVEN.
Many years later, I no longer sing and dance in buses but I kept this fascination with discovering and experimenting things out of my ordinary life. And traveling is a great way to do just that.
In July of 2017 I reconnected with a long lost friend. John is a very talented photographer and not only do we share this passion for traveling, but after our first trip together a few month later, we concluded that we liked the same type of travel: laid back, landscape-oriented and off the beaten track. We also concluded that we wanted to travel more together. TheVagabondMonkey was born.
The first step was to decide what our goal was for that project. I already have a business and although a monthly additional income would be nice, I think both of us were more looking to create a source of revenue that will be dedicated entirely to traveling and supporting our part-time remote living.
Initially, John and I had discussed partnering to create trips that take you off the beaten path and make you see the world through the eyes of your inner photographer. The business model was simple: people pay for their trip, with the margin we pay for ours.
Turns out many people would like to travel “differently”, with a sense of purpose. But they don’t know where to start and where to go. They are our customer segments. In October 2017, we already had two trips in mind: one on the Italian Amalfi Coast and one in the Southeast of the US, they were doable within the next few month. We were also hoping to put together a trip to Ireland in the spring.
The main risk is that our participants expect a higher level of presence/service than we are ready to provide. We decided to make very clear that the trips are not fully organized, and that there will be many “free time” in the schedule for people to explore on their own. That is also part of the experience. And it will give us some breathing space. So there is a certain level of maintenance to the project. But going on the trips is part of what we want to take out of this project.
It is not a project that is easily scalable since we have to be present on each trip, but TheVagabondMonkey does not have the purpose to become a recurrent revenue, let alone a “real business”.
Since October 2017, the project has evolved quite a bit. Our first trip is now open. We’re taking a group of 6 people for a road trip in Ireland in May. I’ll tell you more about how that came to life in the next episode. Stay tuned!