Our Day One
Since college, we’ve always wanted to start a passion project. The dream was to organize an exhibit, then it evolved into writing a book. We kept setting aside our ideas to focus on “adulting”. Until one day, we were talking online and decided to create a travel planner.
We met in person the next day. We drafted our pages, and listed our friends who would probably buy. We decided to post it online just for kicks. Little did we know, we would sell a thousand copies and a little planner would change our lives.
This post serves as our way to share more about our new planner, an old passion project turned into a community effort.
Our Theme for 2018
Photojournalists and professional explorers use the hashtag #onassignment when they go on trips for a specific purpose. We think anyone can go on assignment. You can travel deeper and the pages of the WTN planner can serve as your guide.
Take a break
We believe the best source of ideas come from our own lives. To create this planner, we had to fill our days with new experiences.
We went on a month-long trip to Europe with five friends, moving from Iceland to Morocco. It was the first time we saw the northern lights and spent the night in the Sahara. It was also our longest trip together. Most of the artwork and lessons inside the planner were inspired by this adventure.
You don’t have to take a month off or spend a lot of money to start your own project. Disrupt your weekly routine. Be open to surprises and inspiration will come your way.
Learn from others
This was our fourth year of building planners. It felt like what was once a simple joy was now a responsibility. When we’re stuck in a rut, seeking advice from others helps.
We don’t just look at their successes, we look at their struggles. Everyone encounters roadblocks. The people who succeed are the ones who keep at it.
Some of the people we look up to in terms of creative writing are Nirrimi Hakanson, Christian Watson (1924us), Jedidiah Jenkins and our friend Enzo Cruz. The visual storytellers we look up to are Casey Neistat and Jack Harries. Brands we admire include Patagonia, Reformation and Passion Passport.
For this planner, our friends voted for their favorite designs and proofread our write-ups. It was Enzo’s suggestion to add challenges at the end of each month. Our interns, Annika, Kristiane, and Donna helped us build the bucket list, looked for vintage maps and etc.
You can learn a great deal by looking at other people’s work. We can learn more when we let others be part of our work.
Choose your struggles
It’s okay to be passionate about many things. Spend time on projects that feed your bank, and pursuits that feed your soul. Working on the former doesn’t mean you are any less passionate about the latter.
We both have day jobs (Ayen works in an education startup, Rach works as a freelance graphic designer). It helps that our jobs provide us with enough flexibility to work on Where To Next. Even with this setup, we still worry about how much money we have to earn to build the life we want to live.
Any job has its highs and its lows. Choose what struggles you can tolerate. The difficult parts should still allow you to do more of what you want.
At WTN, we aim to inspire others to travel with passion and purpose. Still, to be honest, most of our efforts were focused on the former. We used our platform to share stories that might encourage others to take part in meaningful travels. On the side, we were learning how to run a business.
This year, we decided it was time to integrate a cause to what we do. There are many problems in this world, and we wanted to choose one we can resonate with.
Our work encourages travel so it makes sense to be part of a cause that aims to protect the places we roam in. We also feel a sense of connection with the communities we meet and would like to find ways to help them increase their livelihood. We wanted to be part of both. We also needed to find organizations we can partner with.
We realized we didn’t have to look far. Our friends were already doing interesting things. They talk about it even when they’re not at work, which makes us think they are deeply invested in what they do. One of those friends is Raf Dionisio, co-founder of Mad Travel and The Circle Hostel.
A few years ago, Raf met Chief Eres, chief of the Yangil Tribe. They started tribes and treks, an opportunity for city dwellers to learn about the tribe’s way of life as well as help them rebuild their rainforest. We wanted to be part of it, in any small way we can, and that’s how the one planner, one tree campaign came about.
We can do more and we want to be more involved in the future but this was a start.
It was a reminder that it’s possible to run a business for profit and yet help contribute to a purpose.
Inside the Pages