I’m banning the word “wanderlust”… and launching a travel app.

Why FriendFund is on a mission to kill wanderlust and make travel happen for everyone. #nomorewanderlust

FriendFund

If you’re a travel junkie like me, you probably can’t open your IG or Twitter without seeing the posts of travel bloggers and their jaw dropping (though generally over-filtered) images of exotic locales. Most are followed by a slew of hashtags like #passportready, #nomad or #sheisnotlost, just to name a few.

Perhaps most commonly used is #wanderlust, with over 54.7 million tags on Instagram at the time of publishing. And I can’t stand it. Merely typing it I feel a case of RBF coming on. But that’s why I’m here: I’m on a mission to ban the use of #wanderlust, and in order to do so I’ve created a travel app. Maybe I should explain.

My life is travel. You might even say wanderlust is in my veins. 34 years ago my father started a travel business and as early as 2001 was living the O.G. digital nomad lifestyle. Travel was just always what we did and how we defined ourselves. After a career in banking that was tolerable strictly because of constant traveling, I ultimately succumbed to my own wanderlust and joined the family business. Running a company based on planning vacations for people- what could be better? For the past nearly four years I’ve worked doing just that while traveling all over the world and loving every minute of it. And you bet I’ve posted my adventures all over my social media, perhaps even invoking the dreaded hashtag a few times myself.

My father and me in Rio de Janeiro killing wanderlust circa 1986

So I don’t want to be a hypocrite, and I’m certainly not hating on anyone: travel bloggers, Instagram celebrities, the English language. In theory, wanderlust is a great word. Break it down and it’s simply a lust for wandering. The desire to explore.

What exactly then is the problem with wanderlust?

My issue is with what the word has come to represent. Travel bloggers and influencers make a living off of selling an idea: they want you to believe that they are special and worthy of “following” because they are going places that you and I can’t. They tend to promote the concept that travel is strictly a luxury product. They visit amazing and exotic destinations and they hashtag wanderlust to remind us that we have dreams/bucket lists unfulfilled.

Therein lies my problem with the word: no wanderlust should EVER have to go unresolved. Travel should never be unattainable.

Wanderlust needs a solution! And that’s where FriendFund comes in.

In 2016 I did a digital nomad retreat in Budapest with the awesome peeps of Nomad House. It was there that I met Rick James! (real name, don’t hate), a heavily tattooed Californian with a prestigious design background in Silicon Valley. In another set of circumstances, Rick and I would’ve probably never met. But there in Hungary, thanks to a shared love of travel, we were living and working together (also doing quite a bit of partying, but I’ll leave that for a later post).

Rick (lying down) and me (pink pants) with our Nomad House peeps at Hero Square in Budapest

We got to talking, first in Budapest and later in Berlin while we were both semi-living there. We were so thankful that travel could play such a big part in our lives and that we could meet up anywhere in the world to hang and plan awesome adventures. A handful of our digital nomad buddies might be able to meet up with us too. But what about everybody else? What about our friends and family who had more traditional jobs with limited vacation? What about people who didn’t work in travel and have all the industry perks or the time/knowledge/interest to plan complicated itineraries?

We wanted a way to fix this. Why was there no app that helped people plan and save for a trip with friends? Rick had the design and developer expertise. I had the travel and business background. Could we do it ourselves?

We could, and we did. FriendFund was created based on the following three tenets:

  1. Traveling should be for everyone and not everybody wants to or should be a nomad.
  2. Traveling with your friends should be easy and stress-free.

3. Traveling should not break the bank and there should be a simple, incentivizing way to save.

At FriendFund, we are turning wander-lusting into wander-doing. Our sole goal is to find you the trip of your dreams, get you saving for it without even needing to think about it and take the hassle out of planning your trip with friends. The best part? The more friends you save with, the more affordable the trip becomes for everyone.

The FriendFund app launches in early November and we’d love everyone to check out our platform and give us your input. In the meantime you can follow us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

Sure, not everyone is going to get sponsored to go around faking yoga poses on beaches in Bali. But guess what? You can go to Bali and do real yoga (or not). It is closer than you think and it is our personal mission, both Rick’s and mine, to get you there- cheaper, faster, better. #nomorewanderlust

Killing wanderlust in Bali…no yoga.