By Nithin Mathew
A good motto to live by is “Let’s go explore.” This tagline applies to all aspects of life, work, family and travel. Being the founder of a travel and trip planning startup comes with a lot of lessons to learn along the lines of exploring.
Let me share some life lessons from my travels that translated into my work.
Collaborate and learn
While travelling and during the processes of building a startup it helps to reach out to other people. When you are on the road you can get access to more information through talking to locals and other travellers.
While travelling in Jordan and Qatar we were able to see places off the beaten track because we engaged with the world around us.
For entrepreneurs and travellers alike it improves the experience if you seek people with different beliefs and views from your own.
Getting to know multiple perspectives can broaden your horizon and help with your user experience. Make sure this is a win for both sides involved!
Don’t scare, lah!
When I was 16, I came to Singapore – by myself and from a small boarding school in the South of India.
You can imagine how beautiful and freeing it is to explore a massive and very developed city like Singapore. You can also see how that can be a challenge for a teenager.
The transition taught me a valuable lesson for life and for founding a company. Do not think about all the things that could go wrong. If you are frightened it might help to face your city or project heads on.
In inspirational quotes, you can read “Great things lie on the other side of fear.”
In Singlish (Singapore English) you say “Don’t scare, lah!”
Some years back we wanted to visit Taman Negara, the oldest forest in the world in Malaysia.
The trip was by motorcycle and we got stuck due to bad weather conditions. Being in a remote place and not having an opportunity to get information about sites nearby was unfortunate and none of the travel books were helpful.
Even though there are plenty of interesting places in the area that friends had visited.
Our travel experiences are the sole reason why we started Travalour.com and TripPlanner. Being prepared can minimize stress, save time and helps enter new ventures.
More languages can help you with access
Knowing foreign languages helps you find out more about the places you want to see and get in touch with people on the way.
Combined, my partner and I speak five languages fluent and some other languages enough to get by. Our ability to approach the people around us without relying on English only opens doors everywhere.
Sometimes it leads to better seats at a concert, free dessert or learning about spaces that would be otherwise closed to us.
Exploring a variety of programming languages and being able to experiment helps to find the best solutions for developing our apps as well.
Creative chaos can lead to new insights and inspiration
As you learned from my anecdote from Malaysia, things are often out of your control.
Trains and flights can be late, weather may be disastrous or places you wanted to visit are permanently shut down.
Being exposed to unexpected events can make you creative and help you find alternative solutions.
Our travel adventures and surprising turns on trips truly made us more flexible and creative in finding business models and coding solutions.
Sometimes you have to endure
There are countless occasions travelling about where you have to just endure the situation.
These can be endless questionings at the borders or even just taking a budget airline that cannot make up their mind on gate and departure time.
Luckily you can make these events exercises to practice your patience. When running a startup you need plenty of patience and a cool head. Persevere.
Have an eye for details
You never know what kind of treasures are hidden on your path. Some years ago we were travelling in Meghalaya because we heard about the double-decker root bridge. We did not know much about the track and we were tired of all the steps to reach the bridge.
Suddenly, we saw a crystal clear water pool on the way down and that was our reward for paying attention to what is around us.
Nothing was more refreshing than jumping into the natural pool on the way back from the long hike.
Looking out for treasures on the way also led us to launch TripPlanner, our first app. We found that we could extract this lightweight app from our bigger project the Travalour app.
Just like when we visited the root bridge and found a natural treasure, we found an additional project on the way to a larger one.
Nithin Mathew founded Travalour.com a travel app that helps you explore. He recently launched the first stage of a tri-part app release, TrippPlanner.
Before he decided to be an entrepreneur in India he was working in Singapore for a multinational digital security company.
He gained experience in tech development and customer engagement by deploying new technologies for customers from the banking sector. Nithin traves regularly and his favourite place is the Jordanian desert.