The First Steps of Many

5.7.2008
by gregor

The Evolution of Independent Travel and that thing about the really long Journey

a new site, a new era and a suddenly trendy old philosophy

It has been said that a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. This is painfully obvious to anyone that has attempted even a small fraction of that distance but the point is that it’s a fitting metaphor for any large-scale endeavor. We have embarked on our own symbolic journey by launching Global Basecamps, a new travel site meant to inspire and empower, educate and enthrall and of course make us famous eco-champions who travel to the farthest corners of the globe and get paid for it.

We’ve asked ourselves almost continually during our years of development why we didn’t start small, why we couldn’t just pick one small region and focus on building the business step by step. No, that would be far too easy. We’ve set out to build the first travel site dedicated to the intersection of sustainable and trendy; that brand new place where the online booking capabilities of monstrosities like Expedia and Orbitz meet the design aesthetics of cutting edge architecture with a philosophy that would make Al Gore and Leonardo DiCaprio clasp hands and dance a jig. Oh, and we want to do it on a truly global scale. Sustainable Travel is finally growing up and our goal is to not only make researching and booking the world’s best Green hotels, lodges and tours easy and fun but to whisper sweet nothings into the ear of the global travel industry and support the continued growth, step by step, of what is quickly changing the way the world travels. And we want to look good while we do it.

Our philosophy is pretty simple: travel is the most fun and life-changing thing you can do and when done correctly travel is good for all parties involved. When we first put on our overloaded backpacks years and years ago we quickly joined the masses of the converted with wild looks in our eyes and endless statements about being “travelers not tourists” while casually dropping names like Koh Phangan and Goa and Bariloche into conversations that had nothing to do with travel or geography. Eventually we got tired of communal bathrooms and having our Tevas stolen and realized that the winner isn’t necessarily the person who spent the least on accommodations. This fateful realization opened up an entire world of possibility by introducing us to beautiful lodges and unique guesthouses and the comforts of a wine list after a day of adventuring. Did we sell out? Did we yuppify the entire experience by wrapping it in brand new Patagonia fleece and not fighting over the price of transportation to the border? No. We evolved and figured out that it was possible to have our cake and eat it too, to wander and see and smell and eat and dance while supporting sustainable travel initiatives and being able to keep jobs and relationships for more than three months. To explore in a more focused way while making decisions that supported local communities and environments. We slowly started to figure out how to maximize experience while minimizing impact and realized that we could show other people how to do it too. We called it basecamping, using lodges and small hotels as ground zero for exploring an area, and once we had collected enough of these properties Global Basecamps was born. Don’t get me wrong, we’re not all about luxury and we don’t look down our noses at backpackers. We still have a thousand yard stare when discussing travel and drop names like Kalimantan and Cinqua Terra into unrelated conversations on a regular basis. We still sleep on the beach and ride the bus and embrace everyone who travels for six months on a thin wallet.

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