Friday 25 September 2015
It’s been nearly 8 months since we started seriously talking about the idea for WayWiser. What began as a casual conversation between my partner Colin and I over a plate of falafel develops more each day into a compelling brand with a helluva lot of personality, a uniquely cool website and an innovative peer-to-peer business that we believe has a really bright future.
Who are we?
We are supremely lucky to be joined in this venture by two extremely talented people, George Stirling and Dan Lawler, who are the men behind the website’s development. Together we are four millennials and outdoor enthusiasts who are passionate about making it easier and more affordable for people to get outside and do what they love, at home or while on vacation.
To learn more about us click here.
What’s it all about?
We were travelling in South Africa three years ago and landed in a quaint little town in the mountains called Hogsback that Lonely Planet (or some comparable guidebook) said was great for mountain biking. Colin’s an avid mountain biker and I thought it would be awesome if he could get out on the trail in such beautiful and challenging terrain.
When we got there we found out that it was just literally just one guy taking people out on the trails. There was no official company leading tours, no one responsible for taking bookings or organizing rides. Unfortunately this guy was a flakey muppet and kept postponing Colin’s ride until finally it was our last afternoon. At that point he lied to us about going out of town rather then lead an advanced ride. Understandably, Colin was bitterly disappointed and there was no recourse – no one to hold responsible for this bonehead’s behavior. We didn’t get the opportunity to mountain bike again during that trip.
We’re willing to bet we aren’t the only ones with a story like this. No one should have to go through the frustration and stress of having something they really want to do fall through, or be jerked around by an irresponsible tour operator. At WayWiser we aim to provide the kind of service that we would have used a thousand times over had it existed while we were backpacking. We want to put the power back in the traveler’s hands, allowing them to control for price, location, activity, and to check out their guide in advance of a trip. We’d like for guides to have the same control over the type of tourist they take on trips, what level of difficulty their tours are and the kind of extra services they’d like to provide. Sound good?
We literally believe we can provide a better way to travel, a wiser way to find and book tours that are more authentic. I think when any of us go into the bush, out for a paddle or even just for a couple hours’ walk, we feel restored and refreshed. We all need this sense of wonder to be a part of our lives.
At the end of a great trip – whether it’s a weekend away or a month of travel – you might have a full SD card and a whole lot of new Facebook friends, but it’s the stories that unite us and keep each adventure living on. My fondest travel memories are those brilliant moments in time: the ex-trophy hunter that took us on a rhino safari in Zimbabwe, the Aussie photographer turned whale whisperer who took us snorkeling with humpbacks or the rough and ready South African who led us on a horseback ride through the foggy mountains of Lesotho. By connecting these supremely talented (if eccentric) guides to travellers, we aim to make these encounters a lot more frequent and deliberate, and a lot less about luck.
Launching in New Zealand, December 2015. Check us out here: http://www.waywiser.co.nz