I have had a passion for traveling and exploring the world since I remember myself.
As a child (I was quite an active one), I was always fascinated by the idea of exploring new places and experiencing different cultures. I would often spend hours (even in summer) poring over adventure and history books 📚 and dreaming about all the amazing travels I would have someday. I used to spend almost every weekend and vacation with my grandparents in the countryside which luckily allowed a lot of outdoor activities and opportunities to connect with nature 🏕️. Whole-day biking explorations and swimming in a nearby (well 30 min by bike) lake with locals kids, picking up berries and mushrooms in the forest with my parents, and skiing from nearby hills (very flat ones though) in winter cultivated a sense of adventure and exploration within me. We also had a garden 🏡 that provided us with organic veggies and fruits all year round (well, in winter those were partially in conserved, frozen, or dried form ). Looking back on my childhood, I realize how closeness to the countryside and land shaped my love of travel and outdoor activities and fostered a deep appreciation for nature and commitment to sustainability as an adult.
Education & Travel Bug
Fast forward a few years, and I found myself actively studying geography in high school (that even brought me a 🥉 in Tunisia 🇹🇳) and later tourism in college (this time in the Czech Republic 🇨🇿). I knew that this was the industry I wanted to be a part of – one that would allow me to share my passion for travel with others and help them create their own unforgettable memories. During my university studies, I delved deeper into topics of destination management, responsible tourism practices, and the impact of tourism on local communities and environments. I realized that I wanted to work in an industry that could not only provide amazing experiences for travelers but also have a positive impact on the destinations they visit ☘️.
In my first years of bachelor studies, I set off on my first solo backpacking trip that took almost 3 months and let me visit 19 countries (luckily, the sizes of 🇪🇺 countries allow it): backpacking, hitchhiking, staying in hostels, Couchsurfing (special thanks to all my hosts🙏), and connecting with locals wherever I went. I was determined to experience each place as authentically as possible, immersing myself in local culture and traditions. These early travel experiences infected me with a travel bug for my whole life. Since then my passion for travel brought me to most of the continents (🐧 are still waiting) and over 50 countries, including Mexico which became my second home in 2018.
Need for Authentic Travel
As I traveled to different countries and experienced their cultures, I noticed that the most popular tourist destinations were often overcrowded and over-commercialized. It seemed like everyone was trying to cram into the same few places, leaving many hidden gems unexplored and undiscovered. But as I traveled further off the beaten path and connected with locals 🤗, I discovered that there were so many amazing, authentic experiences to be had. From exploring local markets and trying new foods, to learning about traditional crafts and meeting artisans, these experiences were what truly made my travels meaningful and memorable.
Starting Vibe Adventures
As my love for travel and exploration grew, so did my desire to share it with others. That’s when the idea for Vibe Adventures was born, partially inspired by my college project. I envisioned a small group adventure tour operator 🚐 that would offer sustainable travel experiences that truly immersed travelers in the local culture and benefited the communities we visited. I wanted to create a different kind of travel experience, one that was not focused on big groups and buses but instead on visiting off-the-beaten-track places, having unique and authentic experiences, and connecting with communities, while also minimizing our impact on the environment and supporting the local economy 💚.
Reflecting back, starting Vibe Adventures was one of the most challenging and rewarding experiences of my life. When we launched in late 2018, we had no outside investment or financial backing, so we had to rely on our own hard work and determination to get things off the ground (thanks to my cofounder Naye! 🙌). Despite the many obstacles we faced along the way, we managed to grow the business organically and served around 1800 travelers before the pandemic 😷 hit in early 2020. Like many travel companies, we were hit hard by the pandemic, and we had to quickly pivot to survive. That’s when we started offering virtual tours 🤳(thanks to the entire Amazon Explore team for their support during this time), which allowed us to continue providing unique and engaging travel experiences to our customers while also generating some revenue to help sustain the business.
Thankfully, as the world slowly began to reopen in 2021, we were able to start offering in-person tours again. By the end of the year, we had recovered financially, gathered a brilliant team ⛹️♀️, and, stronger than before, turned to our mission to positively impact the socio-economic development of local communities by promoting authentic, sustainable, and mind-broadening travel, now in a more scalable and technologically advanced way.
That’s when we launched an impact marketplace where travelers can book authentic and socially-sustainable tours and local tour organizers (individual guides and smaller locally-owned operators) can market their services, create employment and benefit the development of their communities 🔁. This decision was motivated by the challenges we experienced ourselves as tour operators and saw around us during the pandemic. Local guides and small tour companies have always faced difficulties in marketing their services to travelers online and were often forced to work with intermediaries who took a large portion of their income. By connecting travelers directly with individual guides and smaller locally-owned operators, we aim not only to allow the latter to benefit from increased exposure and access to a wider audience but also o provide a fairer distribution of income 💰, with a larger proportion staying locally.
Today, the marketplace is a cornerstone of Vibe Adventures’ business model and is our core tool in contributing to a more equitable and sustainable travel industry. So far, we’re proud to have helped over 9000 travelers discover the joys of authentic local travel and partnered with numerous local guides and operators to offer experiences you can’t find anywhere else. And we’ve done it all while staying true to our commitment to sustainable tourism. Come join us! 👣
Alex, Founder of Vibe Adventures