10,000 miles out of our comfort zone

It was October 2016 when my wife Jules and I boarded the 14-hour flight from Sydney to LA, en route to our new home in NYC. Times were simpler then. Obama was POTUS. The world wasn’t on fire. Corona was a refreshing beer.

About to take off from SYD --> JFK

We survived our first NYC winter. As shops and restaurants had their double-door entrances removed and blossoming city parks sprung to life, my mind began to wander to a favorite summer sport of mine: kiteboarding. Does anyone do this in New York? I thought. The Atlantic Ocean is only an hour away — why wouldn’t they? There’s got to be someone putting a kite up in a city of 8 million people.

After searching the Internet high and low for other NYC kiteboarders and coming up short, I stumbled across a kiteboarders Meetup in the city. I showed up and met a bunch of kiteboarders. Great people. They were sharing war stories, trading gear, planning trips, organizing carpools, and offering advice. Their passion was infectious.

At the end of the evening the organizer of the event added me to a private WhatsApp group of 150+ NYC kiteboarders. With that one event, the entire NYC kiteboarding world opened up to me.

The inspiration for Journey

Fast-forward three years. The NYC kiteboarding community continues to flourish. Last week we had a virtual catch-up with kiters Zooming in from around the world. And the WhatsApp group is a hive of activity. Members post several messages every day, even throughout winter, with invaluable advice and resources. I’ve read everything from a guide on carrying kiteboarding gear on a motorbike to a meticulous Google Doc containing all the best NY kiting spots.

The NYC Kiteboarding Community

The people are great. The content is great. But being in a WhatsApp group of 150+ people is not. For me, it isn’t ideal to have 10 to 20 messages blowing up my phone every day. But if I mute them, I’ll likely fall out of touch with the community or miss out on a great trip, resource, or piece of advice. If I miss something valuable, there’s no way I’ll find it by scrolling the endless texts even just a few days later.

The chances are slim that folks who are new to a hobby or city will find their way into a private WhatsApp group. I got lucky. The whole experience made me wonder, how many communities like this had I missed?

Could there be a platform that cultivates all the best parts of what I had experienced in my kiteboarding community — passion, resources, support, motivation, inspiration — yet is packaged in a way that makes the large volume of content easy to digest, saves valuable resources for others to find, and makes it easy for new members to join and contribute?

How could this platform scale across every type of interest or passion you can think of — hobbies, sports, arts, crafts, life events, careers, and more?

Packaging it up

These questions inspired the year-long process of creating the Journey app. Whatever your passion, Journey helps you build momentum and connect with people on the same path.

Think of something you've always wanted to do but never gotten around to. That's probably happened for one of three reasons:

  1. You haven't had enough time.
  2. You've had no one to do it with.
  3. You haven't known where to start.

Journey is designed to help you with all three. Expert Guides walk you through everything you need to know to get started, and you can browse through the journal of someone who's already on a journey to see and learn from the path they’ve taken. The app helps you organize your time to build and maintain momentum by giving you timely reminders of the steps you need to take. And once you've started a journey, you'll be connected with people who are on it with you via a rich, visual feed.

We're all going through a huge shake-up right now. Amid the devastation of the COVID-19 pandemic, we've got an opportunity to reflect. What changes do you want to make? How can you make the most out of your time at home? What are you going to commit to during and beyond this "new normal"?

Whatever it is, I hope Journey is your key to finding the same infectious passion and bonded community I was lucky enough to stumble upon.

Get Journey on iOS or Android. And don’t be a stranger — let me know what you think. I’d love to hear from you.

If you’re interested in the journey I've been on to build and launch this app, take a peek through my journal. Search for “The Journey journey” within the Explore section of the app. Get Journey on iOS or Android.

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