Travelling is a unique experience. It pushes us outside of our comfort zones and into new experiences with different people, cultures, and landscapes. At the same time, travelling shows us that, despite our individual experiences, we’re all the same in so many ways.
I believe that one thing almost everyone has in common is the desire to travel. I’ve had the privilege of travelling, studying, and working all over the world and, after every trip, I return to Canada feeling changed in some way. The more I visit other places, that more I feel grateful for my experiences…but I’m also frustrated by the disparities I see. It’s hard to comprehend that some of us enjoy the ability to explore every corner of this beautiful world when so many other people don’t have the basic necessities.
I started Traveller Collective in 2015. I hammered Clips and Rings in my studio apartment for the first year before moving into an office space in Vancouver, which is when our first employees started. Since then, we’ve grown to a team of 16 (plus my Aussie Shepherd Cleo) and we continue to build Clips and Rings for our loyal Collective members in over 100 countries.
Aside from the amount of people on the team and the amount of space we need (not to mention the amount of coffee we drink), it’s crazy to see the other ways that TC has evolved in a pretty short amount of time. Our packaging has changed, our products have gotten better, and we’ve continued to expand our product lineup thanks to feedback from people like you.
Although we’ve gotten bigger and our methods for building our products have changed, our goal remains the same: to inspire people all over the world to travel and to give back. Since day one, we’ve donated 20% of profits to charitable initiatives. When we started in 2015 we worked with well-recognized organizations like charity: water and imagine1day to complete water and education projects in Ethiopia. We even had the privilege of visiting Ethiopia and taking some members of our community with us to see the difference their Clip purchases had made to people across the globe.
Then, after three projects in Ethiopia, we launched Gifting Travel in 2018. Gifting Travel is our in-house initiative that sends people who otherwise wouldn’t have the opportunity to travel on the trips they’ve always dreamed of.
Gifting Travel had been in the back of my mind since starting TC and it took honeymooning in Morocco in 2017 for the idea to become fully formed. In Chefchaouen, Morocco, we met a local woman named Fatima who worked at the hostel where we were staying. Fatima was curious about Canada and had all sorts of questions about our lives there. It was clear she would love the opportunity to travel but, as she explained to us, multiple jobs, financial constraints, and family obligations (including being the sole caregiver for her young son) meant she’d likely never get the opportunity. Fatima was matter of fact about her reality but it bothered me that someone with so much energy and so many questions just had to accept that she’d never be able to leave her village, let alone her country.
So, in the Spring of 2018, Gifting Travel was born. I got in touch with Fatima through her employer and made arrangements for me and Jess from Team TC to fly to Chefchaouen to pick up Fatima and her young son Ayatollah and take them to Istanbul, Turkey for the first ever Gifting Travel trip. There were definitely some kinks that needed to be worked out before the trip and we learned A LOT…but, overall, the trip was amazing and truly a once-in-a-lifetime experience for everyone involved.
One belief underpins everything we do here at Traveller Collective and that’s our belief that travel changes us. In fact, we’re certain that travel—whether it’s one town over or halfway around the world—makes us better, kinder, and more empathetic citizens. With your support, we hope to continue to inspire travel around the globe and to give more people the chance to explore it.
- TC Founder Darryl M. and Team TC