Q&A with Trourist.com

December 14, 2009 by

Travel News & Alerts

Back in September we noticed the launch of a new travel site called trourist.com. Why did we notice it? Well, it’s hard NOT to notice a person sitting in a busy square holding a sign that says: “Help! I’m Experienceless.”

We got in touch with Jokin Bereciartu, one of the founders of trourist.com, and asked him to explain himself.

Experienceless in Paris

Experienceless in Paris

Viator: So Jokin, how did the whole “trourist” idea get started?

Trourist: During the month of June we travelled all around Europe (in a motor home transformed into a Zeppelin – perhaps it’s best not to ask questions about this!!) with the following goal: to live those experiences hidden to anyone traveling as a mere tourist. With that purpose, seated in squares, parks, even a metro, we’ve held up a cardboard poster bearing the message:

“Help! I’m ExperienceLess. I don’t want to visit your city, I want to live it. Thanks.”

Our setting was not unlike that of a homeless person and the name of our project’s initiative was not pure happenstance. Admittedly, there were people who, when they saw us, understood nothing. Others observed us with indifference.

Generally speaking, though, we were quite pleased with the hospitality shown. People gave their time and interest so that we could walk away from their cities with more than just mute stares from historical buildings and museums.

Our backpack of experiences was filled with all kinds of goodies: a hoola-hoop class in a Berlin park, a birthday bash with a Budapest boy, smoking a water pipe atop an Istanbul rooftop, and collectively cooking a potato omelet with a couple in Barcelona, with a follow-up concert.

Viator: Wow. More specifically, Jokin, what is a “Trourist”?

Trourist: Trourist is a social network for people seeking to live their travel destinations, not merely visit them. It’s also a meeting point for those persons who travel to be connected with the world, not disconnected from it.

Viator: Who made up the name, and was your spellchecker not working that day?

Trourist: Ha ha. Since trourist is a social network for trips by non-tourists, we added an “r” in the word and that changes everything. In the end Trourist is abouth truth in tourism. Stated mathematically, you could even say: TRUTH + TOURISM = TROURIST.

Viator: You talk a lot about getting real, helping out, staying diverse. How are these travel principles rather than just a set of guidelines for living a copasetic life?

Trourist: When talking about Getting Real we want to communicate our interest to live those experiences hidden to anyone traveling as a tourist. Furthermore, Trourist users help out their friends by suggesting and giving advice for their future trips and have the chance to stay diverse, because every city in the world has its trourist link. Definitely, travel is part of life and there is always is a link between the way we live life and the way we travel.

The Trourist motor home in Berlin

The Trourist motor home in Berlin

Viator: Your website is all about connecting like-minded travelers in search of real, authentic experiences. How is that going to work in practice? Do you think your model is scalable?

Trourist: Those people in search of real experiences will be able to seek travel experiences from friends belonging to other social networks or other travelers with similar yearnings. For the benefit of the user, search results take into account different criteria, for instance, whether the person is a friend or not, a backpacker, a suitcase-carrying sort, etc.

They can also explore, see what cities throughout the world have had trips lived by members of the community, in addition to finding out which are the latest travel trends (cities with the greatest number of trourists, cities “most lived,” and so forth). They can design a printable travel plan, individually or for groups of friends. And with travel plans, they can collaborate. There exists the opportunity to receive advice from friends or other travelers who’ve been to the destination before.

You might have noticed the key here is “friends”. At trourist, friends are not just our main source of information, we also count on them to be the main players in our travels. To this end: we’ve created “trourist mate”, a pal who comes along on a trip and can modify a travel plan; and the “trourist advisor”, who does not come on a trip, but can modify a travel plan because he’s from the city being visited or has been to a destination previously. We have endeavored to make trourist, the most collaborative social network possible, because planning a trip should be as much fun as possible.

Viator: You say that “our goal is to achieve what other travel social networks have not, that is: a soul.” Explain that a bit more.

Trourist: That’s it, Trourist is not only a travel social network, but a travel philosophy itself. Trourist focuses on those travelers whose discontent stems from their desire to live, not merely visit a city. We’ve always steered away from messages that stressed “one size fits all”. On the other hand, we have been radical in our way of transmitting our main principles.

From the language used in our mission statement to the last initiative we’ve created, ExperienceLess, all has been conceived and conveyed to underscore the premise that a trourist travels to connect with the world, not disconnect or distance him or herself from it.

Viator: What are some of your favorite trourist experiences?

Trourist: We believe people make the difference between once city to another. During our last trip around Europe we had the opportunity to meet great people and be part at least for an afternoon of their day to day life. As an example, we ended watching the release of the movie Home at Camp de Mars in Paris and had dinner with a group of Dutch students.

Viator: What’s one piece of advice you’d give to somebody contemplating their next vacation, holiday or long-haul travel?

Trourist: Just one thing, be curious about what locals do!

-Scott McNeely

2 Responses to “Q&A with Trourist.com”

  1. Janice Says:

    I guess I missed this one. Intriguing concept. Getting just a little closer to the real culture one is visiting is always a challenge.

  2. Spencer Spellman Says:

    Intriguing concept. I like much more the actual experiment they did with holding up the sign. Just curious now how it translates with their website.