We know we are super late to writing the “2016 looking ahead,” post, but we were too busy "doing" that we are finally catching our breath and taking the much needed moment to get so so so PUMPED for the upcoming the next twelve-- errr eleven-- months for El Camino.
Let’s start off with some changes to the team. Marianna Jamadi, our wonderful co-founder and former creative director of El Camino Travel, has left El Camino to pursue exciting personal projects over at Nomadic-Habit. While we are bummed to see her leave, we are excited to see how her work develops and follow along on her journeys traversing all corners of the world. As our community knows, she is an incredibly talented photographer and we know her work will continue to blow us all away. Follow along on her blog and Instagram.
Katalina, will be running with the company and has brought on Jolyn Chen, our former intern, as a travel coordinator. Jolyn is the epitome of a hustler. She gets sh*t done and done well. She constantly is churning out new ideas and making tweaks to our business that makes our creative engine run more efficiently. Oh and did we mention she hand letters like a boss? We have all sorts of ideas a brewing. We also brought on a media intern (whattupppp Briana) who we will introduce in a more extensive and dedicated post.
We have a crazy talented roster of photographers who we can’t wait to send out into the field and to capture our adventures, and by the end of the year we will be bringing on a few more “El Camino Hosts.” These hosts will help us lead our growing roster of trips and ensure all the details and nuances of the El Camino experience are perfectly executed. Stay tuned for job announcements.
In short, we are growing and we can’t wait to see who becomes part of our expanding family.
Country Expansion: We have expanded to two other countries for 2016, Trinidad and Tobago and Mexico, added one more city to our itinerary, Medellin, Colombia, and the border town and expansive canyon of Somoto, to our Nicaragua adventure. We are constantly exploring new locations and new spaces and 2016 will not be short of that voracious curiosity that consumes us as a company. We are already thinking about the next places for 2017.
An El Camino Podcast: Well, we will be launching a thirty-minute podcast soon, La Piña. This will be an audible guide to interesting locations and interviews with local tastemakers who share their insider knowledge of the location with our travel community. Instead of having to do hours of research on that one hidden gem, just listen to La Piña when working out, in the car, cooking, and discover those spots by the people who know the city the best.
Why did we decide to do this? Well, there were several reasons… First, we have searched high and low for travel podcasts that interviewed the folks that are actually from the places being discussed and getting their tips, but could not find one (if you do know of one, please send the link our way). Instead, we often heard travels and locations being discussed by outsiders. That is cool, but we think those that live there have a story to tell as well and we want to hear them. Secondly, we have been meeting so many extraordinary locals along the road. We knew we had to give their voices a megaphone of some sort and we thought we could do a small part by sharing their creative endeavors with our community in an interesting way. We will announce the first podcast-- which will highlight Mexico City-- in our newsletter so keep checking your inbox!
Creative Agency: At some point this year, we will more formally announce the El Camino Travel Creative Agency. This one has been moving full force ahead and we are chasing it with all our speed and trying to catch up. As you may have noticed, we already have partnered with a few brands and tourism boards to put together unique trips that lead to the creation of compelling and dynamic content. We just got back from Medellin, Colombia, where we hosted a trip with Richer Poorer around the theme of the honest hustle. We brought eight social media influencers, who are all hustlers in their own right, from the USA and Canada to meet with the young hustlers of Medellin who have been critical to the grand transformation the city has rapidly seen in the past ten years. Check out #elcaminoxrp for incredible imagery and to see how the trip unfolded in real time. We have some other exciting partnerships in the works and we can’t wait to share.
We already hosted one Google Hangout in 2016 to better connect with you and to discuss the ups and downs of entrepreneurialism. It was great to finally put some faces to names, but more importantly, it was important to hear what you thought about what we are doing right, what we could be doing better, and where you think we should be headed. It was also fun to hear about the many businesses you are planning to start and how travel has been fundamental to sparking that “aha” moment that led to your idea. We hope to host more this year and support in whatever way we can your brilliant ideas. We host our second "hangout" tonight and we can't wait to meet you all! Sign up for our newsletter to stay informed of opportunities like this.
FINALLY, Katalina, rallied our community and put together a trip in March to help assist with the mass migration of refugees who are fleeing to Lesvos, Greece. We could not sit back and watch the news anymore. That was no longer an option. These individuals are escaping violent and devastating conditions that is beyond our full comprehension. We knew our community was committed to changing the world, but we were truly blown away by the response to the call for volunteers. Hundreds of heartfelt emails poured in and we read each and everyone. It strengthened our faith in humanity and our belief that all good will trump any evil. We have eleven volunteers who will be traveling with us and our team has raised over $2000 dollars to buy much needed equipment once on the island. We also secured a large donation of much needed adult heavy duty shoes for the refugee camps. What have we learned to date? That we need to provide more opportunities like this one. We are scrambling to figure that out.
Geesh! We will stop right there. Typing all this out makes us both scared and excited at the same time. We have a lot to do and we must get back to it.
As always, please feel free to drop us a line and let us know if you have any questions, comments, and/or feedback for us-- firstname.lastname@example.org.
We would not have such an exciting year if it was not for all of you. We seriously love you guys with all our heart and soul—north, south, east, and west.
The El Camino Team