Solo travel has been picking up speed in the U.S. in the last few years giving explorers time to learn about countries and cultures at their own pace. One major hurdle many solo travelers hit is finding others to spend time went while outside of the United States or in a different city.
Sometimes Facebook groups are not enough and dating apps can create horror stories. Mita Carriman is bringing Adventurely to solo travelers worldwide in hopes of making connecting a seamless and stress-free experience.
Adventurely is a platform that curates experiences for solo travelers looking to make connections in other cities. Not to be confused with a dating app, Adventurely is solely for people who want to eat at the trendiest restaurants, find the best views and absorb themselves into a new city’s culture.
The Backstage Capital-funded company wants to take the hassle out of meeting people and groups with similar interest while abroad or moving from state to state. Adventurely also lets users chat with each other to make their own plans around the city. Although the platform does not have an app yet, users can find dates, times and locations for events in their temporary cities.
“All startups don’t need to be apps first,” Carriman said. “We decided to go with a website first because making it into an app, we can hit a lot more complications.”
Carriman, a trained lawyer, got the idea for Adventurely after an unexpected breakup shortly before Memorial Day weekend. She wanted to go into hiding during a time when many New Yorkers are planning good times with loved ones, so she settled for a trip to the City of Love.
“It’s a time when you want to spend time with friends and family, but that was the last thing that I wanted to do,” Carriman said. “I wanted to get out of town fast.”
Luckily, a chance to attend the 2014 Roots Picnic in Philadelphia dropped in her lap because of her job. Carriman had never visited Philly and it would be her first solo trip.
“I was feeling better just to have that space by myself. I was excited to go explore Philadelphia, which may seem mundane,” Carriman said. “But it was a new city and it was taking my mind off of all the things that were stressing me out.”
Along the way, Carriman tried reaching out to people in Facebook groups and texting friends. Her efforts finally reached a dead-end when she opened Tinder to find someone to experience the city with.
“It was the last thing that I wanted to do,” Carriman said. “I got a bunch of guys that were swiping right, but they were looking for dates and I was looking for someone to go to the museum with me.”
After filtering through a list of catcalls and bad pickup lines, Carriman finally returned back to her home in New York. Feeling rejuvenated by the trip, but frustrated by her attempts at being social, Carriman got her idea for Adventurely.
She began planning, pitching and executing goals for the first version of Adventurely, an app that has much of the functionality of the current website — but with a lot more hurdle. The beta version of the Adventurely app launched in 2016, but Carriman and her team suspended its operations in 2017 because of financial struggles.
2017 was a major test for Carriman. The future of Adventurely remained a question, while Carriman coped with the loss of her parents. The emotional, financial and mental strain became a toll, forcing her to shift her focus.
“I need to get out of the country, travel and give myself time to grieve,” Carriman said. She began traveling full-time, visiting eight countries in a year. Bulgaria, Columbia, Croatia, Mexico, Malta, Montenegro, Spain and Turkey each became Carriman’s temporary homes as she reset her goals. Out of her travels, she decided to give Adventurely another try with new insight on what it meant to be a frequent solo traveler.
“I am my customer and I identify with their pain points,” Carriman said. “I poured that into my idea. Having that clarity made all of the difference,” Carriman said. “Everyone thought I was crazy for trying again. Usually at this point, this is where an entrepreneur walks away, but I felt even more confident.”
Carriman is learning from her mistakes and is keeping Adventurely as a website for now. Adventurely is a public alpha, so users can sign up and use its features to find other travelers in Bali, Madrid and Mexico City. The company plans to expand its curated content to two more cities in 2020.