Connecting travelers with natives.
When someone I know lets on that they’re traveling, my first instinct is, “who do I know in the place(s) they’re visiting that would be fun for them to spend the day with?”
When you’re headed someplace new, there’s nothing nicer than knowing you’re set to meet up with a simpatico local.
“The best lunch date of my life. We were there for two-and-a-half hours but could easily have stayed for five.”
…after I set her up for lunch
with visitor from New Hampshire and
author of For Better or for Work,
Inspired by my mom and dad.
Whenever someone my mom knew — or someone she knew knew — moved from elsewhere to New York, she’d have them come live with us, in our den. She wanted them to have a welcoming place to come home to at night after each crazy day in their new, adopted city.
My dad traveled half the year. No matter where he went, he always knew someone there who was super interesting.
I remember this one time he and I were in Maastricht, in the Netherlands. We were walking down a street, toward our lunch destination, a favorite Thai restaurant of his.
We’re about 300 meters from the front door and my dad suddenly remembers this Dutch army colonel he once interviewed in Maastricht many years earlier (my dad was a long-time television producer at NBC News). We walk into the restaurant and sitting there at a big table with a lazy susan — totally unplanned — is the army colonel. Typical dad.
How it works.
I have my traveling friends download my app. It reminds them, once a month, to let me know if they have any travel plans. If they do, and I know someone delightful in one of that traveler’s destination cities, I arrange for the two of them to meet.
What it costs.
Not a whit. I love doing this for folks.
Why I call this Whirlybirds.
If you grow up in the Northeast of the United States, you know all about — and likely have very fond memories of — sugar maple seeds falling from the trees, in late summer and early fall, spinning down into giant piles on the ground. Some people call them seed copters. But most people call them whirlybirds.
It feels like a good metaphor for travelers landing in a new place teaming with locals.