The best ideas for business develop when someone sees a problem and a unique way to fix it. Even better business ideas develop when someone sees a problem and a unique way to fix it in a way that benefits all parties. This is our continuing mission with Unventured travel.
How it all began:
The team is all travellers themselves who go out and travel to explore a region for its local and authentic experiences. In 2011, one such travel led Guru to travel to a remote place in the Himalayas called Ladakh on a bicycle. He cycled out 550km to this high altitude desert region and he saw the challenges in finding experiences and opportunities to travel locally and find local experiences that gave a better traveller’s perspective to the region. While all hotels were available and listed on big portals, the opportunity of finding local home-stays being hosted by local families, interact with them and may be learn how to make local food were not available on any portal. It was also how he got to the outdoors and travel actively that got him to get out to the same place and explore the region like a local.
This ended him up in planning a 2012 tour to the region and curating experiences for a group of fellow travellers. During this time, Tejaswini was also an avid traveller perhaps spent a large part of her creative life working on poetry, creative art and making a living working for an advertising firm had been traveling solo through the kingdom of Bhutan. Through her travels, Tejaswini had been looking for interacting with local artisans and going beyond the touristy circuits of Bhutan ad exploring Bhutan for its culture. Having interacted with the locals opened her mind into the local way of travel that is today translated into the idea of Unventured.
Gurudeep and Tejaswini are old time classmates from school. As part of their reunion they travelled to Bhutan and on their way flight back to India, chartered out this idea of active experiential travel that is off the beaten path, local and authentic, bringing in experiences of India, Bhutan and lately Sri Lanka for the discerning traveller. Unventured is not luxury travel, but an adventure with a softer landing.
How the local relationships are formed to create a tour that is economically and culturally sustainable:
Thanks to our organic beginnings as locals, our aim as a company to travel responsibly is reflected in all stages of planning and delivering all our tours. We continue the same personal and collaborative development process for all our tours with the local communities in the regions we visit. We work one-on-one with local businesses and communities to empowering them by helping them build sustainable livelihood from tourism. We work to establish routine accommodations we stay at, local homesteads and guest houses hosted by locals. Employing the local community in this way ensures a direct impact the local economy that is sustainable and non-disruptive. We promote and support regional artisans through market walks, engaging with local musicians with insights into the region’s cultural. As a result of these partnerships, we get travelers immersed in the most welcoming and authentic cultural experiences. It’s a win-win. It’s how we’ve done it from day one. Our relationships with communities are growing stronger and stronger.
Leave no mark: How to travel green
Travel seems harmless until you look at the true environmental impact. Automobiles and tourists’ accommodations are vastly responsible for the increase of global emissions from tourism. The direct impacts on specific landscapes and destinations are even more damaging and apparent. We recognize the disparity that exists between being a responsible traveller and a tourist and its impact on the environment. We try to give people an opportunity to travel in a way that is environmentally friendly and sticks to the rule of “leave it how you found it”. We travel by bike and on foot for the vast majority of the time during our tours. This allows us to move quietly through the land and get to parts of our destinations you can’t by bus or car. We use recycled water bottles and dispose of no plastic on our journey. We eat locally to avoid bringing in foreign products and abide by nationally recognized ethical standards of treating animals as we explore nature. All of this little efforts make a huge difference to the fragile and unique places we visit.
Going beyond the cliche of India:
India is mostly looked at as Taj Mahal, Rajasthan and Kerala which are the most marketed destinations. Unventured aims to unveil destinations which are beyond just these and cliches. As you travel every 200km in India, the landscape, language food, art and architecture, people, their culture and traditions everything changes. This diversity is best experienced when you travel like a local and take the slow pace to explore the region. By traveling in a different more experiential way, we hope to bring about a new awareness of the diversity and deep layers of Indian culture, history, and landscapes.
Our unique and organic approach to travel is paying off greatly four years after launching Unventured. Our organic growth has been both consistent and fulfilling. We appreciate all the support we’ve received in helping us change the way we travel. We’re one TripAdvisor’s Certificate of Excellence the past three years in a row now. We’re thrilled to see hear how we’re creating experiences for travelers they will never forget. This year, we won the Outlook Travelers Jury award this year which was a huge honor. It’s amazing too see so many people and organizations embrace our mission as much as we have.
We get hundreds of travelers of all ages and nationalities each year just as enthusiastic about the sustainable way of exploring. We’ve not only been able to share so much of our culture but we’ve learned so much about our own and others in the process of building Unventured. We’re excited to see how this continues to progress.