Sayo Ayodele is the Founder of JourneyKind. Her background in travelling and living in Africa, Asia, North America and Europe, inspired her to set up the company. Sayo’s travels enabled her to meet unique and interesting people and communities and make unlikely connections. She also saw the potential of travel and tourism to make a positive impact on local communities, if leveraged in the right way.
The multi-billion dollar travel and leisure industry can have a more positive societal and environmental impact. People want to travel in a way that makes a positive contribution and will use the tools and resources to do so, if they are made readily available. People also want to support ethical businesses in their local communities. These organisations are always easy to find.
Through our curated sustainable travel guides, JourneyKind addresses this information and connection gap, to enable travellers and locals who seek unique experiences, in line with their values, to have a positive impact on issues they care about.
We had the chance to sit down with Sayo and ask her about her business
Tell us a bit about JourneyKind?
JourneyKind is a sustainable travel platform that enables people to make a positive impact through travel. We create curated travel guides that highlight socially responsible companies that enable more sustainable travel in specific destinations, from hotels with robust environmentally friendly practices to Michelin-starred restaurants offering internships to ex-offenders to innovative cafes using their waste to power alternative fuel.
Membership of our travel club includes a personalised travel guide – tailored to focus on issues the individual cares about. We also work with businesses in the travel industry – airlines, banks, sharing economy companies – to engage customers in their sustainability strategy. We also create company-specific campaigns that enable businesses to bring their sustainability strategy to life for customers.
How did the idea for JourneyKind come about? What inspired you to do this?
In the summer of 2016, I climbed Mount Kilimanjaro with my partner. It was the most wonderful (and difficult!) experience of my life! It took me 6 nights and 7 days and while it was a hard feat for me, my experience pales in comparison to the porters who supported us on the journey. Each morning, they would serve us breakfast – surprisingly delicious given we were on a mountain with no kitchen! My partner and I, along with our guide, would then set off with our backpacks only. Our porters would pack up everything else – chairs and table we ate on, the mattresses, our 15kg duffel bags, all the tents, cooking equipment, their own equipment, and the list goes on. While carrying all that weight they would overtake us on the way, running ahead to get to the next camp and set-up our eating and sleeping tents, hours before our arrival. They did this every day…for 7 days.
Let’s talk money…as we were making the decision of which travel company to use, I discovered that some of the porters at other companies make as little as $2 a day, are often only allowed 1 meal a day and rarely have the right equipment, clothes or shoes for the climb. We paid $2,700 each for our trip – so almost none of the money spent by tourists was making its way to the local community.
I knew that these conditions existed and that it was important for me to select the right company. After weeks of research, I came across a company called Fair Travel that paid its workers fairly ($18 – $40/day) and ensures they have the right equipment. It provides a range of tourist activities in Tanzania, but most importantly, it provides benefits to the wider community through fair pay for its guide and porters.
This is the type of company I want my travels to support – the ones that make a positive impact in the local community I’m visiting. This was my inspiration to launch JourneyKind – to highlight companies that provide great travel experiences and social benefits without compromising quality.
The wave of anti-tourism protests across Europe this summer shows that there is a need for tourism to demonstrate a more positive impact in local communities – JourneyKind seeks to fill that gap by orienting travelers towards organisations and initiatives that enable them to make a positive impact whilst travelling.
How do you define sustainable travel?
Our definition includes a combination of social, environmental and economic sustainability. We’ve consulted experts in the field and have also listened to our customers to develop this. We believe these three pillars individually make a positive impact, and all the companies in our guides must fit into at least one – ideally more! Sustainable travel is constantly evolving – so we will continue to develop this model as we grow.
As the founder of JourneyKind, what does your typical day look like?
I am currently running JourneyKind in addition to a full-time job – so my typical day begins after work! Given the limited hours, I try to be pretty deliberate about what will actually generate results. I try to focus on 2 key tasks at a time related to either business development or client work. Since we’re still relatively young, I tend to spend most of my time on business development opportunities – talking to companies and growing the travel club. The other half I spend on creating the guides, doing research or talking to other companies. I should spend more time on social media than I do!
What do you enjoy most about doing your own thing?
I love the creativity and freedom to generate an idea and discovering the drive and determination I have to bring it to life. It’s a wonderful feeling to receive feedback from clients saying what a wonderful experience they’ve had – and knowing that we’ve helped to enhance their positive impact. I also enjoy the process of discovering a whole new world of interesting people and companies, trying to do the right thing, using the resources available to them. We live in an amazing world with creative people working to make it a better place – it’s fun to keep rediscovering that!
Here at Eyedea have been honored to host some of the world’s leading women in business across different sectors. Who would you say are the women who inspire you?
There are so many inspiring women that it’s very hard to choose. In addition to my amazing mother, I would say Leila Janah – she’s the founder of two amazing businesses, Samasource and LXMI, focused on reversing extreme poverty by giving work. Seriously, read about her! I have deep respect for the work of Wangari Maathai, the Kenyan nobel laureate, feminist and conservationist, who believed in many of the same values we hold.
JourneyKind has gone from strength to strength since its start up, how do you see it taking shape over the next few years?
We have so many big dreams! In the next few years, we hope to continue to establish ourselves as the pre-eminent resource for sustainable travel. We want our travel club to continue to grow in membership – and envision specific trips for our community focused on sustainable travel. We also plan to build more digital platforms to engage travelers so watch this space!
How can we join/get involved?
- Become a member of the travel club here!
- Give the gift of travel club membership to a friend for a birthday or for Christmas!
- Find us on social media @journeykind.