Andrea Vidler, Cofounder of LocalAventura, provider of authentic Latin American tours - Episode 13

Andrea Vidler is cofounder of LocalAventura, a marketplace focused on connecting travelers to providers of local, authentic experiences in Latin America. In this podcast interview Andrea talks about how LocalAventura is approaching this market opportunity.

In this episode we talk about

  • How Andrea and her cofounder came up with the idea for LocalAventura
  • LocalAventura's hands-on approach to vetting local guides 
  • Why global platforms like TripAvisor do not always provide travelers with the best advice
  • How LocalAventura acquires its customers
  • Travel tips for Chile, Peru and Argentina
  • The diversity of many communities in the United States, and how it can help spur unique travel experiences

Links mentioned in this podcast


Transcript

Joost Schreve:

Hi, everyone. Welcome to the 13th episode of the kimkim Podcast. My name is Joost Schreve, and I'm cofounder and CEO of kimkim. Today, I have Andrea Vidler as my guest. Andrea is one of the founders of LocalAventura. Welcome to the podcast, Andrea.

 

Andrea Vidler:

Hey, thanks for having me.

 

Joost Schreve:

Yeah, so it's going to be a pretty interesting discussion today because you could say that we're quite similar, right? You could even say that we may be competing, so it's going to be an interesting talk for sure.

 

Andrea Vidler:

Yeah, I agree.

 

Joost Schreve:

Yeah, so maybe about that fact, right? Typically, as an early stage startup, I feel like you're making the markets together. We try not to think of companies at our early stage who may be doing something in the same market really as competition, so it's really a pleasure to talk to you and share ideas. Hopefully, our listeners can also pick up some interesting strategies here on how to grow an early stage concept like this.

 

Andrea Vidler:

Yeah, I totally agree. We've spoken to a lot of our competitors too, and the way I think about it is the more people that we can get to travel in a safe, secure way where they're having a wonderful experience and taking advantage of the time that they have off on vacation, the better. I know I mentioned this to you, but we focus, at least LocalAventura, on the Latin-American market, which is one that definitely a lot of people need help with, so we're able to do it if somebody else is able to do it, and we're able to help each other bring more people in a safe and fun way to Latin America. That's one of our goals.

 

Joost Schreve:

Exactly. Yeah, so with that, please introduce yourself a little bit more like talk about your background. What did you do before starting this company, et cetera?

 

Andrea Vidler:

Yeah, so I am. I was initially born in the north of Chile. Actually, my mom is Chilean, and my father is British. I grew up in New York. We found an in-between ground, right? Then, I did my undergraduate studies at Cornell University, focused a bit on business. After that, I worked as a consultant for 5 years, and I always knew that I wanted to own my own business or at some point that I wanted to do a project on entrepreneurship, and so when I was offered the opportunity to go to Wharton Business School, I knew that it was a time where it would make sense to explore that interest, and so I immersed myself in the entrepreneurship group that we had.

 

 

I tested actually several ideas. LocalAventura wasn't the only one, and in one of my classes, entrepreneurial classes, I met my co-founder, Eugena Brown, and the two of us started on the journey of testing out the market, speaking with customers, trying to understand if LocalAventura was an idea that had legs. The more we spoke to our local guys in Latin America and heard that their biggest challenge was finding customers, and then on the flip side, the more that we spoke to customers and heard that their biggest challenge was finding authentic local guides who spoke great English, who offered a high-quality professional tour, the more we realized that this was a really exciting idea.

 

 

I'll tell you that we heard so many times from customers that they would show up in Machu Picchu with thousands of dollars in cash and meet a random person that they had found online, and they really had no idea whether or not this person was safe, or secure, or would show up on time, and would offer them a really good tour, and so that's the problem that we’ve been trying to solve with LocalAventura, and that's a little bit about how we got involved doing it.

 

Joost Schreve:

Great, great. No, it's great. It makes a lot of sense. It's quite similar to my thinking behind the Kimkim as well. You talked about looking at some other business opportunities as well. Can you talk a little bit about how this one really stood out as the one that you like most and you felt had the best opportunity and potential?

 

Andrea Vidler:

Sorry. Can you say that question again? It broke up a little bit.

 

Joost Schreve:

I'm sorry about that. Basically, can you talk a little bit about the other ideas you were considering as well? You mentioned that you were looking at other startup ideas as well.

 

Andrea Vidler:

Yeah.

 

Joost Schreve:

How did the idea for LocalAventura win out eventually?

 

Andrea Vidler:

Actually, check a really interesting class we're in. It was around web design and innovation. It's a class taught by Professor Karl Ulrich, and he uses this method called “The Innovation Tournament." Have you heard of this method?

 

Joost Schreve:

I have not heard of it. No.

 

Andrea Vidler:

Yeah, and so basically, the idea is that you start out with a set of … It could be hundreds of ideas. As they tell you to do in business school, I always kept a notebook with any of the ideas that came to mind, right? I had everything from like a dating app for divorcees, which I thought was exciting. Other people didn't really think was as exciting to a make-up brand that I was thinking about. Anyway, so I had a list of ideas. Basically, what you come in with this innovation tournament doing is you set out your ideas, and you work on them for a day with other students, and then you pitch the ideas to the whole group.

 

 

You start off with a set of a hundred ideas. That then gets filtered down to something like 20 to 50 ideas. You work on those like higher potential ideas for another day, and then throughout, you basically just filter out until you end up with the best version of your initial idea, and so I'll tell you that we did this course over maybe 4 or 5 days, but using that model I thought was really helpful. Any of the ideas I had, I would talk to my friends in business school and outside, and ask them what they thought was the potential for those ideas. The more we got input from outsiders, we were actually not only able to validate the idea for LocalAventura, but develop it and make it a better idea than it had been initially.

 

Joost Schreve:

Right, that is great. I mean, it's a great lesson to listen to feedback earlier on and try to see if what you have in mind really resonates with others, right?

 

Andrea Vidler:

Yeah, exactly. That's how we started, but then we also ran an MVP where we did like a pilot with a group of 5 to 10 customers, and using the information that we had from just doing that pilot really helped inform what the business model would ultimately be for LocalAventura. We realized that in the pilot, we were trying to be a travel agency and trying to offer everything from hotels to advice to itineraries, and we quickly found out that that was not the value that customers were looking for with LocalAventura. What they were actually looking for is curated local guides that they could book either custom towards with or towards what they already set out.

 

Joost Schreve:

Right, right. It makes sense. Any feedback that challenged really your ideas? Of course, from my own experience as an entrepreneur, you have to find that line, that fine line between listing to feedback, but at the same time, if you value every piece of feedback, you may never start something because there's always plenty of reasons why people say, "Oh, this is never going to work. How can you ever compete with those big companies that are already in the space? How will people trust you?" Et cetera, so can you maybe talk a little bit about the balance between being so much stubborn and believing in yourself despite comments of the contrary, et cetera?

 

Andrea Vidler:

Yes. One of the early pushbacks that I can remember, and that I think is still really interesting, and I still keep in mind is customers would say to us or people thinking about our idea would say, "Well, there's already … People can already do Google searches. People can use TripAdvisor. People can use Fodor's or Lonely Planet in order to plan their trip, and so maybe there's already enough support in this area. Maybe there isn't as much room for LocalAventura." I'll tell you that at least in the Latin-American market. I’ll give you an example of Chile. I went on maybe 50 to 100 tours in Chile, right? I have a pretty good sense of like what makes a good tour guide and what makes a tour guide who just doesn't have the same level of professionalism.

 

Joost Schreve:

Quickly, in those tours, they could do those purely to test your company, or was it also to just travel as part of your own travels?

 

Andrea Vidler:

At this stage, it was more so for the company, and I'll tell you that part of LocalAventura's value is that unlike some of the other booking platforms that let anybody on the platform, we actually filter, and it's a relief that every single one of our guides. The idea with our platform is that we have high-quality and professional guides, and so this is part of our business process is learning a bit about what is the actual experience that a guide offers on our platform.

 

Joost Schreve:

Great.

 

Andrea Vidler:

In doing that, it was incredible. I really got the chance to meet and connect with, learn from a set of incredible guides in Chile, but one of the interesting takeaways that I had was… Actually, one of the top-rated guides according to TripAdvisor was a guide that I actually didn't think was within the top 50% of those that I had interviewed.

 

Joost Schreve:

Right, right. He was probably good at getting people to review him, right?

 

Andrea Vidler:

Exactly, and so what we learned was that he was incredible at getting people to review him and at social media, and he's this incredibly charming great guy, but in terms of like the quality of what he was providing on the tour, the amount of content was pretty low. The places that he was taking you to weren't exactly the places that you would want to be going on a city day tour. That's exactly right, and so even though I trusted TripAdvisor, and I use TripAdvisor all the time, what I found interesting was that I think particularly in markets where TripAdvisor is still developing or where some of the other resources like even Yelp, for example, or some of these like marketplaces that are still developing, it is still a bit difficult to be able to filter through.

 

 

The other thing that we noticed on TripAdvisor in some … and again, some of the marketplaces is that travel agencies tend to be high or large booking platforms instead of individual or small local guides who in my opinion often offers some of the most authentic, incredible experiences and like they really put their heart and soul into it. Those are some of the learnings that we've had and definitely was worth the time and effort testing out the market in person in order to fully understand.

 

Joost Schreve:

Right, right. No, it makes a lot of sense. I totally agreed that TripAdvisor, which of course I know well from having worked there for 5 years. It's a great scalable global platform and product where anywhere else you can pull up, and it will have something relevant, but I totally agree with you that it's really challenging for them to offer real quality, and people really care about traveling in authentic and local way, and really learn more about, and make the most of their travels. There's going to be a little better ways than just TripAdvisor, and that's what we're building, right? Yeah. There's a lot opportunity there.

 

 

Okay, so this brings me to another interesting question is how do you acquire your users, right? Travel companies like TripAdvisor are very strong at search engine optimization. Everyone knows about them. How do you make sure users know about you? Let’s say I planned a trip to Chile. How would I ever find out about you guys?

 

Andrea Vidler:

Yeah. I think that’s actually such an interesting question. One where I feel like I’ve learned a ton about. We probably have around 3 different … 3 to 5 different channels where we acquire customers. One of the first ones and one of the ones that I think is extremely interesting is through advertising through Facebook and Google Ads, and so we have been testing various different types of ads, niche ads, more broad ads to understand how can we get out to our target market, and it’s incredible to me how effective those ads can actually be, so that’s probably our first channel.

 

Joost Schreve:

Can you mention an example of a Facebook ad, for example, that worked really well? Of course, only share things that you want me to know and the rest of the world.

 

Andrea Vidler:

Sure. Here’s another fun fact, right? We have a set of incredible tours throughout Chile, Argentina, Uruguay, and Peru on our site today. Of those tours, of course, we have walking tours. We have historical tours of different cities and local areas, but we also really care about parading unique and interesting tours, and so we have a really incredible photography workshop where you go through a workshop, and then you’d do a photo shoot throughout the day. We also have a pisco tasting class in Lima, Peru, and we have cooking classes, and so what I love is that we can offer something really unique.

 

 

Coming to the example of a Facebook ad that has been particularly effective, one of our first customer calls was from a couple who was looking to do fly-fishing in Patagonia. I think that’s a perfect example of how SEO and Facebook ads can be extremely niche and extremely effective because this couple was actually planning their entire trip around making sure that they could do fly-fishing. That was like one of the most important things that they wanted to do on their trip, and so understanding these niche customers, and reaching out to them, and sharing incredible guides that can show them an incredible day of fly-fishing is the type of thing that we try to share with the world.

 

Joost Schreve:

I know you mentioned other acquisition channels as well, right, that worked for you guys?

 

Andrea Vidler:

Yeah. Yeah, so that’s probably the first one. Another one that we care a lot about is putting out great content, so improving our SEO, and then also through our blog posts, through our social media, especially in a world where travel is becoming more visual and more picture-oriented. For us, Instagram and our YouTube channel have become areas that we’re putting, dedicating a lot of time to.

 

 

Then, a third one is a little bit more on the ground, so we’ve been testing with grassroots promotion where we work with local partners, and so for example, one of the ones that I think is really interesting is working with local language schools who have very similar interests to us, right? They’re trying to offer their students a really cool, authentic experience, trying to get them immersed into the culture, and so if we can immerse them by both having Spanish or other language classes along with tours that are really authentic, that can be a complimentary offering.

 

Joost Schreve:

Right, right. Cool. That’s great. Any other channels, or that’s pretty much an overview of the channels?

 

Andrea Vidler:

I think those are the primary ones, but I am constantly thinking about and looking into new ones, so for example, one of the best resources that I’ve seen is this book called “Traction.” You got the chance to read that one?

 

Joost Schreve:

Actually, I have not. No. Tell me about it.

 

Andrea Vidler:

Yeah. It’s actually really good. Several of my entrepreneurial friends from business school recommended it. It’s a short and very effective read I think, and one of the … and they talk about something like 20 different channels of how you can acquire a customer.

 

Joost Schreve:

Okay. I think I’ve heard of the book. I had been recommended to me too, so it’s on my list somewhere.

 

Andrea Vidler:

Yeah, yeah. Yeah.

 

Joost Schreve:

Right, cool.

 

Andrea Vidler:

It’s a good one. It’s a really good one. One of the things that they recommend along with the typical ones that you would think about advertising, SEO, et cetera are thinking about how you can do unique and like big, splash-worthy events or competitions, and so they talk about different examples of times where there have been giveaways or times where there have been competitions that you provide online that actually drive a ton of traffic to your website.

 

 

One of the other things that I remember is I spoke with an advisor who used to work at Nutella, and she talked about how they had this really sophisticated advertising plan where each week, they would have several posts to social media, and one of the members of her team suggested, “Why don’t we just do something simple and put up the question, ‘Should Nutella be paired with bananas or strawberries?’” and it actually… She thought that that was not really sophisticated, or not enough idea, or not really like a good question to be posting to the world, but it turns out that that simple post drove like one of the biggest days of traffic that they had. She talked about …

 

Joost Schreve:

I can totally see that actually.

 

Andrea Vidler:

Right?

 

Joost Schreve:

That’s cool.

 

Andrea Vidler:

That’s like really counterintuitive to me sometimes because it seems like something so simple can actually be really provocative. We spend a lot of time trying to use our data and analytics to try to drive results that make sense, and that are sophisticated, and that work using a strategy, but sometimes, I know and especially as a consultant, I have that tendency where sometimes, I try to be like overly strategic.

 

Joost Schreve:

Yeah.

 

Andrea Vidler:

I do try to put that aside sometimes to just say like, “Let’s just try things that might be new, might be different, but might actually really work.”

 

Joost Schreve:

Right, exactly. Yeah. No, for sure. Also, as an MBA, right? Both of us have an MBA. I guess sometimes, you have this tendency to overanalyze. Although, I think I lost that tendency a long time ago, so I’m just going … Since I started companies …

 

Andrea Vidler:

Good for you. That’s definitely what I’m working on.

 

Joost Schreve:

Exactly, exactly. That’s probably the most important transition from … To become an entrepreneur, at some point, you just try things and go as hard as you can. It doesn’t matter if it sounds silly or … You just focus on getting your results.

 

Andrea Vidler:

We’ve been using this mantra at my company. We’ve been telling the whole team to just go and break things.

 

Joost Schreve:

Right, exactly.

 

Andrea Vidler:

There will be times where they post things online, and they get kicked out of groups, and they feel disappointed, and I actually tell them, “No, that’s …” The office. It means that we’re trying something, and we’re testing, and we’re seeing where we can push the boundaries.

 

Joost Schreve:

Exactly, exactly. That’s great, and so maybe talk a little bit about your team. Your team is located in South America in different places, right?

 

Andrea Vidler:

Yeah. One of the things that we hear a lot about is that if we’re going to be offering Latin-American tours, that we’re physically located here, understand the market, and being able to provide really cool suggestions to our customers, right? Often, we hear about friends of ours who … calling their travel agencies, and their travel agent is located in Connecticut, trying to give them advice for how they should travel in Chile or in Patagonia, right? For us, it’s really important that we have been there and know exactly what to do.

 

 

We are still pretty early. We have a small team. We have a crew based in Brazil, another based in Columbia. Our developers are based in Chile, and I’m currently in Mexico City. Actually, we’re an extremely virtual company. I would say that we have learned to use every single tool in the book around how you can work virtually, and that’s something that has been a cool challenge, but has offered us the ability to stretch out across Latin America.

 

 

We’re really interested in being the lead tours and activities platform in Latin America, and so we’re now thinking about how to expand into some of the markets where we’re physically placed, but having our team spread out a bit means that we all have really interesting, unique experiences, but really learn from the local culture and from being in the market.

 

Joost Schreve:

Right, right. No, it is great. It resonates a lot too. There are small things you do and you understand, so when you are actually based in the markets where you are operating. Right. Yeah, that’s definitely something we struggle with a little bit. We’re based in Silicon Valley, which is a great place to start companies, but the trips take place somewhere else, and so we try to push ourselves to travel to those destinations often, and it’s interesting because it’s sometimes hard to justify it. Again, like if you would analyze this as an MBA or as a consultant like, “Why do you need to be there?” Like in theory, you don’t, right, but in practice, it makes all the difference for relationship building, for just getting a really good feel for what’s going on on the ground in those destinations.

 

Andrea Vidler:

One other thing just to add to that. I totally agree with you, but the travel business is changing so quickly in Latin America especially, so just to give you one example. If you think about Uber, so Uber has been in Chile for the past few years. Uber just launched in Argentina. Uber has been in Uruguay for a couple years. When I was in Argentina 2 weeks ago, it was very clear to me how Uber is going to really change the way that transportation happens to and from airports, right?

 

Joost Schreve:

Mm-hmm (affirmative), right.

 

Andrea Vidler:

Being able to tell our customers that instead of having to call in advance or instead of having to be able to speak Spanish to call a taxi driver that you may have never heard of that you randomly found online, we can actually say, “Here is a trusted transfer or taxi driver that we’ve used before, or actually, you can get around this city today using Uber very easily.”

 

Joost Schreve:

Right,

 

Andrea Vidler:

Knowing those facts around how travel is changing so quickly in these different countries I think has been, at least for us, a value-add, too, for our customer base.

 

Joost Schreve:

Right, I totally agree. Cool. Maybe talk a little bit about some of your destinations. You mentioned some of them, but give us a quick pitch of why should people travel to Chile, to some of the other destinations you have. What are some of the really cool new things that you’re offering there?

 

Andrea Vidler:

Yeah. Oh my god, I could talk about all of the countries that we’re in right now because I’m so excited about some of the tours that we have. I’ll tell you some of our most popular destinations, and one that I would really recommend actually is Patagonia. I know I’m from Chile, so I’m a little bit bias, but having traveled quite extensively and lives extensively throughout Latin America, I think Patagonia is one of the most incredible and beautiful places that we have as a treasure in Latin American.

 

Joost Schreve:

Patagonia is accessible both from Argentina and Chile, right?

 

Andrea Vidler:

It is. Yeah. Actually, there’s a little bit difference between the two. Argentina has beautiful cities like Calafate, for example.

 

Joost Schreve:

I’ve been there actually.

 

Andrea Vidler:

Yeah, and Chile has Torres del Paine, which I think a lot of people tend to associate with Patagonia because they have an incredible W or O track that people can do. One of the reasons why I highlight Patagonia is because it is only accessible really during Chile’s summer and a little bit in the spring and fall, and so at least for people traveling there from the US going during our winter is the best time to go, and so this … If you’re planning your winter break travels now, December, January is a perfect time to be in Patagonia.

 

 

I’ll tell you that it is one of the most spectacular views like literally everywhere you look in this place, you can have beautiful photos. Everything from glaciers to horseback riding to barbecue asados with the locals to trekking if you want to do that or you can do like day trips where you’re either on beautiful cruises passing by glaciers, seeing penguins, so it just in terms of like what you could get out of that, it’s an incredible experience, and I typically tell people that if they’re going to go to Patagonia, they should stay in Santiago for a few days as well to see the difference between both places.

 

 

In Santiago, you are able to … One of the things I love about Santiago is that you’re able to hit the Andes Mountains in an hour and go skiing, or at the same time in that same hour, you can go to various different wine regions, or in that same hour, you can hit the coast and be in beautiful beaches in Valparaiso, Indiana, or in that same hour, you could be outside in really cute little cities like Pomaire that are extremely local and authentic, or you could spend the whole day in Santiago, and there’s 3 to 5 days’ worth of things to do just in Santiago from learning about Pablo Neruda to taking or doing a cooking class and learning about authentic Chilean cuisine to learning about the history of the coup d’état, for example, in Chile in the 1970s. Anyway, so I tend to think that Chile is an extremely dynamic and exciting place to be, especially since the winter is coming up in the US, Patagonia is one of the areas that I would highly recommend.

 

Joost Schreve:

Right. It sounds great. Any other destination that is maybe surprising or maybe upcoming, whether it may be something that people don’t really think about when they’re traveling to South America?

 

Andrea Vidler:

One of the places that I also hold close to my heart is Peru. Machu Picchu, of course, people think of, but I also … I highly recommend various different areas in Peru. A typical 10 to 15 trip that I would recommend is spending several days in Lima. One of the reasons why I bring up Lima is because when you talk about up and coming, Peru is one of the fastest growing economies in Latin America. In terms of cities and development, Lima has developed several beautiful neighborhoods over the past 2 years and very much worth going to visit and have … The other thing about Lima or about Peru that is really up and coming is the gastronomy.

 

 

Peru has one of the strongest and finest cuisines in the world. One of their very important famous chefs, Gastón Acurio, has really helped develop this industry there, and because of that, the restaurants in Lima and in Peru are incredible and extremely affordable too for a US tourist. What I would say is spending a few days in Lima, then going and seeing these spectacular views in Machu Picchu, and spending some time in Cusco, which is the city closest to Machu Picchu where you can get a really authentic view of Latin America. You can meet and you can do all … and you can learn all about the Inca Ruins and Inca civilization.

 

 

Then, the other thing that Peru has to offer is you could do a few extra days either in the desert or in the Peruvian Jungle, and so that’s one of the things that I also love about Peru is that I think it’s something like they have 83 of the 89 microclimates in the world. What that means is they have literally everything, and so you can grow almost every food type in … somewhere in Peru, which is why they have such an incredibly diverse and exquisite type of food, and so one of the …

 

Joost Schreve:

I went rafting there actually outside of Cusco around, and it was amazing like there was a huge hike down this very steep canyon, so you start pretty high up. We did even some mountain biking there first, and then you hike down this very steep canyon. You get to this amazing river where you then raft for 2 days, and it’s just amazing. As you say, you pass through different climates, right? High up in the mountains, it was pretty colder and everything, and then you get to this really tropical canyon. It was totally beautiful.

 

Andrea Vidler:

Yeah, you can see … That’s the thing about it is that even if you just go for a short trip, you can really see a huge diversity in one country, and I hope that you also, while you were there, got to try the cuy or the guinea pig that is like a traditional meal in Peru.

 

Joost Schreve:

Not sure. I think we definitely ate alpaca.

 

Andrea Vidler:

Oh, yeah? Awesome.

 

Joost Schreve:

I can’t remember about the pig, but this is like 10 years … more than 10 years ago. We like to try a little different food, so I may have actually tried it.

 

Andrea Vidler:

Yeah. That’s definitely a fun one and a different one than what you would typically find, but as I mentioned, the cuisine in Peru is just … Everything from the fish from the ocean to the interesting combinations of fruits and vegetables that come out of the rainforest I think is … If you’re a foodie, that’s a really good place to hit.

 

Joost Schreve:

Very cool. Very cool, so maybe to wrap it up, can you share a travel experience that you yourself had and it really was a profound experience that maybe even changed your life to some extent?

 

Andrea Vidler:

Sure.

 

Joost Schreve:

No pressure on the tough question.

 

Andrea Vidler:

I’ve had so many travel experiences that I feel that are transformational, but I’ll share one just because it was the one that came to my mind as soon as you asked the question. Growing up, my best friend was Indian, and I had the great fortune of pretty much adopting her parents as my second set of parents, and they invited me to all their community activities, and so I would go to pageants with them on Friday. I would be invited to Holi every year. I had several stories in my own closet.

 

Joost Schreve:

This is when you live in New York, I guess?

 

Andrea Vidler:

Yeah, this is when I grew up in New York. Yeah. Everything from knowing and growing up with the food and the cuisine to growing up with the culture is something that I … I’ve always considered myself as having a little bit of like love for India even though I have no …

 

Joost Schreve:

Right. This actually sets a great aspect of the US actually that you live in New York, and you’re from South America, and they’re from India, and you become best friends.

 

Andrea Vidler:

Yeah.

 

Joost Schreve:

It’s amazing. I think people who don’t live here, they sometimes don’t understand how amazing the US is for those kind of experiences.

 

Andrea Vidler:

Yeah, it was funny. My group of friends, we had an Italian immigrant family, this Indian friend that I mentioned, another friend who was Irish-Nigerian, and another friend who was Jewish all in our group of 5-ish friends, and so yeah. It was pretty … We always thought of ourselves to be pretty diverse, but so growing up with this Indian friend. As I was telling, I was pretty immersed in their culture, but one of the moments that stands out is when her family friend invited me and her to her wedding in India.

 

 

Of course, having that opportunity is once in a lifetime, and so we packed our bags, and made it to India, and showed up in New Delhi. I remember, one of the first things that they did was give us an itinerary and a schedule, and what I hadn’t realize is that not only was I invited to the wedding, but I was invited to be part of the wedding party. This woman’s wedding party was a group of 30-ish women who were all supporting her and around her. The schedule that I was given was actually an itinerary of events that I needed to be at, and then in addition to that, I was then introduced to the choreographer who was going to teach me the Bollywood dance that I would then have to perform in front of a thousand people.

 

 

All of a sudden, I went from being invited to this wedding to being fully immersed in it. This family was incredible. They had us stay in their home. They invited me to every single event. They shared a book with me about what all the ceremonies meant and why they were important because, of course, this 5-day wedding had tons and tons of ceremonies. The next thing I know, I had gotten on a plane to Delhi, and the next thing I know, I was performing a Bollywood dance in front of thousands or hundreds of people. All right?

 

Joost Schreve:

Nice.

 

Andrea Vidler:

What I loved about that experience is that sometimes, you just need to be thrown in to something. I love to dance, but I’m no way a good dancer and definitely not a good dancer with Bollywood dancing, and so that was definitely a stretch experience for me, but I’m so thankful for that experience. In that trip, I also got to stay with a family in Jaipur and got to see the Taj Mahal, which I think is one of the most beautiful buildings in the world. I think being thrown in sometimes is the way to do it, and that’s one of the examples of when I really … I could say that I have always grown up surrounded by Indian culture, but that’s a time where I really understood it or I really started to understand being a little bit more from the inside than I had ever been before.

 

Joost Schreve:

Right, right.

 

Andrea Vidler:

I love that experience, and I love India, and I plan to go back. It’s a crazy place, but I think it’s beautiful and has tons of beauty in the culture and in the people there.

 

Joost Schreve:

It’s a good example of being pushed out of your comfort zone, when traveling, which always makes unforgettable experiences.

 

Andrea Vidler:

Yeah, for sure.

 

Joost Schreve:

Great. Andrea, it’s really awesome to talk to you. I’m afraid we have to wrap this up. I’m sure we can talk for many, many hours about travel, and we will, but for this podcast, I think it was really awesome to learn about how you translated your passion into a real business here and how you’re growing it. We’re very similar in phase. We’re really making this … trying to make this work early stage, so it’s great for me to learn from you, and I’m sure it will be great for our listeners as well.

 

Andrea Vidler:

Yeah, no. Thank you so much again for the opportunity. Maybe one other thing I will say is that I love helping people plan their trips, right? We offer free advice to anybody who’s interested in coming to Latin America, and so right on our website, people can email us and say, “We’d love advice about how to plan our trip to Argentina.” Even if they don’t end up booking towards with us, I love really helping people plan their trips and make sure that it’s an authentic and a great one. Hopefully, that’s something that can help your listeners as well, and like I said, thanks so much again for the opportunity. It’s been so great getting a chance to meet you and learn more about Kimkim, and I really appreciate it.

 

Joost Schreve:

Great. Same here. Take care. Thank you.

 

Andrea Vidler:

All right. Thanks. Bye-bye.

 

Joost Schreve:

Bye.