Eureka moment? Vision in my dreams? Not at all!
Innovative ideas and theories usually come up after a process of reflection, search of a solution or as a consequence of events that happen in our environment. Although it’s more vendible to say that Newton discovered everything with the hit of an apple, there was much more behind the theory of gravity.
In this first article of TRACK OUR AMBITION, I want to explain the process and the situations that led to the final idea of AMBITIOUS TRACKS and show how creation/innovation is always a process and not the ubiquitous eureka moment we are tired of hearing.
Actually, it is difficult to specify when exactly the first idea came to my mind and I decided to start this journey, but all started more or less a year ago.
More than a trip
It was April 2015, I was visiting my dear Borja, friend and now co-founder of Ambitious Tracks, in China. It was a different trip for me. Along the journey we didn’t plan that much the schedule, I wasn’t used to travel that way but since we were in Borja’s field (he had lived in China for some months) I didn’t oppose.
We slept on the floor of 14-hours trains while a crowd of Chinese people took pictures of us totally beat, we arrived in a village of two streets late at night without accommodation and having a tough trekking route next day, we got off the buses between cities wherever we thought it would be better (not having a single clue), we booked hostels hours before our arrival, we ordered food recognising just one symbol out of ten and all these things that happen when you don’t plan anything in a trip (which is great!).
Surprisingly, everything went smoothly and with not that much stress, so mission accomplished! Although Borja was used to these kinds of trips, I experienced for the first time the freedom of travelling with no rush and improvising each couple of hours.
Getting inspired after the trip hangover
It was already the end of May 2015 and when I came back from China my rental agreement had already finished, but I had to stay 3 more months around Milan to meet my duties at university. Since there was no good rental option for short periods there, why not a Workaway experience? (Exchange of accommodation and food for some hours of work)
I looked for a host in the surroundings of Lombardia (Italy) and I found a great place by Lago Maggiore in the middle of a forest and with awesome views. The couple that hosted me was totally inspiring. One of them had travelled by bike for 2 months in India and hitchhiked from Italy to Norway when he was young, around 30 years ago, and with no Internet!!! 😮
A turning point came in this Workaway stay and not only their inspiring story mattered, but the huge amount of time I had to think. My job was about cutting wood, moving wood, cleaning the garden and again moving more wood, a routinely task that I could accomplished without burning so many neurons. I had plenty of time to think about many things, like my future or a way to travel long-term while not going bankrupt.
The first draft
It was around June 2015 and I came up with the great idea of a travel blog! Such an original idea nowadays!! (Not at all, I am well aware of that). During some time I tried to refine the idea, add different things, talk to some friends about it, find other options and find a partner for the venture.
But a travel blog wasn’t as scalable and big as what I was looking for. Most blogs are grown around a person (the travel blogger), which is great and I am the first reader of them but not suitable for the idea I had in mind. It should be something more impersonal and scalable but with the closeness and credibility that travel blogs have.
The other option was something like a magazine, a travel magazine sounded quite great. The new Lonely Planet!! That sounds far better and more ambitious ;)! However, we (Borja was already on board) found that there were so many bloggers and magazines out there covering trips, perfect destinations and adventures around the world. Therefore we had to think something different to add more uniqueness to our baby. Something else was necessary.
The other side of the coin
It was the end of August 2015 and I was in Madrid literally melting myself while trying to write a master thesis. The idea of the travel magazine was put aside for a while until I discovered a great place recently opened in Madrid, the Google Campus.
There were already other three around the world in Seoul, London and Tel Aviv, and this one was the fourth (there are two more right now, in Warsaw and São Paulo).
The campus is an open place where people gather together around several events and exchange different ideas. I was already passionate about startups and so on before this, but it wasn’t something that I expected to find in Spain, it sounded more like Silicon Valley or London stuff.
So I went one day with a friend to figure out what was going on there and, I must say that, the atmosphere was absolutely great and inspiring. After the talk, everything was totally ready to interact and exchange ideas with the attendees, and the best part, FREE BEER in the cafeteria to smooth the networking 😉
We stayed there until they ran out of beer and the guard kicked us out of the building. The energy of these people was incredibly contagious and listening to their stories, ambitions and experiences was absolutely overwhelming!
That day, when I was going back home I thought that It would be great to connect somehow the travel magazine with these inspiring stories and great projects. Since I was surprised of the high level we had in Spain, I wondered whether it would happen the same in other places around the world apart from the mainstream ones… even without noticing, I had figured out the key point that would make our baby special.
We should travel not only to discover great cultures and landscapes, but to find the innovation and inspiring stories of these full of passion young entrepreneurs, no matter where they are.
And… bang! The final idea
The next day I talked to Borja, I still remember when in the late teens we met at university and talked about building new things and companies that were already building things, we had endless conversations about which business models would be more successful and the pitfalls of others, so I knew beforehand what he was going to say. He loved the idea.
So that was, the venture was going to finally be an online magazine about travelling and entrepreneurship. We would travel around the world looking for disruptive technologies, passionate startups and entrepreneurs while enjoying different cultures and locations, and we would write about both sides of the coin.
It was September 2015 and AMBITIOUS TRACKS was already born.
As you have seen, it was a series of facts and situations that led to the final idea, and without one of these facts, it could have been something different from what Ambitious Tracks is today.
Without the trip to China I wouldn’t have experienced the greatness of travelling randomly and with no plans, without the Workaway inspiring period and the amount of time I had, I wouldn’t have had the first rough idea of an online travel magazine and without the attendance to that talk I wouldn’t have thought of the key feature of our baby.
I learnt with all this that it’s important not to lose or underestimate the facts and situations that may lead to the final objective you are pursuing. Even though the objective may not be totally clear and the facts mightn’t be that much connected to that objective, just think and imagine broadly, we never know where the inspiration may come from. As Steve Jobs said once, it’s only possible to see the connection of the facts when you look backwards.
The trip has already started, get on board and track our ambition 😉