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Looking Back on 2011

by Hacked By ofırlamaadam on December 29, 2011

Looking Back on 2011

To our members, followers, friends and family:

We typically don’t put ourselves “out there,” so this is unusual for us.


It occurred to us the other day, though, that we’ve built a product we’re so proud of, yet we never talk about what we’re working on or our goals and vision for the company. We get excited about what’s next but we don’t have anyone to share it with because we don’t like to talk about things until we think we’ve succeeded, especially when that “thing” is the biggest risk we’ve ever taken.

It’s time to change.

Our goal in 2012 is to be open about what matters most to us instead of worrying about critics and people who might not want us to succeed. Since quitting our jobs in 2010, we’ve been working full-time on Backpack Forever, and though we had the option to return to our frilly jobs, we decided against it because we believe in the concept behind Backpack Forever. Backpack Forever is our life. This is our livelihood. This is what excites us, and this is what we have to say about it. 


As with any business, we have experienced the typical emotions in the first full year of operation. We’ve had to learn a lot. Oftentimes, we felt like we were working blind, trying to build something no one has ever seen before, if that makes any sense. Taking a look back at this last year, however, we are happy to report that the highs have far outweighed the lows, and we are excited to continue to work and live abroad as we implement our vision for Backpack Forever. This “look back” post focuses on what we’ve accomplished since launching the site. 


•   As many of you know, launched in the middle of our 5-month South America trip in 2010. During our time in that glorious continent, we made great connections with hostel owners and received positive feedback from backpackers on the road, which convinced us that we had a great product, we were on to something good, and we weren’t wasting our time.

•    The site officially launched in Peru in late September 2010. Version 1.0 of the site allowed members to earn advertising revenues just by telling their stories. Our goal was always to help backpackers get paid while traveling, and we were happy to count ourselves among the few companies working for the backpacker.

•    Every incredible piece of advice we received on the road came from another backpacker. Realizing this, when we returned from South America in late 2010, we began building the infrastructure necessary to allow backpackers to share information in real-time. The current version of the site went live May 2011. We have to say we were really excited about never having to carry around a guidebook again. (And we haven’t.)

•    We spent the majority of the next few months working on a project we will tell you about if it comes to fruition. Very fun, exciting, secretive stuff! Hope we’ll get to work on it, and hope you’ll get to hear about it one day.

•    In October 2011, we headed back to Central America to hang out with backpackers and continue marketing the site. If you’ve seen a Backpack Forever sticker anywhere on the isthmus, take a photo and tag us on Facebook. We worked hard to put those stickers there!

•    Sometime in November, we found out that one of our stickers made it to the Mt. Everest base camp. Having a presence in Nepal made us feel kind of cool. So, yes, this was a highpoint for us.

•    We never left Central America! This December, we find ourselves settled in a house in Guatemala, where we’re focusing our energies on implementing long-awaited improvements to the site. Thanks to our amazing programmers, we expect to launch the first of these changes after the new year. So, members, keep an eye on your Inbox!

•    Almost forgot. For those of you who follow us on Twitter, you know we’re very active in the Twitter travel community. When we realized there wasn’t a unified backpacker-specific community (even though so many travelers use Twitter), we created #heybackpacker, a hashtag just for backpackers. It’s a great place to connect with other backpackers, find out where everyone’s headed, and get your travel questions answered. If you’re around on the Web, find us at #heybackpacker.
With 2011 almost behind us, we are looking forward to another great year. For those of you who have been a part of our success (we’ve mentioned some of you here), we thank you and count on your support as we continue to work on making Backpack Forever the leading website for backpackers. Thank you so much for being part of the Backpack Forever family, and hope your holiday is full of chocolate-covered Oreo balls, pizzelles, and gingerbread lattes. See you all on the other side of 2012!

Happy holidays,
Matt & Tran