I’m Margaux, 28, a digital project manager and the founder of start up The Lone Travellers: a website and a community offering quick accessible information to young solo travellers, in no more than three clicks.
The Lone Travellers attempts to harness the brilliant sharing community of backpacking. It takes away the pain of waiting for replies on Facebook groups, sifting through blogs or having to traipse through endless comments for that one gem that will make your trip truly memorable. The target audience is female travellers between 18-35 though The Lone Travellers is truly useful to everyone. I only wish The Lone Travellers had been around when I first went travelling!
Did you ever sit down and plan your career?
I always knew it would be something international or with a humanitarian focus. My younger self actually wanted to work for the UN, but being inspired by my own travels and international business degree I now want to make The Lone Travellers a success and then use it to fund a trust tackling environmental issues. I’m particularly passionate about starting with the habitat loss of orangutans in Borneo and Sumatra, as an example.
Have you faced any challenges along the way? How did you deal with them?
The actual technical side of setting up The Lone Travellers was my first hurdle. I knew that the design and functionality had to be spot on to engage backpackers, making it easy for people to share their perspective on a country, and then for users to find all of this information in one place rather than having to search different websites for hours. So I enrolled on a coding boot camp in my native France to learn how to code and created the first version of the site!
Do you have a typical workday? How does you start your day and how does it end?
My days are like that of most Londoners in that it starts and ends with the tube! I work full time as a digital project manager by day and then by nights and weekends I am devoted to developing The Lone Travellers. The quality of content and contributors has naturally been a huge focus, and after much fine-tuning and four years of hard work I have finally been able to recently launch.
How do you feel about mentoring? Have you ever had a mentor or do you mentor anyone?
I was one of TTG’s 30 under 30 Tomorrow’s Travel Leaders which recognises future leaders in the travel industry and as part of that I have had access to mentors who have shared their knowledge of the travel industry with me. This really helped and is still helping with The Lone Traveller’s vision and strategy, so I personally think they are invaluable. I don’t currently mentor anyone but would definitely be open to it in the future.
If you could change one thing for women in the workplace, what would it be?
I have always been independent and this definitely encouraged me to think for myself and be open to travel. When I wanted to travel to Mongolia at 18, my friends dropped out but I didn’t let it stop me, and the same with setting out for South East Asia as a solo woman. Women wanting to travel solo are really the ones that The Lone Travellers was built for. It’s about inspiring them to travel, but also helping them to keep safe and be informed. So to see women have more confidence in what they can achieve in the workplace or outside of it would be a great change. Whether it’d be to have the confidence to climb up the ladder or decide to go on a trip around the world!
What has been your biggest achievement to date?
Definitely getting our first contributor on The Lone Travellers! When it comes to starting a venture, you can picture in your head a concept and imagine how it would work and the benefits, but the first time that you see it actually coming together – for me that meant a traveller taking the time to share their knowledge of a country – that is pretty special.
What are you hoping to achieve in the future?
I always joke that The Lone Travellers is like a sexy Wikipedia for solo travellers, I want to get to the point where the community updates content and sustains itself. Next I will continue to build content through our backpacking community so that we have more countries and cities represented.
Currently I am seeking partnerships with travel brands to then create offerings that would be of interest to our users. So watch this space!