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Editor's Note: The following is a guest post from the founders of GuideHop.
I was recently reminded of one of the main reasons we started GuideHop when an old family friend was telling me about her honeymoon spent trekking the foothills of the Himalayas. She and her husband were led from village to village by a local Nepalese guide who helped them navigate the trails and communicate with the locals. Every night they would sleep in one of the townspeople’s houses and eat a home-cooked meal with the family.
That is about as close to an “authentic” travel experience as you can get--interacting face to face with the inhabitants of a new place, who are more than happy to rent out a spot on their floor to world travelers. Encounters like these can’t be mass-produced, and they are increasingly hard to find.
With GuideHop we set out to create a simple, reliable system that allows people (including ourselves) to get out of the hotel rooms, apartments, double-decker tour busses, and experience something genuine and unique. The result is a secure peer-to-peer marketplace allowing locals to share their world with curious adventurer-seekers from near and far.
Anyone can become a guide and post his or her own “hops,” which could be anything from arts and crafts lessons to neighborhood bike tours. Each guide brings a fresh perspective to the table, allowing limitless new possibilities for exploration and learning. Even in your own hometown you can find a guide who can show you something you never knew existed. It can introduce you to exciting new activities and people, sparking lifelong new interests and friendships.
We have seen through sites such as Wikipedia how crowdsourcing can allow individuals to share their specialized knowledge for the benefit of the world. While our goals for GuideHop may not be quite as earth-shattering, we envision that hops can be used for a similar type of knowledge-sharing. Imagine traveling through a national park with a botanist who can explain how an invasive species is strangling the native ecosystem, or wandering the ruins of an abandoned manufacturing town with a former resident.
We hope that as GuideHop expands our users will invent new ways of taking advantage of our open marketplace, and change how we view travel, tourism, and authentic social interactions. We’ve opened up an avenue for inquisitive strangers to share their passions, and we are exhilarated by the possibilities of where that road might lead.
Thanks to the founders of GuideHop for answering our questions in the form of this guest post.