How Podstel is Growing on the Road

Kilometres Killed and Milestones Made

It’s fair to say that developing a start-up on the road whilst hitchhiking across an entire continent doesn’t feature in your average business strategy.

The only important question is do you believe it’s possible?

Building a business from our backpacks is certainly not without its perils and pitfalls and whether it be intermittent WiFi or having no permanent base to work from, our critics haven’t held back in telling us “you’re crazy” “it can’t be done” and “it’s too hard”.

And we’ll tell you this for nothing – there have been plenty of times along the way when we even started to believe them.

Just for the hell of it, let’s take difficulty levels up a notch or two. Try throwing into the mix the pretty crucial matter of designing a successful CrowdFunding campaign to raise £100k to finance Podstel’s beginning. As many leaders of failed campaigns will know too well, CrowdFunding the right way is not an endeavour fit for the faint-hearted.

Now it’s time to find out why everything you never heard about starting a business is true.

With a dream that was started in the Australian outback and carried across the world, Team Podstel don’t do conventional. But with passports filled with a host of adventures and misadventures including climbing to the top of the world in the Himalayas, motorbiking the length of Vietnam and using Tinder to hitchhike across North America, the question is, would you really expect anything less from us?

Knowing that we are most inspired when doing what we love and flying in the face of plenty of well-intentioned advice to the contrary, the road to Berlin is, really, the best office we could think of.

So whether it’s brainstorming from our tents or developing our strategy whilst giving the thumbs up at the roadside for the next hitch, we are wearing our Podstel gear with pride every single day to forge meaningful relationships, grow our network and build momentum.

Our time in Serbia has been a definite milestone on Podstel’s journey and marks the moment when we see all our days months and years spent building the dream finally starting to add up. And what an underrated Balkan beauty it is!

We knew we were onto a slam dunk from the moment we crossed the border from Romania when Dusan, a legendary Serbian basketball guru saved the day by picking us up and driving us all the way to our digs in Belgrade in true hitchhiking hero style. In all our time spent travelling this world, the amazing kindness of strangers is something which never ceases to amaze.

Ever since that day and with spring firmly in the air, we’ve been absolutely blown away by Serbia’s support and positivity for Podstel. We are proud to be working with some pretty big names in tourism and hospitality here, including Travel Time Collection, Serbia Tours, and Trip & Sleep Hostels.

Thinking back to the days spent battling punctures, break downs and injuries on a previous trip cycling 1,200 km around the perimeter of Tasmania on flimsy $80 push bikes, it’s hard to believe how far Team Podstel have come, in just one year. We’ve also teamed up with iBikeBelgrade to cycle immense 5 day, 300km loop around north western Serbia on top of the range bikes. Working with new partners has been great experience for us, and seeing the best of Serbia in this way has given us the space for reflection needed to rev up our focus for the next stage of our CrowdFunding campaign strategy.

Oh, and did we mention we’ve only gone and partnered with EXIT too?! EXIT are going to support Podstel when doors open and we will be leading an epic “Road to EXIT” hitchhike across Europe to EXIT Festival this summer as part of the deal. We’ve also landed some free EXIT Festival tickets, which we are hoping to give to two lucky Podvocates – watch this space!

Our time spent at a Serbian squat has given us some important realisations about fear of the unknown and the importance of getting over it. Having unearthed this hidden gem from the depths of Belgrade’s alternative underbelly, we’re so proud to have found out that major worldwide indie publication elephant journal feel as inspired as we do, and will be publishing our blog, “Squatting Serbia – How To Turn Fear Into Diamonds”. Links to follow.

So we hope you agree that everything you’ve never heard about smashing a start-up is true.

Sharing something which is pretty close to our hearts, we’d like to leave you with one last realisation from our journey to Berlin to build the world’s first CrowdSourced hostel:

“Never let your fear prevent you from doing anything. Instead, take small steps, every day, towards the things which scare you most. You’ll see that one day, they’ll all add up.” – Team Podstel

Fascinated by Serbia and want to know more? Get in touch with Travel Time Collection and Serbia Tours for the low down on travelling in this underrated Balkan beauty.

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