I am extremely proud to announce the launch of Excursionist. The idea for this site was born on the streets of India, during a trip my spouse and I took several years ago. Thanks to friends and colleagues familiar with the area, we were able to arrange a number of "excursions" tailored to our many passions, including social development, conservation and art.
We arranged to meet with an NGO in Delhi doing groundbreaking work to empower the poor by training them as tour guides, went tiger tracking with an Indian Wildlife Institute researcher, and bought modern art from emerging artists in a Mumbai arts district. Through these experiences, we gained unparalleled exposure into a challenging, vibrant and hopeful country that we might not have had if we went on an organized tour or just tried to do it ourselves with a guidebook.
Along with a passionate team, we started Excursionist to give independent travelers the opportunity to book the kind of unique experiences we had in India. We named our company Excursionist because we believe that combining several short, but immersive excursions in art, politics, conservation, wellness, etc. will change you as a traveler, and give you a different perspective on the places you visit.
We chose a mandala, or geometric prayer circle, as our company logo, using 7 concentric letter e’s intertwined. The seven e’s represent our seven passion categories and the seven continents where we plan to send our members. Just as a mandala is meant to be an entry point into personal transformation, we hope that our experiences can serve as an entry point for our members’ own transformative journeys.
In building this company, my team developed relationships with world-renowned experts who advise us on each passion category and curate exclusive experiences for our members. We traveled to over 20 countries to create relationships with local personalities and partner with the top outfitters to implement our experiences. We selected the highest quality boutique accommodations in every destination and negotiated special rates for our members. We also established relationships with NGOs, academics, artists and conservation organizations to ensure that our travelers could learn about the places they visit in a deeper way and give back to make a positive impact.
Finally, we set out to revolutionize experiential, luxury travel by building a website that gives travelers freedom in how they plan and book their journey. While our Experience Specialists are available to help in trip planning, our site allows a member to combine several short experiences, build a unique and customized travel adventure and get an approximate price quote all online and at their convenience! Our Excursion Specialists then help with transportation needs and confirm the details.
Because many of our offerings involve meeting local experts with limited availability, we chose to make our website membership-based. Our goal is not exclusion, but rather to create a community of like-minded travelers who are passionate about exploring the world. Over time, as our menu of experiences grows, we will make additional memberships available.
I look forward to receiving your feedback about our site and our experiences. We hope to have you travel your passions with us in the coming year!
Norman Aynbinder Managing Director & CEO, Excursionist