Meet our Founders this ‘International Women’s Day’

International Women’s Day (March 8, 2020) is a global day celebrating the achievements of women. The day also marks a call to action for accelerating women’s equality.

International Women’s Day (IWD) has occurred annually for over a century, with the first IWD gathering in 1911 supported by over a million people.

In 2018, The Mindful Travel Co. was founded by two women and today, International Women’s Day 2020, we wanted to celebrate this fact. Women haven’t always had the rights to be able to demonstrate their creativity through entrepreneurship and we wouldn’t be where we are today without the bravery and commitment of the women who came before us.

This International Women’s Day, we thought it would be nice for us all to get to know each other and so, several weeks ago, we asked our Instagram followers what they would like to know about The Mindful Travel Co. and our co-founders, Emma and Laura.

Here are the results and our answers to those questions, to boot!

Where did the idea for The Mindful Travel Co. come from?

Laura: I’ve been passionate about the environment and sustainability for some time. I’m just as passionate about travel and I started thinking about travelling sustainably. I started to work out my carbon footprint each time I went on a trip and I was surprised at how high my carbon footprint was.

I looked into offsetting some of my emissions through planting trees and realised that there weren’t any travel companies out there raising awareness by working out the carbon footprint for their customers.

At this time Emma was visiting me in Queenstown and we discussed the idea of starting out own travel agency which would let customers know what their carbon footprints were and offset them by planting trees at no extra cost. The Mindful Travel Co. was born!

How do you work out carbon emissions?

Emma: We use a travel emissions calculator to work out the total emissions of a trip. First, we’ll study the itinerary, work out the mileage plus any other forms of transport like boats, ferries, hot air balloons! Then, we add on a basic standard amount of emissions per person which covers daily food and waste.

Once we have a number of tons we can work out how many trees it would take to offset this carbon over time. At The Mindful Travel Co. we plant 4 trees per ton of carbon emitted in order to speed up the process.

You can learn more about this process here.

How long have you known each other and how did you meet?

Emma: We met working for a travel agency in Byron Bay, in 2016. We’d often work the late shift together, blasting an 80’s playlist and sharing stories of our travels.

Laura: We went for a beer at a bar called The Northern one day after work and that was that! We spent many afternoons cycling around Byron and drinking Prosecco at the beach. Even after I moved to New Zealand, and finally back to the UK, we have managed to keep our friendship and working relationship as wonderful as ever.

What’s your favourite thing about travelling with Emma / Laura

Emma: My favourite things about travelling with Laura are her motivation and organisation! She’s great at planning (which makes her an excellent travel agent!), and can always motivate me to get up early to see the sunrise, or climb a volcano (true story)!

Laura: Haha, well I would have to say that my favourite thing about travelling with Emma is that she is always keen for an adventure. She always allows me to embrace my inner nerd and will always come explore a cathedral or climb a volcano and that is exactly what you need in a travel partner.

What was your favourite ever trip?

Emma: Fraser Island was my first taste of ‘adventure’ travel and I loved it. There’s a reason it’s one of Australia’s must-do’s! Plus, it’s where Laura and I first traveled together and made memories that make me chuckle every time I think of our trip.

Laura: Mine would have to be Kangaroo Island for the same reason – it was the first guided tour I did after arriving in Australia and it will always hold a special place in my heart. I am a huge wildlife fan and Kangaroo Island has it all. I saw my first Koalas and Kangaroos over there and I remember thinking ‘Wow, I’m in Australia!!’

What would you recommend always carrying / packing with you on your travels?

Emma: Sunscreen! So important to take care of your skin, and it’s more expensive in some countries than others so best to bring it with you. And a light rain jacket – I always groan about taking one as they aren’t the most fashionable, but I’ve lost count of the amount of times I’ve cursed myself for not taking it when I’ve needed it!

Laura: I’m extremely mindful of my plastic usage and waste and therefore I literally do not go anywhere without my reusable drinking vessels! I have a KeepCup for my daily coffees and a metal water bottle which must have been around the World several times by now.

Where’s your favourite destination in NZ?

Emma: The Coromandel! Spanning more than 400 kilometres of insane views and sandy beaches, it’s full of tiny, rustic towns filled with friendly locals. Laura and I hired a car last year and met some friends at The Coromandel and had a blast.

Our friends were local so they knew some secluded hot spots and we got up super early one day to watch the sun rise at a deserted beach, which was magical. We also visited Hot Water Beach – it’s an awesome little spot where everyone digs a hole in the sand, hops in and waits for the hot springs to bubble up – basically making your own natural jacuzzi!

Laura: There’s something about Rotorua that just connects with me. When we did our North Island road trip and we spent a few days in Rotorua. On the way to Rotorua we visited one of the glow worm caves in Waitomo and then explored the Hobbiton Movie set.

We did the night experience of the Redwoods Treewalk, climbed Mount Tarawera and were absolutely blown away by the evening experience at Te Puia. It was such a phenomenal few days and I can’t recommend this area of NZ enough.

Where’s your favourite destination in Australia?

Emma: As much as I love Australia’s East Coast – Tasmania stole a piece of my heart. I did a guided tour of Tassie’s East Coast (and even brought my mum and dad along!) and am dying to go back and rent a campervan to spend longer exploring. The food and wine was the best I’ve tasted in my 6 years in Oz!

Laura: Has to be the Whitsundays. I’ve been lucky enough to visit a few times now and it never gets old. Airlie Beach is a lovely, laid back town to spend a few days relaxing in. Then the Whitsundays are mind bowing! I’ve done day trips and overnight trips and Ride to Paradise (Emma and I went on this trip in May) was absolutely stunning and we have added it to our East Coast packages because we had such a brilliant time.

What one piece of advice would you give to solo female travellers?

Emma: Join a group tour! You will never be the only solo female traveller on a group tour so it’s a great way to meet someone in the same boat as you.

Laura: Agreed 100%! I love travelling alone and I always stay in hostels which allow me to meet new people and I always join guided tours for the same reason. We get asked this a lot by travellers who are moving to Australia for a Working Holiday and for this I recommend investing in one of our Welcome Packages.

These are great because they’ll collect you from the airport, organise your accommodation and plan all of your activities for that first week or so. This way you have a ready-made group of friends with whom you spend your first week and explore your new home with! These people may be your new best friends or housemates and it’s a great way to start a new adventure! Welcome packs are available for Sydney and Melbourne.

Do you have a question for us?

We’d love to hear from you this International Women’s Day!

Ask us anything from mindful travel to sustainable travel, from travelling Australia to New Zealand and from travelling solo to what to expect on a group tour.

Drop us a question in the comments section below!

Are you going travelling soon?

We know that it can seem overwhelming when you first start planning your trip.

There’s flights and visas, what to pack, when to go, where to start, end and what to see along the way! There’s a lot to think about and heaps of exciting things to plan!

Let us help you! Get in touch.