Working abroad and exploring much of Europe, South-east Asia, North America, and South Africa, Stewart set out with his best friend, Liam Kelly, to offer the most meaningful travel experiences this planet has to offer, with real personalized support and guidance from an experienced team - as such, TravelBud was born in 2013 and continues to expand and grow in leaps and bounds.
What is your favorite travel memory?
That has to be meeting my fiance in Thailand. I was visiting TravelBud's in-country partners in Thailand and my fiance-to-be and I crossed paths as she was teaching there. We had an unforgettable time traveling to national parks and exploring the town where she was placed.
Fast-forward a few years and we're happily living in Cape Town together!
How have you changed/grown since working for your current company?
Absolutely. Growing a company from the ground up is no easy task but boy has it been a journey for me. I've learned so much, about myself, about those closest to me, and about the incredible team TravelBud has grown into.
If you could go on any program that your company offers, which one would you choose and why?
Tough call! I think it would be a toss up between our Volunteer in Zanzibar and Teach English in Colombia programs. My wife and I spent our honeymoon in Zanzibar, so the location carries personal meaning for me. I'm thrilled to have the opportunity to launch a volunteer program there, as it's one of Travelbud's newest programs abroad. On the other hand, teaching in Colombia is such a rewarding program that offers so much to the students. And who doesn't want to live in Colombia for six months after watching Narcos!
What makes your company unique? When were you especially proud of your team?
We're such a close-knit team that truly cares about each and every participant that takes part in our programs. We're all so collectively invested in the growth of TravelBud and the quality of the experiences we offer and this passion filters through to our unique quality of service and support - which is extremely personalized.
Oh, and every member of the team has taught or volunteered abroad before too and there's nothing better than receiving guidance and support from someone with first-hand experience.
What do you believe to be the biggest factor in being a successful company?
There needs to be a high level of self-respect and support for one another within the team, especially from the top. And you need to truly believe in what you're offering.
Too often companies care too much about money and overlook these crucial fundamentals. Team morale and purpose is extremely important and if you have a team who support and respect one another, and are motivated in their work, it will filter through to every other aspect of the company.