Horizon App: Providing Private Hospitality Exchange Networks for Communities

“It’s no secret, every traveler wants a friend in every city they visit. Trusted friends, and insider information, is the lifeblood of amazing travel experiences. Two people with shared passions and experiences meeting eye-to-eye in the same room and forming real relationships is where life’s magical moments stem from. Finding those amazing connections is a horribly inefficient process. We see a better way” – Drew Meyers, Co-Founder of Horizon App

With the growing demand for free or cheap places to stay around the world, many new services have risen to prominence within the hospitality and travel marketplace. Airbnb, VRBO, HomeAway and coach surfing services have become fierce competitors to the traditional hotel stays giving travelers better options for lodging and an opportunity to live like a local while abroad. Horizon, a relatively new mobile app and web-based service has joined the marketplace offering travelers the ability to intersect travel, community and social good with each stay. Launched in March of 2015 by Drew Meyers, Will Moyer and Oren Borovitch, Horizon provides a searchable private hospitality exchange network in over 120 countries around the world.


The mission of Horizon is to increase access to travel opportunities by enabling shared hospitality among trusted contacts and communities; providing free or cheap accommodation and cultural experiences not otherwise available. The founders of Horizon strongly believe in the importance of getting people to travel and experience cultures vastly different than their own in order to create a society that gives back and understands the world.

“Enabling more people to venture outside the friendly confines of the their own country and experience an array of foreign cultures, will grow the community of those who realize we live privileged lives the majority of the world can only dream of. Those who experience the world are exponentially more likely to work on projects that improve society and raise the standard of living for those in poverty, rather than just maximizing income”. – states Drew Meyers.


Bonnieux, France

Context Travel: Small guided tours for the intellectually curious traveler

At the end of May, I attended my third TBEX conference (Travel Blog Exchange) and was introduced to Paul Bennett and his wife Lani, the founders of Context Travel. Context Travel is a network of Ph-D level scholars and experts living in cultural capitals around the world who take tourists on small or private guided tours of their cities. Paul and Lani founded the company in 2003 after two years of sailing across the Atlantic with their young children. They were so inspired by the experiences while traveling that they wanted to create something authentic and unique. A kind of travel company that would enable travelers to get a rare behind the scenes view of what a place is like while also promoting sustainable travel. There are no tour buses or tour guides; instead you are swept away on a walking “seminar” with a local expert.

The Context vision is to create an atmosphere—a context, if you will—for curious travelers to engage with local experts; to give them access to places and cultures that might otherwise remain out of sight to the casual visitor; to invite them off the tourist track and into the real life of the people, history, and culture that makes these cultural capitals amazing.

Paul and Italo on a drive through Venice's canals.

Paul and Italo on a drive through Venice’s canals.

Fast forward 13 years, and Context Travel now operates in over 35 cities around the world, inspiring travelers to see a city through local, knowledgeable eyes. Context Travel is recommended by such acclaimed sources as the New York Times, Travel and Leisure, and National Geographic (to name a few) as well as a growing number of highly satisfied customers. I was so inspired by Paul and Lani’s story that I asked to do an interview to learn more. Here is what Paul had to say.

Chicabrava Surf Camp San Juan del Sur Nicaragua

Chicabrava: Empowering young girls through learning to surf

To be a girl in the developing world is an additional hurdle to overcome. Not only will you likely be poor, you will also likely be married young, uneducated, physically and sexually abused and lack the potential to follow your dreams of having a better life.

What if we could change this vicious path and instead give young women an opportunity to thrive, to be inspired and to follow their dreams? 

This is the inspiration behind Chicabrava’s Camp Bella and Chicas Adelante. To break the mold of gender equality by offering young women and girls hope. Hope to dream. Hope to change their destiny and hope for a better future.

Chicabrava Surf Camp San Juan del Sur Nicaragua

The women of Chicabrava Photo credit: Chicabrava

Houston-native Ashley Blaylock moved to San Juan del Sur, Nicaragua in 2003 when it was an undiscovered fishing village. She had fallen in love with the country and wanted to follow her dreams of starting up the very first all-women’s surf camp in Nicaragua. At the time, no women surfed yet Ashley persevered. Over time she developed strong ties and acceptance within the local machismo community and opened the doors to Chicabrava in 2008. By working with the community, Ashley helped transform the cultural belief that surfing was only for men and party goers. On the contrary, Chicabrava broke gender roles by demonstrating that surfing is a serious sport that women can enjoy and feel empowered. 

Child Labor, Marriage, Education and Survival Global Issues Nicaragua SOCIAL GOOD TRAVEL TRAVEL BY REGION Women and Girls