Happy 2018! We’re starting the new year with a travel entrepreneurship series, and this week we sat down with Jared Schwitzke who is the marketing manager of Airmule. It’s a great travel startup that allows passengers traveling between the US and China to make some money on their flight by “selling” their available baggage allowance. In addition to how the service works and how to sign up, we talk to Jared about the logistics of how passengers pick up and drop off their cargo, and how the company ensures its passengers safety by vetting the company and cargo to be shipped, the demographics of the types of passengers they find use their service.
Jared was inspired to join Airmule on deciding he wanted to embark on a more travel-oriented career path after taking his first trip outside the United States, a few years after joining the work force our of college. The trip caused Jared to realize he didn’t like his job or the traditional career path he was headed down, and that he wanted to live a life where travel could continue to be a priority. On this episode, we talk to Jared about the kinds of experiences that led him to these realizations and inspired him to reshape his career track, the importance of making these changes while you’re young, and the sense of fulfillment he now gets from a job that allows him to help other people travel.
What we talk about in this episode:
- How Jared decided to take his first trip outside of the United States for two months, including taking a job that allowed him to move out of state after college which evolved into a job in Silicon Valley which that he wasn’t enjoying, and being inspired to travel after seeing posts of people he knew on social media
- How the trip changed his worldview, reset his priorities to travel as much as possible, and led him to search for a travel focused job – eventually leading him to Airmule
- How Jared felt touching down in a different country for the first time, documented his trip with photos on the advice of a friend, and what the trip ended up meaning to him emotionally
- Jared’s analysis on why he feels that friendships and cultural experiences you make/have while traveling can feel more intense than those at home, and his thoughts on reflecting back on your life at home while traveling
- Adjusting to different paces of life, customs and cultural norms around the world
- How his trip led to him reshaping his career goals after seeing what else was out there in the world and the realization of how he could travel for the rest of his life and still not see everything
- The importance of making big decisions like leaving a job you’re not happy with while you’re young because of how fast time can fly!
- How Jared found a good fit at Airmule after looking for jobs that incorporated and prioritized travel
- How the onboard courier Airmule concept works by compensating travelers who make their extra luggage allowance available for “purchase” between China and the US, and how the company got started
- How Airmule works to ensure security and prevent fraudulent activity by only engaging with TSA certified companies for shipping (as customers of the service), hand checking the shipment items, and advising the couriers to be honest when talking to officials
- How the service works from the traveler’s perspective, including listing your itinerary and available baggage on the Airmule platform, and how the travel day pick up and drop off logistics work
- The demographics of the traveler “couriers” using the service so far, including Chinese citizens, people doing mile/point runs, business travelers, and people who got a good deal on their flight
- How Jared now feels more fulfilled with his career and enjoys the feeling of working for a company that helps people travel and encourages them to discover China
- Some of the parallels between travel and working in a more entrepreneurial style or for a start up, like not necessarily knowing what you’re going to be doing day to day or how it will have an impact on your life
You can also check out our new travel community on Facebook where you can ask questions, get travel recommendations, and find community members in your area!
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