GoPal was founded in Australia in 2018 by Bruce Southerden to help people all over the world find travel partners, travel more and experience happier, healthier lives.
This is Bruce's story.
Not long ago, a friend who had lost her husband the previous year asked me to join her on a trip to Oman. She was going to Europe and wanted a Middle Eastern stopover on the way, but didn’t want to go alone and none of her other friends were able to join her.
This 10-day trip completely changed the way I think about travel.
For one thing, I saw how much safer my friend felt exploring Oman with a male companion and how much that added to her enjoyment of the trip. We didn’t do everything together; nor did we share a hotel room. But travelling together did give us many advantages.
In Muscat, Oman’s capital, we stayed in a villa where our two rooms were much more comfortable than typical hotel rooms. We hired a car and driver to explore the desert and mountains with more freedom than we would have had on a group tour. Sharing taxis made getting around much cheaper and easier than if either of us had been travelling alone.
We were both from Sydney, but because we’d booked our flights at different times we flew to Muscat on different airlines.
That’s when it occurred to me that we could have arrived from different cities, or countries.
"The world is full of experiences that are better when shared"
I started thinking about people all over the world who don’t have a partner to travel with. Women and men who have lost their partners, people who want to go somewhere their “better half” doesn’t want to go. And not just singles, but active couples wanting to holiday with another couple for the company and to share the costs. Or solo parents with children who could team up with another solo parent and child, to share child-minding duties and for another adult to talk to at dinner.
Some of these people might end up travelling solo, some join group tours, others find companions through local clubs – if they’re lucky enough to find someone they get along with who wants to visit the same places in the same way at the same time.
Too many others, lacking someone to travel with, just don’t go, putting their dreams aside.
The world is full of experiences that are better when shared. Seeing your first iceberg two days into a cruise to Antarctica. Hearing dingos howl on a still, clear night in the Australian outback. Doing a walking safari with the Maasai in Kenya. Soaking up the ambience of a nightclub in Casablanca. Getting happily lost in Dublin or Venice or Buenos Aires or Tokyo.
Then there are the logistical advantages of having a reliable travelling companion, the things we take for granted when we travel as a couple or with friends – having someone to mind your bags in a busy airport while you search for an ATM, to share the cost of a taxi to the hotel, to have dinner with. Or just knowing someone “has your back” when you’re far from home.
Travelling with someone else can also make a trip more affordable – goodbye single supplements! – so you can stretch your travel dollars further.
For these reasons and more, I created GoPal – an open and honest forum to help anyone, anywhere in the world, find someone else to travel with.
I sincerely hope GoPal helps make your life happier and healthier – all because you’re now able to have wonderful travel experiences you might never have had, with someone, or several people, you might never have met.