Provo startup encourages shift from ‘swipe generation’ through travel

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Krissy Weekley has always had a passion for travel.

From Kenya to Thailand to Tahiti and more, Weekley has explored places and cultures all over the world. As a non-married member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in her 30s, she wanted other single members to experience the magic of travel.

“I had this idea where I’d love to take people to travel and I thought, ‘Gosh, there’s nothing like that for LDS singles,'” she said.

Weekley added she wanted to create a way for people to meet each other and also have experiences of being immersed in cultures around the world.

Weekley said she also wanted to create an opportunity for single Latter-day Saints to “get out of this swipe generation where they’re constantly on Mutual or Tinder” and interact and connect with people face-to-face.

“I think the thing that we’re missing the most right now in our culture is just actually getting to know someone past a picture,” she said.

So, Weekley found a way to combine her love of travel with meeting new people.

In August 2018, she founded Monthly Roamers, a work-travel program for Latter-day Saint singles between ages 20 and 40. She worked with one of the founders of Mutual to advertise her startup on their dating app — Mutual’s first advertisement — and had over 1,000 people reach out to her about it.

“That’s when I got really excited,” she said. “(I realized) I’ve got something that I think is going to benefit a lot of people and bring a lot of joy to a lot of people’s lives.”

Monthly Roamers sets up two-week-long and month-long trips for groups to live in foreign countries. Participants “bring their jobs” if they are able to work remotely, and Monthly Roamers provides a co-working space in each location. Monthly Roamers also plans group activities for the trips, like boat rides, cooking classes, or ziplining.

Monthly Roamers has traveled to Costa Rica, Spain and Italy. They plan on visiting the Canary Islands in January 2020 and will announce their May 2020 trip in January.

Weekley emphasized that Monthly Roamers trips are not limited to people who can work remotely, but to anyone who wants to come during a break from school or work.

“I think the more people hear about it, they think that they have to have a job to come, but you don’t. Anyone can come,” she said. “Even if you just have an idea and you don’t have a job, bring it and you can utilize the people there that have entrepreneur minds, and have them help you in marketing and startup and in operations and sales.”

BYU alum Samantha Sappenfield has been on two trips with Monthly Roamers, and said she was able to collaborate with the other “roamers” about her job in marketing.

“One of the cool things about Monthly Roamers is that you have the ability to meet a ton of people in different industries and collaborate with each other and help each other grow in the different businesses or entrepreneurship that you’re doing,” she said. “So what I found really valuable is the different things I’ve learned from all (their) different backgrounds.”

Sappenfield said she didn’t just learn from the people on her trip, she also learned from those who live in the countries they visited.

“Anytime you go to any country and you meet new people and new places, you’re going to learn something from them,” she said. “It’s kind of fun going and living in a location for longer than a week — for a full month — because you actually get to know people.”

Utah State MBA student Joe Babbel went on Monthly Roamers’ trip to Italy in July and August. He said though he had traveled before, and even went on a trip to Central America with his brothers seven months prior to his trip with Monthly Roamers, it was a different experience because of the “awesome group of people.”

Babbel said even though he didn’t know those in his group at first, they all became friends throughout the two-week trip and even got together recently to hike the Grand Canyon.

“All the people were very just down-to-earth and humorous and kind and everything you’d want in a group that you’re traveling with, especially because we all didn’t know each other at first, but we all became great friends at the end.”

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