If there were a beauty pageant for European capitals, Bern would get the crown. This well-known Swiss city oozes with cosmopolitan charm, history and culture, and consistently gets high marks from visitors. They extol its accessibility, unique attractions and impressive Alpine views, as well as its ample shopping and dining options.
It’s hard to imagine what a noted British poet, a famous film actor, a celebrated French fashion designer and the lead vocalist of the rock band Queen could possibly have in common. Yet, each of them – Lord Byron, Charlie Chaplin, Coco Chanel and Freddie Mercury – all resided, at one point in their lives, in and around the French-speaking region of Lausanne and Montreux, Switzerland. After visiting this vibrant and alluring locale, I understood why these celebs and others have chosen to call it home.
I was a woman on a mission when I set out on my Peruvian Amazon riverboat adventure with International Expeditions. Like most of my fellow passengers, visiting the Amazon was a bucket-list destination, one that promised to be a significant and momentous travel experience. My objective was to learn firsthand about this unique environment and its diverse wildlife, as well as about the people who inhabit its lush and verdant rainforests. I had another goal, though, which was to see an Anaconda snake. Odd, I admit, but for some reason, this creature has always held a curious allure for me, after having heard tales of its almost mythical proportions and surreptitious existence. In the wild, an Anaconda spends most of its time hanging out in rivers hunting for food. A solitary snake, it is somewhat shy and not easily seen due to being camouflaged in the swamps and bogs in which it thrives. The Amazon is the Anaconda’s home and I knew this trip represented the best opportunity for me to finally come eye-to-eye with this storied reptile.
EverGreen Escapes has been exploring and sharing the Pacific Northwest and other experiential destinations around the planet since 2006. After years of engaging and consulting “escapists” in a conference room or at a local coffee shop, they have decided to create an innovative “Adventure Hub,” a place where travelers can congregate, educate, learn, share, network, and plan extraordinary adventures in their own backyard and beyond. The company is financing this new and innovative take on the traditional travel agency or store with the help ofCommunity Sourced Capital, a local finance company that helps small businesses borrow money directly from people in their own community.
“Our appreciation for the power of travel goes beyond just running a profitable business, we are a purpose-driven group of travel professionals that take an immense amount of pride in designing and providing transformational travel experiences,” says Jake Haupert, Founder of EverGreen Escapes. “It is with this very fervor that this vision was born and it is with this inspiration that we’d like to create a space where visitors and local explorers alike come in, engage, find inspiration and take the first step in creating their next travel story. In our ‘hub,’ we’d like to invite curious and responsible explorers to come in, hang out, have a glass of Washington wine and rub shoulders with our Escape Artists in a more organic and authentic way.”
In addition to the on-site EverGreen Escapes staff, the Adventure Hub will be a place where other members of the travel industry collaborate with each other, dream up new itineraries and engage with the community through educational events, guest speakers, destination roadshows, workshops, and evening soirees like the “Escape Your Everyday” Adventure Travel Series. The Adventure Hub will welcome locals to come in and learn about global exploration as well as local opportunities, while visitors to Seattle can come in and see what Cascadia has to offer!
Community Sourced Capital’s innovative concept makes it easy for anyone to participate in financing this local “Adventure Hub” by investing in a “Square.” Squares can be purchased for $50 per unit, thus opening up this low-risk, feel-good opportunity to our community of ambassadors, past escapists, and other individuals who connect with the experience of travel.
“Squares themselves are simple loans and they act like this: you put $50 in and you get $50 out. It’s not an investment, it’s not a donation, it’s a right-sized mechanism for moving money to a business in your community while still getting paid back,” says Casey Dilloway, one of CSC’s co-founders.
Community Sourced Capital aggregates hundreds of Squares into a single loan for EverGreen Escapes and manages repayments and monthly updates back to their “Squareholders”. Instead of charging interest on loans, CSC charges flat fees to businesses using its lending system.
"Creating this Hub in the city of Seattle, as sustainably as possible really reflects the community we're building it for,” says EricKocaja, General Manager of EverGreen Escapes. “We care greatly about the history and culture of a place, but we also care about leaving it a better place than we found it for future generations. We want this philosophy to be consistent in our business practices, our travel practices, and now our workplace too. This cannot happen without the support of our community from the very beginning. We're really excited to get started and see how this grows."
Community Sourced Capital has an exciting opportunity this holiday season to buy a “Square for your Stocking” by purchasing a physical Square to gift to someone that loves small businesses like EverGreen Escapes. Since launching its first loan this year, CSC has engaged over 1,000 Squareholders to fund $175,000 in loans for twelve small businesses in Washington. EverGreen Escapes’ campaign runs through the end of January. Find out more about the campaign athttp://www.communitysourcedcapital.com/evergreen-escapes/ .
It doesn’t take long to realize that there’s something special about Fredericksburg. For a small Texas Hill Country town, its attractions are numerous and noteworthy. Visitors have long been attracted to the area due to its picturesque scenery, deep historical roots, outdoor recreation opportunities, eclectic shops, colorful cultural vibe, great food and prolific wine scene. And then, there’s the people. You won’t find friendlier or more hospitable folks who truly “walk the talk” when it comes to putting out the Willkommen mat to their town. They’ve even named all of the streets crossing Main to the east so that their first letters spell out “All Welcome,” while those to the west spell out, “Come Back.” Once you’ve experienced Fredericksburg, it’s easy to understand why visitors return year after year, never tiring of the town’s sweet charm and ambiance.