About the founder
I was bitten by the travel bug when I was young…
Growing up as a military dependent under my mother and stepfather, I spent most of my childhood moving to places like Germany, Guam, and even more exotic locales like South Dakota. I was able to travel around Europe during the earliest years of my life, an experience that led me to fall in love with seeing the world.
At 14 I moved to California to live with my father, and I watched him put work before everything. I knew there was no way I was going to live like that. He rarely traveled, saw his family only every few years, and always stressed about work and money. I made a huge effort to make sure that my life was always well-balanced. To this day I see so many people without that balance. The freedom and happiness I have is how I measure my “riches” but most people can’t find the same balance. Maybe because they’re scared to leave their comfortable job, scared to take a risk, or don’t explore other options.
I am definitely not that person.
Being a traveler is more of a philosophy than it is a lifestyle. It’s a refusal to spend one’s life in one place. For me, traveling was the best part of growing up, and it’s still one of the best parts of being an adult. The ability to go where you want, do what you want, the friendships that I formed, and the memories I made turned me into the person that I am today.
Ever since I became an adult I’ve traveled whenever I could find the time. Sometimes, I made the traveling into the job, like the summer I spent working an admin job for Denali National Park in Alaska. Life is an adventure to me and I’ve always made it a point to see as much of the world as possible. A backpack, a paycheck, and a hostel were all I needed when I was younger. Because of this mindset, and because of the people I traveled with, I recognize that there are an insane variety of people on the road. Not all of them fit the profile of what you might think of as a wanderer, but they do have one thing in common: they all take a chance on the goodness of others. That was a huge lesson.
Part of being a traveler means having a skill to rely on and for me it was fixing computers. When I finished up college at 25, a company finally took a chance on hiring me. My boss threw me into the fire, and I quickly realized that no manual could teach me how to do this job. Like the rest of my life, I had to teach myself if I wanted to succeed in my career.
When I wasn’t traveling, I didn’t want to leave a big footprint. With a $20,000 annual salary, you don’t have too many options unless you come up with some clever ways to save money, and that’s what I was great at. I rented rooms from free classified sites, but you quickly realize not everybody’s as normal as you (or at least as normal as you think you are). So, I had to come up with a process to weed out the weirdos and find the other working professionals with similar interests. It worked. I saved money, and I didn’t have run-ins that made me feel unsafe.
How did I know I was meant to be an entrepreneur? And how was I supposed to get there?
Step 1: Be a genius? No, I’m not that smart. What I felt made me different was how I took action on my ideas. Every year, I would make an Excel spreadsheet listing my goals, and then I break them down into digestible monthly chunks. A little research into the steps it would take and I could turn it into a checklist. Now I had the “how” figured out so there was a better chance of not failing.
I also felt like I was a leader from early on. My desire to lead caused issues for me in the corporate world: I tended to try to take the reins in any situation I found myself in. However, I always found issues with the internal processes of large companies, and my suggestions were rarely heard. It made the idea of starting a business all the easier.
Then, I decided to make one of my ideas into a career.
For a long time I was relying on making my way up the corporate ladder to make a life for myself, and to be happy. I was very passionate about IT, and couldn’t really see myself doing anything else.
I soon realized, though, that I was balancing two of my passions but not realizing just how much I loved one more than the other. While I was very passionate about IT, travel had always been a part of me. Having roommates and traveling was a way of life for me, and I was always using searching for the best ride sharing companies or roommate finder website. Eventually, I started to realize there wasn’t a place on the internet that stressed safety and community when looking for a roommate or in selecting travel buddies.
I knew there had to be more people like me, people who made safety their highest priority. There just wasn’t a place where people had not only agreed to prove they had a great history with others but knew everyone else had as well. I didn’t have that, and even though I adapted, I still wish I had.
That’s what makes me want to bring Haydash to the world: a hope of making people more open to the idea of meeting (and traveling with) strangers, as well as to help teach people a better way to share their spaces. I want everyone to have the opportunity to have great experiences and meet amazing people, the same way I did.
And that’s how Haydash was born…
Christine Williams / Haydash Founder