By Lydia DePillis
WWR Article Summary (tl;dr) How would you like to spend the next 12 months traveling around the world while still getting your work done? The founders of “Pangea196” say it’s possible and they’re ready to set you up with the perfect travel package to make it a reality.
Travel agents have long seemed like one of those types of intermediaries doomed to death by disruption. Who needs professional help when flights and accommodations are available anywhere in the world with a tap on your smartphone or a click of a mouse?
It turns out travel is changing — and with it, a new type of travel agent has emerged.
Meet Pangea196. The four co-founders — Meredith and Lawrence Kalinov, Bobby Mansour, and Stela Tomova — sit around a table cluttered with laptops and travel guides. Their product is no two-week greatest-hits adventure tour, but a year-long, 12-countries-in-12-months, 30-person trip around the world. For $27,000.
And here’s the key: It’s not supposed to be a vacation.
The startup’s warehouse-like office, in an industrial park on a sparsely populated stretch of Steubner Airline Road, shares space with a fabrication shop owned by the Kalinovs. So despite the occasional shriek of sheet metal being cut next door, it’s their best source of free work space. But Pangea196 is targeting people who typically camp out in Starbucks.
“If you go downtown and you walk into any of the coffee shops during the day and you see all those people with their laptops open, they’re at work,” says Meredith. “And they’re paying more than this costs to sit there in that coffee shop, and the reason that they’re there is that they don’t want to be alone. They don’t want someone to tell them to go to the office, but they still don’t want to be alone.”