Why My Near Death Experience on my Honeymoon Started My Startup

Written by
Kristina Liburd

Why My Near Death Experience on my Honeymoon Started My Startup

Written by
Kristina Liburd

Why My Near Death Experience on my Honeymoon Started My Startup

Written by
Kristina Liburd

I am a meticulous planner because I like planned spontaneity.

Planned spontaneity sounds like an oxymoron but I can assure you its a real thing. Planned spontaneity or PLASPO for short (I just made that up) is the kind of planning where you know where you’re going to sleep at night or how you are getting to A & B because not doing it would give you hives. PLASPO is the kind of planning where you have a general idea of what you’re going to doing but no solid plans because you want life to take a hold of your travel. To a certain extent. Like I said, avoiding hives. 

PLASPO is the kind of planning where you generally know what you are going to use as means to go about your day but not every hour is known. For instance, I know when the urge takes me, I will use Google Maps as my navigator, OpenTable to find a table to eat at, Google to look up ideas, Facebook to my travel groups for advice and inspiration and Instagram to post and show off #travellife worthy pictures.  A lot of apps, I know. But not much of a choice at the time.

For my honeymoon, I planned an epic trip - 

  1. Get married in Mexico with a crew of nearly 90 people;
  2. Whisk away to Rio a few weeks before the Olympics
  3. Then a layover night in Morocco 
  4. Few more days in Paris
  5. A week in South Africa with a safari thrown in; and, 
  6. Lastly a short 23 hour layover stay in Dubai. 

Three weeks for globetrotting. Amazing, right? Flights and lodging all taken care so we just need to let life take over to an extent.  Okay, I’m not being completely honest. I did have one activity that we absolutely had to make which was a skip the line for the Eiffel Tower on our first night in Paris. But other than that, life took the wheel!


One thing I believe that we Americans tend to do is believe that the solutions we use at home are exactly the same overseas.

You know McDonalds at home and know it’s overseas so how much of a difference could there be (check out the Black and White Burger, the Bacon Macaroni and Cheese Toastie and Shaka Shaka Chicken - full list here). The one thing I had a misconception on was a certain ride-sharing app that shall remain nameless. For the sake of this blog we’ll call it Hot Mess.


Hot Mess was a staple to me especially as I lived in NYC and used it for pretty much everything. So why wouldn’t use it in my travels? 

From our first day in Rio de Janeiro, we used Hot Mess to get about everywhere. And as Hot Mess had two different kind of options (Hot Mess Cheap and Hot Mess Class), we used Hot Mess Cheap to save money. And for three full days, we had no issues. We used multiple times in our quest for planned spontaneity. We wined, we dined and enjoyed nightlife using Hot Mess Cheap. And we were quite happy until we reached the end of Rio leg of our trip. 

The early morning of our departure both myself and hubby called for cars. I called from Class and he called for Cheap. Cheap got there first - a small little car that could barely contain our suitcases. Just as we drove away, the Class I tried to cancel showed up. I would come to regret getting in that car. 

Because we were set up. 


Cheap Driver decided to drive through one of Rio’s infamous favelas to get to the airport. And two kind gentlemen on a scooter with a semi-automatic riffle, shouted at the car in Portuguese, had us and driver get out the car and robbed us. Shoving the gun in our faces, they drove away with Cheap Driver’s car with our suitcases and bags (save the small bag at my side which had our passports, credit cards, phones and iPad).


After ping-ponging through a series of emotions, we went through with the rest of our trip as we much as we could (unfortunately the trip to the police station derailed our flight to Morocco and we had to get new tickets to Paris - I wasn’t missing my skip the line!) and got new things along the way. I compartmentalized the incident and tried to enjoy the rest of our trip with a husband who I knew  now could get into anything with and remain strong - talk about initiation. 


But as we continued on, we relied on our friends and travel groups for support. Everyone seems to believe that our Cheap Driver was in on the heist.  Why you might ask?

We learned from someone from our travel group that there is a major difference between Hot Mess Cheap and Hot Mess Class and that’s background checks! In Brazil, they are not done on everyone.


Now after everything I have told you about my planning process, two things I am most concerned with - means of travel and lodging but it’s all in the name of safety. Why wasn’t this on my radar? How could I have missed this? I had spent months planning this out, going over options, double and triple checking and I didn’t catch this. And perhaps I never would have because there is so much information out on the internet that is a miracle to find anything.


What if there was a way to get information truly catered to you? That you only get information that pertains to what you need for your trip? That fits your whims and desires? That you can find a community of people who have this pertinent information and not need to go through pages of pages of blogs and websites? And kind find reputable vendors that are matched to you so you have your planned spontaneity on your own terms?


And it does this automatically? Cut down on my time so I can enjoy life?


Yeah, it didn’t exist. So I and my co-founders created it. It’s called Viageur.

And in the end, if you are a traveler who likes flying off the seat of your pants or like to meticulous plan, Viageur can meet you where you are and find what you need so you can simply be traveler again rather than a travel agent. Our team and quite the international team at that is really passionate about making it easier for you to travel.  No more barriers. No more excuses. Just #PerfectTripLife. 


Let us know what you need to reach that #PerfectTripLife! Send me an email (and yes this is my real email) - kristina@viageur.io and let’s chat!