From New Orleans but at home everywhere he travels, Travis aims to support fellow travelers to live a more rewarding life.
A long-time Wwoofer and volunteer, fluent in German, English and Italian, Juliane is our chief multilingual liaison.
A dedicated volunteer with local non-profits for the past 5 years, Filipe works mostly with land and rescued animals, alongside with his web development career.
Travis grew up in a small town in Louisiana, USA. From a young age, stories of travel and walking fascinated him. He has an uncle who walked the Appalachian Trail, and it made a big impression on him as he grew. He also loved role-playing games and fantasy novels, so his attraction to the castles, pyramids and mythologies of various peoples around the world drew him to want to travel.
Once at university, he tried a more practical path in life and studied Computer Science. He took a study abroad year in which he learned a great deal, and got his first taste of international travel with a EuRail trip around Europe. From there, he was determined to travel more. Leaving the unfinished Computer Science degree behind, he entered the workforce to save up money. Several years later, he found himself traveling in Mexico and Guatemala, finally visiting some of the Aztec, Mayan and other ancient cities there, as well as seeing other modern cultures in a new light.
Since then, he’s alternated working and traveling as best he can. The life-changing trip came in 2014, when he walked the Camino de Santiago in Spain, some 550 miles from the French border to Finisterre on the Atlantic Ocean. The Camino is officially a pilgrimage route to a Catholic holy site, but in modern years has expanded in purpose to be inclusive of all religions, spirituality, or even simply people looking for travel, culture, and exercise. There, he made lifelong friends and found a deep joy that has stayed with him ever since. He realized he wanted to work toward contributing to the Camino, or something similar. Alternating working with a few more trips, eventually his travels and projects conflicted too much with his 9 to 5 career, and he left it in favor of a life devoted to his dream. That was in 2017.
He founded Road to Rome then, as a small LLC and made arrangements to visit some of his Italian friends he met while on the Camino de Santiago. He fell in love with Italy and decided to support the growth of the Via Francigena, an Italian trail similar in many ways to the Camino itself. He returned in the latter half of 2017 as a volunteer at the wonderful Wiki Hostel outside of Rome, where he lived and worked for roughly 3 months. He made many friends and contacts in the region, including Filipe and Juliane and got a good introduction into the hostel business in Italy.
He returned in 2018 to look for an apartment to buy, and a first property for the project. He created some footage of possible properties and launched a crowdfunding campaign which didn’t raise the funds needed to purchase a property, but did give Road to Rome the operational funding it needed.
He changed Road to Rome to a corporation in 2019, which was granted 501(c)3 status as a non-profit. Living off of personal savings, Travis travelled back and forth to Italy that year. He found and purchased an apartment which would have room to host the first pilgrims of Road to Rome, and has begun getting some of the paperwork done to secure a long term visa. In late 2019, he moved into the new apartment and performed the renovations needed to host pilgrims.
Now in 2020, he is kept out of the country by the Coronavirus pandemic, but the apartment stands nearly ready to host. He plans to return there as soon as possible, and install the new beds which have been ordered, and hopefully host our first pilgrims this year.
Key for the first apartment