An Introduction from the Onli Traveler
The patent-pending Onli Venture Backpack was born on a frigid runway in South Dakota. Here’s the story of it’s birth and how I decided to start Onli Travel.
At age 19, I took a year off after two years of college. Unsure about what to do, I worked for 9 months for a moving company, saved up my money, packed a few clothes into a backpack, got into my ‘65 Plymouth Valiant with two friends, drove across country, and boarded a flight to London. For the next five and a half months, I travelled, hitchhiked, wandered, and explored Europe, North Africa, and the Middle East. My wanderlust and love of lightweight travel was born!
I went back to school, got an MBA, and eventually ended up traveling to many portfolio companies that were part of an investment fund. Over the years, I attended countless Board meetings, trade shows, new product introductions, planning meetings, and acquisition discussions. I also travelled extensively with my family, as we all loved adventure vacations, and my wife Holli and children Kyle and Kate love travel as well. (My daughter took a job in China and my son served in the Peace Corps in Ukraine after graduation, so I feel proud to have raised two kids with a broad view of the world.)
One night, I was traveling late to a board meeting in Sioux Falls, South Dakota on a small regional jet with cramped seats and almost no overhead space. I was already traveling light with only a backpack, but it wouldn’t fit in the overhead. I said to myself, “I wish I could just zip it in half, and then it would fit!” Instead, I gate checked it and waited on the frigid tarmac in Sioux Falls, in January, for my bag. The idea for Onli Travel was born!
I realized that lightweight, one-bag travel, was increasingly necessary to travel easily and without stress, given tighter airline restrictions, aggressive baggage charges, and more crowded flights. Technology was also making lightweight travel easier. But no one seemed to be focused on making one-bag travel easier for real travelers! I’ve never sewn a stitch in my life, but I decided to design a bag that would do just that.
Now we are launching Onli Travel! It’s been an adventure along the way (more about that in future posts), but I can honestly say that I think we’ve achieved our objective. I look forward to sharing what we’ve learned along the way, from a traveler’s and an entrepreneur’s perspective.
I hope you enjoy this journey with us and keep in touch!
Founder and CEO