Meet the Founders: Duff Archie
Hey there! My name is Duff and I graduated from St. Lawrence University in 2018 with a degree in Economics and Business in the Liberal Arts, and a minor in European Studies. I studied abroad twice during college: London during my first semester of my freshman year—I know, a bit strange—and Copenhagen during my junior spring.
So, having mentioned a little bit of my college background, I wouldn’t be lying in saying that my experience abroad inspired OffWeGo…
While I was abroad, I encountered certain pains and inefficiencies while traveling:
First, I witnessed first-hand the state of permanxiety. Coined by Skift in 2017, the state of permanxiety describes, “a near-constant state of anxiety that exists around the world. Travelers endure a barrage of worries about terrorism, security, neo-isolationism, racial tension… climate change, and other geopolitical and local issues.” I could see tourists visibly ‘on-edge’ as they scurried about avoiding the military guards and blockades whether it be guarding the Colosseum in Rome or in the train station in Paris. To an American student, this can be confronting and unfamiliar. Although logic is telling you they’re there to protect you, your mind can’t help but wander… why are they there in the first place?
Additionally, I didn’t report my itineraries to my home university nor my program provider since I wasn’t aware of the risks until I was at my destination—it was an after-thought. If something did happen, my university would have no idea where I was or how to reach me—if they could reach me. I did not take the time to report, and I am not alone. In fact, we’ve found in interviews with 1,000s of students, nearly 70% did not report their itineraries or update their locations on independent travel while in their study abroad program.
Finally, sometimes I would get to the gate at the airport and see at least 8-10 other students from my program going to the same destination at the same time. I would have loved to collaborate beforehand to meet new people and save money by traveling together. The opportunity to meet other students studying abroad would have been a huge value for me, especially when I was traveling alone to Lisbon or Iceland.
With that being said, our goal at OffWeGo is to make students' travels as safe and efficient as possible—for everyone, universities and parents included—so if you’re studying in London and have friends studying in Vienna, for example, you can meet each other in Rome with ease and efficiency, all while having peace of mind through our safety & security features through our partnerships. OffWeGo is truly a double-sided marketplace aiding the duty of care for the university and an efficient, streamlined platform for the students travel and safety needs.
Interested in learning more? Request a DEMO to see how we increase travel safety adherence!