Travel Stamps Interview on How The Idea Became a Business

This is an amazing interview with two people we’ve been dying to talk to – Erika and Shane, the father/daughter brains behind Travel Stamps. We are obsessed with this national parks travel stamps book, we collect them at every national park we go to so this was a dream come true episode. We go into how to turn your passion for travel and nature into a business, what it’s like to travel for work, and talk about all our favorite things about national parks.

Connect with Travel Stamps on Instagram @travelstamps or travelstamps.com

Travel Stamps Interview- Episode Transcript

2 (56s):
Welcome to this week’s episode of the Travel Squad podcast. Today, we’re interviewing two very special travel guru guests, Erika and Shane, the father daughter duo from travel stamps.

1 (1m 10s):
Travel stamps is a collectible souvenir stamp that goes into collection books or binders. And they were really created to inspire new travel experiences. And the stamps that they have are really beautiful, colorful, illustrated decals. And the whole goal of travel stamps is to create the most comprehensive souvenir network. That one day you can show to your friends and your families to represent all of the places that you have visited. And it’s a great addition to your coffee table for people to pick up and look through and just reminisce about your experiences

3 (1m 42s):
And if travel stamps sounds familiar to you, it’s because we’ve mentioned it before many times on this podcast, one, we had an episode talking about great travel gifts for travelers and travel stamps was listed on as one of those gifts that we mentioned. Additionally, you’ve probably heard us many times talk about when Brittany and I come back from national parks or visiting new states. One of the first things we do is go to our travel stamp book, put in our stamp from that national park or state into our book. And it’s just one of those things that we absolutely love to do. And the travel stamps series started in 2017, specifically with the us national parks. They have since expanded into states, us cities and so many more different things that they are branching out onto.

3 (2m 26s):
It’s so exciting to get the emails from them, seeing what new products and stamps they have. And it’s absolutely exciting and inspires me to travel and collect them all ourselves. And with that, let’s welcome Shane and Erica to the Travel Squad Podcast.

2 (2m 44s):
So we have been big fans of the travel stamps for a while. Now I know Erica, we had a conversation with you off-air before this. So we got to gush to you all about it, but Brittany and Jamal actually discovered your stamp passport book when they were exploring national parks. And actually, I think you guys discovered in a national park

1 (3m 4s):
At pinnacles national park,

2 (3m 6s):
Which is pretty cool. And we got to hear a little bit about how the business idea came around, but now that we have Shane here, as well as you Erica, I’d love to hear where the initial idea for this business came from.

5 (3m 20s):
Well, I guess I can jump in on that one. Obviously I grew up in a raised Erika and nest is parked. So right outside the gates of Rocky mountain national park. And I actually worked for Rocky mountain nature association who runs the visitor center bookstores. And so I was the retail manager there for six years. So just seeing enough products go through, I was like, oh, we really want something that you could collect and actually could even be beyond the national parks. And we were just talking about it. It was way back in 2005. We were, what could it be? And I had little play booklets that we would play with and I actually started it more like a postcard collecting kind of thing. And that’s why we wanted Heidi here today. And unfortunately she couldn’t make it.

5 (4m 0s):
She was the one in the office and she’s like, we should try stamps. And I’ve got this cool idea and that’s where it took off. And she kind of took my idea and took her design and her her stamp idea. And it was like, yeah, that’s it right there. There’s no doubt. And then when you put it together, the name traveling the stamps, that was like, yeah, that’s for collecting. No doubt.

2 (4m 21s):
It’s perfect.

1 (4m 22s):
Yeah. And it’s been really awesome to see you guys grow because at first it seemed like there was a focus on the national parks and then the states, but recently, you know, I get the monthly emails that say how many new places you’re releasing each month. Then you guys have just cool cities or other popular destinations or state parks or areas national forests. And so it’s been really amazing to see how much growth you guys have had and how exciting the stamps are. Cause every time I see a new one come out, I’m like, oh, have I been there? Do I need that stamp? And I love that about your collection

2 (4m 57s):
For some of the new stamps that you guys have coming out. I know you guys are probably passionate about all these places yourself, but do you ever have your own customer suggesting stamps to you?

6 (5m 7s):
Absolutely. We have a whole portion of our website dedicated just to that. So I receive at least one request a day, if not more from people like yourselves who are traveling and they really wish that they could find a stamp at a place where they thought was really neat. And so I personally respond to all of those and I have a very long active ever-growing list that we are trying to chip away at.

3 (5m 35s):
So that brings me to a question. What is maybe one of the best recommendations for a stamp that you guys have gotten that you just maybe never thought of? And also not that any suggestion is a bad suggestion, but what’s one of the dumbest suggestions you’ve ever gotten for a place that has to be like really curious you guys behind the scenes, what your opinion is like best worst.

6 (5m 56s):
Oh gosh. I think it’s interesting what people connect to. So sometimes I don’t think I can recall off the top of my head, some of the weirder more kind of unique places because it’s maybe a small place that one individual has a really strong connection to that they’re really excited about, but maybe nobody else goes. But a lot of suggestions we get, I think the most common one is four countries. So we are considering that here in the future potentially.

3 (6m 30s):
Well, I think it’s a great idea if you guys have the state book, which came second after the national parks, it only makes sense for countries because I mean, you just see it within the travel community and travel products all the time. They have the maps where you can put the pins in or the scratch off or do anything. But I love the sticker idea, aspect of travel stamps. Also, we mentioned this off air to you before it gets like Brittany. And I’s favorite thing about coming home from one of our trips, whether it be like to a new state, new national park is putting it in. It’s something that we get to do together as a couple. And for travelers just knocking off a country is exciting and then to come home and then now you can relive it by putting it in the book, have that accomplishment.

3 (7m 12s):
I think that’s the next best natural progression would be the country one.

2 (7m 16s):
So I’m super interested in people that have taken their passions, like passion for travel or their hobbies of national parks and whatnot, and turning them into actual businesses. So that’s probably where a lot of my questions are going to go towards, but I’m just curious from the time you guys had this idea and it kind of came together with your partner, Heidi, what were some of the things like some of the initial challenges you had in, I guess, connecting with travelers or getting your brand out there?

5 (7m 43s):
Well, that’s the funny part is to see the longterm, how it went because it did take a while. Cause even just the idea stage took so long and then once we narrowed it down to travel stamps and oh, we’ll have a book, just the designing and how long, because when we first started, it was 2015 and it took us two years just of designing and concepts to get that first book and those first stamps and to see how it progresses now, it just seems like, oh, it rolls off. And it’s so fast and different things can happen. But that initial, it took a lot longer than you would have expected. It just took awhile because you’d never done it. You haven’t seen it. You go back in your mind and then to just source everything, where are we going to publish it?

5 (8m 25s):
You know, this was all new to us, you know, figuring it all out and it took longer. And this, we always envisioned where we were right now that wow, we’re putting out 20, 30 stamps a month. But back then it was just like, everything you could do. It was like two stamps. And you’re like, Ooh, you know, excited. It’s like, we got two more out. That was a month. So it’s been a long road. It takes longer than you think it is. I guess you can catch magic in the bottle or lightning in a bottle. But most of it, I guess, most people it’s going to take a while. You gotta, you gotta think it through all the different things. And that’s the fun part about it. You see where you came, how it went through each stage. And now it’s really exciting when we see what’s happening.

1 (9m 6s):
Was there a big hurdle? Was there one particular thing that was like a hurdle that you had to overcome before you could get the ball rolling? Or was it just an accumulation of things because you guys were so new to the business?

5 (9m 19s):
Yeah. It was just the matter of putting it all together. Each individual one, maybe wasn’t that hard. It just took a longer time to go through each one and how they’re going to fit in. But I have recommended it to anyone starting a business it’s it was fun then to see it from beginning to where we are, that is the All-American game in a way is starting a business. So

3 (9m 40s):
One of the things that I always thought about was who doesn’t want to take their passion of travel and make it a business, monetize it. And I just admire that you guys have been able to do that and believe me, us as the squad, we’ve racked our brains around like, Hey, what type of product can we put out there? And I know we mentioned earlier that Brittany had first saw your guys’s product at pinnacles national park in the visitor center, in the store. Obviously you guys have a website. I have to imagine. That was probably one of the biggest hurdle is how do you partner with the national parks, let alone one or the whole system as a whole to put your product in their stores.

5 (10m 16s):
Yeah. And that’s something people don’t under, even stand each national park is individual. They all make their own decisions. So a lot of people just think, oh, throw out a product and they’ll all take in it. It’s all 63 national parks. It doesn’t happen that way. And there’s an approval process. So everything has to be from the images to the text, has to be approved to make sure it’s correct. And that happens on each individual park. So it’s a process. And I guess to be honest, we had a little bit of a leg up because obviously I worked as the retail manager for six years at Rocky and then other businesses I owned, I started those before travel stamps.

5 (10m 56s):
So I’ve been selling those products, pins and patches and walking stick medallions and other products to the parks 10 years before this product got out. So we kind of had an in and kind of knew the system that way, where someone coming from scratch on the outside may not see the structure of how it’s set up.

2 (11m 16s):
That explains why we’ve seen the stamps in some parks and not in others. So with your website now, do you find that a lot of your customers are coming straight to you now rather than looking for you in the national parks?

6 (11m 28s):
I think yes and no. Some people really enjoy being able to kind of pre-purchase their stamps or even post-purchase their stamps. So our website was set up originally to post-purchase your stamps for those times that you maybe didn’t make it to the visitor center or you visited at 10 years ago and you just weren’t even collecting anything. But what surprised me was, I’ve talked to several people who actually buy them before they go and then bring them with them. So they don’t even have to deal with the crowds at the visitor center. They’re like, I’m going to put it in my book, but I’m already going to have it. It’s already in my bag. So that, that kind of surprised me. Actually,

2 (12m 5s):
You have two people on the call right here that do that.

6 (12m 7s):
There you go.

1 (12m 9s):
I definitely like when I know we’re going on a road trip, I will, pre-buy all the stamps of places where we think we’re going and we’ll just have them in advance because we love coming home. And just like that night, when we get home from the traveling going through and just putting the stamps in and so nice, like to have them right there and not have to wait. So I love that. And one thing that you guys mentioned was, you know, you have sold in some of the national parks, but you guys have obviously expanded way beyond the national parks and other areas. So do you guys have any other store other than your website that you sell to, to get your other products out there and your other stamps out there that aren’t national parks?

6 (12m 45s):
So that was always part of our business model that travel stamps can only be found in official visitor centers or museums or on our website that they weren’t just going to be something you could find anywhere. So we’ve tried to stick to that and we have stuck to that. So that means we sometimes will make stamps for things that aren’t in the visitor center yet, but we’re in contact with them. Sometimes we put them out while we’re in contact with them or after we get a request from someone. But this actually reminded me as well. When you were talking about hurdles in terms of growing outside of the national parks, I think that was a huge hurdle, actually, in trying to decide how we could create a collection system that was infinite.

6 (13m 30s):
And that was something even with the national parks and the NPS system in general, I mean, there’s over 400 units. How do you make something that can even fit 400 of something, much less towns and cities and state parks and all inter-agency things, because that’s how we travel. We travel by location and location. There’s a forest, there’s a park, there’s a state park. There’s, you know, a city you’re, you’re going to, all of those places then took a lot of brainstorming to come up with our collection binder, and now our booklet to leave it open-ended

1 (14m 2s):
Yeah. And you guys have done a lot of work on your booklets because you know, they’re constantly adding national parks. Things are always being added. And one thing that I love is if you guys do go international, all of these countries do have national parks. They have UNESCO world heritage sites of forests. So it’ll be really cool to see how you guys expand on that currently to date. How many stamps do you guys have in production?

6 (14m 26s):
It’s funny. I roughly counted actually yesterday and I think we’re close to 500. We might be approaching 500.

2 (14m 36s):
It’s a big milestone.

6 (14m 37s):
It’s a lot. And we also have quite a few that aren’t released yet, but it’s, it’s pretty crazy considering we started with 59.

2 (14m 47s):
Is there any insider information you can give us on upcoming steps?

6 (14m 51s):
Well, our next release will be features of particular national parks. So instead of going out, we’re kind of going macro into a couple parks. So

2 (15m 5s):
That’s awesome. Like the narrows and angels landing within Zion. Cool.

1 (15m 10s):
You know, one thing that I also thought of, I’m just going to throw my idea out there on you guys. But one of the things that I thought was, you know, it must be so hard to pick a stamp image because with many parks, there’s lots of things that really like embody that park. And so for let’s just say Zion, for example, people know Angel’s landing people know the narrows, people know ion canyon. And so it’s like so hard to pick. And so there’s like the potential to even do because I on national park, but you can pick out of like five different images of which one you want your stamp to be, because some people might have a specific calling to one.

6 (15m 50s):
Yeah. Well, that’s exactly what we’re trying to achieve because I mean, I have great memories. We, we went there two years ago now doing the narrows at Angel’s landing and how very specific but special each of those memories were. And yeah, that’s exactly it. We’d love to have all of the cool things in each park to have their own stamp, but it is hard. It is nice to get input. And oftentimes we do get input from the parks of what image they do want to see the other times we go from our own experience or social media and see what we think the most iconic or viewed scene is.

3 (16m 32s):
Well, you kind of answered a question a little bit. How then do you choose? And I think I heard you say you get input from the national park itself. And I know Shane was saying earlier that they have to approve really everything, but do they have a say of like, no, we want this defining image or is it something that you just do and then they give approval. And how do you guys amongst yourselves decide like, yes, this is the image for this park.

5 (16m 56s):
Yeah. They do have say not so much say it’s just, if we do it wrong, if we can pick the design, it’s just, if we like get an animal wrong or a plant wrong or a scene wrong, that’s when it’s like not approved. It’s not so much that they won’t approve their owes or Angel’s landing or any in particular image that we do. They’re just looking technically is the text, right? Did we, did we get anything wrong?

3 (17m 22s):
So then amongst yourselves, how do you guys then decide what image you’re putting on for whether it be for the national park or the state for that matter, when we’re talking about the state series, how do you guys internally figure that one out amongst yourselves?

6 (17m 36s):
We, we disagree sometimes.

2 (17m 40s):
Sounds like it’s a fun conversation there internally.

3 (17m 44s):
So when it’s a split vote, do you guys draw out of a hat or what?

6 (17m 48s):
That’s kind of the beauty of there being three, while particularly when we were doing the states, it was something where Shane and I would brainstorm the idea and then give it to Heidi to illustrate. And then she would have an opinion too. And so usually with three, you could get two people on the same page and be like, oh yeah, this, this works. But yeah, there’s a few that we’ve, we’ve disagreed on, but

1 (18m 11s):
A good example of one,

6 (18m 14s):
Can you think of one,

5 (18m 16s):
A lot of it, we get around it, but with a collage, cause it’s like, okay, there’s New York city, but yeah, we super imposed it with Niagara falls. So it kind of seems like, wow, Niagara falls was going over New York city, but you just try to pick and choose between and compromise. That’s a hardwood that I wanted to bring up. What are the hardest things where we debate every day in the office too, is what will be the next stamp? Because it’s a balance between, well, are we going to finish these 400 national park service units before we go on to forests and this, but we know we have people looking for cities. And so it’s a balance of knowing, well, yeah, we can have all these buried cool things, but are we finishing a series for someone that really wants to get their series finished?

5 (18m 59s):
So it’s a hard balance at times of what direction do we go? What stay up and you try to keep everybody happy, hit at least a few. And obviously we’re trying to at least finish the national parks. Cause I think everybody’s got, that is a big one for most people. And it’s interesting just trying to determine those choices.

6 (19m 16s):
Yeah. And, and a lot of those choices too, are dictated by requests. We get from parks or destinations that reach out to us saying that they want one for their location. So we do prioritize that obviously, but a good chunk is just deciding for ourselves. And that’s where the suggestion box on our website for us, a suggest to stay up is really helpful because when we get a handful of requests for the same place, I’m definitely more inclined to look into it and get that stamp going as opposed to the one-off ones,

2 (19m 50s):
When it comes to the stamps, I want to know which one’s your favorite. And then if any, you have personal ties with like you’ve been there and your experiences have influenced that image.

6 (20m 1s):
Oh, that is stressful for doing, trying to illustrate places that you’ve been or lived and try and do them justice because you really know. And we’ve started working with several artists. I don’t know if you’ve noticed that in our latest release, you’ll start seeing more names on the side of each illustration. So we have quite a few new artists and I know one of our new artists was from Houston and she designed our Houston staff and she was like really concerned about getting it right. And I’d say we were also concerned too, like with Estes park, we both grew up there. And we wanted that to feel like as this park and Moab, obviously. And, and that’s also part of what’s driving, doing features in parks because it’s exactly what you said.

6 (20m 48s):
We are embodying this whole park in the single image. How could you, we need more.

3 (20m 54s):
One thought that I had is the original travel stamps started off as the national parks. And we mentioned it branched out to states and now the other lines of cities and everything else that you guys are doing and as any good business I know and can tell you guys are dedicated to each product line that you are doing, but why national parks first? I mean, do national parks have more of a calling to you guys than anything else is like, why was national parks first for you of what you wanted to do in terms of like travel souvenirs and things of that nature,

5 (21m 25s):
Economic sense and where our heart wars, the obviously growing up in Estes park and in Rocky mountain, we love the national parks. But the fact that I already had profitable businesses selling national park products, it was like, we already know the buyers. We already know the locations. It was like, we need to start here. That seemed to come along pretty easy, but states, where do you sell a state? You sell it everywhere, but there’s something about everybody going, I get to Rocky. You’re, you’re kind of going into those two or three visitor centers. And it’s just all right there, but a state, you walk in any corner of that state you’re there. And it’s kind of find that retailer that wants that one stamp. We didn’t know anything about that.

5 (22m 5s):
And we’re still trying to fight that battle of, I don’t think we actually just sell a state stamp to a state store anywhere. Cause it’s, it’s a hard,

6 (22m 14s):
No, but it’s, it’s such a bucket list item though. Like those are things that I remembered. So for instance, when I was a kid, I remember collecting the state quarters on that state quarter map. Oh yeah. And I remember doing that and it’s an important bucket list, but it is hard and every state is different. So just like every national park is different. Every state, their visitor centers operate completely differently. It’s not just one size fits all. Unfortunately

2 (22m 44s):
I would imagine people aren’t going into state visitor centers quite as much as national park visitor centers to

6 (22m 51s):
Yeah. I feel like they’re more rest stops where like you go in to go to the bathroom and then you’d get out and you go to the place that you actually want to go to in the state.

5 (22m 60s):
And that was a big push why we did push the website because it is more an internet kind of thing, because it’s hard for us to say where you’re going to find that stamp in a state that big, you know, it had to be somewhere, you could come to one spot and get your collection. So that was a big push for the internet for that.

2 (23m 18s):
Yeah. That makes sense. So back to my question, I am very curious. What is your favorite stamp?

6 (23m 24s):
Oh yeah. So I, we didn’t answer. Oh my gosh. Well, okay. I’ll just say this because I was just there and I think the stamp is gorgeous. So I recently was in Maine and we went to Acadia national park and a few other places. And one of the places that we went was Portland head light. And I’ve always seen pictures of that lighthouse and it’s really beautiful and that’s a stamp that we decided to just design before I went. And I think the design came out so gorgeous and it is definitely in my top favorite stamps and they will be carrying it here in the next month or so.

6 (24m 6s):

3 (24m 7s):
What about you sharing? What’s your favorite stamp?

5 (24m 9s):
Oh my God. I, that I’m even the whole time Eric is talking. I’m like, I don’t know how I would choose out of these. It’s

3 (24m 18s):
Like choosing your favorite child, I guess

5 (24m 20s):
You can’t go bad choosing anyone. I just trying to think, and I might have to come back to this. I don’t know

6 (24m 28s):
One of the cool things and this isn’t one particular stamp, but maybe you guys have noticed since you’ve been collecting from pretty much the start. So for instance, pinnacles, we’ve updated that stamp. So you probably have our old pinnacle stamp and we have since updated it. Oh yeah. You should take a look.

3 (24m 48s):
It was going to say, we’re going to have to take a look and we’re going to have to actually update to third edition travel stamp national park book. Cause we’re still on first edition over here and with new river Gorge being added on we’re out of space on east coast. So an update is indeed needed for us.

6 (25m 4s):
Yes. Yeah. I, who would have thought they wouldn’t have designated so many parks in the last, what is it? Three, four years and almost all in the east region.

5 (25m 14s):
Oh, we do have an answer.

6 (25m 16s):
Yes we do. We do

5 (25m 18s):
Make that first edition book work.

6 (25m 20s):
Yes. Yeah. So we have a special sticker. That is the exact size of a page that will fit either on the front cover or the back cover or on one of the info pages that you don’t really care about. Like maybe the last page, the only maybe downside is that it’s not technically in your east region, but I have heard of people creating like a foldout page from their east region using like scrapbooking tape to make a foldout page and then put our stamp expansion sticker on that page. So it is possible, but that said, we will work with you guys and anyone else who does want to kind of upgrade to a third edition and we’ll help you replace your stamps.

3 (26m 2s):
It’s amazing. But it’s funny because Brittany and I have had the conversation like, well, we need to upgrade to third edition, but we don’t want to get rid of first. So we would just get everything new and still add into the first, because that’s like the original scrap book, but then you need that final piece too. So that’s like the conversations we have amongst ourselves regarding it. So we’ll probably do that little fold out that you mentioned. I liked that idea that you’ve heard other people doing. That’s a good one.

6 (26m 27s):
Yeah. I mean, that’s it, our books are constantly going out of date.

5 (26m 32s):
We never would have imagined this many changes, but that on another note, exactly this kind of situation is something we always hope for was to see. And we’d love for you to send them in and send them to us is your different ideas, how you’re using the stamps, how you’re using the book, how you’re adding this stuff. It’s really that community of finding out how different people are using it in different ways. And we’d love to hear what you’re doing with this stuff and share it with other people in the community.

6 (27m 1s):
Yeah. For instance, I talked to a woman who was using our state book to get a stamp for every state that she ran a marathon in.

7 (27m 10s):
Oh, oh, that’s unique.

6 (27m 12s):
Yeah. Yeah. She’s more ambitious than me. That’s

2 (27m 17s):
That’s pretty cool.

1 (27m 18s):
Do both of you guys have your own booklets and what kind of booklets do you guys use to collect your stamps?

6 (27m 24s):
Oh man. So I am constantly travel stamps all the time, so I don’t have an up-to-date book myself, but my joy, so it’s kind of opposite. So instead of going to a place and getting my stamp for it, I go to a place and I design a stamp for it. So it’s kind of the opposite end. And that’s where my passion comes from. I want to go to the places that we don’t have stamps for yet and try and figure out how to make a really cool stamp for that.

2 (27m 54s):
What are some recent places you’ve been to that you’ve created stamps out of?

6 (27m 58s):
Well, Portland had light is a great one. That was a perfect example for this. Like it’s somewhere that I knew I was going and let’s get it going. Shane and I are actually headed to Olympic national park next month. So we have some ideas and designs in the pipeline for that.

2 (28m 16s):
The Hoh rainforest is my favorite place of all the national parks. So pretty there.

6 (28m 21s):
Yep. Yep. It’s in the works

3 (28m 23s):
Since Kim brought it up and favorite places, I’m curious to know what is your guys’s favorite national parks? I mean, obviously I’m hearing you guys lived and grew up outside of Rocky mountain now, Erika, you live right outside two national parks, canyon lands and arches, but what is your guys’s favorite of the mall? I know it’s tough to choose. Each one is so unique, but there has to be one that stands out to you guys like on a personal level.

5 (28m 48s):
Well, I’ll go first, I guess. And I guess that’s part of it. I, as you live in Moab in Rocky, I guess you kind of take them for granted. So it’s kind of hard in some ways in my heart. They’re my favorite because they’re home, but I guess you would say your favorite is places that are maybe the complete opposite. So that’s why for me, that really connected over the last couple of years was both coasts of walking through Redwood national park there in Prairie Creek, going just through the trees and that Fern canyon and just, wow, this is so amazing and so different than what I’ve used to. And then as Eric was saying, she got a chance a couple of years ago, we went to Acadia and to be able to go up the beehive trail on the whole scale, those rocks and the bars, and look out over the ocean and hear at crashing and repel off Otter cliffs.

5 (29m 35s):
There it’s something growing up in the mountains of Colorado that was pretty darn spectacular. And in such a difference that it really stands out to what you see every day at the others. But I love Rocky and arches, but those really stood out.

6 (29m 49s):
Yeah, that’s a really good point. I kind of feel the same way as well, where the special things are the things kind of out of your norm. And I don’t, I don’t know if I can choose a favorite per se, but I have an example of one. So like in, in arches and any national park, I feel like when you are able to go during a time when not many people are there, obviously those off-season times are really spectacular to me where you get to experience it in a more natural science instead of the Disneyland sense. But one of my favorite things is in arches when we get a snow, so it may be snows heavily 2, 3, 4 times a year, and then it melts pretty much within a day.

6 (30m 34s):
So you have that one day to like go into arches and see those red rocks with white snow over them and bright blue sky. And it is stunning. And it’s one of those things where you don’t really know to look out for. And unless you live in that place. So it’s like finding those little things where you get to experience something that not a lot of people get to experience.

2 (30m 54s):
That sounds amazing.

3 (30m 55s):
Yeah. And what Shane had said to kind of really resonated with me in a way of, you know, when things are in your own backyard, in a sense you explore them, you love them, it’s home, but you’re in a way immune to the uniqueness of it because you’re around it. Like all of us are originally from Northern California. We grew up right next to lake Tahoe, Yosemite. Some of my favorite places. I love them. I don’t think a lot of places are more beautiful than that, but at the same time, like I wouldn’t put any of those places as my favorite places because I was around them my whole time. Right. Where other people would definitely say like, oh yeah, for sure. Yosemite has to be like my favorite national park. I mean, it’s one of the, I would say top five of all the 63 that they have.

3 (31m 38s):
Right. But to me it doesn’t even make my top five. Right. So what you said, Shane resonated with me in a way,

1 (31m 44s):
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1 (32m 32s):
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6 (34m 53s):
Yes. Yes. The tours are awesome. And climbing the ladders and crawling through their little doorways and learning about the history is so spectacular.

2 (35m 3s):
That is on the top of my list. That one it looks so cool.

6 (35m 7s):
Yeah. There’s so many ruins in Southwest, Colorado and Utah. I didn’t really understand how many ancient ruins there were in the area before living here and how truly special it is and kind of how sad it is that they’ve been looted and destroyed in a lot of ways and what we can do to help that it’s, it’s, it’s kind of this balance of preserving places and visiting them at the same time where maybe that doesn’t go in hand all the time. And I had never really thought about it before moving out here.

2 (35m 43s):
I can’t wait to go.

5 (35m 45s):
I love

2 (35m 45s):
It. Are there any national parks? You haven’t been to

6 (35m 48s):

5 (35m 51s):
There’s plenty.

6 (35m 53s):
Yeah. There’s so many. I mean, I’m kicking myself because I used to live in California and while I lived there, I was in college and going to national parks as a freshman, sophomore in college was the last thing on my mind. And now I’m really sad that I never went.

2 (36m 10s):
And there’s so many out here too.

6 (36m 12s):

3 (36m 13s):
To any of the ones in California when you were here.

6 (36m 16s):
No, no, I didn’t. I mean, I visited really beautiful places and I, I lived in San Luis Obispo and I lived for a time in Healdsburg, California, and I went to Muir woods, but I never went to redwoods and I kicking myself,

3 (36m 33s):
I’m going to throw out one California national park that I’m going to highly recommend Sequoia. Do yourself a favor and go to Sequoia. It’s a twofer Kings canyon is right there. I’m sure you guys know they touch. But definitely one of my favorite places in California period is going to be Sequoia national park.

5 (36m 49s):
That’s both a park we haven’t been to and we’ve been talking about, we need to get there and we just haven’t yet. So that’s great. We’ll definitely follow up.

3 (36m 56s):
Cancel Washington and go do yourself a favor and go to Sequoia.

2 (37m 3s):
I better yet. Just extend your trip.

6 (37m 5s):
There we go. Well, we were told we have to go to the whole rainforest. We were told

2 (37m 11s):
You can’t miss. It’s actually funny. We took a trip up to Washington about a year ago and we went to the whole rain forest and also rain here. And in Rainier near there is this iconic shot. And I know, you know it because it’s on your stamp, whether it’s a waterfall and then you can see Mount Rainier in the background. And it’s so funny because the first time I saw that image was on the stamp after we had been there, because we went and you know, it was a lot of crowds and all of that, there’s a line. And so I just got in, got a picture of the waterfall and got out and didn’t even notice that reading there was in the background. So when he sends me the stamp, a picture of the stamp and she’s like, D do you remember this picture?

2 (37m 56s):

1 (37m 59s):
Cause after she took the picture, we were like, oh my God, that was such a gorgeous backdrop. But then that in it, and Kim was like, what are you talking about? And I was like, you’re kidding. Right? And she was like, no, I just took a picture of the waterfall. We had just completed like a six mile hike. And it was really hot. So like, and you know, there was crowds, so I get it. But I was like, how did you miss that?

2 (38m 19s):
So that’s my favorite stamp.

6 (38m 22s):
Fair enough.

5 (38m 23s):
That’s a good one.

6 (38m 24s):
You know? So on Instagram, just like two days ago, this family with these two little kids tagged us because they found the spot where we found our inspiration for our great basin stamp. And so they took a video of their stamp in the place where you can kind of see the Bristol cone pine and the mountain in the background. And it’s like this pan shot of, of the stamp and the place. And they’re all excited that they found it. So that’s been kind of fun. That

2 (38m 52s):
Is cute.

5 (38m 52s):
And we do have to put out there they’re not all real because that’d be some stamps there, a collage and you won’t find that exact shot. So hopefully some people aren’t trampling all over the park looking,

6 (39m 4s):
I know like last, and for instance, you will not find Lassen peak behind bump as hell. You will not find it.

2 (39m 12s):
That’s funny.

1 (39m 13s):
How much time would you guys say that you guys travel for work?

5 (39m 17s):
Oh, this is a hard one. I think we do more for pleasure because that’s the opposite of successful business as part of this, that sometimes it’s sounds glamorous and oh, you must be going all there, but at the other time, no, this has to get done. So we’re actually in the office doing a lot of work, but that’s our plan. And obviously we’ve always talked that you can’t really grow the business unless we’re out there living it too. So it’s something that we’re not on the road all the time, but we are trying to make concerted efforts that consistently multiple times a year, that we are trying to get out there and see these places because you don’t get the context of the whole thing unless you are out there. So it’s an important part that we do.

5 (39m 59s):
We realize we can’t just sit here in the office and do this 100% of the time, even though you could easily. Well, that was a hard one to say, how much has business and how much has actually.

6 (40m 8s):
Yeah. Well, I mean, that was the whole point is, is creating a business that revolves around getting you out there, but also because that’s what you want to do. Not because you’re doing it for work. So, so it’s hard to say, but I think work is tied to pretty much everywhere that I go now, but in, in the best way possible. But yeah, it’s, it’s exciting. And like I said before, where everywhere new that I go, I’m like, oh, stamped for here would be great. And it’s exciting because I feel like a lot of other people are starting to feel that way too. Considering the amount of suggestions that come to my inbox, people want more, more stamps for all the neat places they go to.

2 (40m 46s):
I think these books are so cool. They’re really in this day and age, when we have everything online and your pictures are on your phone and you don’t really print them out anymore, this is something you can hold and it will live on your coffee stand and you can pick that up. And those memories will come back to you and it doesn’t really exist anymore.

5 (41m 3s):
That was another big part we did. And even we kind of conjured back to that because it’s important from way back of cave, dwellings, and then drawing on there. There’s this physical thing that us as humans really connect to and need. And then it’s that balance of, we don’t want something cumbersome. You know, you can’t collect those physical t-shirt from every single place you went, who’s got a closet that big. So there was a lot of balance in that because it is something that tangible that you hold it, you put it in there. It always resonated us. That that is still never going to go away, no matter how much the internet or technology and phones increase. There’s something about it.

3 (41m 42s):
I know that’s what resonated with us. It’s your own personal scrapbook. It’s tangible. And it’s in your hand, like you said, it’s not something that you put away or it’s a knick-knack you buy and ends up on a shelf and maybe thrown away later, right? I mean, this is a possession that you want to hold on to. And then, like Kim said, it’s on your coffee table. People are over, they’re going to see it. It’s a conversation piece. And now you’re starting to talk about something fun that you love. And I think that’s one of my favorite reasons why we love your product. And as a matter of fact, I just want to throw this out there. We did mention on a previous episode that we did about gifts for travelers, we listed you guys on there as like one of the top ones for it, because of that reason. So it, it, it speaks to us and I know feedback we’re hearing from you, of people giving you their input on what should come next.

3 (42m 28s):
It speaks to a lot of people. So if a great product on your guys’s hands,

5 (42m 32s):
Thank you so much. And, and that’s really, we talked about this even back at the beginning of, we just knew how me re raising her as our family, what it meant. And, and when you think about kids growing up and that they remembered this, and that’s something that either they’ll have their own book, or they’ll always go home to mom and dad when they’re older and look at that book and to be able to see some of the memories they wrote and to think we’re going to be part of their life is just so amazing. And we knew if we could be part of that, everything would be worth it. Just to think that we were part of someone’s family or a couple a tradition in that household, it’s kind of gives you the chills even a little bit. It’s like, wow, we’re a part of people’s lives.

6 (43m 14s):
Yeah, it’s funny. I just look to the side of my computer and to the side of my computer, I have a letter that this family and their two year old, who’s probably like five now sent me like three years ago. And it’s like an actual, like Kodak printed picture of them at Congress national park with a thank you letter saying, thanks for making their national park travels fun. And just like little antidotes about how their son is getting too old to sit on their lap now and have tests to have his own seat. And just like these little things that are part of their memories. And now my memories and, and yeah, it does kind of makes me a little Weeby,

2 (43m 51s):
That’s really special. You guys have created something that’s more than just a product truly. That’s amazing. I can even see down the road, another product suggestion. Yeah. I’ve seen kind of like adventure books where they’re telling you things to go out and do, but it could be centered around travel and collecting your stamps and maybe a cross country road trip kind of a thing. And really, even more so becoming part of people’s memories and their trips and adventures.

5 (44m 18s):
That’s what it’s all about.

6 (44m 19s):
yeah, I know that would be kind of cool having, having like a set road trip where you can pick up all your different stamps and kind of see them all as, as our tagline is,

2 (44m 31s):
Do you guys have any plans thinking about the future five, 10 years out or travel stamps,

6 (44m 37s):
Hope to have a lot more stamps?

2 (44m 40s):
I’m sure you will.

6 (44m 43s):
Well, we’ll see. I mean, we’d love to get the national park series really wrapped up, get all 400 and however, many of those I’d love to get all the national monuments, get a good handle on all of our forests and state parks are our kind of hardware. I’d love to be able to do a full state park series, but that kind of requires buy-in from all state parks and not everyone might want to go to every single Kentucky state park or something like that, you know, but there’s probably a lot of people that do you know, who are there. I’d love to see us get into countries. And I know we’ve had a lot of requests for Canada, national parks, and I could see us getting into that sooner than some of the other parks, but even in, you know, England, Scotland, Wales, they have parks there too, that people have requested.

6 (45m 32s):

5 (45m 34s):
Well, the other things that we’re trying to and that’s comes back to how we serve the market the best. Because when you say the national parks, that’s a lifetime collection, you know, for most people, even though some people do it in a year, which is amazing, but don’t, we’re going to try this fall is, is more approach cities. We know we’re from Estes park. So you’re going to go to Estes park and you probably play golf there. Or you tried renting a boat on the lake there, you played miniature golf there, you took the tramway up the mountain there. You maybe went horseback riding. So the question is making these little sets of your one trip. So that’s that balance that we’re having a hard time figuring out what’s the best of these big sets that everyone’s going for, or a combination where, Hey, this was my estas Parker, Colorado trip there.

5 (46m 20s):
And there was a stamp for almost everything you could do in Estes park or Colorado Springs or Denver. And just, how do we approach this?

6 (46m 28s):
Yeah. Either zooming out or zooming in and we go back and forth a lot.

2 (46m 34s):
So you guys have your website, travel stamps.com, where else can people connect with you?

6 (46m 40s):
So I see every submission that comes through our suggested stamp portal. You don’t have to suggest the stamp there. You could just reach out there. That’s no problem. And we have our Instagram account. So at travel stamps, same with Facebook. And you can find us there. I would say, if you want a faster response, go to the website versus social media things tend to get lost on social media, a little easier.

2 (47m 5s):
Perfect. And we’ll link everything in the show notes so people can easily get to you, but we’re coming towards the end of time here, but we have a fun little activity we like to do with all of our guests. A quick little rapid fire segment. If Brett, you want to kick us off on a rapid fire segment. If you guys are up for it.

6 (47m 23s):
Oh boy. We’ll see

5 (47m 25s):
The pressure.

1 (47m 27s):
All right. First question. Where is your dream vacation to

6 (47m 32s):
Oh, Olympic.

5 (47m 35s):
I want to go to glacier

1 (47m 37s):
And you guys are going to Olympic next. Is it next month?

6 (47m 40s):
Yeah, my dreams are coming true in a month

5 (47m 44s):
Next month.

1 (47m 45s):
Awesome. All right. Here’s another hard hitting one. Give me a travel confession.

6 (47m 50s):
Oh, I don’t know if this is a confession, but it’s just a public service announcement for all women get a Shihwae they’re the best get one.

2 (48m 0s):
We have one

3 (48m 1s):
Brittany. Hasn’t she read? Brittany has a sheet.

6 (48m 4s):
You know, I, that the patriarchy dies as we all stand up. That’s what I think. No, but anyway, that’s been my best investment for traveling and hiking. So I’m all for the Shihwae.

2 (48m 16s):

5 (48m 18s):
Oh shoot. I know. I don’t know what I put as a confession. We grew up in Estes park and up until I was 30 years old or so I don’t think I visited any other national. Wow. So out and to go from one extreme of bearer to like, I’m just as new to this in some ways, even though I grew up there, it seems like I’m a national park guru or something out there, but no.

2 (48m 41s):
Oh, you know what? I love that because it just goes to show you’re never too old or you’re never too experienced or too not experienced to start traveling and to start going to national parks. I feel the same way I was, I think 26 before I ever even left the country. And then I just got the travel bug and started going, going, going, and now have a travel podcast. So I’m right there with you. I love that.

5 (49m 3s):
Nope. The road you end up going down is you would never know. And other outside people would know he would have thought he’s national parks all the way, which I was. I loved him, but I’d never visited.

3 (49m 14s):
And final, rapid fire question for you guys. Give us a national park, insider tip.

6 (49m 20s):
Oh, an insider tip. Mine usually have to do with how to take good photos, particularly in arches. I posted on our social media about how to take a really good picture at double arch, without any people in it. So go look that up on our Instagram, if you want to know the insider tip for how to take a great photo at double arch

3 (49m 43s):
And Shane,

5 (49m 44s):
And I guess I’ll go local to just more on people coming to Moab. And you know, obviously you got arches and that everybody goes to see that, and you’ve got canyon lands island in the sky, which is close. But if you’re in Moab, you want to go south to the needle section and to be able to walk out there and do the full loop out there and walk through the joint and see the Druid arch, you will be blown away and compared to what you’ll see in the other places, you’ll be out there. And it will be the most amazing thing you ever saw. It will blow you away. And there won’t be as big of crowds out there.

2 (50m 18s):

3 (50m 18s):
Great solid insider tip for sure.

2 (50m 21s):
I love the tips for how to avoid crowds. That’s amazing. And that’s funny because when we talked to Erica the first time she had made that same recommendation,

5 (50m 30s):
That’s the hard part. And that’s where going to this reservation system, a number of the parks, it will be somewhat of a benefit because to see a national park like Disneyland, it’s just not the same thing. It’s not the same experience and to be able to get out there and feel like you’re on your own, everybody’s got to experience that it’s something completely different than when you’ve got thousands of people going down the trail with you. It’s just not the same experience.

1 (50m 58s):
Yeah. We really like to travel to the national parks during off seasons or shoulder seasons, because then you get that true experience. And last year we actually had the cool opportunity to travel to both grand Teton, national park and Yellowstone national park during COVID right when they opened both of the national parks back up, because they had been closed for a while. And the day that we entered Yellowstone national park from the south entrance was the first day it was open. And so there was no one there. We had lots of the trails to ourselves and we felt like we had the entire park to ourselves, really, because there were no crowds while we were there. And that was truly unique and amazing. And I will always remember that. And I think that was really one of our highlight trips from 2020.

6 (51m 41s):
Yeah, it sounds incredible. I talk about this with my partner all the time, being here in Moab during COVID only locals were allowed to be in the park or anywhere around here. And I remember walking down main street and I saw these like two blue herons fly over main street. I know like, what is this? It’s this so quiet, so beautiful. And it will never happen again, most likely to experience these places like you did and special that’s for sure.

3 (52m 10s):
Absolutely. And as we’re wrapping it up, do you guys have any final thoughts or last piece of information you want to share with us about anything your guys’ business or about you guys in general,

5 (52m 20s):
It’s all turned out and we hope this, this movement kind of grows. And we ask everybody else to have a great time, be safe out there and, you know, take care of the world when you’re out there and leave it a better place, or at least as well as it was before. Cause that’s hard. We want to encourage the travel, but we really want it to be respectful and, and enjoyed for many, many generations. We want to make this a positive.

2 (52m 44s):
That is the perfect note to end on. Thank you both so much for being on our podcast. It’s really a dream come true to have you guys on here and we really, really appreciate it.

6 (52m 54s):
Oh, it’s been such a pleasure talking with you guys and following your travels. That’s it’s really fun.

5 (52m 59s):
Thank you for having us

3 (53m 0s):
On. Thank you guys.

2 (53m 2s):
All right, everyone. That is our interview and our episode for the week. Thank you so much for tuning in with us. Keep the adventures going with us. Be sure to follow us on Instagram. Subscribe to us on YouTube at Travel Squad Podcast. Tag us in your adventures too, and send us in your questions of the week.

3 (53m 17s):
If you found the information in this episode to be useful, or if you thought we were just playing funny, please be sure to share it with a friend that would enjoy it too. And as always guys, please subscribe, rate and review our podcast and tune in every travel Tuesday for new episodes.

1 (53m 31s):
Stay tuned for next week’s episode, we have some more amazing adventures and tips in store for you.

3 (53m 37s):
Bye everybody. Bye

keep the adventures going

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