Where is our Heart?
We, Alpa Agarwal and Ankit Agarwal, siblings, founded TravelMyHeartTM to help small travel businesses succeed.
Three factors drove our decision to found TravelMyHeart: (1) We love to travel for its joy; the joy of exploration, the joy of serendipity, and the joy of people, different, yet so much like us. Travel makes life worth living. (2) We love software development for its creativity. (3) We love working with small businesses around the world. With growing wealth inequalities, these brave and passionate entrepreneurs make their communities better and are the engines of economic growth. Investing in them is investing in the future of our world.
As George Bernard Shaw wrote, “This is the true joy in life, the being used for a purpose recognized by yourself as a mighty one; the being a force of nature instead of a feverish, selfish little clod of ailments and grievances complaining that the world will not devote itself to making you happy. I am of the opinion that my life belongs to the whole community, and as long as I live, it is my privilege to do for it whatever I can. I want to be thoroughly used up when I die, for the harder I work the more I live. I rejoice in life for its own sake. Life is no ‘brief candle’ for me. It is a sort of splendid torch which I have got hold of for the moment, and I want to make it burn as brightly as possible before handing it on to future generations.”
We, Ankit and Alpa, invite you to come join us in our mission. Come join us in creating moments of joy that travelers can string together into a sparkling memoir of a life well-lived. Come join us in fostering economic development and reducing wealth inequalities through tourism dollars. Come join us, in making a difference.Alpa Agarwal and Ankit Agarwal, co-founders, TravelMyHeart
What is TravelMyHeart?
“… Whenever it is a damp drizzly November in my soul … I go to sea…”
— Herman Melville, Moby Dick
If like Herman Melville, you are tormented by an everlasting itch to travel, to someplace new and exciting, within driving distance or a flight away, TravelMyHeart makes it fast and fun to discover the magic of the world!
Simply choose your flight budget or driving distance, weather preference, and interests, and voila – get a list of places to travel to and things to see and do – that you may not have thought of. Save your travel ideas to an itinerary, add personal notes and suggestions from friends, or copy and paste information from outside TravelMyHeart, so you can organize all your ideas and travel details in one place, and share them if you wish. Book tours and activities directly, without paying commissions, so you can save money.
Let’s say you feel drawn to swim with sharks, start by choosing on TravelMyHeart.com: “I live in San Francisco, I want to spend less than $250 on a round trip flight, I want warm weather, and I am interested in wildlife.” And voila, TravelMyHeart gives you a list of places to travel to and things to see and do that match your criteria. You can also find local tour and activity operators and book directly for the best deal.
Invented by siblings with wandering hearts and loose screws, TravelMyHeart scratches your itch by making it fast and fun for you to indulge your passion for travel, so you can see the world before you leave it.
I believe the fundamental part of traveling is for it to be an enjoyable experience. Unfortunately current planning, booking, and paying processes are not. TravelMyHeart changes things. Its intuitive approach maps to my decision-making process, making it painless and fun to find and plan memorable vacations.J. Paredes, traveler
Making Travel a Regular Habit
A Sparkling Memoir of a Life Well-Lived
In our rushed lives, science proves that making travel a regular habit is a key to good mental and physical health.
Whether it is waking up on a Sunday morning and visiting a nearby farm or getting away on the weekend for play in the water along a nearby river, or whether it is getting away for a week to kayak amidst whales in the Sea of Cortez, or watch lion cubs cuddle with their moms in Serengeti National Park, the world offers a glass-full of happy moments filled with awe and wonder.
Science shows that experiencing awe and wonder is key to improving our mood and happiness, lowering stress and cellular inflammation, and interestingly, key to kinship. Awe causes the release of oxytocin, the bonding hormone, which makes us feel warm, close, and connected with others. Awe humbles us and makes us appreciate our inter-dependence and makes us kinder and more patient. Awe makes us generous and altruistic. So, should we take out time regularly to get out and experience the magic of the world? Science says, yes.
Science also suggests that novel experiences enhance happiness; that variety is truly the spice of life. In a 2020 research study by Catherine A. Hartley et al., it was found that exposure to diverse experiences, particularly in our physical environments, was strongly associated with positive feelings, making travel key to happiness. In a separate study of the brain by Nico Bunzeck and Emrah Duzel, it was found that fresh experiences resulted in a rush of dopamine, making us happy. Novel experiences are also predictors of longevity. People who seek out new experiences throughout life are happier and healthier. Another research study by Thomas Gilovich, Matthew Killingsworth, and Amit Kumar even showed that spending money on experiences provides more enduring happiness than does spending money on material purchases. Gilovich et al’s conclusion is reinforced by research conducted by Dr. Elizabeth Dunn et al. at the University of British Columbia and Professor Ryan Howell et al. at San Francisco State University. They found that material purchases lead to temporary happiness, but the memories of experiences linger on forever. So should you go on a guided rafting trip on the Zambezi River in Africa, or on an expedition to the Danger Islands to see a supercolony of 1.5 million penguins, or on a new hike in your neighborhood? Science says, yes. And TravelMyHeart can help you find novel things to see and do close to you or a flight away.
Science also proves that nostalgia and memories of experiences, increase happiness. Research conducted by Dr. Constantine Sedikides et al. found that memories result in feelings of self-continuity and connectedness with our past and with our personalities and identities. They also provide a feeling of vitality, energy, and spiritedness. Co-author Erica Hepper explains eloquently, “When we experience nostalgia, we tend to feel happier, have higher self-esteem, feel closer to loved ones, and feel that life has more meaning. And on a physical level, nostalgia literally makes us feel warmer.” Hepper and her colleagues also showed that nostalgia produces increased optimism about the future. On similar lines, research conducted by Professor Clay Routledge et al. found that nostalgia helps people make greater meaning of their present lives by relating it to their past experiences. The result can boost mood and reduce stress.
Hans Christian Andersen says it best:
“To move, to breathe, to fly, to float,
To gain all while you give,
To roam the roads of lands remote,
To travel is to live.”
We built TravelMyHeart to make it fast and fun for you to enjoy the magic of the world; to find things to see and do quickly and easily within driving distance or a flight away; to book tours and activities directly at commission-free, prices; and to save your travel ideas to an itinerary and automatically convert them into a scrapbook of memories – so you can look back on a life well lived.Alpa Agarwal and Ankit Agarwal, co-founders, TravelMyHeart
Read Alpa Agarwal’s ode to travel.
What makes TravelMyHeart unique?
TravelMyHeart gives you personalized travel ideas that you may not have thought of, quickly and easily. Just select your driving distance and interests and voila – get a list of places to drive to and things to see and do. Or, if you want to travel a flight away, just type in your flight budget, weather preference, and interests, and voila – get a list of places to travel to around the world. You can always find good hotels within your budget. Think US$ 500 will only buy you a flight ticket within your own country. No, no, no. Try TravelMyHeart and let our powerful search get to work and give you travel ideas you may not have thought of.
Our powerful, next-generation search
- Search by criteria most important to your decision-making – by flight budget or driving distance, weather preference and interests, or if you know where you want to go – search by city or country.
- Discover top attractions and activities, and off-the-beaten-path gems and get extremely high-quality information about them.
- Find areas to travel to, not just single destinations, so you don’t return disappointed at having missed out.
- Save hours of research time, as TravelMyHeart tells you which nearby airport offers the best flight deal.
- Get information about jet lag, visas, currency, safety, vaccinations and health, all at your fingertips.
- Save money by booking tours and activities directly at commission-free prices, from local tour and activity operators, who offer the best deals and on-the-ground local expertise, and who are otherwise impossible to find.
- Ask for special services personalized for you.
- Book flights and hotels at some of the lowest prices available.
Create and share itineraries, so you can stay organized
- Create itineraries with automatically-generated maps and share them.
- Personalize your itineraries – add notes, ideas from friends or from your research, and copy and paste booking confirmations, etc.
- Save and share all your ideas and plans in one place.
- Easily visualize on a map the locations of the attractions and activities you have saved to your itinerary, so you may book a hotel in proximity to them, reducing your transportation costs.
TravelMyHeart is incorporated in the United States of America and headquartered in Richmond, California, in the San Francisco Bay Area.
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Co-founder, CEO & Head of Product and Business
As co-founder, CEO, and Head of Product and Business, Alpa is responsible for product management, product marketing, sales, business development, strategy, and other business functions.
Prior to TravelMyHeart, Alpa was director of product management at Intuit, where she led a team of product managers in delivering marketing technology solutions.
As director of product management & marketing at eBay, Alpa led the development and launch of the eBay Promotions Manager which increased sales and average order size for eBay merchants. The application is currently successfully deployed on eBay.
Prior to eBay, Alpa worked with the engineering team at Microsoft’s MSN.com to release new social & community features. Alpa also held marketing roles in Microsoft’s developer division working on multi-core computing and with startups in the Microsoft for Startups program. Prior to that, Alpa led a global team at Microsoft to identify strategic market trends. She regularly advised Microsoft’s senior leadership team, including Bill Gates, resulting in new acquisitions, technology investments, and strategic corporate shifts. Alpa has an MBA from the University of Missouri-Columbia and a BA in Economics from the University of Mumbai.
Alpa is curious, adventurous, creative, a problem-solver, hardworking, tenacious, and loves to learn. She is passionate about small business success. Alpa Agarwal’s LinkedIn Profile
Co-founder, CTO and Head of Engineering & Product
Ankit Agarwal is co-founder, CTO, and head of engineering and product at TravelMyHeart. In his role, he is responsible for engineering and product management.
Prior to TravelMyHeart, Ankit was Vice President of Engineering and Product at CloudWeaver Inc., formerly Lyatiss, which made SaaS software to manage and optimize cloud-hosted applications and IaaS infrastructures. In this role, Ankit oversaw engineering, operations, product management, and user experience design and built CloudWeaver’s engineering and operations teams worldwide. Additionally, Ankit led pre-sales, technical demonstrations, and acquired the first set of customers. Ankit also played a leading role in analyst briefings and partner development.
Prior to CloudWeaver™, Ankit was Associate Vice President of Engineering at OPNET Technologies, Inc., a Gartner Magic Quadrant leader in Application Performance Management and Network Performance Monitoring and Diagnostics. OPNET was acquired by Riverbed Technology in 2012. In this role, Ankit was responsible for OPNET’s automated solutions for Network Discovery, Security and Performance Auditing, and Documentation and Diagramming – Sentinel and NetMapper, now known as Riverbed SteelCentral™ NetAuditor. Ankit oversaw all aspects of engineering, product management, and user experience design and built the respective teams. Additionally, Ankit played a leading role in pre-sales and post-sales support, technical support, customer demonstrations, analyst briefings, and acquisitions.
Ankit has presented sessions on network management and cloud operations at various industry conferences. He holds several patents in the areas of computer networking, security, and cloud operations. He has a Masters’s in Computer Science degree from the University of Missouri.
Ankit is curious, tenacious, and loves to analyze problems and build software solutions for them. Software is how he expresses his creativity. Ankit Agarwal’s LinkedIn Profile
Visual Design Consultant
Katie Canada is co-founder and Creative Director at Departika, a digital branding agency, where she has created award-winning designs for clients that scale from start-ups to regional companies and national consumer brands.
Originating in advertising, Katie has been involved in the culture and workings of both large and small agencies. Her experience in marketing strategy, brand identity, packaging, and interactive design has led to successful work in various industries including consumer food and beverage, hospitality and entertainment, and music promotions.
Katie is curious and passionate about marketing and design, as one might expect, but believes her enthusiasm for other things, such as the outdoors, music, and laughing out loud, feeds the energy it takes to run a business and to lead a creative team. Katie Canada’s LinkedIn Profile
Amir Sarhangi is vice president of products at Ripple. Ripple provides a frictionless experience to send money globally using the power of blockchain. Prior to joining Ripple, Amir was director of product management and partnerships at Google responsible for messaging, after Google acquired Jibe Mobile, a company he founded and led.
As CEO and founder of Jibe Mobile, Amir was responsible for the company’s strategic and product direction, which placed Jibe Mobile at the forefront of the move towards an “all IP” mobile network. Prior to Jibe Mobile, Amir led the planning and strategy for consumer products and services for Vodafone Japan where he managed a budget of $170 million. Amir has deep roots in the telecommunications industry and has helped drive the development of industry standards, such as GSMA’s joyn. Amir received a BS in Engineering from California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo. Amir Sarhangi’s LinkedIn Profile