Written by Sage Corps 2017 alumnus, Dalvin Sejours.
In Spring 2017, I was very excited to study and intern abroad in Sydney, Australia through the Sage Corps program. I went to class by day and interned at Bonjoro, the startup I was paired with, in the evening. On the weekends and during the various breaks that I had throughout the semester, I would adventure and learn more about Australia by delving into the cuisine, art, and nightlife. However, while I really enjoyed exploring the country and all that it had to offer, I never got the time to document my travels! I had a travel journal, but it was never in reach.
In addition to the obvious exposure to a new culture, country, and city, Sage Corps also gave me the opportunity to get up close and personal with entrepreneurship in the tech bubble known as “Silicone Beach” in Australia. Sage Corps set us up with a whole calendar of local events such as pitching competitions, lunch and learns, and meetups, which inspired me as I heard about the amazing ideas that “regular”people like me had to offer. Not only that, but Bonjoro was a tight-knit startup. I was able to pick the brain of Bonjoro’s CEO Matthew Barnett, since his desk was right across from mine. We would casually chat about how he came up with the idea for his products, and he would drop gems of wisdom on being fearless and taking that initial leap. These conversations with investors and various stakeholders is what set the seed for what would become the iTravel Journal app.
After my life-changing experience through the Sage Corps program, I made a pact to myself that I would travel to a new location every year. Every new location I go I would have amazing food and experience new ways of life…but still kept forgetting to keep notes.
Fast forward to the beginning of 2019 - my New Year’s resolution was to build an iOS app, a goal partially inspired by my exposure to entrepreneurship and software development in Sydney. After reminiscing on my past travel pain point, I decided to create an app addressing just that. Thus, my idea came alive: an app that functions as a travel journal. I sketched out the initial design and my vision came to light - a simple and easy way to save your favorite locations abroad with notes. I created two beta versions, and had close to 100 users try the app and provide feedback for me in a Google Forms sheet. Feedback is a gift and a curse, but it ultimately allowed me to create the first version of the application.
Currently, the app is available on the iPhone App Store under the name “iTravel Journal”. Please feel free to try it out and rate it, as I continue to tweak it and make it something bigger and better. It was amazing that I was able to take a real world problem that I experienced on the Sage Corps program and beyond, and create something out of it - which is the essence of software engineering.