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Minneapolis hospitality industry veteran shows off 'virtual travel' startup

Richard Reeve
Updated: September 20, 2020 11:13 PM
Created: September 20, 2020 10:12 PM

If you’re yearning to travel, but have COVID-19 concerns, you might want to meet Jim Sega. 

"The world out there, it's so much bigger than your backyard,” he said. “When this all went down, and nobody could travel anymore, that was when we started thinking.”

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Sega is a Minneapolis-based hospitality and hotel management veteran with decades of experience. 

Months into the pandemic, he and a friend decided to go virtual. 

"Hey, since we love to travel, maybe what we can do is bring the world into people's living rooms,” Sega said. “And actually get them educated on different countries."

They filled a room full of cardboard containers from a Golden Valley box maker and are packing them up, one country at a time. 

“It's a bimonthly subscription, and it's a suitcase,” Sega said. 

They call their venture Up and Away Adventures.

Each box is filled with goodies from a foreign country, along with a card with a website password. 

"We have back pages on the website, and that will give you a video of a tour of the country,” Sega said. “It’ll show you all the recipes you do, it will give you phrases from Babbel so you can learn some of the phrases." 

The first box, introduced in August, features Spain. 

"The first thing you're going to see is a map,” Sega points out, showing off the box like a proud father. 

Inside, there’s a potpourri of items: a Talavera tile, games, food, a virtual passport and recipes for the whole family.  

"We do an appetizer, an entree, here papaya. Churros for dessert. For the grownups, we have an adult beverage,” Sega said.  

 You could call it a three-dimensional guide into the culture, history, language and cuisine of a far-off country.  

"We want to go off the beaten road tracks,” Sega said. “Little interesting things, like for Spain, the Botin restaurant, it's the oldest restaurant in the world. It's three centuries old."

Sega says he already has dozens of subscribers. 

He’s using social media to spread the word about his business, and is already prepping a Germany box for October in honor of Octoberfest.  

Each subscription box costs $50.  

Sega hopes, in a post-pandemic world, that people will begin to travel more again. 

His virtual suitcase is a taste, he says — a window to the world, while staying safe. 

"You're going to see that people, although they might have different cultures and things about them, we're all the same, we all live here together," Sega said.


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