Kristine Mascione is a keen traveler who saw the need for an alternative to the standard social media platforms prevalent today. She shares her story to encourage folks to seek inspiration but then actually get out there and live it!

I’m sure many of us can agree: we see the negative effects social media has on us. It is all over the news how greedy Facebook is — the social media giant isn’t looking out for the welfare of its users. As a high school teacher, I see firsthand how it’s affecting the personalities of these young people as much as it’s changing the personalities of older generations. Too much time is focused on maintaining Facebook friends than “real life” friends and people are living through the experiences of others, not our own. 

Why do people keep going back to something that causes anxiety, depression, and loneliness and keeps us from real-life relationships? We are addicted to the scroll. So why not spend that time instead looking at something that is inspirational, makes you feel good, and gets you excited about life? Something that gets you out and exploring different places… 

Starting Something New for Social Media

My quest to stir up the social media world started at an outdoor bar in Venice over a couple of cocktails on month 10 of our year-long honeymoon around the world. 

Kristine Mascione and her husband posing by a canal in Venice
Kristine Mascione and her husband posing by a canal in Venice | Photo courtesy of the author

My husband and I were talking about how we barely posted to social media, other than a couple of pictures just to let people know we were still alive. After all that we saw, we could have easily posted 20 times a day. But people would have hated us for it. 

A couple of drinks later, we came up with the idea of a site where users could post to inspire others to get out and do something different, without being totally centered around how great their life is. Instead, the aim is to inform people how they too can do it. 

We wanted to share all of the incredible things we were seeing and we wanted people to know that they could do it, too. While not everyone could replicate our 80,000-mile trip through 28 countries, there is adventure to be had in our own backyards — wherever we live in the world. 

Read next: How I Traveled to 36 Countries on a Student Budget

Helping Travelers Plan More Easily

While considering how we were traveling, we also thought about the wasted hours sifting through hundreds of TripAdvisor reviews. We thought about how frustrating and disheartening it was reading how one place could be so amazing in some people’s eyes but then reading someone else’s scathing review immediately after. While everyone is entitled to their opinion, the negative reviews can really drag a place or experience down even before you go yourself.

In our opinion, the best part of traveling is seeking out the lesser-visited places and doing things that the locals know about. 

So why isn’t there a site where you can look at a picture and read briefly why that restaurant is so great to eat at? Of course, it’s not just for restaurants, but for any kind of experience. If the picture looks cool and the insights shared are positive, then I would take my chances and check it out. 

Kristine Mascione poses with her husband amidst the sand dunes at Big Daddy at Sossusvlei in Namibia
Kristine Mascione poses with her husband amidst the sand dunes at Big Daddy at Sossusvlei in Namibia | Photo courtesy of the author

We also thought how convenient it would be if we could show up in a city and see all that is going on around us at that moment. This could be anything from festivals to sporting events, art exhibits to concerts, happy hours, etc. 

So, we decided to create something that eliminates the wasted time looking for something fun and different to do, while also taking out the negative impact of standard social media. We want to create a space where users feel good and also feel inspired to see and do more…away from their screens. 

Creating OUTnabout for Inspiration

From all our travel experiences and all our conversations about the impact of social media on users’ mental health, we conceptualized an app called OUTnabout. Our goal is for people to use it while they’re out,  writing something short and sweet about an experience or place to encourage others to also check it out.

Simple, quick, and feel-good effective.

With OUTnabout, you still get to see what people are up to and then you can get out there and do it yourself. You would also see local businesses and event promotor’s ads that would pertain to your interests and location. 

The best part is, it could be useful for traveling or right in your own backyard on any budget. Think of it as the “Pinterest” of experiences. 

Creating Good Tech for a Better Future

While creating a positive social media experience is at the core of our goals, another motivator is something that hit us hard during our trip. We kept seeing the drastic impact caused by climate change and how terribly humans are destroying the natural beauty we have. 

We saw everything from glaciers melting right before our eyes in Patagonia to washed-up clothes hangers and other plastic on a deserted island in Panama. 

Kristine Mascione poses in front of the Perito Moreno Glacier in Argentina
Kristine Mascione poses in front of the Perito Moreno Glacier in Argentina | Photo courtesy of the author

That’s why our goal is to donate a portion of our profits to organizations that help people in the places we love as well as the planet herself. 

If we don’t start taking care of our Earth, then there will be nothing for future generations to enjoy. That makes me really sad, as a mom, thinking about my kids’ future and the beauty that they will never get to experience. 

Read next: 20+ Sustainability Influencers Leading the Way in Travel

The Challenging Road of Entrepreneurship as a Mother

Fast forward five years after that first conversation in Venice. I’m a teacher, a mom to a three-year-old boy and 1-year-old identical girl twins, and I am someone that cannot let  OUTnabout go. 

Going through school to become a teacher, I wasn’t taught one thing about starting a company. After teaching all day, I come home and watch YouTube videos on how to start a startup while entertaining my kids, cooking dinner, and playing ball with my dog. 

Kristine Mascione sits with her 3 kids in the open trunk of a minivan
Current Travel Status: 3 kids and a minivan | Photo courtesy of the author

I listen to podcasts on startups while commuting to work and write down notes at every red light. I attend tech and startup networking meet-ups in the city with a bunch of millennials, which is totally out of my comfort zone, but I do my best to fit in. 

I created my own website after countless hours. I created my promo video, which took way too long to do, but it’s something I ended up being very proud of. So this is the extent of my “training”. 

I’m telling you all of this to perhaps inspire you to step out of your comfort zone. This is waaaay outside of my comfort zone. But that’s where our passions can thrive. 

Of course, I could watch all of the YouTube videos out there, but they are still not going to fully prepare me to be a CEO of a company. What I do know is I am passionate and driven and I want to connect people in a positive way. I love nothing more than inspiring others to get out and experience life. That is what I preach and it’s why I love teaching German and influencing my students to get out and see the world!

Kristine Mascione Posing at Mount Everest basecamp
Kristine Mascione Posing at Mount Everest basecamp | Photo courtesy of the author

I will be laughed at if I approach a Venture capitalist asking to invest a million dollars with zero experience and just a very thought-out plan. The odds are against me, even more so because, sadly, funding only goes to less than 3% of female startup founders

But that’s why I want this to be grassroots. If I can reach people like you, my fellow travelers and global-minded readers, instead of corporate America, more money can go back to helping others and the environment. 

I am on a mission to make a positive alternative to social media and create an online community that inspires its users to get out and live life while helping others and the Earth. 

My motto for OUTnabout is: don’t count how many likes you have, count how many people you can inspire. We’re trying to change the way we travel and interact online with places and with each other. I hope you join us!

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