Escape the rat race

Why this world traveler created a fairytale travel matching app for digital nomads and remote workers

Last updated on June 7th, 2024

Meet Taige Zhang, the co-founder of Fairytrail, a travel matching and booking app that people use for dating or friendship. Welcome to “Life by Design”. This Discovery Sessions interview series probes inspiring individuals who work online and travel, and people designing their lives around freedom to inspire readers just like you. 

 

 

Rosie Bell: Where are you from or where do you feel local to?

Taige Zhang: I’m from San Francisco but I feel like a world citizen. I grew up in five countries and went to 11 different schools including universities and exchange programs. I feel most at home in North America and Europe but I consider the world my home.

 

 

 

RB: How did you start as a digital nomad app designer?

TZ: I had a friend at Apple who was building products. He was having the most fun at his job out of anyone I knew. I’d love to build things too, so I looked for an opportunity to get into product management.

 

We launched Fairytrail in late 2019, a few months before Covid so not the best timing for a travel company. We pivoted to a dating and friendship app for travelers during the pandemic but now that travel is returning, we are transitioning back to being more of a travel company.

 

Since I moved to the USA for a job, I’d been finding it really hard to find someone I want to marry and start a family with. Because I was traveling a lot for work and most dating apps require a location, it was difficult for me to meet for coffee dates. What blew my mind was that many women were willing to fly for a first date. Since I wasn’t around for coffee, we’d do a video call and then after some talking, they’d fly to meet me or we’d both fly somewhere. 

 

One of those adventure dates turned into a relationship and I remember asking why she flew to meet me. She said she liked me and it sounded fun. Perfect logic.

 

The truth was those adventure dates were incredibly fun and high quality. 100X better than coffee dates or drinks. So I thought, wouldn’t other people like this? The only issue was safety. Well, it turns out companies like Airbnb, GYG, and Viator have thousands of outdoor group activities which make it super safe for two strangers to enjoy together. That’s how this business got started. 

 

 

RB: What advice would you give someone looking to start designing apps?

TG: Talk to people who are already doing what you want to do. Tell people about your goals. Also, I think if you look at successful people you’ll find a pattern that most of them were willing to work hard or for free to get to their dream. Don’t be afraid of hard work.

 

 

RB: What does a typical day in the life look like for you (if you have one)?

TG: I have a lot of meetings with designers, engineers, and business folks. I research, prioritize, ideate, and build with my team.

 

Digital nomad dating app Fairytrail - Interview with Taige Zhang

 

RB: What’s the biggest challenge of life as the designer of a travel matching app?

TG: Making sure everyone is aligned, empowered, and motivated.

 

 

RB: What’s the biggest reward of life as the designer of a travel matching app?

TG: Making dreams a reality. Changing people’s lives for the better.

 

 

RB: How do you measure success?

TG: Results, happiness, and energy.

 

Digital nomad dating app Fairytrail - Interview with Taige Zhang

 

RB: What habits, principles, or ideas have served you the most in your life?

TG: I think keeping my word to myself and others has been a key to success. Habit of exercise, hard work, and learning. Knowing what’s important. For me, it’s health and relationships. It guides my decisions.

 

 

RB: What do you wish you did differently (in work or life)?

TG: I am actually super happy with what I’m doing for work and my lifestyle.

 

 

RB: The stage is yours, tell our readers anything.

TG: Feel free to get in touch with me on Instagram @taigeair or try my digital nomad matching app at http://www.fairytrail.app.

 

DIGITAL NOMAD RESOURCES

 

Want to become a digital nomad?

If you wish to start your own location-independent business, find a remote job, learn about special digital nomad visas, or dive head-first into the world of digital nomads, book a 1:1 session with me here and ask me anything.

 

Where can I take courses about location independence?

On Discovery Sessions Learning, you can find on-demand courses to help you escape the rat race, travel, freelance, build or grow an online business, and maximize your freedom. Visit our course library here

 

What is the best travel insurance for digital nomads?

Safety Wing is the ultimate made-for-nomads-by-nomads travel insurance provider. Protect yourself anywhere in the world with their flexible nomad insurance.

 

How can I find accommodation as a digital nomad?

There are great deals to be found for short and longer stays (of up to 30 days) anywhere in the world on Agoda, Trip.com, Expedia US, or Booking.com where you can search for accommodations and filter according to criteria like desks, air conditioning, private bathrooms, and complimentary Wi-Fi.

 

How can I get an international SIM card when I’m traveling?

It’s quick and painless to get an eSIM (or digital SIM card) and data plan from Airalo that covers practically any country in the world before you get there so you never have to bother going into a phone shop. With the Airalo app, you can keep track of your data usage and top up easily.

 

Where can I find useful travel resources for digital nomads?

You can find all my nomad-friendly resources right here on this page. These will help you out whether you’re looking for the best flight search tools or digital sim cards. Also, sign up for Freedom Friday, our weekly newsletter that gives you five links with informational bites from the worlds of digital nomadism, remote work, travel, freedompreneurship, life design, and location independence. 

Hi, I'm Rosie Bell, a location-independent writer, editor and lifestyle entrepreneur. If you want inspiration and support to live, travel and work anywhere, look no further. Let's talk right here.