Fathom is defined by the Freedictionary as "A unit of length equal to 6 feet (1.83 meters), used principally in the measurement and specification of marine depths." and also as " To penetrate to the meaning or nature of; comprehend." .

Okay. not to worry, we are not here to give you a class on the English language. But, for me the summation of these two meanings into one seems to aptly describe the start-up website that we are featuring today, Fathom.

Created by Pavia Rosati and Jeralyn Gerba, it is a one stop destination for people planning a trip, especially the DIY folk, and for people sharing their travel experiences. The articles can be shared as Guides, Postcards, Tools and Shop.  Guides as the name suggests are guides to some place where you have been and about which you can share, giving detailed information to help people make their travel plans. Postcards are short articles with nice photos. Tools are articles about resources which help in making travel easier. Finally Shop is a curated collection of travel related products.

The Postcards are further tagged based on the type of activity like Chill, Culture, Food, Kids, Scenery etc. . The guides are organized based on the destination and further segregated into hotels, restaurants, shops, sites etc. I personally recommend that you do visit Fathom to get a good overview of the website and am sure you will keep going back to it. Pavia was very kind to take some time out of her busy schedule and talk to us about the concept behind Fathom. Read her interview with us below:

Pavia / Jeralyn please introduce yourself to our readers.

I’m Pavia Rosati, the founder of the travel website, Fathom. I split my time between New York City and London, and I grew up between New Jersey and Italy, so I’ve been mastering jetlag since before I could walk. Before launching Fathom, I spent nine years as executive editor at DailyCandy. The other brains behind Fathom are my former DailyCandy colleagues Jeralyn Gerba and Crystal Meers.

What is the concept behind Fathom? What inspired you to create Fathom?

Fathom is the travel website that was missing from my life. I love to travel, and I rely on the internet to make everything in my life easier. But there was a hole in the travel space. I constantly found myself spending countless hours researching trips online — wading through cluttered sites, bad blogs, and lowest common denominator content on the hunt for the essential and thespecial information that I wanted. Thus Fathom was born. To inspire you to travel, to make the travel planning process less painful, to help you find the great place around the world that you didn't know you were going to love. We are a next generation travel website, combining excellent editorial contentwith links to the best online resources and travel products, and doing it in a beautiful, welcoming way so everyone can participate in the conversation. We want Fathom to be the place you come to indulge in your wanderlust. Stuck on a boring call? We’re here to fix that.

From the point that you envisaged this idea, what were some of the difficulties you faced in getting Fathom up and running?

Have you seen how many travel sites there are out there? I stopped counting at 13,000. So the biggest challenge is connecting with readers. In terms of building the site, we spent a lot of time planning the look and feel of the site (our designers, Avec - http://avec.us - deserve so much credit) to make it as intuitive and easy to use as possible. And fun. That was important, too.

How can readers share their travel experiences with Fathom? How do you plan to monitor the quality of articles that get published on Fathom?

We invite readers to share their stories with us, and we publish as many as we can. Many people who have written once then become regular contributors. Nothing is ever published on Fathom until it’s been rigorously edited and vetted as quality content. But the site is only one place where we connect with our readers. We talk to them about their travel experiences on our Facebook page, we share photos on Pinterest, and we answer  travelquestions in real time on Twitter. We have Facebook comments on our stories, but to be honest no one is really using those.

How is Fathom different from the scores of other travel blogging sites? Could you please elaborate on this?

It's not one thing. It's a series of them. We incorporate many content elements to create a dynamic website that's a rich experience for our readers. We mix the inspirational (travelers' stories, which we call “postcards”) with the practical (guides, travel tools, products) and delight readers so much that they keep coming back. We don't publish banal or boring content. We’re curious and we know that interesting things exist all over and all all price points. "Special" sometimes means a ten-course meal on white linen and sometimes it's a taco from a truck.

How has Fathom been received bythe travel community? What is the biggest compliment that you have receivedsince you launched Fathom?

Every time someone writes in to say, “thank you for the travel website I have been waiting for,” my heart swells. Our job is to delight the readers. It’s incredibly gratifying that hotels and journalists and editors also love what we’re doing, that we’ve created a beautiful forum celebrating all the reasons why people pack their bags and hit the road. But ultimately it boils down to the travelers, our readers.

What are on the top shelves of your inspiration library right now? This can be anything from blogs, books and magazines to vintage catalogs/manuals, etc.

We’re pretty much obsessed with maps, from medieval atlases to Google maps. We love the idea of how people have been charting paths for exploration – whether that’s into a new neighborhood or across an unknown sea. A subset of this category is travel notebooks and journals. We may be a website, but we’re total paper nuts.

Since you have been associated with the travel industry for a long time can you share your favourite travel destinations with us? What according to you is that one-must-go-to destination that every traveller must visit?

There’s no way to answer this question without revealing incredible personal biases. Syria, for example, was one of the most incredible places I’ve ever been, but we can’t travel to Syria now for sad and obvious political reasons. So here’s my bias on my sleeve: Italy is the most magical country for travelers. Geography ranges from land and sea to beaches and mountains. The people are stylish, colorful (ahem), and welcoming. The culture is rich, varied, and dramatic. And as well traveled as Italy is, there remain undiscovered areas in plain sight. And don’t get me started on the food, because then I’ll have to stop typing to go make spaghetti.

What are your future plans for Fathom? How do you see it developing further in the future?

So many plans! No matter what we do and how we grow, we want to stay committed to our core vision, which is to mix the inspirational with the practical. To that end, we will continue to build our destination guides, our postcards, and our travel shop (just because you can’t go to Paris doesn’t mean Paris can’t come to you). We will soon launch the Fathom travel agency, enabling readers to book their travel needs – flights, hotels, experiences – through the site for the same rates they’d pay on Kayak. We want to make it as easy as possible for readers to engage with travel experiences – even if they’re staying home.

What advice would you personally offer to travellers to improve their travel experience?

Develop a strong code for traveling: Be curious. Be grateful. Be respectful. Talk to strangers. And don’t be afraid to travel. People too often turn travel into A Thing and make it A Production. Get out of that habit. Why not take a Friday off, find a cheap last-minute fare, and take a long weekend in, say, Cartagena? Doesn’t that sound better than another weekend at home?

Thank you Pavia for taking the time for this interview sharing your experience and valuable tips with us. We wish you and Fathom the very best for the future. 

You can read more about Fathom at:


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1 Response to 'Start-Up Of The Week: Fathom - A Travel Planning/Sharing Website'

  1. E-junkie Said,
    http://www.e-junkie.info/2012/04/start-up-of-week-fathom-travel.html?showComment=1391880232188#c2073722010412341254'> February 8, 2014 at 10:23 AM


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