Miles Mitchinson: Today’s Notable Young Entrepreneur

Looking to experience the trip of your life? That’s exactly what Miles Mitchinson’s company, Detours, provides, offering 12 to 15-day gay group trips to Thailand and Costa Rica that do away with cookie-cutter itineraries.

Elevator Pitch: Describe your business in a nutshell.
Detours runs 12 to 15-day gay group trips to Thailand and Costa Rica (with more to come soon!) that do away with typical regimented daily itineraries, allowing for plenty of fun and spontaneity. Our focus is on creating an incredible trip based on each individual group, as opposed to offering cookie-cutter itineraries. We strive to be the #1 choice for gay travellers looking to knock items off their bucket lists in the world’s most alluring locations, while also remaining completely affordable!

Why did you start your business, what was the inspiration?
In short, travel changed my life and I’ve become passionate about helping others immerse themselves in this incredible world we live in. After spending most of the past 10 years overseas, I knew that I wanted to give my fellow gay community opportunities to experience the greatest spots on earth with like-minded people. The typical idea of overly structured group travel had never appealed to me and I knew there were others who wanted the fun, stress-free group experience with some added flexibility.

What is the best part of what you do on a day-to-day basis? The most challenging part?
When I’m not on a trip, my favorite part of the day is talking to people from all over the world who are thinking about joining one of our trips. I’ve been told that the passion I have for our destinations is visible in emails and audible over the phone, and is infectious; it makes our travelers that much more excited for their upcoming adventure!

The most challenging parts are the days that must be spent in the office talking about all the amazing tropical beaches, jungles, and adventures that await on our trips, then looking out our window and realizing it’s still winter here in Canada!

Where do you see your business going in five years?
In five years we see Detours offering a few more of our favorite destination options, but more importantly being recognized by our community as the best people to go to for that next incredible once-in-a-lifetime adventure.

What does success look like to you?
As far as business goes, success is that point when I’m doing exactly what I love to do when I wake up each morning while maintaining happy clients and staff.

What is the most memorable milestone in your career?
Near the end of Detours’ first group trip to Thailand, we were on a boat in the Andaman Sea, rounding the corner of Koh Phi Phi Leh into Maya Bay, and I’ll never forget one of our group members, whose jaw hit the ground and uttered, “This is the most beautiful place I’ve seen in my entire life… and these have absolutely been the best two weeks of my entire life too!” That wasn’t the last time that group repeated those words, but as a new business owner, that moment was when I knew Detours was meant to be.

Do you have any advice for other young professionals?
It may seem cliché, but following your passions with hard work and dedication, along with honesty and integrity will pay off.  It doesn’t happen overnight, and there are sure to be some bumps along the way, but in the end, it’s sure to be worth the time and effort.

Do you support any charities? If so, which one(s) and why is that important to you?
Even before we ran our first trip, Detours has supported Out in Schools, which facilitates LGBT discussions in high schools across Canada, particularly those small communities where proper support networks for LGBT students are not strong. In 2013 Detours will be donating trips to Thailand as the grand prize in Out in Schools’ annual fundraising lottery, as well as financial contributions as often as we are able to. We feel this type of outreach is one of the most important ways of creating a more open and accepting community for future generations.

What is Notable to you?
Notable to me is being distinguished and standing out from the crowd for positive reasons. The most engaging, positive, successful, honest, hard-working, philanthropic, sincere companies and people are notable to me.

Blackberry, iPhone, Android, or Other?
To be honest, Windows Phone is definitely my favorite, but a lack of apps forced me to switch loyalties to Android.

How do you keep active, energetic, and vibrant?
When I’m at home, I can be found at the gym, in a spin class, or road cycling most days of the week, but one of my favorite ways of keeping active while traveling is to go on runs around my accommodation. It’s a great way to get to know the neighbourhood!  Staying vibrant comes from surrounding myself with great positive people and keeping a good work-life balance.