Hi everyone – this is the beginning of a series of blog posts which track the story behind Escape the City from the original idea through to what we’ve built today.

Starting at the beginning – February and March of 2009 – this post tells the story of the original idea.

How did it start?

It all started with a Google search. Actually, no it didn’t. It all started with a canoe race. The longest canoe race in the world actually. It’s called the Yukon River Quest. Back in 2008 and 2009 Dom started spending more and more of his time setting himself challenges for his weekends and holidays. It helped him forget that he was finding his job increasingly unfulfilling.

He ended up building a small website to help him raise charity money for the Yukon adventure. The website was called www.fleethecity.co.uk…

February 2009

One slow Friday afternoon Dom and Rob were sitting in neighbouring cubicles on the 9th floor. Dom leaned across and whispered to Rob about the canoe race and the website. He also said that he thought there was a business opportunity for a website that helped bored office workers find exciting challenges and short-term adventures to distract them from the fact that they didn’t enjoy their jobs.

He said that perhaps he could turn FleetheCity into such a business when he got back from the Yukon in July.

Rob, not being such an adventurer, but possessing a similar feeling of ‘surely there’s more to life than this laptop, PowerPoint and Excel’, said that he thought it was a great idea.

March 2009

The Google search… For reasons now forgotten (perhaps desperation) Rob found himself sitting at work and typing the word ‘escape’ into Google. The first image that came up on the Images search was a photo of a little escape key running away from the keyboard. Try it yourself, it still comes up.

By this stage Dom was working at a client’s office over on Fleet Street. Rob copied the image and sent it to him via email. He didn’t intend anything more than to say the word ‘Escape’ to Dom through the medium of a Googled image. A strange and unintended thing then happened. Dom replied with a crazily enthusiastic email saying ‘Yes, that’s it! Not Flee the City, but Escape the City!’. By that evening he sent through a rough logo to Rob’s mobile phone.

Crazy and naive as it sounds, but as soon as the little Esc man was born we both felt like we already had a business. Little did we know that that logo was the beginning of an adventure that would see us both quit our jobs and start a business together!

{next stage of the story coming next week – watch this space}

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