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Fred started Tortuga in 2010. They detail the beginnings of their company in their Starter Story interview: 
Q: How did you get started on Tortuga?
In 2009, before we ever knew we’d start a travel company, my best friend Jeremy and I went on a backpacking trip to Eastern Europe. We learned how hard it is to travel with the wrong gear. The shoulder strap ripped off of Jeremy’s bag on the first day. I had to check my giant hiking backpack. The bag arrived on time but was a disorganized mess.
Our trip was a blast, but our luggage was a disaster. Despite weeks of pre-trip research, we couldn’t find the perfect travel backpack. So after the trip, we decided to make it ourselves and co-founded Tortuga.
> Context matters. What worked for us won’t work for you. The hot new thing everyone’s talking about probably won’t work either.
During the trip, we talked about our dream travel backpack. Both Jeremy and I had recently read The 4-Hour Work Week. We thought that we could use the book as a blueprint to build a passive income business selling the ultimate travel backpack despite not knowing anything about product design or manufacturing.
At the time, I was working in advertising at Google, and Jeremy was in film school. Tortuga started as a side project. We expected it to be easy: we’d find an existing bag, white-label it, run ads to drive traffic to the website, and collect a check every month. Exactly zero parts of that plan worked out.