Features
What It's Like to Work With a Friend on a Passion Project
There are pros and cons, for sure!
IMAGE Yanna Yang ART Clare Magno

Travel buddies and business partners Ayen dela Torre and Rachel Halili are the geniuses behind Where to Next, originally a brand for a planner they created, which eventually grew to become a community of creative people who like to travel with passion and purpose. Their passion project started when they decided—over Facebook chat—to create a planner that reflected their yearning for trave. And so their adventure as friends and new project partners began. Here, they share some of the upsides and downsides of working with each other.

CONS

It can be distracting.

Rachel: It’s harder to focus on the serious stuff because sometimes, more than half of our meeting is spent on gossiping and talking about other things.

You tend to feed off each other's feelings—and it's not always a good thing.

Ayen: We kind of absorb each other's energy. And sometimes it's not a good thing because no one is trying to counter it. Whenever I'm feeling down, I can easily drag her down also. For example, I'd feel so sad about a bad comment on social media, so I'd obviously rant to her since we're partners, and then she'll start to feel sad as well!

There will be times when you'll need other friends to step in.

Rachel: When we're both feeling down or every time we have a problem, we look to our friends for support...we always tell them about it and they always help us.

Sometimes you're not completely being honest with each other...

Ayen: When it comes to providing feedback, there are times when we're not totally being honest because we don't want to hurt each other's feelings. Rachel handles design and I handle most of the content, like the writing, so sometimes her design wouldn’t appeal to me, but I think, "Maybe that's not my expertise." And I just keep quiet.

Rachel: What she doesn't know is I'm actually waiting for her to say something. Because there are times when I'm also not completely happy with my work and I'm just waiting for Ayen to tell me to change something, but then she'd say it's nice.

PROS

...But you'll eventually learn to do so.

Rachel: But now we've learned to be more honest and open with feedback. I guess it helped that we've been talking almost every day for the last one and a half years and shared travel experiences already.

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It doesn't feel like work.

Ayen: It doesn't always feel like work because when we have meetings or go on trips together—it's always just a combination of work and play. So we always make time to chat or just talk about our personal lives.

Disagreements are easier to solve because you both want the same results.

Rachel: We always go back to the why—why we're doing what we're doing.

Ayen: No matter how many different changes we make and disagreements we have along the way, as long as everything you know points back to the why, which is to inspire people to travel, then it will be worth it.

You become more understanding of each other.

Ayen: We don't blame each other for the mistakes that we've made because we always think that the other person can also commit mistakes. Instead, we own up to it as a group and just fix it rather than dwell on the mistake.

You can always talk about your project anytime, anywhere.

Ayen: During trips or during our in between moments, like delayed events, they're actually opportunity for us to meet and talk about our ideas.

Rachel: We can meet in the car because we usually get our ideas when we're in transit—we never get them when we're just sitting down in a conference room. But when we're traveling and we have this light bulb moment, we'll decide to do it and it actually comes to fruition.

PHOTO Yanna Yang MAKEUP Sari Campos for Make Up Forever HAIR Eddie Mar Cabiltes STYLING Janelle Yau CLOTHES Forever 21, Sfera, Topshop, Warehouse

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Mara Agner
Assistant Lifestyle and Features Editor
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