We are celebrating 20 years online. Our website was a blog before blogs existed. We shared stories before sharing was a thing. We innovated new standards. And, we won a few awards along the way. As the founder, I’m proud of this. It hasn’t been easy. We’ve had to completely rebuild the website three times. We spend long hours, sometimes even years, generating world-class content, like our books. And it is a constant and growing challenge to find an audience. It’s a busy world, so we really appreciate you stopping by. Below, read more about our history.
Scott’s life of adventure began with this question: If I could do anything, what would I do? It may seem like an innocent or obvious question, yet it is perhaps the most awesome (literally meaning frightening and inspiring) question one may ask of themselves. It also planted the seed for this website, which is named for one of the first adventure stories in Western history: Jason and the Argonauts.
This website goes way back to 1999 before the invention of blogging or social media. It was originally created because on Scott’s first trip, bicycling across The United States, being a “crazy bicyclist” put an amazing sparkle of curiosity and wonder into people’s eyes and inspired many people to follow their dreams. Scott realized that everyone he encountered was partaking in his adventure and vice versa: everyone he met were adventurers themselves and a friendly word of encouragement or helping hand gave strangers the hope to continue on their journey. And Scott believes that he could never have accomplished his journey without all the words of kindness in return. So before he embarked on his personal quest for happiness around the world on a bicycle, Scott wondered why should he be the only one to share his adventure, so he founded The Argonauts, Inc.:
An adventure-travel community dedicated to inspiring the human spirit by enabling people to venture into the unknown and sharing their dreams and discoveries with the world in real-time.
That was our idealistic mission statement when theArgonauts.com first came online in 1999. Our vision was to give adventurers a forum to share their hopes and dreams and pass along the boon of their adventures, like new ideas and lessons learned. We were an online adventure magazine before the concept of a webzine, blog, guest post and before social media existed and made it easy to share content. Another goal was to post the stories in real-time. At this time, we could see the Internet was going to revolutionize global communication, but the infrastructure and technology still weren’t in place. In fact, the only way many adventurers had to share their inspirational story was to email us and have us post their story online. It may not seem like today’s real-time adventures, but we were posting stories that same day — almost as soon as we got the email, letter or phone call. Many people wanted us to automate these features, which would have essentially made our website one of the first social media platforms. TheArgonauts.com was ahead of its time but, unfortunately, we never could find the estimated $50-100,000 to create the features that companies like Facebook and WordPress now make free and easy for everyone.
Still, the founding members of The Argonauts archived an impressive number of stories. And, even with the invention of social media, we still love to share inspiring stories; and it gives all of us a greater reach. So, don’t forget to submit your inspirational story.
Thanks for supporting y/our dreams,
Scott Stoll and the team of volunteers at The Argonauts
PS. Over the years, Scott has received hundreds of letters from people saying that his journeys, books, and website has inspired them to follow their dreams, like: quit their jobs and cycle countries like Cuba, Australia or Canada; or backpack Europe; hike the Inca trail; kayak New Zealand; some people even said they quit traveling because they were inspired to go home to the adventure of building a community, pursue a new career, find a new love, or even building a cabin in the north woods of Wisconsin; and many more testimonials. It has been Scott’s honor and privilege to have gotten so many emails over the years.
The original website design
The Argonauts has been showcased a few times. Here’s one of my favorites: 12 Personal Travel Websites That Will Make You Quit Your Day Job.
For more photos and information, please visit our press room.
Our site has won a handful of awards, such as a Golden Web Award and the Cool Site of the Day. We were even the Barnes & Noble Affiliate of the Month. The reason we won the award back in 2000 is because our website was the first website to introduce the idea of combining a story with the related product link from an affiliate sponsor. Now it sounds so obvious that it is hard to believe, but TheArgonauts.com is a real pioneer on the internet.
Visit our Archive of stories before the blog.
Or read about current feature adventurers and Argonauts on the road now.
Below is our first email signature before pictures or links could be used.
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Because we believe everything is an adventure and all good adventures start with a dream, in 2018, we published a book to teach kids how to dream and how to turn those dreams into reality. “Dream It! A Playbook to Spark Your Awesomeness.” And to help, we launched a matching website — Dreamaplay.com. It has a bunch of free resources, including a facilitator’s guide and more downloadables for kids. It was over 4 years in the making and everything was tested in the classroom.