Our Story



Jim Leachman has traveled the world for 40 years, first as an inquisitive kid and adventure-seeking teenager, then as a professional photographer and private pilot, and finally, as a travel entrepreneur. He launched Authentrip with the help of a small, talented team that includes his wife, Mija, and their twin 9-year-old boys, who frequently travel the country with him in search of the next great place.

Jim created Authentrip to simplify travel planning and guide users to some of the most remarkable, beautiful—and often obscure—places in America.

Authentrip combines carefully curated content with the best of web-based mapping technology to make it easy to find new places, plan unforgettable trips, organize and store  information, then share it all with friends, family, and fellow travelers. It is a one-stop travel site unlike any other.

Authentrip is as mobile as you are, so you can access information wherever you are whenever you need it. Before your journey begins and long after it ends, Authentrip will be with you every step of the way.

Jim’s Road to Authentrip

Exploring the ruins of Mayan civilization as a child infected me with an incurable travel bug. As a teenager, I was lucky to have an airline captain as a stepfather, which enabled me to travel to Europe, Africa and the Middle East, and my passion for travel grew. After graduating from the Rhode Island School of Design, I became a magazine photographer and got paid to travel the world shooting photo stories for The New York Times Magazine, Smithsonian, GEO, Audubon and Natural History, among others.

In the U.S., I explored the country in a VW camper van and, after learning to fly, in a single-engine Cessna—all of which allowed me to visit every state in the country several times over and fostered in me a deep love for America.

The Problem with Organizing Travel Research

Planning a trip is time-consuming. In all my years of traveling, I couldn’t find an online platform that would help me not only research and plan my trips, but also store this incredibly valuable information for now, for the future, forever.

Authentrip is that platform. Highly interactive and individualized, Authentrip houses all essential travel tools on just one site: maps, storage, social networking, photos, videos, articles. You name it; Authentrip has it. Because all your research is stored and organized in one spot­—not stuffed in a drawer at home­—you never lose it, and you can access this information anytime, anywhere.

Authentrip cuts through the travel clutter. I’ve personally traveled to and vetted every place on the site. What you aren’t seeing are the thousands of places that didn’t make the cut. It’s not all blue skies and rainbows out on the road scouting for Authentrip, but I endure so you don’t have to.

What Makes an Authentrip Destination?

Authentrip’s distinctive destinations come in many shapes and sizes, from rural and rustic to urban and sleek. We always prefer small, unique businesses to corporate chains—keeping your money local to enrich indigenous communities instead of funneled to a group of corporate executives somewhere else. We’re drawn to places with stories to tell, places imbued with genuine history and style that inspire and provoke.

Many Authentrip destinations face the risk of disappearing into the increasingly homogeneous American landscape. Our goal is to help fellow travelers find an original, unfamiliar and more authentic experience—and by patronizing these places and spending our money locally, we reward and ultimately revitalize communities throughout the country. Everybody wins. We are in charge of the way things look in this country, and we can determine what businesses ultimately fail and succeed by where we choose to spend our money. It’s that simple.

Something for Everyone

Because I travel incessantly for business, for pleasure, solo and as part of a couple, as part of a group, and often with my family, I understand that not everyone’s tastes or travel scenarios are the same. Therefore, I’ve included a variety of options to suit all kinds of travelers. Most of the places on the site are family friendly.

Building Your Personal Travel Network

Your personal network of friends and family is an invaluable resource for travel information. With Authentrip, you can share your discoveries through your existing social networks; we’re also building an internal social network, so you can share those discoveries—and pins you’ve personally created—with a network of fellow travelers with whom you’ve connected on the site.

Authentrip launches with an in-depth focus on the Western regions of the country: the Southwest, the Northern Rockies and the Pacific Northwest. Over time, it will grow to include every region of the United States and beyond. But there’s no need to wait for us to cover your part of the country, though—or even the world. Use the Authentrip platform to create and organize your own adventures now.

Finally, the content of the site is merely a jumping-off point. Our goal is to guide travelers to the best America offers, but not to spoon-feed an itinerary.

The serendipity of travel is important, and room must always be left for the unknown—because often, that’s where the magic really happens.

Have a great trip.

Jim Leachman

Founder, Authentrip