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The Forecast is Summersalt’s global content hub for all things travel, packing, style, and discovery, packed with informative and inspirational pieces for (and featuring!) women who are going places.

How This Entrepreneur Is Creating an Airbnb for Wellness

Annie Gabillet

What if you could book an acupuncturist, chiropractor, health coach, or massage therapist online like you book an apartment on Airbnb? Tegan Bukowski wants to make that possible, so she created WellSet, the first centralized platform to find and book wellness practitioners of all kinds.

Tegan grew up living on a boat on Washington State’s Puget Sound. “It was glorious and is why I have such a strong connection and need to be in green space as well as near the water,” she told us. Since her childhood, she’s been on the move: spending stints in San Francisco, New York, London, Los Angeles, and other places around the world. Her journey – which included early success as a coder before she was even 12 years old and a job as an architectural designer in London — has taken her to a place where she is helping others heal. We wanted to know more. 

What inspired you to launch WellSet?

Healers are often experts in the thing they personally needed most. I needed to find my community of healers from a really young age, and now that is what I help other people do for themselves. I moved around a ton: 13 times by the time I was in high school. While this gave me a huge leg up in my abilities to make friends quickly, it was stressful and caused me quite a lot of anxiety. I discovered meditation and yoga as a coping mechanism and art as a therapy. I actually ended up creating an arts therapy nonprofit while I was in college that operated in countries like Kenya, Rwanda, Haiti, Colombia, Turkey, Ghana, and the USA, all with kids who had faced natural disaster, warfare, or violence.

During college I also started having bouts of incredible stabbing stomach pain that would land me in the hospital. The doctors could never find anything specifically wrong with me. They would just put me on morphine and feed me lots of antispasmodics and send me home a day or two later.  I ended up healing myself into remission with mostly diet rather than taking the steroids that were suggested to me. It was really hard to build my team of practitioners, to know my options, to get started on my healing journey, and I knew that I was going to have to solve this problem for other people too by creating WellSet.

What are you most proud of?

I am really proud of the network of practitioners we are creating. It is a joy to learn about the incredible businesses they are building and bring them into the WellSet family. Every day we have the most amazing messages from them thanking us for creating the tool that we are creating – I love getting those! I think we already have the largest network of holistic and preventative healthcare practitioners in the country – and we haven’t even launched to consumers yet! I am very proud of that.

Image Courtesy of Tegan Bukowski

Let’s talk about “going places.” What’s on the horizon for you?

Our team is going to work remotely this summer for three or four weeks. Last year we worked from the island Sifnos in the Cyclades in Greece and then I sailed through the Cyclades for a few weeks with my friends who started Yacht Week and Ski Week. We ended up getting stuck in a hurricane in the Mediterranean. It was an adventure and not entirely what I had signed up for! I was seasick pretty much the whole time. Not something you’d expect from someone who grew up living on a boat.

Tell us about the last adventure you took.

I went to Lisbon in February. We may hire some team members there, so it was part vacation and part investigation. I love the tiled building façades, the superb food, and exploring the museums. I also like to take local weekend adventures with my dog Max. A few friends were visiting and we discovered new areas of Topanga Canyon we had never found before.

Image Courtesy of Tegan Bukowski

What is a destination that you’re always telling people, “You have to go there!” 

I lived in England for four years after I graduated from architecture school, and it is still one of my favorite places. I just love East London and can’t get it out of my head. My perfect weekend starts with a yoga session at Stretch in Broadway Market with Carl Faure followed by a wander through the market to gather incredible goodies, coffee from the coffee stand in the middle of the market (I don’t think it even has a name but it has the best coffee in the world, I swear), sit on the canals and watch the ducks and canal boats go by, and then head to a gastropub with friends to play board games.  

Some friends of mine have a venue called Village Underground, which is a fun place to catch a show. One of my favorite restaurants in the area is called Rotorino, which I highly recommend. A group of friends and I rented part of the artist Anthony Gormley’s country house in Norfolk, which was always another weekend alternative with nature walks, cozy fireplace evenings, surrounded by the beautiful simplicity of the British Pastoral landscape. I miss it just talking about it here!

What do you never travel without?

A ziplock full of my own collection of tea bags. Money and life saver!

Got any great advice for solo travelers?

Don’t be afraid to sit in a cafe with a book and make eye contact with friendly looking strangers. I have met some incredible friends through the years by just being open. I believe that the energy you put out is palpable to other people. If you are putting out nervous, anxious, tired, closed off energy, you won’t attract anyone to you. If on the other hand you have excitement and light in your eyes, you won’t fail to make connections!

Image Courtesy of Tegan Bukowski

Fill in the blank. I fell in love with traveling when:

I stepped off of my first international flight ever in Uganda, pretty much alone, at the age of 16. I still remember the smell of the air, so foreign and filled with excitement.

Got any go-to podcasts, albums, or books for passing time on a plane?

I just bought Outline by Rachel Cusk, Milkman by Anna Burns, Asymmetry by Lisa Halliday, and The Pisces by Melissa Broder.

Share your most valuable travel hack:

I use Skiplagged and Scott’s Cheap Flights to triangulate inexpensive times to fly. I always stay in Airbnb’s in up and coming “hipster” neighborhoods rather than in the expensive city centers. And of course the ABCs: Always Be Charging your phone so you don’t get lost!