Actor Kevin Costner has co-founded a a new travel app called HearHere which would tell travelers anecdotes and stories about the places they’re traveling through. The app was launched in August of 2020, at a time when many people were staying away from planes and choosing road trips instead.
HearHere users will find unknown stories that speak of the ancient tribes, of the lands and ways of life of the neighbors, of the names and symbolism of the mountains and rivers, or of the old taverns that are still open to visit today.
The actor (as well as other guests of honor) is the voice of many of these audios and one of the partners in the project, led by entrepreneur Woody Sears and former president of The North Face, Bill Werlin, and which also includes former basketball player Phil Jackson. In an interview with CNBC, Costner explained that it was important for him to get a nuanced version of American history.
Out story is not always a great one. There was so much violence. We don’t have to be ashamed about it. It’s more embarrassing not to know.Kevin Costner
The inspiration to create HearHere came from Woody Sears’s own experience, from his family trips with his three children, each one glued to his own tablet. What he intends with it is to recapture the family spirit of doing things together, combining the educational with the entertaining.
“When my three children were really small, it was a challenge to keep them strapped into car seats for long periods of time,” said Sears. “Then it was easier to keep them entertained with narrated storybooks on iPads. Now, at elementary age, I really love the idea of being able to experience the new places we drive through as a family, instead of the kids’ heads stuck in their device.”
Costner’s involvement in the project was immediate as soon as he heard about it, as he is a true lover of family road trips (every year he repeats from California to Colorado) and shared the same problem with Sears in capturing his children’s attention. Moreover, he considers it no longer a responsibility, but an obligation, to know the roots of his country. “I am in love with history, I am in love with the country, with all the shores, the disappointments, the progress. Everything is worth listening to. The truth is always more interesting than the lie.”
The operation of the app is very intuitive. The tours can be customized according to interests (characters, culture, history, local anecdotes, music, nature, places of special interest, sports). The HearHere application already more than 9,000 stories, covering the west coast of California, Oregon and Washington, but its plans are to go big with more than 10,000 audio vignettes that will comb the entire country. HearHere’s $35.99 annual subscription and a free five-audio demo is available.