Two months after stepping down as the CEO of BMW ReachNow, the car-sharing service he helped grow from Seattle, Steve Banfield is ready for his next move — and it will be a long walk in Europe.
In a blog post on his personal website posted Sunday titled “What’s next?” Banfield shared just that, telling readers that he plans to leave April 1 to walk the Camino de Santiago pilgrimage route from France to Spain.
“The route is over 1000 years old, taking pilgrims over about 830 kilometers from the Pyrenees to the Atlantic,” Banfield wrote. “If you’ve heard of the Camino before it’s one of the most famous of the European pilgrimage routes. Books have been written about it and movies too.”
Banfield, the former INRIX and Rightside executive, joined ReachNow in 2016 and spent nearly three years helping the service expand with new locations and new product offerings. The self-described “serial entrepreneur” said in his post that rather than just hop on the next “ride” and help build another company, he was ready for some downtime.
And it sounds like the trek will be a good opportunity to mostly unplug, as Banfield said he’ll be reduced to a few items in his backpack, including a phone for emergencies, but no laptop or tablet.
“I’ve been systemically unsubscribing from email lists and turning off all app notifications,” he wrote. “While walking the Camino I hope to be as distraction free as possible.” He added that he plans to take photographs with film and won’t be tweeting or Instagramming while gone. “There will be stories to tell, but stories can wait until the trip is over.”
The 500-mile walk should take more than a month, depending on Banfield’s pace. He does not indicate in his post when he plans to be back in Seattle, but said that he has the support and encouragement of girlfriend and partner Christine Haskell.
“When I return I’ll be ready to tackle one of the many opportunities out there,” Banfield concluded.
Banfield left BMW as the carmaker prepared to launch a new $1 billion joint venture with Daimler that brings services such as ReachNow and Daimler-owned car2go under one roof. The rebranded REACH NOW is now led by CEO Daniela Gerd tom Markotten and CFO Dr. Johannes Pranti.