"We travel, some of us forever, to seek other states, other lives, other souls."
Soulgani began on a mountain. The idea, at its core, was not at all complex or grand. In fact, it was very simple: it started with a beautiful rock, and the spirit of adventure burning in happy, tired lungs. We are, at our roots, an example of the power travel has to transform a person’s world.
Our Soulgani founder and primary designer, Christina, was no expert hiker when she made the climb along the Lares Trail in 2016—the climb that led to the creation of this company. In fact, Christina told me that she’d never actually been hiking before, and was simply going with the flow when her best friend, Morgan, suggested visiting Lima, Cusco, and Machu Picchu to explore some of the beautiful sights the Peruvian landscapes have to offer. The trip lasted just a little over a week, but by the end of it, Christina had already taken the first step on the path to her next big adventure.
The Lares Trail, just north of Cusco, in southern Peru, took five days to hike, and during the climb, the group happened on a particularly captivating rock formation, awash in spectacular rust reds, deep golds, and craggy deep charcoal ridges. They paused to take in the breathtaking view and the glorious colors. As the hikers snapped photo after photo, Christina, gripped with a sudden inspiration, turned abruptly to Morgan and said, "That cool rock I just took a picture of? It needs to go on the side of a pair of leggings!" And that is how our rockprint pant was born.
Before she knew it, she was planning. And now, only two years later, the business inspired by that trek will help local people living in towns near the trail.
Often, our travels inspire our best ideas and prompt our most memorable moments of self-discovery and achievement. The exploration of a new place and culture cannot help but provide a traveler with a sense of thankfulness, wonder, and excitement. I think this is why chasing our dreams feels so much more possible when we are on another side of the world: we are reminded of how far we have already come, and how far there is left to go.
In many ways, goals can feel like mountains—unmovable, dark and looming. It’s hard to know where to start. However, if you can learn the difference between commuting and traveling, your perspective in achieving those goals, amid challenges and obstacles, will begin to shift.
The Commuter Mindset is this: "I must get from point A to point B." The commuter will take the familiar route, no matter what. She knows only what she is used to and comfortable with, and she’s unwilling to try anything else. On a good day, a commuter can reach her destination quickly and comfortably. If, however, she’s met with an unexpected obstacle (say, a tree fallen across the path) the commuter remains stuck, waiting for someone to tell her what to do next.
The Traveler Mindset is different. It says: "I will see, learn, and grow as much as I can, and do everything possible to enjoy my journey from point A to point B." A traveler is not stuck on any one path, rather, she is excited to explore multiple roads and ask for lots of directions. She’s not afraid to get lost, knowing that no matter where her path takes her, she can learn something. This attitude is encapsulated well by the words of Anthony Bourdain, who described the impact traveling can have on a person as this: "Travel isn’t always pretty. It isn’t always comfortable. Sometimes it hurts, it even breaks your heart. But that’s okay. The journey changes you; it should change you. It leaves marks on your memory, on your consciousness, on your heart, and on your body. You take something with you. Hopefully, you leave something good behind."
At Soulgani, everything we do is filled with soul. We are always seeking to learn, grow and discover—that is, to keep the heart of a traveler. This mindset goes back to our roots, to that mountainside in Peru. Our inspiration comes from the places we’ve been and the people we’ve loved along our way. As our business continues to grow, we will continue to seek those experiences and new perspectives that lie in the spirit of adventure and love.