Liberate Your Sole Tour- Episode 2
Greetings, greetings wonderful friends! Since we last left you we have been Kickin It all over the place.
From Atlanta, we headed to Athens, Georgia- Travis's college town for AthFest. Athfest felt like a young SXSW, with music coming out of every bar and restaurant in a mile radius. It was fun for Travis to be back in Athens and be able to share his business with friends old and new. In Athens, we had our first pop up shop at the lovely Terrapin Brewery and the next day set up at a music venue called New Earth. We had the pleasure of meeting in person our new intern, Brooke Davidson from UGA and she was so passionate about Teysha and such a great help that day!
We left Athens at midnight and headed to the Big Easy, New Orleans! It was my first time in New Orleans, and I was struck at how much it reminded me of walking around Casco Viejo in Panama or Cartagena Colombia (or 6th street in Austin). With the beautiful architecture, humid heat, tons of people walking around, I felt like I was "at home". During our panel at the Academy for Conscious Leadership, we met the store leader from the Whole Foods Market Arabella station and she invited us to set up our pop up shop there. The store was absolutely gorgeous, housed in an old bus station built in the 1880s, with huge open windows and lots of light coming in. At Whole Foods, we met tons and tons of new people and fans. It was a cool feeling to be in a new city, where we are relatively unknown, and yet still be welcomed with such enthusiasm and passion by the people we met! We had lots of great conversations with people, and everyone was hoping that we would stick around -- we'll definitely be back soon! In New Orleans we also indulged in our fair share of fried goodness- po boys, bengiets, french toast, not the place for trying to eat healthy.
After New Orleans, we headed back to Austin for a brief whirl-wind of a pit stop. On the first part of the tour, we realized that as usual, we way overpacked- if y'all could have seen the inside of the Nomad before you would have laughed so hard- each person literally had a foot of space to be in. So our first mission was to downsize. We saw our wonderful interns who helped us out a ton, hosted a happy hour at In.Gredients and saw some of our favorite friends and supporters, and we also had a great time catching up with our families and sharing stories of the first part of the tour. Quite a whirlwind, but strangely enough we were all eager to get back on the open road! There's something really nice about being in a different, new place and still being able to work remotely- you feel more space and clarity, and are able to see things with new eyes- will definitely be incorporating this into our business but more on that later!
The next destination was Marfa, Texas, a place we had always wanted to go to but had somehow never made it out! The drive was beautiful through the hill-country and then the west Texas beauty. We were all surprised at how green it still was on the drive, we were imagining flat, brown desert but there were plenty of mountains and mesas. Shows how much we know about our own huge state! We rolled in to Marfa around 4 on Thursday and immediately loved it. The huge sky and the scenery is so beautiful and the town is tiny but amazing! Coincidentally, at 4:30 that day a movie made its premier at the Marfa Film Festival and the subject was none other than the future of Panama! The movie, called The Passage, told the story of the widening inequality in Panama- how the canal business is making billions of dollars but there are still so many people living without opportunities. The film focused on several families living in different areas of Panama, and all of their stories felt so familiar to us- living in the countryside, or in an old town, and wanting to work or become educated but not having the opportunity to do so. We had a chance to chat with the director, Alex, afterwards and shared stories of spending time in Kuna Yala and in the other parts of the country. It was decided we will make a documentary on the islands to help share the Kunas story :) We also met two other awesome film-makers based in Memphis who showed their short film, As I am, which followed a community in Memphis- they beautifully worked with a young man who was used to seeing these things every day, but they helped the young man look deeper at who and why and how of his daily life and made a beautiful poem out of it. The main theme of that first day, to us, was that one of the greatest things we can do with the people who we work with is Listen. Listen to their past, their stories, their dreams, fears, and then listen some more. As we begin to work on the island of Ustupu, this will be a key theme and value for us.The film makers of As I am ended up becoming good friends with us through the weekend, and have been giving us lots of advice on how to capture and tell stories, and how to help spread our mission.
That night the Alamo Drafthouse set up their huge outdoor screen at the golf course in Marfa, and it was just the most perfect place to watch a movie- thousands of stars, the pink sunset, mountains, and open fresh air.
They screened Wild at Heart which was absolutely ridiculous and absurd, but kind of awesome. That night we hung out with one of our customers and friends from Austin, as well as the other filmmakers and cool people! The really nice thing about the Marfa Film Festival is that it is so small that you really can have a genuine conversation and get to know everyone there, whether they are a director or a film lover or a crazy person.
On Friday our pop up shop opened at the Film Festival, and we were happy to get to know our fellow vendors from Krochet Kids and Rosewood Collective in Austin. It was great to be with Krochet Kids- they have very similar vision and principles to us and the company is 6 years old so we were picking their brains a lot. We definitely hope to work with them again soon! From Friday to Sunday, we worked at the shop, saw movies, hung out, met people, and enjoyed staying at El Cosmico. Other highlights of movies were- Blackfish (a must see, very emotional and heart breaking film), Lollywood, Exiles, Brave Girl, See The Dirt, Set it Off, Manuel, The Love Competition and An Oversimplification of her Beauty. I hope you can all get a chance to see these works of art- some were as short as 15 minutes, but they all made an impact on us.
The Marfa Film Festival was so amazing and special because it was so small- we were able to meet many people there showing their films, met all sorts of interesting folks from Austin and beyond, and really had a chance to talk to all of these people and learn from them. It felt like everyone was friends there- Travis was casually chatting with Paul Mitchell about his beaded hatband (no Paul did not comment on Travis's hair). I would highly recommend this festival to everyone- from the selection of films to the spectacular setting to the parties and fun company- and we hope to be back again next year!
Wooh! So that's our life the past week or so! It is a lot of fun but also a ton of work- but when you love what you are doing and have purpose in your work, it doesn't feel like work.
Next up- Carlsbad, New Mexico, Santa Fe, Wanderlust Colorado Festival, Telluride, Boulder, Denver, Vail, and beyond! We are setting up trunk shows in all of these places, so if you know someone who might like to host please let us know!
THANK Y'ALL for reading and for cheering us on! We will keep on spreading the word! Much love!