When Simla Sooboodoo witnesses another woman’s growth, she dances with joy.
We caught up with Premium member, Simla Sooboodoo, founder of Hands On Journeys and creator of the Empowerment Tourism concept.
Who is the wisest woman you know and what have you learned from her?
With all my heart, it is my aunt. She is the woman who swooped in and embraced me when my Grandma passed away. She is my human magic wand. Forever motivating me to be my best and project my energy in the right direction, she sees me as her own child. She tells me, “Sim, you didn’t grow in my womb, but you grew in my heart!”. Her strength, love and belief in me has enabled me to transition from strength to strength. I was a little girl from a difficult background; doing everything I could to help bringing food on the table and afford my own school materials. Now I’m a founder and CEO for a tour company which empowers communities to be the best they can be, with the skills they already possess. Her believing in me has taught me the way towards making a positive impact on communities, who otherwise may never face the opportunities they deserve. Through her supportive force, I have created the empowerment tourism company, Hands on Journeys. I want to give communities a second chance: just like my aunt gave me.
Hands on Journeys empowers travellers and locals alike, so that we can both experience an unforgettable journey that impacts our future forever. By giving communities the tools, guidance and support to set up their own businesses, we are on our way to a more empowered and self-sustaining world.
I would not be where I am without my aunt and this is reflected in Hands on Journeys’ logo: mine and my aunt’s hands reaching out to me.
What’s the best piece of advice a female friend has given you?
‘Whether you think you can or you can’t, you’re right’. During the times where I have faced adversity bringing empowerment tourism to life; I remind myself of this…
Of the amazing impact travellers can have on communities, by providing locals with the tools, support and mindset to achieve. I remember just how much travellers’ lives change by learning from cultures and communities they are not familiar with. Your mindset is the key to your successful future.
Believe in others and believe in yourself, regardless of race, gender and background, so that we can all support each other to become the best we can be.
What have you learned about women supporting other women?
When we come together for a women’s event, we share the same values, but we don’t have the same purpose. The word ‘purpose’ gets thrown around a lot and quite honestly, I find it awkward when people say, ‘I have found my purpose’. My inner voice is exclaiming, ‘But how do you know you’ve found the one ‘thing’?!’.
I know what feels good to me. It’s the feeling of being alive! That’s what gives me purpose. ‘Purpose’ is not something we need to search the seven seas for; it’s something that’s within us. And therefore, by women supporting each other, sharing information and brainstorming ideas together, this serves as an act of activating each other’s purpose.
When I witness another woman’s growth, I dance with joy, because we are a family producing income for ourselves in so many wonderful ways.
What is the single biggest lesson you’ve learned from another woman?
We are women. We are powerful, hormonal creatures with limitless potential. Yet, we are also our own worst enemy. I have learned that the common denominator between every single one of us is that we have problems. No matter how successful other women may appear, they have problems too. And problems will keep coming.
To help combat life’s challenges, I surround myself with beautiful, determined women. This has helped me build the girl power within myself, so that I successfully embrace and empower others. Without these women in my life, I sometimes become ‘stuck’. There have been times where my girlfriends have honestly and assertively said to me, ‘What on earth are you doing Sim?!’. I’m grateful for these wake-up calls – they help me move closer towards to my goals, consciously and subconsciously!
When a tribe stands together, we bounce ideas off each other, and we elevate each other. We can become more than our component parts and harness our strength to the maximum.
Anything else you’ve learned from other women that you’d like to share?
I have learnt that we can do anything, even if it appears impossible to us in the beginning. In India, the women I work with in the slums stand united; regardless of the oppression and caste system they are within. Through empowerment tourism and these ladies’ sheer might and determination, perceptions are slowly shifting. Positive change is beginning. I’m incredibly excited for the future; because the future is indeed business-chick female.
Simla Sooboodoo is a Premium member, connect with her here.