Read How Vidya Deshpande Co-founded ‘SoulPurpose’, A Travel Company Only For ‘WOMEN’.

Being born in a typical ‘Tam Bram’ household, it was expected that Vidya would be either a doctor or an engineer. So, there was no choice for her, but to do science in Class 12. Alas, she couldn’t qualify for either profession. And of course, there was no choice but to at least graduate in science. It was during her undergraduate course that she decided science was not meant for her, much to the disappointment of her parents.

During the final year of college, they had a course in creative writing conducted by a journalist. Vidya joined the course and got appreciation from the journalist for her writing. It was then that she decided that graduate course would be in Journalism.

Vidya did BSc from Bangalore University, PG Diploma in Journalism from Indian Institute of Mass Communication, New Delhi and General Management Programme Executives from IIM-Lucknow.

The inspiration to start “Soul Purpose” was born out of the passion and energy to see more, do more and experience more. She travelled a lot. Travelling to her is all about soaking in all aspects of a place from its people and culture to its food and landscape. She has travelled extensively for work as a journalist meeting and interviewing a range of people from celebrities to the ordinary citizens. When she decided to move from journalism, the natural transition was travel. Vidya put all of her skills together to create a travel company that thrives on crafting special experiences.

When asked about Soul Purpose Vidya says,

“Soul Purpose is an experiential travel company run by women. Our destinations are often off the beaten track. The idea behind each Soul Purpose trip is to travel to offbeat destinations, explore lesser known areas and add an extra dimension to the holiday by understanding and bonding closely with the local culture. Each trip is built around activities like trekking, rafting, diving, wildlife safaris, food and culture trails.”

Vidya has plans to grow Soul Purpose into an umbrella company for curate travel experiences and adventure travel. They would like to add other verticals to the company to include travel for families, specialised travel like food & culture trails, voluntourism and India tours for foreigners with a special twist.

Vidya feels that the day she decided to take the plunge into travel business changed her life from head to toe. Her biggest challenge has been convincing women on the joys of travelling on their own and their safety concerns. So, she has a very stringent SOP:

“I always check out drivers/transport/ and hotels before I make a booking. I make sure that hotels have the highest level of security and drivers have a clean track record.”

Vidya is very active and hardworking. She starts her day very early. She starts her outdoor training at 6 am exercises and running. Back home by 7:30 am. She then gets ready and begins work. Vidya works from home but makes sure she gets ready and begins her work early. She finishes her work by 5:30 pm. After this, it’s her time: watching TV, cooking dinner occasionally and meeting friends for drinks.

“Running in the Aravalis and going for long walks help me clear my mind and organise my thoughts when I am stressed or juggling with life to overcome difficulties.” Shares Vidya

She strongly believes, “Follow your passion. If you work hard, success will follow you.”

Her passion for doing something different keeps her motivated even in tough situations. Difficulties come and go but staying calm and confident is necessary.

She conveys a message to everyone,

“If you have a dream, pursue it. Chase it, until you catch it. There’s nothing that’s not achievable. Keep working at it, you will reach it. Never take your eye off the ball. Your focus must be your goal. Never let age, gender, or other factors like weather, be a hurdle. Don’t look for the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. Keep working to reach your target and you will get it.”

Vidya is a Woman of Courage because she aspired something different and is successful in making her aspirations turn real. She relates to a quote by Robert Frost:

“I took the road less travelled by, and that has made all the difference.”

#WomenOfCourage

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