About Sojourner Tours
COMPANY ORIGINS: Sojourner Tours’ founder, Lisa Gustavson, gained a new zest for life that inspired her to launch Sojourner Tours after living through the 2011 Japan earthquake and nuclear incident. She realized with fresh clarity that the most marvelous things about life are: family, food and sojourning abroad. So, with an inheritance from her grandmother, she started Sojourner Tours with the objective of making cultural sojourns accessible so that anyone can experience the best life has to offer. Sojourner Tours is based on her passion for travel, cuisine, education, and foreign discovery. Each sojourn is about embracing the best life has to offer and is designed to be the experience of a lifetime.
The purpose underlying Sojourner Tours is to provide opportunities for travelers to get a peek at a different culture by doing activities and visiting places locals enjoy. Based in the United States, Sojourner Tour Company is co-owned by a French-American team. The co-owners had traveled and studied extensively and wanted to share their passion, knowledge and expertise with others. As a result, Sojourner Tours offers some of the most intimate and genuine cultural immersion vacations on the market.
SUSTAINABLE TOURISM: The co-owners only offer tours in countries where they (or their extended family) live or have lived. As a result of the owners' personal investment in the tour destinations, they have a moral obligation to run an ethical company. Subsequently, the Company observes sustainable tourism practices to ensure that the tours have a positive impact on everyone involved. Tours have a minimal impact on the environment and local culture, while supporting the future success of small local businesses, artisans and sustainable regional agriculture and production. Sojourner Tours' guests benefit from this strategy because guides are able to take their small tour groups to off-the-beaten-path places where tourism isn’t the driving force of the economy. Thanks to sustainable practices, guests can browse in genuine shops, meet true artisans, and eat the finest local food. Sustainable tourism practices enable Sojourner Tours to create lasting beneficial relationships with locals so that tour members can experience the wonder of being immersed in another culture.
OUR LOGO: The Company adopted a snail with the world as its shell for its logo to symbolize the Sojourner Tours travel philosophy. A sojourner travels at a leisurely pace and is at home in the world, frequently settling down to set up temporary residence and enjoy the local food throughout a lifetime of exploration. Compared to similar creatures like turtles, the gastropod is particularly fitting because its name evokes a traveling gastronome: snails are part of the taxonomic class Gastropoda which is ancient Greek for "stomach-foot". On tours, sojourners actively walk around to see the sights and engage in culinary tourism by eating regional delicacies in the finest and most genuine local restaurants. Finally, substituting the world for the shell not only signifies that sojourners are world citizens but also indicates that they are conscientious travelers: a sojourner doesn’t have “the weight of world on its shoulders” but does have a stake in maintaining the world in which they live.
OUR NAME: As a tribute to the women who fought for women's rights and the woman whose money made the birth of this company possible, the founder (Lisa Gustavson) chose the name "Sojourner". Of course, most importantly, the name denotes the unique travel style that the company offers: sojourning is a lifestyle for people who want something deeper and more meaningful than a typical tourist trip. But there is more to the name...
Lisa knew about this little-used English word because growing up as a school-child in Ohio in the 1980s she came to admire the stars of the Women's Rights movement. One of the most renowned women called herself Sojourner Truth: she was a former slave, who traveled extensively to spread the word about human rights. Sojourner Truth is a superstar of the Women's Rights Movement thanks to her "Ain't I a Woman?" Speech given in Akron, Ohio in 1851.
The Company Sojourner Tours got off the ground thanks to inheritance money given to Lisa by her grandmother prematurely several years before her death. Lisa's grandmother had worn pants as a child in the 1920s when women were still wearing bloomers (pants became acceptable in the 1930s) and was convinced she could do anything a man could do and behaved accordingly. Sojourner Tours founder, Lisa, felt that there couldn't be a more fitting name for a woman-started, woman-owned company launched thanks to money from a woman who lived in a spirit of disregard for the "woman's place in society" which is powerfully dispelled in the "Ain't I a Woman" speech.