Solo Pro Radio: Follow Your Dreams, Even (or Especially!) if It Takes You Around the World

Ila Asplund

“Women hold up half the sky.”
-Chinese Saying…and one of Ila Asplund’s favorite quotes

Solopreneurship is all about following your dreams. It’s about identifying exactly what it is that makes your spirit sing, and then diving in, head first.

This week’s Solo Pro Radio guest has it down.

Ila Asplund of Half Sky Journeys was born and raised in Missouri, but always had a “global soul”; she loved learning about other countries, and by the time she won a fellowship to study textiles in Indonesia, she was already hooked on travel. But her time there ignited a new passion.

“On this first big international adventure, I witnessed women’s profound (and often unrecognized) contribution to their societies, families, and economies,” Ila says. She continued to travel, gathering women’s stories as she explored places as far-flung as Uganda, Egypt, and India, and immersing herself in international social justice work. She even assembled a 2009 women’s fundraising trip to Cambodia with World Pulse Media.

But it wasn’t enough.

Finally, some time after that trip, the light bulb came on. Hiking a desert canyon in the American Southwest, she looked up and saw the pure blue sky against a fiery red-rock arch, and was reminded of the Chinese saying, “Women hold up half the sky.” She knew there were others like herself, yearning to become agents for empowerment worldwide, and her experiences abroad had convinced her that seeing the world firsthand is truly the best catalyst for social change. She thought, “What if I could create a bridge for others to reach the insights that come to us through authentic cross-cultural encounters?”

Turns out, there was no “what if” about it. Ila could create a bridge—and she did. Today Half Sky Journeys invests in women through meaningful travel, creating international trips with a purpose: to boost funding and awareness for global projects that empower women. Ila educates philanthropic travelers, giving them an intimate look at how their involvement can improve lives—including their own.

Click here to learn more about Half Sky Journeys!

The world needs–yes, needs–people to follow their hearts. If you’ve been dreaming of diving in and using your passion to make a living, then you will not want to miss this inspiring conversation. Please join us on Wednesday, August 7th at 11 AM PST/2 PM EST (or any time after that!)


  1. Joanne Ireland Acevedo

    I remember my first encounter w/ Ila – she was late, without luggage, words falling haphazardly, but utterly irrepressible. 30 minutes later – showered, in borrowed clothes, she was ready to perform, and perform she did. Although our professional relationship was short-lived, I have followed her journey via her site, and am proud to say that we are kindred spirits, and I am proud to know her.

  2. Dear Joanne! And I remember YOU, a trés chic statuesque mentor with exotic Spanish swear words who took me under her fabulous wing my first day on the job! Thank you for the kind words and the memory. (I don’t think my luggage was ever found, or was that a different tripI? :-))

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