On a trip to New Zealand some years ago, I arrived in the early hours of the morning at my Auckland based hostel, Base, and was met immediately by a guy from Southsea wearing a Strong Island T-Shirt. At first I thought, what the hell are the chances of that but after traveling for several months alone it was not only a really nice reminder of my home town but also of a brand that I really associated with and was proud to say was from where I lived and so after a chat with lovely Lara of Strong Island Clothing Co the idea of ‘A Strong Islander Abroad’ was born.
A somewhat unplanned trip around the globe this year sparked an idea to spot travellers abroad wearing Strong Island Tee’s and to introduce it to people along the way. My first stop was India and it really wasn’t long before I bumped into people who had seen the brand before and said “I know where your from!”. I also decided to tag stickers in cool places as I went along in the hope that other Southsea dwellers might have the same nice experience I had in finding something familiar in an un-suspecting place.
So first stop India…
Setting off from the UK.
7 days in and Tony Beety, who I worked with in Indonesia during the summer months, as if on cue asks me why I didn’t bring him any anchor tee’s from Portsmouth over a bottle of Kingfisher in Tantra Bar in Goa. Ha, I replied, as if totally pre-organised I pull one from my bag and he wore it for the day, also sporting my woolly hat which seemed completely ridiculous in 32 degree heat but what a shot I thought!
Tony Beety from Cleethorpes, in Goa.
My onward journey and strong island mission helped introduce me to many other travellers who mentioned the tee and were more than happy to wear it for a snap. It also got locals interested and prompted them to want a photo of them wearing it, which really was a great conversation instigator and to me encompassed that idea of bringing people together with the same likes and getting people talking.
Becky Merchant from Brighton & Zoe Gale from Australia at the Taj Mahal.
A walk through the flea market a few days later and another interested party said she liked the shirt, this time a young Indian girl called Resme. The shot cost me 550 rupees in the form of two pairs of cool lounge trousers but she was really beautiful and so excited to wear the t-shirt at her clothes stand.
Resme at Goa Flea Market.
All of a sudden people we approaching me for photos wearing the shirt and it as awesome! Mostly it was crazy that locals were so interested of something so unknown but it was great to share the brand with other people and get feedback, and so my strong island abroad journey began.
If you have a cool photo of you or anyone you know wearing one of our tees abroad please send it in and we will share them. Let’s find as many strong islanders abroad as we can! See some more photos below.
Ali & friends.
Bantego Street trader in Old Varanasi.
Jenny at Jungle Hostel in Goa.
Chantelle at Parashakthi Temple.
Street sign in Mumbai.