Escaping the 9-5 grind is not for everyone. We all do what we need to, just to get by – and there's nothing wrong with that. But what happens when the allure of going out on a limb and wanting to just Lose yourself becomes too much?
Rich Sutcliffe and his wife, Alexa, traded in the day-to-day grind, choosing instead to carve their own lifestyle, founding the brand Passenger. It's their ode to all things travel, built on the backbone of the journey to salt water and the adventure that comes with that. It's escapism, wrapped up in the feeling that sometimes, you just need to pack the van and go.
Their ethos is; the destination can be anywhere, so long as you've got a campfire, a board, a couple of beers and good company, what does it matter where you end up?
And now, as they launch their new WanderWild collection, Rich talks through how it all came about and what it takes to get started.
''We wanted to wake up in the morning and care about what we do, it was never about money, it's never been about money,'' he says.
An electrician by trade, Rich found himself driving to Cornwall with Alexa from their home in Dorset, a stone's throw from England's Jurassic Coast, when they realised, this life just wasn't how they envisioned the rest of their days playing out.
''It sounds almost cheesy, but there was an element of lostness in my life that many people feel. It gave me a sense of passion and purpose. I was an electrician before this and I just thought, there was something missing.
''So we were going to score waves out that way and thought, let's do this, let's actually do this and start a brand. We thought, let's have fun and if it fails at least we can say we tried.
''We never knew what was going to happen,'' he says. ''Some designs were knocking around and we went from there.
''It took us a while to come up with a name and we wanted to combine our travel elements and the way we like to live life, which is get in the van and get lost a little bit, and that's how the name Passenger came along. It fits in with everything we want to do and fits in with so many different elements.''
And from there, the momentum grew, spurred by the couple's love of the outdoors. Their humble base a converted barn in the heart of the New Forest, but it's cosy, a wood burner crackles in the corner amidst an air of ambience.
''Our barn/warehouse in the New Forest is no frills, no frills brands, it's humble, open plan, nothing over-stated. There's space to go through prints but yeah, it's just chilled.''
Being in the heart of one of the UK's most treasured woodland is also the inspiration behind Pasengers campaign, Waves and Trees, an initiative set up whereby for every order the company receives, they'll plant a tree.
''Why shouldn't we give something back, if we have the means, we'll do it.'' Rich is also working together with Plastic Project – an initiative set up to reduce our reliance and useage on plastic.
''Our ethos was really all about bringing creative people together and having a fun environment to work in. We wanted to be a brand that puts good feeling first, we don't want to push the price points up too high. When people make a purchase I always say, right adventure first, purchase second.''
And on that ethos, Rich recently supported big wave charger Barry Mottershead and filmmaker Peter Clyne's trip around Baja. The result is below and it's a few minutes that are well worth your time.
The designs for Passenger? They were originally down to Alexa ''We've been together 16-years and were married three years ago at Lusty Glaze in Cornwall,'' Rich says. And about working with his life partner: ''The brand's made us stronger together as a team. Driven by the love of what we do, it's hard, not always easy, not everyday runs smoothly. We're stressed, we're tired and think why are we doing this? But it's worth it in the end.
''We don't want to say to people just pack your job in, I wouldn't advise it, there's commitments and it's about finding a balance in life. But life is life and it needs to be lived, and we've tried to make life accessible for us.''
As mentioned above, Passenger has just launched their autumn/winter range, Wanderwild. ''The Inspiration for our Wanderwild collection came from a winter trip in Canada in 2015. Wandering wild was exactly what happened, chasing cold swell on the west coast, exploring forests, living in a remote cabin and getting lost in snowy landscapes,'' Rich explains about the concept. ''We have a really strong connection to the wild's of Canada and it inspires us often. The colour pallette and product range were all inspired by the land of waves of trees.
''It usually takes around a year to 16 months to develop and create a collection. From developing ideas, range planning and selecting a colour scheme, choosing fabrics for the right purpose and then moving on to sampling and testing. By the time we have the finished samples for production its around 12 to 16 months later.''
We know how travel and adventure weave into surfing. For some, it's part of the process. But what makes Passenger different to the myriad of other surf brands out there? we just had a dream and what felt right, so we set out like that ''I'm not sure exactly,'' Rich answers honestly, ''We didn't set out to be different we just had a dream and what felt right, so we set out like that. We're not really a core surf brand so to speak, so maybe that's it. We're more about the adventure and journey that leads us to the surf, the stories we take home with us and everything in between. Surfing is escapsim and we are driven by this theory so that's what we base our product ideas and styling around.''