Multi-hyphenate Megan Kain is an engineer by day, a passionate solo traveler, founder and CEO of attainable luxury resort wear brand (launching soon!) Sognatore Collection and proud Taiwanese-Italian business founder of a company meant to inspire others to feel beautiful and confident wherever their adventures may take them. Read on for some amazing tips for learning while traveling, her favorite hidden gems in the Bay Area/San Francisco, and how the handmade in Bali and the USA brand, Sognatore – which means dreamer in Italian – came about through her solo adventures!
- Name: Megan Kain
- Pronouns: she/her
- Where you currently live: Bay Area, California
- Role/title/area of focus: Cost Controller/Content Creator/Founder & CEO of Sognatore Collection
Tell us about your background and how you got to where you are now!
I am an engineer by day, and founder and CEO of Sognatore Collection by night. Traveling is a big passion of mine, so I love creating content whenever I am traveling, or not working.
I have been working as an engineer for the past 4 years in the construction industry. Construction runs in the family, and when I was younger I was really good at math, so naturally I decided to continue on the legacy.
When I graduated college, I took my first solo trip backpacking across South America for 2 months. I met so many people from diverse backgrounds and fell in love with the empowering and carefree feeling that solo traveling brings. When I would create content for fun, it was an opportunity to share my adventures with the world through my lens. I have always loved fashion and whenever I was not traveling, I was daydreaming of the next destination. Allowing people to be transported in the world through my collections was the inspiration behind Sognatore Collection.
What gets you excited to wake up every day?
My dream has always been to travel the world and create collections that evoke beauty through fashion. Knowing I am doing what I love with Sognatore Collection and that I am one step closer to fulfilling my dreams is what inspires me each day.
Photos courtesy of Megan Kain & Sognatore Collection.
Favorite resources (books, podcasts, etc.) or platforms for ongoing learning?
Ironically enough, I learn the most from Instagram, there is a wealth of knowledge at our fingertips. Through that I will typically find platforms that host free webinars.
What’s your favorite spot in San Francisco, CA & why? What makes it your go-to
I love going to Pacifica, it is a bit of a hidden gem. There are so many beaches there and whenever I want to clear my head or enjoy a relaxing Sunday, that is my go to place.
What’s a fun fact or little-known fact about where you currently live you want to share with others?
When I was younger, my parents would always take me to Chinatown to get dim sum and there was a factory down this small alley way where you could watch how they make fresh fortune cookies.
Where have you traveled you feel you learned the most, why?
I learned the most when I traveled to Beijing, China. There is so much rich history and culture and I grew up watching Chinese dynasty soap operas so being able to see the Forbidden City in real life was so amazing. The palaces are some of the most extraordinary places I have ever been to and seeing The Great Wall of China in real life was so breathtaking. I also watched how silk was made
What’s your favorite travel memory? Why does it stand out?
There are just so many to choose from, but one of the most memorable times I had when traveling was on my backpacking trip across South America. I had made a friend in Cartagena who lived in Lima, Peru and I just so happened to be traveling there next. We did a night tour of the city and I tried Antichuchos (sort-of the Peruvian version of a kebab) which was just so incredibly tasty.
The next day I went race car driving for the first time (I was in the passenger seat, I highly doubt they would let me behind the wheel). Meeting new people is always my favorite part of traveling but it is so interesting the new experiences that are created when you solo travel and open up yourself to the possibilities around you.
What’s your least favorite/worst travel memory – why?
The journey of traveling to one city to another was probably the loneliest part of solo traveling. That is the time I spend the most time alone, and you have so much time with your thoughts, it definitely can feel lonely. I use that time to reflect on my experiences and just get ready to make new ones when I reach my next destination.
How does travel inspire you?
I always meet people from so many diverse backgrounds, and learning about their cultures is one of the most eye-opening experiences you get when traveling. There are so many beautiful and unique landscapes around the world far beyond what you could ever imagine. When I am working, I am always goal setting and planning the next thing, but when I travel I just pause and enjoy the people and places around me. I really get to romanticize in the beauty of life when I slow down and immerse myself in the present.
What’s your favorite thing to learn/explore when traveling?
When I am at home, I am not much of a hiker, but when I travel I become this adventurer; it’s funny how you sort of adopt new sides of yourself when you travel. I love exploring and hiking picturesque mountains when I travel. Depending on where you go, it might be something you get to do once in your life – something you cross off a bucket list.
What’s the best thing you’ve “brought home” from a trip – whether an actual souvenir, an idea, an attitude, a perspective, a relationship, etc.
I love shopping whenever I travel, each city has something really unique you can’t find anywhere else, so I love collecting unique pieces such as handbags, jewelry, shoes, etc. and incorporating it into my wardrobe. Besides that, the friendships I make are one of the most invaluable experiences of traveling. You can meet people in the most unexpected places and that’s the beauty of solo traveling.
Out of all the places you’ve been, which has been your favorite and why?
Venice, Italy. It does seem like a very romantic city in theory, being able to explore the city in a gondola. However, also felt like a touristic trap and when I went there years ago. I saw a lot of homeless people. Seeing people on the streets in 110 degree-weather without any home just didn’t seem fair. It seemed so ironic how a place that is so romanticized may not be that fairytale for everyone.
Do you have any tips for learning while traveling?
Do a little research of what cities/sites you want to visit, but be open to new experiences once you arrive. There’s much more to a city than what you see on Instagram or read in a travel book, so don’t be afraid to talk to locals and ask for recommendations!
What destination has surprised you the most from what you were expecting? Why?
Definitely Turkey, I was blown away by how beautiful it is. First of all, Istanbul is such a charming city filled with so much rich and diverse culture, and some of the most stunning mosaic art in their museums, palaces, and mosques. Everything about Turkey was so memorable from the people, the food, the music, the beaches, and the unique landscapes. There are also so many cats everywhere; they will take a nap right beside you while you are eating.