Nashville, TN –– It has been said the first thing people notice about you is your shoes. What happens when someone who is incredibly shy begins wearing an extremely bright red pair of loafers?
They have their Wizard of Oz moment. But William Henry has been off to see the Wizard, in a manner of speaking, for a long time. You may know him from his work on the History Channel's Ancient Aliens, or as an international guide to sacred spaces.
William's confidence, imagination, and knowledge of all that might be possible in this life and even in the next life is extremely high and vast. And yet, his kilim loafers have helped him experience what he never thought possible. That is saying something. As a professional international tour guide, a Nashville-based author, investigative mythologist, art historian, and TV presenter on the History Channel, William leads a highly spiritual and inspirational life centered around travel.
As our friend and dear customer William still experiences first-hand, on days he wears his ruby slippers, aka kilim loafers, a cool conversation with a stranger is waiting for him around the corner, in the grocery store, or the airport.
As someone who is on the road 200 days or more a year, William is no stranger to travel and how it can lead to an awakening of your soul. And through his teachings, William helps his students and mentees prepare in this life for whatever is in the next, sharing our belief that everything comes back around.
We enjoyed sitting down with William to discuss his work of 35 years building research on sacred topics, spirituality, and on esoteric concepts from aliens to ancient civilizations. He also shared some personal reflections after traveling with his kilim loafers for the last 2-3 years.
Read on to learn how William's unique story has led him to the understanding that there is always more to learn and experience –– be it traveling to the local grocery store, the pyramids in Egypt or almost everywhere in between –– about the very nature of the human spirit, soul, and the shoes we wear.
William grew up in Detroit, but 38 years ago he moved to Nashville which is where we logged to interview over Zoom. Over the years, William has graciously shared photos of himself wearing our kilim loafers from the trips he leads at historical sites around the world.
Sadly, for William and his wife, Clare, and for so many others most others in the hospitality and tourism industries, all of that came to a halt.
"Having a travel company," he explained, "We've been severely impacted by the pandemic. Before the pandemic, we were traveling about 200 days a year to the UK, Egypt, Israel, and Spain."
For over 35 years, William has lived out his spiritual callings. He is an international leader in his field of spirituality, transformation and ascension. Using historical, religious, spiritual, scientific, archaeological and other forms of relevant knowledge, he has published 18 books, acted as the spiritual voice and Consulting Producer of the global hit History Channel program, Ancient Aliens, and hosted the Gaia TV series The Awakened Soul: The Lost Science of Ascension, and Arcanum. Now, along with Clare, they lead luxury-themed ascension tours around the world at some of the most ancient and historical sites.
"She came on one of my Egypt tours 11 years ago," William confessed. "It was love at first sight. I am very lucky."
Every year, the ascension tours almost always focus on historical sites in Egypt and then will rotate yearly between England, Italy, France and Israel. The tours will attract international crowds of all ages from 20 year-olds to 80 year-olds. Usually, people find him from watching Ancient Aliens which is broadcasted worldwide on the History Channel.
"We do luxury themed tours and we find that when you stay at a beautiful hotel with really nice, like-minded people it is just a tremendous experience that often you couldn't experience on your own. When you're with a group it can open doors that will aren't there for individuals."
From our conversation and my research, it is clear William is like a living and breathing history book, but one that is extremely thoughtful, shy and humble. Unlike so many, he is not all in-your-face lecturing you with his wisdom. He will only answer if you ask him a question.
"I see myself as a guide. For some people I'm a mentor. I have a lot of experience and some people would say wisdom. I've been researching sacred topics and spirituality esoteric concepts from aliens to ancient civilizations for 35 years or so. I've accumulated lots of knowledge. I love sharing that and connecting with people that share my passion for being explorers and researchers."
What does a tour guide do with a full year-off from leading tours?
"The last year, since I've been home, although I don't have access to some of the libraries, I have been able to catch up on some writing and projects and research."
If the curious child still exists in you, William kindly shares some of his findings on his website's blog. In one of his latest posts, William shared an intriguing Black-Mirror-esque analysis about the very existence of our souls and importance of individuals maintaining –– and a warning about Big Tech –– controlling them.
Have you watched Disney's Soul in the last few months and questioned yourself and felt inspired to live life differently? Have you struggled with your mental health over this past year? It is difficult if not altogether impossible to have escape these questions, thoughts, and feelings. William posits these conversation-starters time and time again. What is in your soul? What is your purpose? Are you in control of this?
For William and for us, this trying year has brought to the forefront of our hearts and minds the importance of enjoying all of our time which has meant rediscovering exactly what we love and want to do, and then, doing it –– as it is written in our core beliefs –– with joy or not at all.
William relates especially with what I have come to learn through my time and experiences with our co-founders, Josh and Odini –– that our core beliefs are not some impulsive thoughts written and then peeled off onto tiny letters on our storefronts –– these beliefs are who we are down to our very core.
Similarly, William believes we need to work on becoming our ultimate 360, a circle, if you will, and that we have to strive towards this complete circle all the time. And he outlines his four steps for becoming one's full true self / nature:
1. Become aware
2. Imagine what that is
3. Believe it
4. Enter that state
"Ascension seems like it can transcend almost into any industry –– it is a process," he attested. "It applies no matter what you're trying to do in your life or where you're at in your life. That is what makes it so powerful."
How do you focus on those things through the minutiae of day-to-day and week-to-week? If you are asking yourself that, you have a lot of work to do. And that is OK because that is the point!
"Everything that we do is day-to-day and week-to-week. I believe in incremental improvement. A lot of people want to make a giant leap they're looking for a magic pill or magic trick that will take them from point A to point Z, and skipping over everything in between, this is possible for some people but for the most of us, we have to make our way through the alphabet in order to get where we want to go. So that is what I try to emphasize are those little things you can do every day to move the needle."
We believe William's core beliefs align very closely with three of our core beliefs:
- We believe that every person should travel as far as they can as often as they can.
- We believe that travel is important because it opens minds and hearts.
- We believe that you get back what you put out.
William lives a lifestyle that leads right into his incremental improvements. He follows three things daily:
1. Keeping up with exercise –– William walks and work outs out near where he lives next to the full-scale replica of the Parthenon in Nashville.
2. Giving time for meditation
3. Allowing time for play –– William plays guitar and loves researching electric guitars. He is a fanatic about Gibson electric guitars and loves everything about the instrument. Music is his creative outlet. He strives to play for 30 minutes a day.
He adds, "I always have it around me so I can just pick it up and play."
It is cool that William always has his guitar around. The same could be said for his attachment to his kilim loafers.
"A lot of people don't know that I'm semi-shy and my wife is the opposite. I remember seeing the loafers for the first time and thinking, 'Wow those are really cool.'
"They were selling them at Haymakers & Co. in Nashville and I took a picture of a pair with my phone because they were sold out of my size at the time. So when I finally got my first pair, it was like, 'That's a little bit different from what I've been wearing.' I put them on and I felt like Dorothy putting on a pair of ruby slippers! They slid right on and were so incredibly comfortable and then I started wearing them around... the next thing I know, everywhere I'm going, people are coming up to me saying, 'Dude, cool shoes, man, where did you get those?' I spell it out R-E-S I-P-S-A and give them the referral to Res Ipsa."
William jokes that when he goes into his local grocery store, they will look to see which pair of kilim loafers he is wearing. Like William's tours, his shoes have connected so many people of all backgrounds and ages together. This kind of thing fills us with joy and makes us endlessly thankful.
"It has brought such a cool connection to so many people. I really, really enjoy that. People of all ages. Men and women. Sometimes I'll be walking through somewhere and a someone will say, 'Oh my husband has got to get those!' So it has actually embolden me. When I see someone wearing something I like, now I'll go up to them and say, 'Hey I like what you're wearing!'
"The shoes helped me come out of a shell. I love them. They're so incredibly comfortable but that added bit of knowing, 'Hey, I'm probably going to have a cool conversation today' makes it a little nicer. I can't think of any other brand of anything I wear that people will know me for. I wear a necklace on Ancient Aliens that people know me for. But the shoes are like a magnet. I just love talking to people about them. Thank you for your brand. It has been such a new ripple and dimension on my life."
It is true. When you Google his name, William Henry Ancient Aliens necklace still comes up first. Not trying to manifest much with Big Tech, but the day William Henry Res Ipsa kilim loafers appears first in a Google search will be a great day!