Nomadic State of Mind
I think I can remember exactly when the travel bug bit me. After spending four months teaching at a primary school in Uganda and being lucky enough to explore Kenya, Tanzania and Zanzibar while at it, I was writing in my diary (how very teenage angst of me) as I sat on the airplane about to fly home about the mixed emotions I felt about leaving. Happy to be going home after a trip full of the highest highs and lowest lows, but super sad to be leaving a country I’d rapidly come to call home. It was the trip where I learnt how to properly travel, how to balance caution with adventure and how to embrace the new while also finding a sense of home in the most unknown of circumstances. Not to mention how to live without electricity, running water and a hole in the ground for a bathroom. I’m so glad I had that experience as the backbone for all my travels, not least because it means I still remember today the thrill of getting home and being able to run a tap and drink a glass of water and telling myself I would never take that tiny gesture for granted ever again. Ultimately, it was that stint that made me realise I needed travel and adventure, no matter how small, to feel like myself.
Now, more than a decade on, I’ve managed to make being something of a modern-day nomad a full-time job. In fact travel really was the reason I left my full-time job. I realised I loved fashion, but travel was what I really wanted to have the opportunity to do more of and document and share along the way. While London is home, there are so many other places around the world that I’ve put down roots in too, L.A being the one that first springs to mind. I’ve spent a lot of time in the city of angels and after falling in love with it as soon as I drove into Venice from LAX six years ago, it very much feels like a home from home for me now. As I travel so much, it can sometimes be kind of rare to go back to familiar places. But with L.A, I love going back every six months or so and getting to return to favourite places, build upon new, fledging friendships and discover new gems along the way. I was lucky enough to go back to L.A recently for a whirlwind trip with Chloe to celebrate the launch of its newest fragrance, Nomade, the premise of which really resonates with me. Made for a modern, adventurous spirit, I love that this is the first fragrance by Chloe that has a bit of a rebellious, androgynous edge to it. The whole campaign film was shot in Rajasthan too, one of my favourite places in the world and with Ryan McGinley directing and featuring French beauty Ariane Labed, it’s no surprise it ended up being a treat for the senses. I stayed in a new part of the city for me, downtown at the beautiful and aptly named Nomad Hotel, and journeyed out of L.A properly for the first time for a day trip to Palm Springs, while also getting to head out to favourite, familiar places in Malibu and Venice. In short, the dream three-day trip that was a million percent worth the crazy jet lag and air miles.
What I love about travelling for work or travelling alone, even just for a day, is that you’re forced to reach out to people and become a ‘yes’ person. A coffee date with someone you ‘know’ through instagram can lead to dinner with a group of people, one of which might become a friend for life. Reading a book on the beach can lead to a conversation with a random person who’ll say something that will make you rethink an entire dilemma. I love that about travelling and I never fail to be blown away by the surprise coincidences or connections you can make while seemingly a million miles away from home. I’m constantly torn between being a homebody and roaming free. I have itchy feet when I’ve been in London for a month but after a few weeks on the road, I’m ready to come back to everything I know by heart. These days, I can feel at home very quickly in new places. Last summer in Greece with four of the best, in the middle of nowhere in India with a resident dog for company, sunrise walks in Mexico on the beach (my ultimate happy place) or hiking in Topanga in L.A and getting mentally transported back to my parents farm somehow. Somehow there’s always something familiar even in the brand new these days and I kind of love that. Travel will always be part of my life I hope, because ultimately, all the other stuff if just stuff. People and places are the things we’re going to remember forever.