i don’t really believe we were built to withstand the cold. we were created without fur covering out skin, but with legs that will move us wherever we want to go, an internal compass that tells us which way is south, and an affinity for beach-side margaritas. this is not a coincidence, this was god’s way of saying “no need to be a martyr- plan a winter escape.”
so let’s all uphold this inherent prophecy and get the hell out of here, for a long weekend or for the season. i give you my relentless, imploring blessing and the below list of travel essentials, for your winter escape. warm up, brooklyn.
1. the essential t-shirt, in black and white.
this is your canvas. slip it on as a second skin. build upon it or revel in its simplicity. let it complement your favorite scarf, your signature necklace, your sun-tanned seasoned–explorer skin. but most of all, let it be the last thing that gets in the way when you see the sun threatening to break the horizon without you witnessing it from a city’s perfect vantage point- just grab it, slip it on, and go.
my picks- truly madly deeply v-necks from urban outfitters, and these slubby signature tees from madewell.
2. bright, signature accessories.
pack lightly but with a purpose (or with a porpoise!) (don’t knock it till you’ve tried it.) (…don’t try it.) choose accessories that bring color to your basics, a background to your story, a rhythm to your song, a gravity to your presence.
i rely on bright, blanket scarves from theodora and callum, bold eugenia kim headbands, my cryptically-engraved giles and brother railroad spike cuff, and any foreign coins that can be strung on a chain and remind me of where i’ve been, what i’ve seen, and the relative futility of currency.
3. a crochet bikini top.
why? because it doubles as an top. and there is nothing more simply beautiful. opt for handmade- check out etsy makers Jayblue from LA and SolDreamer’s, out of australia.. and, well- watch out for the big waves i suppose.
4. fringe. on. everything.
adding layers not for the purpose of warmth means they must be with intention. and mine? to leave a trace of my presence just for a moment after i leave.
choose this kimono from urban or this fringed poncho from abercrombie, the ultimate fringe crossbody from rebecca minkoff, or just a little bit of fringe around your neck, from topshop.
5 + 6. an analog camera. and film…
which can be hard to find, and inspire laughter among shop owners worldwide– which is ridiculous you know. oh, i’ve accepted that you don’t have any wifi here anywhere yet you think it’s funny to laugh at me and say that no one has used film in the past 20 years? if you’re going to be modernized and mock me, let’s do it. if not, politely tell me you don’t have any but respect my choice in capturing imagery. thank you.
PHEW- anyway, bring your own film, and choose a camera that suits you. i’ve had a pentax for 12 years now and recognize that this no-frills 35mm is an extension of my eye. but i also like to bring along my VA is for Lovers Lomography camera for that post-instagram-analog-instagrammy feel. and i love both of these options for the commitment you have to make before finally snapping the shutter, and for the patience that inevitably follows. get inspired here, on lomography’s website (and visit the gallery in nolita!)
7. an aptly-chosen book. (or two)
i tailor this to the trip i’m taking. most of the time, i prefer not a novel but a book that is going to inspire new ideas, new thoughts; one that i won’t be able to get through 3 pages without writing something on my own. there are notes in the margin, there are doggears and boarding passes sporadically marking significant pages. a novel is a good escape, but escape is what the mundaneness of normal life requires- new circumstances and environments demand new ideas. for this trip i’m reading modern romance by aziz ansari and bringing along with me pablo neruda’s love poems, featured in spanish with english translation. these cater to both my own curious exploration of dating in the concrete jungle and my relentless inner romantic while enhancing my grasp on romance and romance languages.
8. playing cards.
for making friends or for hustling. you never know at what point on your trip you’ll be lonely or broke or both- besides, these cards have a sexy matador on the back of each card. that’s 52 matadors. and suddenly- you’re no longer alone. (purchased at the bullfighting museum in madrid, here)
9. leather-bound journals.
a meager vessel at best to capture moments, sounds, thoughts, ideas, experiences, feelings, movements, memories. but the best that we have. my favorites- moleskine or the foldable gem pictured above from natura, handmade in spain.
10. a compass.
because google maps don’t work so well in places where you don’t have call phone use. and cell phone use doesn’t work so well when you’re trying to disconnect. and, flight attendants really like it when you let them know that it seems the plane is veering off course while holding a compass. and there is simply no better feeling than holding an antique brass compass. this beautiful piece is from PaperOnly of etsy and has been the best gift i’ve received to date. i do not travel without it.
11. wine bota.
my most loyal and long-running travel companion. a fountain of youth, an opportunity to share in life’s most liberating libation, a cornerstone of cultural understanding, a starting point. always keep one by your side, half-full. and trust no one but the original, JB Sirguenza- for vendors, look here, or visit barcelona and get yours, at el xampanyet (Carrer de Montcada, 22), my favorite little tapas bar next to the museu picasso in the born district.
12. post cards and a confident pen.
“my fingers collapse around my pen like soldiers trying to hold up a flag”- write with this same desperate intensity– to share, to connect, to put onto paper the gravitas of only the moment you are living. and then attach a stamp and send it off with that inevitable hopefulness and vulnerability of having neither return address nor home. someone will be on the other side. waiting.
and, of course, the perfect accomplice. that you can either bring with you or meet along the way. know how to recognize said accomplice, realize just what look to give or what line to say to ensure that they will be by your side, for the oncoming sunset or indefinitely. recognize their infallible spirit, respect their boundless journey, and then move together, side by side or hand in hand, toward your destination.
buen viaje, guapos. y que sigamos buscando.