From Portland to Paxos, I’ve spent the last couple of months on the road travelling more than I could have ever imagined. It all began in Iceland where waterfalls cascade over rocks, dispersed along the theatrical mountain ranges through which the desolate roads weave. After a few days back in London, I took to the sky in pursuit of America, spending time in both Seattle and Portland, Oregon. The last leg of my journey led me back to Europe, visiting the quaint and picturesque city of Amsterdam and finally Greece, where I am currently sitting writing this post, coffee in hand. I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t totally exhausted but equally if I said I wouldn’t do it all over again in a heartbeat because I would.
I don’t know about you but packing for 3 days is hard enough let alone 3 different countries and 3 different climates. Bitter Icelandic gale-force winds juxtapose with beautiful clear summer days in Seattle, the last month has provided the entire weather spectrum hence, my suitcases are undeniably overflowing. This month I am fortunate enough to be collaborating with Victorinox again, providing an insight into what I’ve been up to and some of the travel bags I’ve been using in recent trips.
It was only when I begun compiling this blog post that I paused to reflect and marvel at life’s recent twists and turns. I recently picked up a copy of ‘Stay Wild’ magazine at a café in Portland. The story of one lady travelling across a desert took up a double page spread with an extract entitled, ‘A life settled in motion’. This single simplistic line beautifully epitomised the last few months for me. While living out of a bag, I’ve found rest in the chaos; I’ve ‘settled in motion’ and totally enjoyed wherever I was at that moment in time.
I touched-down in Iceland apprehensively, unsure whether it would live up to the expectations created by a group of hugely talented visual story-tellers that I follow closely on social media. There was so much I wanted to see but upon arrival, I vowed to take time to enjoy wherever we were, knowing I would return, preferably in winter. Iceland is one of few places seemingly unspoilt by humans and feels totally wild. I was totally blown away by the dramatic landscapes and lack of human existence. The weather was that bit more vicious, the air crisper and the rain harsher than I had ever experienced.
Iceland was the first time I had travelled with my bright orange ‘Touring Duffle’, ideal on this adventure for two main reasons. Firstly, it was practical and super light-weight: our time in Iceland was short and I didn’t need many clothes. Secondly, it looked great and I knew the orange would be striking against any backdrop. I have no doubt this bag will remain my ‘go-to’ on weekend trips for many years to come.
In contrast to the duffel, my camera bag is enormous yet I couldn’t live without it. It’s the only backpack that fits my camera gear, entire v60 set and Gorilla-pod…which will give some indication of size! Going through baggage check at the airport is an anxious occasion when using small budget airlines so it’s often a case of: standing straight, smiling and breathing in to disguise the truth of being crushed by the monstrous weight imploding the spine. Hence on longer trips like Seattle, I take a smaller backpack in my hold luggage, which I can use during the day when I don’t need all my gear. This ‘Laptop Backpack’ is the ideal size to carry my camera, notebook, laptop and sunglasses; the essentials when roaming around a new city. There are multiple compartments for phone, wallet and keys and much like the ‘Backpack Duffle‘, the best function is the full front-facing zip, allowing access to the entirety of the bag.
Across the Atlantic Ocean, it was an absolute joy to return to Portland after two years, making new friends in the city and connecting with my sister. Portland is fun, lively and as hipster as it gets…think Woodstock (Cape Town) meets Fitzroy (Melbourne). The coffee scene is expanding and is on an entirely different level to the rest of the United States. Yet what sets Portland aside isn’t the fixie-riding, beanie wearing coffee enthusiasts. Instead it’s the genuine sense of community that the majority of the Western world seems to have lost. Portland is a small town pretending to be a city. Just 2 hours from the coast, you’ll find the forest on your doorstep. It’s unique, colourful and as welcoming as it is diverse.
My final piece of travel gear is my absolute favourite, the Victorinox Alliance Watch. Working as a freelancer, I tend to work from home when I am in the UK and until leaving for an afternoon coffee, I could spend the entire day encompassed by the same four walls. Hence, when I’m travelling, I tend to dress a little smarter. I’ve really enjoyed having a stylish watch that makes any outfit that bit more sophisticated.
Travelling can be frantic. The most common question I’m asked when I meet people is: “So, is your lifestyle as glamorous as it looks?”, to which I reply, “No, but it’s definitely as fun.”
That’s the truth. It’s not always a glamorous lifestyle but right now I wouldn’t change it for the world. Having a diverse array of travel bags has genuinely made traveling far less stressful when it comes to packing for multi-trip adventures. I believe in the concept of Urban Outdoors, that it is the way forward with cities like Portland where outdoor adventures and city life are so interconnected, co-existing so beautifully. It’s inspiring to see brands becoming aware of the need for this type of versatility and who are championing this way of life.
This post contains product placement by Victorinox. To find out more about the products listed, follow this link: Urban Outdoor. Thank you so much for following my journey and your continued support.
[Images by @dancartertc. London Images by @fitriajandra]