It may surprise people that despite being fairly obsessive when it comes to fashion and beauty, most of my disposable income these last few years has gone towards paying for my travels. Whether traveling to a far away place like Sydney or Bangkok or staying close by with a quick flight to Miami or drive to Southampton, the benefits are innumerable.
Often when I'm stressed, I'll plan a short trip. Not only do short trips require minimal planning, but they tend to be low in cost (there's no stress like the prospect of mounting bills especially when the whole point is to ease your worries!). Living in a city as do or die as New York, it's inevitable that one feels burned out every so often. Every time I think I'm at the end of my rope, I book a flight to Miami for a few days. It's easy to work from there and it's amazing how much writing in the sun can help ease your mind and put what's really important in life in perspective. I'm also very health conscious, but even those of us who make living a healthy lifestyle a priority can fall off the wagon; to that end, having a short sunny getaway to look forward to also works as a helpful reset.
Impromptu Miami trips aside, given that I'm a freelance writer and don't get paid when I'm not working, I try to strategically combine work with travel as much as possible. One of the most eye-opening experiences was going to Paris for Fashion Week. New York Fashion Week may seem glamorous from afar — and if you're going to one or two shows for fun, it probably is — but it's a very tedious week for editors and buyers who attend countless shows, most of which start late and entail long check-in lines and even more egos. Paris, however, was completely different. The runway shows aren't just straight back and forth walks, but rather elaborate productions that make the long waits worth every second. Not to say that we don't respect the craft in New York, but the French take it to another level and spend an inordinate amount of time working to bring their creations to life in a memorable way. Paris truly gave me a greater appreciation for the industry and made me unbelievably grateful for being able to do what I do for a living. On the opposite end of the spectrum, there was Miami Swim Week. They hold their Fashion Week shows at night, there's usually alcohol involved and many are poolside. Not all fashion is meant to be super serious and that's important to remember too. Lastly, going to emerging Fashion Weeks like Australia Fashion Week helped open my eyes to all of the young talent out there. I feel lucky to be in a position to help champion up-and-coming designers and that's exactly what inspired our Designer to Watch series.
While there are cultural differences in the aforementioned cities, none compared to what I experienced in Thailand. Traveling to Bangkok and its neighboring islands, I was in awe of the locals. Nearly all of the people I met were soft-spoken and unbelievably well-mannered — a fantastic reminder that taking the time to smile and ask someone how they are doing shouldn't be a lost art. Similarly, when I was in Nicaragua, I was culture shocked. I had never traveled to a place where there was so much poverty and so little hope. Thankfully, since I was there in 2010, things have changed a bit for the better, but a major problem remains — they have a population of people willing and able to work, but no real economy able to employ them. Everything is far apart in Nicaragua and it's hard to properly explain the heartbreak that comes with seeing a mother surrounded by children trying to sell tchotchkes on the side of a road, but no one around for miles to buy them. What a reminder that while work may be tough, having a means to support yourself is a true blessing.
On the subject of blessings, a good chunk of my family lives in Israel so I've been back and forth a number of times in the last two decades including once during the Second Intifada. There is no place in the world that can make you more grateful for just being alive and living day-to-day without fear. Few and far between are Israelis that haven't lost friends and family members to the political instability and because they have to join the army at the age of 18, I think, they have a love of life and desire to live every day to the fullest that is contagious.
Lastly, while it's blessing to live in a city as culturally rich as New York, how can you not be inspired by the unique cuisines and sprawling museums in some of the world's culture capitals like Rome, Munich and Paris? For more details, we go in depth into individual cities in our Glam Guide series, which hopefully inspires people to book a plane ticket and explore the world!