Announcing Our Soft Launch

by Wanderlust Simply


It's a very exciting day over here at Wanderlust, Simply headquarters as we announce the soft launch of our e-shop

You may remember our trip to Sri Lanka, where we first met the brilliant Fernando sisters, designers of a line of beautiful jewelry and scarves called KINSFOLK. 

The KINSFOLK silk scarves have been designed and created in a beautiful workshop located in a quiet backyard of a busy town in the south of Sri Lanka. Between pots and pans filled with hot wax, bathtubs, and containers serving as dye baths, works a strong team of women who have dedicated their lives to the art of batik for over 25 years.

Sri Lankan batik has a very old history on the island. KINSFOLK is devoted to preserving the craft of handmade textiles in Sri Lanka by combining traditional batik methods with a modern aesthetic, all while manufacturing ethically, and ensuring that artisans earn a sustainable living.

All the artwork is drawn with hot wax on pure, untreated silk. The applied wax resists dyes and therefore allows the artisan to colour selectively by soaking the cloth in one colour, removing the wax with boiling water, and repeating if multiple colours are used.

We promised to stock up on KINSFOLK scarves - both silk and cashmere - during our next trip to Switzerland and we did just that this summer. Head over to the shop now to get your Kinsfolk scarf


Staying in Touch

by Wanderlust Simply



Asked and Received in Los Angeles

by Wanderlust Simply


Want a first class upgrade on your next flight? Ask for one. A few weekends ago, I flew to Los Angeles. It was 35 degrees Fahrenheit in New York and 90 degrees Fahrenheit in Los Angeles. So you can see why I was eager to get to the airport and get to LA on Friday, but sometime in the afternoon, I received a text message, an email and a Delta app alert that said my flight had been delayed. 

 Santa Monica, California

Santa Monica, California

On Sunday evening, I was less eager to get back to the cold, and again, I received a text mesage, an email and a Delta app alert that said my flight had been delayed. My flight was delayed both ways. The first thing I did was email my boss and secretary - to let them know I might be in late or not in at all but I would update them in the morning. The second thing I did was call Delta and request an upgrade. 

Champagne

Not too long ago, Delta stopped automatic upgrades for its frequent fliers and elite skymiles members on transcontinental flights. But I needed a lay flat bed and as much sleep as possible if I was going to go directly into the office from a red-eye. So, I called and asked and I said please. With no pushback, the reservations agent said "Sure." and I was immediately upgraded to business class and enjoyed the entire flight on a lay flat bed.

Obviously, loyalty helps. But if you want an upgrade on your next flight, try just asking for one. 


Revamping an Itinerary in Sri Lanka

by Wanderlust Simply


I regard the advice of locals above that of everyone else. So, when Jessica and Josie Fernando, the founders and designers of Kinsfolk, recommended Talpe Beach and Ella, I ripped up my original itinerary for Sri Lanka and took their advice. The Sri Lankan-Swiss Fernando sisters grew up traveling between Sri Lanka and Switzerland and created Kinsfolk to honor their heritage and both countries through design.

 Jessica Fernando at Talpe Beach

Jessica Fernando at Talpe Beach

From the airport, I went directly to Talpe Beach Restaurant and Bar, a charming beachside restaurant near Galle that rents a handful of rooms. Talpe Beach is owned by a woman named Ulricke and her husband, who have lived all over the world and moved two years ago to Sri Lanka, where Ulricke was born. As Jessica promised, the food was delicious, the location was great and the price was very reasonable (about 80USD per night). Except for dinners at Wijaya Beach and Kingfisher, I spent most of my time in Talpe Beach. 

 Talpe Beach Restaurant and Bar

Talpe Beach Restaurant and Bar

I spent two days beachside with the Fernando sisters and their photographer, Mirjam Kluka, who was in town to shoot Kinsfolk's new line. We discussed politics, business and fashion over dinners, wine, and tanning. For Kinsfolk, the Fernando sisters design jewelry and scarves, which are handmade by artisans in Sri Lanka. I fell in love originally with the Kinsfolk scarves, which sold out last season and are only available to purchase in Switzerland and Sri Lanka. I plan to stock up during my next visit to Switzerland. 

 Kinsfolk scarf and necklace

Kinsfolk scarf and necklace

After Talpe Beach, I traveled to Ella to see the tea plantations, stopping at temples along the way. Ulricke and the Fernando sisters recommended 98 Acres Resort, which unfortunately sells out months in advance. So, I stayed at Ella's Edge Resort, a hotel built on the side of a mountain overlooking Ella Gap, also recommended by Ulricke.

 98 Acres Resort

98 Acres Resort

Ella, though cooler (temperature-wise) than Talpe, was no less relaxing. But of course drinking tea in the mountains while learning about its harvesting is relaxing. All and all a great trip - thank God I destroyed my original temple-hopping itinerary and followed Jessica and Josie's advice.

 Tea in Ella

Tea in Ella


Seeking Beauty in Portugal

by Jamila Willis


Admiring Monserrate Palace

One year ago, I promised myself that I would live a life adorned. I didn't mean I wanted to surround myself with beautiful things. Instead, I meant I wanted to make an effort to find beauty in everything. It's been quite a task, this version of optimism and interest. But when I travel to Portugal for a week in August with about a year of practice, I had no trouble finding beauty everywhere. 

 The Wall of  Óbidos

The Wall of Óbidos

Below, my list of the most beautiful Portugal moments, memories and places: 

 1872 River House (photo courtesy of 1872 River House)

1872 River House (photo courtesy of 1872 River House)

Hotel: 1872 River House - An eight-room boutique hotel located at the Ribera, directly in front of the Douro River in Porto, Portugal. The friendly staff, simple decor, delicious breakfast and convenient location made staying at 1872 River House an enjoyable hotel experience and the best I had in Portugal.

Monserrate Palace

Sight: Sintra, Portugal - Though you will find mosaic tiles and interesting Romantic-era architecture throughout Portugal, the sheer concentration in Sintra was enough to make it a UNESCO world heritage site. Sintra attracts a lot of visitors, so you won't be the only one admiring the palaces. But, if you have an interest in history, interiors or architectures, it is well worth it. Take care to arrive early or take the train as parking can be difficult when the small town gets crowded. 

 Praia da Comporta

Praia da Comporta

Beach: Praia da Comporta - One hour outside of Lisbon, there is an enormous sandy beach with clear blue water called Praia da Comporta. We inquired about availability at Cabanas No Rio and Casas Na Areia too late (one month in advance) to stay overnight in Comporta, so we made it a day trip. It was well worth it, definitely the best beach we visited in Portugal. 

Sintra on a cloudy day

Restaurant: Tasca do Xico - Full disclosure: in terms of decor, Tasca do Xico was not the most beautiful restaurant I went to in Portugal. That award would probably go to Comporta Cafe on Praia da Comporta or Forno Velho in Porto, Portugal. However, there was beauty in the grace with which they treated customers and care with which they prepared their food. At Tasca do Xico, I had the best meal and fondest dining experience that I've had in a while. Thoughtfulness and ease are a thing of beauty, and for being truly thoughtful in their craft and making me feel like I was at a family meal, Tasca do Xico was excellent.


Back to Reality: Mindfulness vs. Multitasking

by Jamila Willis


It's September again. I'm back in the office, home from my summer vacation in Portugal and Switzerland, and back to the realities of my life: deadlines and emails and meetings.

My natural reaction to the obligations September brings is to multitask. But, earlier this year, I promised myself to multitask less - it interrupts my focus and takes me out of the moment. I was reminded of how ineffective multitasking can be this morning at the gym when I tried to take an app-based French lesson, respond to emails and create a playlist while running. Nothing was done effectively and I almost tripped myself in the process. 

Incorporating travel into life can be difficult. Everyone has a busy schedule, a demanding job, a life that needs tending to. I used to think that the only way to take vacation was to be constantly available and to work while away. Then I realized that I wasn't productive, producing quality work or enjoying my vacation. So, really, what was the point? 

Estoril Beach

Of course on this vacation, the office contacted me. But this time, I was honest with myself and everyone else, both before and during my vacation, about how much availability I had and when assignments could be expected. I left few projects open and gave instructions to my assistant on where to find everything. So instead of working throughout my vacation, I worked for a few hours after dinner on one day, which coincided with the downtime of my travel companions and local friends. I wanted to respect their time as well as my own. 

Otherwise, I got back to the business of being away. Being present on my vacation meant, for me, taking time away from the details and distractions of my daily life; taking long walks, long drives and deep breaths; taking moments to reflect and admire; and taking a true break from work. This vacation was successful - rejuvenating and inspiring - and now...back to work. 


Welcome to Wanderlust, Simply

by Wanderlust Simply


In our opinion, there is nothing more exciting than flying off elsewhere, marveling at something brand new or thousands of years old, meeting new people, hearing new languages, trying new foods, seeking new inspiration...and because of that, and more, we travel.

At first, traveling was pretty easy, we had summers off and what felt like unlimited time, we could sit around in airports for hours, we could bring as many ounces of liquids as we wanted in our carry-on. But, as time went on, our lives evolved and traveling changed. Traveling became more difficult, more frustrating, more anxiety-inducing. We had less time and more obligations. But our "to travel to" list was just as long. So, we set out to fit travel seamlessly into our changing lives. 

There were some mishaps along the way: we packed for trips while also moving, only to find a desk lamp in our suitcase upon arrival in Tokyo; we followed a toothless man to "see waterfalls" and nearly ended up hiking the Atlas mountains in heels; we departed at 4am for a Canadian winter roadtrip and were promptly pulled over for speeding on ice; and then there was that one time in Italy when our train broke down and we had to figure out how to get to Cinque Terre on a coach bus using our barely beginner Italian in the middle of the night.

After a few years, a bunch of countries, and a lot of trial and error, we started to figure out the tricks, started to get it right.

For all things travel related - from photos and inspiration to recommendations and tips - watch this space...

Welcome to Wanderlust, Simply.