Q – Congrats on your new book! All the photos I’ve seen of it so far are S T U N N I N G! Was there any particular stop on your travels while writing Wanderful that was the most fun or meaningful?
A- Merciiii! So, the book covers 9 road trips, each trip features a destination that’s well traveled (like Santa Fe and San Francisco), one that’s more of an artistic hideaway (Ojai and Marfa, for example) and then a truly off the beaten path destination. Several of the chapters include deeper dives into certain regions and others skip along two line highways making lots of little stops. Choosing the most meaningful or the most fun is hard! There were destinations that I expected to blow me away, to have a sort of sensory overload … like Big Sur, the Grand Canyon, Joshua Tree and Flathead Lake in Montana to name a few – and wow they didn’t disappoint! And then there were places I didn’t expect and couldn’t believe were in America and much less driving distance from the cities that we’d started from.
If I had to choose I’d say the most fun was traveling the PCH with Allister Ann and equally as fun was the Eastern Seaboard from NY up the coast of Southern Maine with Keiko. The most special was unexpected: Terlingua, Texas. It’s a good example of a place I couldn’t believe existed and that whole journey was pure magic. Ben and I had departed from Austin, traveled through the artistic utopia of Marfa and then finally arrived in Terlingua. It offered up a different type of creative collective: it’s a Mexican border town – a stone-cold silent desert mixed with a vibrant little ghost town community. That trip was my first true desert road trip – Ben and I were on the road for a month on that outing and I felt so connected to the wildness of it all.
Q – I know you’re originally from New Orleans. Without stealing too much from your book, can you give a few little tips or your favorite things to do there? I’ve never been but hope to go this year. The city seems so magical!
A – Much of the world’s knowledge of New Orleans is overshadowed by Mardi Gras one one side of things, and then that epic natural disaster Katrina, on the other. However New Orleanians have always known their city holds a much deeper magic. I love that city more than any other place on earth. The architecture and people exude a subtropical Gothic vibe and I’ve filled pages upon pages with recommendations of how to spend time there. In the book I’ve included a “can’t miss” list depending on what you might be into: love music? – don’t miss going to Preservation Hall in the French Quarter; love vintage fashion? (which I know your people do!) take a day to shop the Vieux Carre’s indie boutiques; art aficionado? walk the length of Royal Street to explore gallery after gallery interspersed with Parisian-style cafes. If you’re more of a nature lover there’s a whole list of recommendations including parks and botanical gardens too, and of course there’s jazz clubs, music halls and food recs for days.
Q – I saw your eclipse party last week and couldn’t help but feel envious of your local pals. For someone who travels so much, you seem to be able to settle in to homebody life pretty easily too. How are you adjusting to your new life in Nashville?
A – Aw, it was the best! You’re coming in 2024! It’s a bit of a strange thing: I’m a nomadic girl at heart, I find incredible energy in travel. However my home is the place that rejuvenates me and Nashville has been awesome for that. Ben is a touring musician and often we coordinate our travel schedules, however once we’re home we settle in so easily. Astrologically I’m a Leo, Capricorn rising, Taurus moon. My Leo-ness drives me to get out and chase new adventure, there’s a want in me to go conquer the world, haha – however, my Capricorn and Taurus inner self have a need for structure and grounded-ness. I consider myself so lucky to have a partner and friends that have a bit of this same spirit, and Nashville has allowed me to connect with some seriously creative entrepreneurial people that I love coming home to.
Q – How on earth did you take something as fun and rewarding as traveling with your friends and family and turn it into your job? I think that’s the million dollar question everyone wants to know.
A – I ask myself that same thing sometimes, do you want the whole answer? Ha. it is so wild and I’m so grateful to do what I do! Here’s how it started I suppose: I spent the summer of 2014 working on my first book “New Orleans Style.” I was living in New Orleans and had decided to spend 4 months in Spain to write, kind of weird I know – to leave the city I was writing about, however, I decided to immerse myself into a new culture while telling the story of the one I was so used to.
In the meantime, I’d started to rework my blog to reflect these new travel experiences. I love the mindset of artistic survival and for the first time I’d have to live that way – I’d left my corporate job and felt a kinship to people that live their lives on the hunt for the next gig. I’d read an article in Vogue, it was a fun insider look at fashionable travel – a hip hotels and decadent designs sort of thing, peppered with packing & beauty tips – it was the type of info you can’t find in travel guides. As I transitioned Oui We into a wanderluster’s travel site I took initial inspiration from that article, but rather than designers with yachts and private islands (Miuccia Prada and Dontella Versace were on the list) I looked to my own friends, creative muses that have the notion of gypsy traveling down to a science.
That summer, while I was taking writing breaks, I’d travel through Spain (on a serious budget, btw!) and the idea to write a book about bohemian traveling came to life there. Once I returned home to New Orleans the travel bug had me. I’d meet artists, musicians, and style mavens that spend so much of their time living out of a suitcase and studied their ways.The more I wrote about what I was finding on Oui We, the further the fashion travelogue concept for the book developed.
It was a real leap of faith, I remember Ben reminding me at one point, right before I signed with my publisher and just as Oui We was starting to gain real traction, that I needed to give up having any back up options and follow my intuition, because if I kept a back up plan, it would allow the self doubt to seep in. So I saved just enough money to get things fully underway and off I went.
Q – At what point did you start shopping vintage and why? What’s your fave piece you’ve scored? What’s the best city for vintage?
A – Well – speaking of Vogue, I remember coming across the magazine when I was so young – I’d pore through my mom’s and my aunt’s copies – it was a dream world that I wanted so much to be in. I began a style obsession that was never a “study” in the way most people do it…I was forever collaging and mood boarding just for fun. I was also the kid whose parents weren’t willing to buy mall clothes. To me Gap jeans were a sign of being in the “in crowd” – (omg really, I had no idea!). I was never going to have that “what everyone else is wearing” option so instead I dug through flea market and Goodwill bins (my mom was a serious flea market goer) and developed a style that was my own. While I knew it was all I could afford, it also became a serious form of self expression!
A favorite piece? I actually had a vintage studio in New Orleans for about a year, and I bought and sold so many killer pieces, however I have a white YSL Tuxedo Suit that I found at an estate sale in Houston and I will never, ever part with it.
In regards to favorite vintage shopping cities: there’s so many amazing ones! Nashville has a kick ass vintage scene, Missoula, Montana has some of my favorite vintage too – LA has amazing finds of course and New Orleans too!