What are your holiday essentials?
A great book to escape into a parallel universe in, like The Discovery of Heaven, a story of two friends and their divine mission. Either that or a magazine that inspires—I love Another Escape. Their curation of articles and photographs provide enough landscape to explore in during a lazy afternoon in the sun.
2. JAMDANI SCARF
A scarf for plane rides and night time breezy moments—right now I’m in love with the Eksa Jamdani scarf from our latest release. It’s a modern chambray weave combined with a 2000 year old hand embroidery technique from Bengal. Each scarf takes 63 days to make and passes through 20 to 30 hands in the process. I love how the fine cotton muslin feels on my skin, its breathable and yet so cosy. The pom pom tassels are also a fun detail that give some weight to the drape.
3. CARE PACK
Skinfood Royal Honey Moisturiser, lip balm, benefit cheek and lip tint, liner, extra set of contact lenses, eye drops, all tucked into my favourite on the go handmade linen pouch from local textile studio Fictive Fingers.
My lucky travel domino that I’ve had for over ten years; I picked it up in Portobello Market in London and have had it since. The numbers 2 and 6 add up to 8, which is a lucky number in Chinese culture.
5. PANTS TO SEE THE WORLD IN
Versatile comfortable pants from Matter to suit many an occasion… of course!
My favourite hotel is…
When possible I look up unique local places to stay on Airbnb or Roomorama. I’ve found a boathouse in Amsterdam, treehouse in Langkawi, even a sailboat as well… it’s the best way to experience a place. A camper van is also a preferred option – this year we made a roadtrip through Namibia and Botswana staying in a tent atop a 4×4 wheeler. There is something extremely liberating about being completely mobile and self-sufficient. Otherwise, if we’re talking about staying put, I love Coqui Coqui in Tulum, Mexico. A six room hotel by the sea with sun-washed concrete interiors and beautiful fabrics.
Best restaurant for a meal + which dishes do you recommend?
Street food, hands down, is always the best. Otherwise, Sun House in Galle has authentic local dishes in a beautiful setting; make sure to try the jackfruit curry which has a nutty, unique taste. Nero’s, which is Jaipur’s oldest restaurant has the best Rajasthani thalis, which is a selection of small plates so you can sample everything.
My ideal travelling companion is…
My camera. I can spend days on end alone with just my camera. It keeps me company in providing a continually evolving new perspective. When I was younger I wanted to be a photojournalist – now I see how this pervades my work in documenting the process and context of rural craft.
What’s in your carry-on bag?
My Moleskine notebook, Kaweco travel fountain pen, Audiotechnica headphones, iPhone with my favorite Spotify playlists downloaded for offline use, a book of short stories by Albert Camus, Carrera sunnies, Canon camera, a pack of Milo for a rainy day and all the things in question 1!
What is your favourite holiday memory?
This is a tough one… Perhaps it would be at the tail end of my road trip from North to South India in a tuk-tuk with my then-fiancé, now husband. We had traveled 2800 km or so, and arrived at our second last stop. It was sunset, and we parked along the beach to catch the last rays. It was an incredible combination of adventure, solitude, and presence of the moment.
Best place to get souvenirs for friends and loved ones?
The markets, where you usually find the best one off pieces of local craft. I always find it fascinating as well what the every day utilities are in the local culture. Johari Bazaar in Jaipur is quite magnificent. Another favorite place is Barefoot in Galle, Sri Lanka. Their signature colour blocked handloomed textiles are gorgeous.
How to make the most of time when visiting a new destination?
Not plan too much and allow for some serendipity and spontaneity into the picture. Stay with locals and eat with them, and take the time to wander a neighbourhood instead of rushing from place to place in a beeline. Not having any expectations.
I don’t leave home without…
My notebook and pen. Writing is a part of my being. And passport of course!
What is the next destination on your bucket list?
Any destination has something to offer. That said, I have never been to Central Asia and would love to do a road trip across the steppes.
By Debby Kwong