Cleobella Travel Diaries // Installment No.1

“Why do we travel?"

After being asked by a couple friends why we continue to travel despite having two young kids and such busy lives, I had to really stop and think about my answer to this question. To be honest...Travel is when I feel most connected with my soul and my truth.  There’s something about the journey of it all- the unexpected turns, the discomfort of the unfamiliar, and the shift in perception that makes me feel like my most authentic self.  When you’re on the road, you are forced to be in the present moment; your possessions, your familiar comforts, and the routines that define your daily life are no longer defining your identity.  You only have the here and the now, with no control over outcomes.  I find something liberating in that- there’s a certain detachment from expectations, and a detachment from the material things that define my daily life at home.  
Today, my husband and two children are embarking on a 3 month journey around the world.  Our travels are always a mixture of work and play, and this trip will be no exception!  We are starting by heading to New York City where we will be showing our Spring 2016 line at Capsule trade show in Manhattan, followed by a relaxing stay in Montauk- a quaint little surf town on Long Island, a few hours outside of the city.  My husband and son Keenan are excited to experience East Coast surfing and I’m looking forward to getting some time to relax and complete design for 2016... before the next leg of our journey- Europe!  
This will be our first time in Europe after 7 years- it’s an emotional thing for me heading back here after so long; Jim and I used to spend heaps of time in this part of the world- before children, Cleobella, and chaos; just two starry eyed kids in love with each other and the pursuit of a full, adventurous life.  It’s crazy to think of the journey we’ve been on since that time, and I feel so grateful to return years later with two children by my side.  We’re starting our trek in Paris where we are showing at Capsule Paris for the first time!  I’m so excited to expose Cleobella to the european market and see the response from this new audience- but I might even be more excited to take Keenan to the Disneyland in Paris for his 5th birthday!  After Paris we will spend some time exploring the south of France before heading to Ireland chasing surf and re-connecting with our Irish roots (my mother grew up in Ireland and our family has lots of history there!)
The last leg of our journey takes us to Istanbul, Turkey where we will be taking in all of the amazing energy, architecture, and culture of this vibrant city to use as inspiration in our upcoming Fall 2016 collection.  Each Cleobella collection is inspired in some way by our travels, so I look forward to absorbing the beautiful mix of modernity and ancient history of Istanbul and translating that into clothing and handbags!  We’ll also be shooting our campaign for our Resort Collection here, so Turkey will surely be a full-on experience and a whirlwind, but we are so excited to check this city off our travel bucket list!  After Turkey we head straight to Amsterdam to visit friends and explore before heading back to LA- where we will be homeless for a week before heading to Bali;  Seriously though; to help with the cost of travel, we are renting our home to a French family via VRBO, but we have a week in between Europe and Bali with nowhere to stay! You may find us shacking up on air mattresses at our office and warehouse space- We may be a little crazy but, it’s all part of the adventure, right? ;)

Packing for this trip was quite a challenge, because we're traveling to climates that will transition from hot, humid end of Summer weather to chilly autumn temperatures.  I tried to focus on layering and with transitional pieces.  Regardless of the challenge, I still had way too much fun picking out outfits for the kids :) 
Indi's hot and cold weather versions of our August Kaftan and Maddy Bloomer set- Floral and Blue Batik with Freshly Picked Mocs.
 Keenan loves our Ikat Baby Harem pants- I pair them with some graphic tees, accessories, and a vintage levi's jacket.
I always pack a comfortable outfit for the plane ride home when I'm exhausted!  Since it will be chilly when we return, I'm planning on layering our Wander Top, cozy Kensington Sweater, some soft denim and comfortable shoes.  I think it's exciting to wear something intricate and embellished when in a new city, so I can't wait to roam around Paris and Istanbul in our Magnolia Dress from our Spanish Rose collection- I can dress this up with heels or dress it down with a flat black ankle boot and leather jacket, so it is a great piece for light packing. 
I never leave for a trip without travel essentials from our Mexicana Collection- our Mexicana Clutch, Passport Holder, and Luggage tag


    • Always roll your clothing to consolidate and create more space.

    • Pack a foldable tote or duffel like our Malaya Tote or Annabel Duffel - this way if you find yourself with too many souvenirs and no room in your suitcase; you can pull this out as a carry on on the way home.  Plus it works great as a beach bag or extra tote to carry things for the kids.

    • I buy some small toys and wrap them to bring in my carry on- this is my secret weapon for keeping the kids well behaved on long flights!  Bribery- it works every time! ;)

    • Tee shirts are travel essentials to me- they take up very little space, can be dressed up or dressed down, and can be used as layering pieces for when you are heading to fickle climates.  Right now I'm living in our super soft Lover of Adventure and Wander tanks.

    • Traveling is exhausting and exposes you to all kinds of unfamiliar bacteria- always pack vitamins and be diligent about taking them to keep you healthy while on the road!

    What's in my airplane bag?  

    I'll be wearing our Kinsey Crossbody from our Spanish Rose Collection- it's the perfect size to carry and tuck under the seat on the plane.

     Our signature Mexicana Clutch
    I designed this to be the perfect travel clutch and years later it’s still my go-to for staying organized while traveling.
    A couple wrapped gifts for the kids
    Knowing there is a toy waiting for them after hours of good behavior on the plane- it’s a lifesaver!
    Vitamins and Healthy Snacks
    Traveling makes you prone to all kinds of sicknesses, it's so important to fuel your body with healthy food and supplements.
    Travel journal
    Traveling forces self-reflection, I use my journal to write freely, sketch designs as I become inspired, and write notes on little memories or small details that inspire me along the way.
    Happy Baby Teethers
    Indigo is teething so it really helps keep her happy and quiet on the plane ride!
    Big sunglasses hide jet-lag eyes :) 
    Evian spray
    Spraying this on my face is so refreshing during or after a long plane ride, and helps keep my skin hydrated. 
     Podcast Downloads
    Instead of listening to music, lately I've become so inspired by podcasts.  My current favorites are the Rich Roll podcast which focuses on interviews with interesting and inspiring people living a holistic lifestyle, and On Being, which is centered on topics surrounding living with meaning.
    Powder and lip gloss
    A little touch of make up goes a long way after a long flight- it's such a simple way to feel refreshed and back to life!
     Packing with a one year old and four year old is only the beginning of the adventure :)  
    Stay tuned for more updates along our journey by signing up for our email list! 
    -Angela O'Brien