When it comes to defining the term globetrotter no one fits the bill more accurately than Laura Aviva. She was formerly a creative director at Travel + Leisure magazine and she recently launched an eponymous home collection l?aviva home, featuring curated artisanal products she personally discovers while traveling the globe. L-atitude asked Laura to share some of her best-kept travel secrets.
What creative ventures are you working on at the moment?
We have a few fun projects percolating for l'aviva home. One I'm particularly excited about is in Guatemala, we've started collaborating with artisans there around a collection of throws + pillows that will bring together indigenous ixcacao cotton, natural indigo dye, and exaggerated pom poms details. And I'm starting to put into motion a project in Southern India that I've been dying to launch for a couple years now - thinking that 2012 will be the year to finally make it happen! (I'm newly inspired around this after seeing the phenomenal Islamic Arts exhibition at The Met).
What are your three favorite off-the-beaten-track stores in the world?
1. De Vera in SoHo, Right around the corner from our studio.
2. Vin?on in Barcelona.
3. Caravane in Paris.
What is your favorite vacation destination? Where do you stay when there?
When I'm looking for pure-relax, it's always about the beach (various Mexican + Brazilian spots take top-billing). But the place I return to most often is Rockhouse in Jamaica. It's my go-to spot for regaining my sanity!
How would you describe your preferred travel style?
It really depends on the purpose of the trip: pure pleasure, pure work, mix of the two... But there are definitely some constants. I'm not much of a planner, overall - I prefer to have happy-accidents and discoveries made along the way dictate my course. And I rely on a network of savvy locals to set the tone + guide me.
What are three things you have to bring every time you travel (aside from necessities like phone, wallet, passport, etc.)?
1. My Bolivian protection amulets. They were gifted to me by a Bolivian shaman
who read my cocoa leaves and told me that I must always have them with me when I travel.
2. Santa Maria Novella burning papers. I'm addicted to their scent - and burning them makes any place I am in the world instantly smell like home.
3. Berocca. It's the first thing I drink when I sit down on a plane and the first thing when I land. It's travel-fortitude!
What city has made the biggest impact on you? Why? What is your favorite spot to visit when there?
Istanbul. I can never get enough - I find that city endlessly inspiring. It's a bit cliche, but I adore the Grand Bazaar. Also walking the streets of Cukurcuma, exploring the little antique shops. But my absolute favorite spot: sitting at a meyhane in Tunel,drinking raki + eating meze with friends.
What are your top picks from L-atitude.com?
Any or all of the pieces made for the Project Paz collection. So inspired - I love the collaborations and the designs that stemmed from them. And the Mehry Mu bags from my dear friend Gunes. She's so talented.
What is the best shopping find you've ever made while traveling?
Best-ever is constantly changing. A recent-best: a collection of retablos at Lagunillos flea market in Mexico City that mix cult Mexican wresting (lucha libre) figures with Virgen de Guadalupe iconography. Aesthetically, they're beautiful - and I love the quirk of the pop culture references juxtaposed with the religious references and 'inspirational' text.
What is your favorite market bazaar to shop at?
I just recently spent a day at the Sunday market in Chichicastenango, Guatemala - and was wholly captivated by it.
What is one destination you've never been to that you're dying to visit?
I have a long, long list. One that keeps growing. My newest obsession/dying-to-visit spot: The Sunday bazaar in Kashgar, China. It sits at the far reaches of Western China, and used to be the last outfitting station on the Silk Road. It's ultra-remote, and has been around for over 2,000 years. I'll have to go - and pull together a whole new collection for L-Atitude with the finds!
To shop the l'aviva home | silk road collection please click here.