My love of travel is pretty well documented on this blog. The need to see new places and say yes to trips and adventures has stuck with me ever since I first went travelling aged 18 and wanderlust got firmly under my skin and into my veins. Whether it’s hiking through tea plantations in Sri Lanka or hiring scooters in the mediterranean, that desire for travel has lead me to some pretty great places so far and I’m always on the hunt for others with the same keen sense of curiosity for seeing places both near and far from home. Along with boxsets and books (don’t get me started on Game of Thrones), travel is one of the things I can quite literally talk about for hours and love nothing more than swapping tips and tales with friends old and new about where to go next.
So when Michael Kors and Lily Aldridge invited me on a trip to Greece to celebrate their new fragrance Wonderlust, which captures just that, I felt like I might have met something of a dream team when it comes to travel. It’s been years since I’ve been to Greece but its one of my favourite places in the world and the perfect place to toast in a scent that’s all about heady adventures and exotic escapades.
For me, scent is such a big part of travel. It can instantly transport you to a far flung place or remind you of a favourite trop. Whether you get that trigger from a smell in the air or by revisiting a fragrance you wore on holiday in the depths of winter to give you that just-off-the-beach feeling, I love what your nose can make you remember.
I got chatting to Michael (who just as an aside, was one of the nicest people I’ve ever interviewed) about travel and the creation of Wonderlust, and like me, one of his favourite holiday smells is Jasmine. “I go to Capri and Positano normally once a year and when you come off the beach in Capri you have to jump into one of those vintage convertibles to get hone. There’s the wind, you’re next to the water and that unmistakable scent of jasmine in the air and it’s just magic.”
Michael’s desire for travel is infectious and passionate, with Africa, New Zealand and Patagonia all still on his bucket list for future trips. As a kid, he grew up with grandparents who would travel to exotic places, bringing back souvenirs and stories from the likes of Morocco, Mexico and Greece and he loved hearing all about their trips in the back of the car after picking them up from the airport with his parents. “I’d look at my light-up globe and fall in love” he said, a notion I immediately related to, still a nerd for maps to this day.
The fragrance itself is all about this exact feeling. “It’s the idea you’re up for anything. Even if you’re just at your desk at work, do you have your passport with you? Because you never know where life will take you. I wanted it to be sexy and glamorous, but at the same time upbeat and optimistic and all about spontaneity.” And after spending some time with Mr Kors, upbeat and optimistic seems inevitable in all he does… You might think that travelling for work extensively could leave you jaded when it comes to long-haul flights and exotic locations, but Michael still relishes planes (“they’re my sanctuary”) and never fails to find inspiration even in a well-trodden city; “Even when I’m travelling for work, I always tell everyone you can have a surprise just by looking up”. Ain’t that the truth.
To cement himself as one of my new favourite people, his three non-essential essentials for a desert island (friends and family already included), were his cats, a great cheese burger (“I’m a true New Yorker”) and his signature black aviators. A man after my own heart right there.
We stayed at the incredible Amanzoe on the Pelponnese, a true spoiling oasis that was a real bucket list hotel of mine. One of the highlights of the trip was a day on the beautiful island of Hydra where we strolled through white-washed alleys, feasted on shrimp and greek salad, bought cones of gelato and poured over the endless stores full of cheesecloth dresses, cotton throws and kaftans. Most of the pictures from this blog were taken on Hydra and it might be one of the sweetest Greek islands I’ve yet to go to; as soon as I stepped off our boat, I knew I needed to go back one day for a proper stay. After not visiting Greece for a good few years, this trip reignited my love for the place. It really is the embodiment of summer to me.
When I got the chance to chat to the beautiful and lovely Lily Aldridge, she agreed she had got the bug for Greece and wanted to bring her daughter back there one day; “the food, the water, it’s all perfect”. Lily’s first holiday memories revolve around virgin pina coladas in Laguna with her family (hilarious that I, at about the same time, was most likely watching Laguna Beach while it rained in England with an orange squash) and the smell of the coconut and jasmine in the air still transports her back.
Unsurprisingly music is a key part of travel for Lily and family. A good set of speakers was on her non-essential essentials list for a desert island and she cited Today by Smashing Pumpkins as the soundtrack to the movie of her life. We chatted about travelling with a four year old (“she’s a little adventurer”) and her burning desire to go to Japan and explore all it has to offer.
After three nights of talking, eating, dancing, exploring, swimming and generally getting into the Wonderlust spirit with a great bunch of funny, optimistic, travel-loving people for company, I felt more inspired than ever to start keeping my passport on me at all times, as Michael said, just in case adventure strikes…