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WANDERLUST | With Natalie

 Natalie is an incredible fashion writer, taste-maker and one half of the best-friend duo behind popular New Zealand fashion blog So Much To Tell You. Her blog is pretty amazing, a mix of friendly musings on style, inspiration, literature, film and music as well as the fantastic "we love" series, a short questionnaire with some of Natalie and Zoe's favourite people (check out our creative director Brenda's we love post here!). Natalie was one of the earliest supporters of Benah, sending us trans-tasman, antipodean love from the very, very start. And we love her for it. She's also got the travel gene, just like us.

All photos by Natalie Smith

one. favourite holiday destination

Earlier this year I took a road trip around California with my friend Lucie. While the entire three weeks felt like a dream from start to finish, our time in the Joshua Tree was something very special. We hopped in our shiny white sportscar (a hire car booking disaster but kinda amazing all the same) and headed out of LA. After a long, arduous and hot drive, with a stopoff in Palm Springs for rose wine, cheese, crackers and fruit, we arrived at the Joshua Tree Motel. We were too late for check-in, but the owner had left our keys out with a note directing us to snacks. The fairy lights decked the bougainvillea, the desert air was warm on our skin and we ran to our room to slip into bikinis and crash into the pool.

The Joshua Tree Inn was where musician Gram Parsons died, and remains a mecca for musicians. We stayed in the Emmy Lou Harris room, a pink dream. Throughout the hotel there are shrines to Gram Parsons, original posters from the Altamont festival and more. It was pretty incredible.

We spent the days sipping instant coffee and coconut water by the pool, drawing pictures of the DR Seuss like Joshua Trees that surrounded us, cooling off, taking hikes through the national park, eating amazing vegetarian food at the only café in town and combing through the vintage stores that line the road that runs through the town. I found a pair of $10 black leather pants and a vintage Vogue cover print, framed; a flippy maroon velvet Biba dress and a great hat that Stevie Nicks would be quite fond of.

At night, we drank icy margaritas out of jars and chowed down on burgers as big as our head at old saloon Pappy and Harriet’s, danced til dawn and never wanted to leave.

two. dream place you haven't been yet

Lately, I have been fantasizing about visiting India. I love the food, the colour, the fabrics and embroidery, the jungle, the elephants, the heady heat… Perhaps my vision is coloured by reading about the Beatles and their trip to visit the Maharishi, and dare I say it, Sophie Dahl’s book Playing with the Grown Ups. And The Darjeeling Limited.

three. five essential items

one. Jurlique Rosewater Spray. I got this as a sample in a goodie bag, and it’s really great. The small size means I can take it on the plane in check-on and it smells delicious. It’s instantly refreshing when you feel a little worse for wear after a long time on the plane.

two. A good book. I read voraciously, especially when I am on a plane or on holiday. It can be hard to find something great in the confines of an airport bookstore or foreign country, so I make sure to pack two paperbacks. On a recent trip to Sydney I took The Lover by Marguerite Duras, and finished off Siri Hustvedt’s What I Loved.

three. Silk jumpsuits. I love wearing natural fabrics and although it crumples easily I find silk a good travelling option. It’s so lightweight and my Penny Sage jumpsuits (I have a long and short one) can be worn with heels or Chucks or K. Jacques sandals and look equally good whether I am out for a nice dinner or wandering the streets and being a tourist! If they are crumply I just hang them up in the bathroom while I have a shower and the wrinkles drop out.

four. My bag. I have a really great, beat up old leather bag I found in an op-shop in Wellington. It’s the perfect weekend size, and although it’s a little heavy, it’s so beautiful I don’t even mind that it can be a drag. I take it every time I am travelling for five days or less.

five. A notebook. Mostly Moleskine, just because I thrash them and these take the longest to fall apart. Travelling means the luxury of time, hurrying up to wait for hours in airports, so it’s a good opportunity for writing and sketching when my mind has nowhere else to go, and no internet to be distracted by.

four. Best travel companion

Well, that’s a toss up! My friend Lucie is perfect. We spent three weeks together and enjoyed every minute. She’s got great clothes as she’s a designer for Mulberry, is super relaxed and shares my love of vintage clothes, dive bars and Mexican food. Unfortunately, she’s based in London so we only get to have a holiday together once a year. But, I also love travelling with my boyfriend Karel, especially when I get to go on tour with him over the summer, hang out in the band van, find treasures in op-shops for our house and have lazy beers during soundcheck in the sunshine.

five. travel playlist

It always depends on the destination, but here are some tunes from my California road trip mix.

Fleetwood Mac - Silver Springs

"You could be my silver springs
Blue green colours flashin'
I would be your only dream
Your shining autumn, ocean crashing."

Neil Young - Horse with No Name

The Mamas and the Papas - Young Girls are Coming to the Canyon

Kurt Vile - Beach on the Moon

Crosby, Stills and Nash - Marrakesh Express

And the entirety of The Checks, Deadly Summer Sway album This is my lovely partner's band and while I was away they wrapped up the recording of the album. I had loads of the demos on my iPod and they perfectly suited the hazy desert days.

Check out our earlier wanderlust series with Anna, Giselle and Linlee. We've still got one more intrepid traveler to go!
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