You know how hard it is to pack for a weekend trip, right? Now imagine doing it for a 365-day, 23-country getaway. My brain melted just thinking about it. But it’s exactly what Emilie Ghilaga did when she decided to embark on the trip of a lifetime. Naturally we asked her how the hell she packed for such an adventure, and we’re sharing her tips here, because if she can pack for a year in one suitcase, we should all be able to handle the same task for a week or two away, right?
After working in fashion for years, I recently decided to embark on the adventure of a lifetime that would take me to 23 countries over the course of a year. This left me with the very difficult task of packing efficiently while wanting to also look outstanding wherever I went. Lucky for you, you get to benefit from what I learned and this list features pieces which ended up being my tried-and-true staples. It also features some items which I picked up on my travels, hand-made by artisans of a region. Together, they are the essentials for any sure-fire adventure, AKA life.
— Emilie Ghilaga, The Girl Gone Wild
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1. Hopper Hat
This chic hat can be worn in any climate and it will protect you. This hat was always my partner in crime for all my adventures.
2. Medium Nato Style Rucksack
The industrial yet cool design of this backpack can take you anywhere. There are also a ton of front pockets where I like to put my passport, water bottle and a hairbrush when traveling.
3. The Row Fara Lace-Up Leather Combat Boot
I have many combat boots and hiking boots which might be slightly more practical for walking and climbing, but there really is nothing more luxurious than these beautiful boots. I love the pointed toe, which I haven’t seen done by any other designer or artisan before. I also love these boots for a sophisticated evening, which helps me channel my inner badass.
4. Aran Cashmere Sweater
I spent a week on a true heroine’s journey in Ireland and found myself in Inis Meain, which is one of the three islands in Galway Bay located on the west coast of the country. While there I came across the Inis Meain Knitting Factory, which is a knitwear boutique where the women of the island have designed and weaved sweaters and other items for centuries. These sweaters are a dream and last forever.
5. Sleeper Halvana Linen Sleep Dress
I can’t get enough slip dresses. They are the best thing to pack to sleep in, go out in or even go the beach in. Oh, and they weigh nothing. I typically travel with at least three. There is nothing like the feeling of having been hiking for day and arriving at a nice hotel having a shower and going downstairs for a cocktail wearing a slip dress you. will. glide. Sleeper is a cool-girl brand very near and dear to my heart which is originally from the Ukraine. I love that they produce everything to order as way to reduce production and waste.
6. Brun De Vian Tiran Camargue Shawl
I purchased this shawl when I was in Arles, France. For those who haven’t visited, it’s a perfect Provencale town where Van Gogh spent much of his time. All of Brun de Vian’s shawls are created with merino wool which is produced in Arles. They have an incredible selection of colors, but I would go with either a navy or black since they are such versatile colors. It is the perfect shawl to travel with because it can be used as a blanket, a pillow, for the treacherous cold or a cool summer evening. Also, it makes a great pareo with a bathing suit.
7. Eres Asia One-Piece Swimsuit
My #1 most used, most-loved piece in my entire closet. It is basically the best bathing suit ever as it hugs you in all the right places and will last at least 10 years. Sometimes I wear it as a top, too. Granted, Eres bathing suits may be expensive, but they will outlast any other bathing suit you own and will never go out of style. A true classic.
Emilie Ghilaga is the founder of The Girl Gone Wild a newly launched travel website, which she developed after traveling and journaling her way through 23 countries over 12 months. Previous to her “going wild” Emilie worked for a range of fashion companies globally including Moda Operandi, The Gem Palace, De Beers LVMH and Hearst Publications as well as owning her own clothing line produced in India after her time working in Jaipur.
The Girl Gone Wild is a modern travel guide, the real deal as they say — in each country, you will find her itinerary and raw footage; the places she visited and notes on where to stay, eat and what to do. Additionally, you will find a curated shopping section highlighting local artisans and designers and providing them credit and a proper platform to directly share their story with the world.
Currently, Emilie is growing deeper roots in Nosara, Costa Rica, where she is building her first home. A naturalist at heart and always ready to explore, the next stop for adventure is Rio de Janeiro to capture Carnaval and meet with local designers and artisans to document their craft.