Last month I was lucky enough to go on an incredible trip to Colombia. It was my first time in South America, and my first time traveling abroad since 2019. I spent a large portion of my early-mid twenties doing seasonal work on farms, then taking my earnings and traveling. I'd spend a month or three working 15 hour days, making and saving as much money as I could. Then I'd buy a one way ticket somewhere, and set out on an adventure. I traveled and lived for eight months in Southeast Asia, spent a winter in Mexico and Guatemala, and even spent some time exploring the Middle East.
Those years I spent traveling were monumental for me. They opened my eyes to how big the world is, and how small my problems can seem when you're on the other side of the planet. I got to feel the sheer freedom and thrill of traveling alone, in a foreign country, where no one knew me, and I could live completely in the moment and follow my intuition wherever it led. I also learned to get really comfortable with being uncomfortable. I got used to being hot, sweaty, covered in bug bites, not understanding people and them not understanding you, ending up in the wrong place, grungy, dirty hostels, and the dreaded food poisoning, or for me, peanut allergy scares.
This trip to Colombia was a little different than my travels in my twenties. I was with my siblings and my dad, and the trip was only ten days. We split our time between Medellin and Cartagena. It was my first time in South America, and as soon as we got off the plane and stepped outside, the air felt warm and humid, and I felt the excitement and anticipation of being in a completely unknown and foreign place. Medellin was such a fun city to explore, with the most pleasant, perfect weather that felt like no weather at all. It was jungly, with giant monsteras growing in the streets, and funky little cafes and stores at every corner.
One thing I loved about Colombia was the street art covering the cities. There were amazing murals covering alleys, restaurants and hotels. It added so much color, vibrancy and life to the cities. Cartagena was a hot, muggy, sweaty, party town. We had fun shopping, exploring and eating, but I think it has more of a bachelor party vibe than we were looking for!
One of the hardest things I find when preparing for a trip abroad is knowing what to pack. You can check the weather, and go off of what you brought on previous trips, but sometimes it's hard to know what you'll want until you're actually there. Numbers on a weather app never give you a full picture! It was supposed to rain everyday of our trip, so we all packed rain jackets, but never ended up needing them. I guess it's always better to be prepared!
One thing I felt confident about was packing jewelry for the trip. I knew it was going to be hot and humid, and we would be out adventuring and exploring most days, so I wanted jewelry that would be comfortable, light, easy to wear, and of course make me feel a bit more like myself while being a sweaty mess in a foreign country! I'm a ring person, and don't leave the house without at least my Silver Portal Ring on. So, of course I brought that. It's the one piece I always put on, and even if I don't have anything else, it adds a confident edginess to my look that I love. I also brought my Onyx Ascension Ring Set. The two rings layered together create a bold, badass look that I love, and the thin ring bands make them really comfortable, especially in hot, muggy weather.
I wore my Gateway Necklace everyday of the trip. I even slept with it. It's so comfortable, I'd often forget I was wearing it. The Gateway Necklace wasn't my favorite piece when I designed the Portal Collection, but it was the MVP of the trip, and quickly stole my heart! I haven't taken it off since I got back. I also brought my Mini Portal Studs and Silver Studded Hoops. The studs are perfect when I wanted to throw on a pair of earrings, but didn't want too much weight or bulk. And the hoops were when we were going out and I wanted a little something extra!
A question I often get asked is how to store or pack your jewelry. It's always good to protect your jewelry from any outside elements if possible. A jewelry box or pouch is a great option, but, especially when traveling, space is often limited. You likely don't have room in your bag for multiple jewelry boxes. When I travel, I put my jewelry in small plastic baggies. I know it's not the most environmentally friendly, but I always end up with a lot of plastic bags from supply orders, so I try to save and reuse them when I can. Storing my jewelry in baggies helps me keep track of them, adds a layer of protection against other items in my toiletry bag, and also protects my jewelry from moisture and other elements which can cause pieces to oxidize or tarnish quickly. I also try to avoid storing my jewelry in the bathroom for that exact reason. When packing up necklaces, I always leave the clasp hanging out of the bag, like a little tail (shown in the picture below). This helps keep chains from tangling, especially if you have two necklaces stored in one bag. That's how I store all my necklaces when I travel to shows as well, it's a lifesaver.
I hope my jewelry storage tips are helpful for your summer adventures. And I hope you get to take your Stray jewels somewhere exciting this summer!