Traveling with Style: A Conversation with Travel Fashion Girl
Ever arrived at your destination only to realize that you packed all the wrong things? On Travel Fashion Girl, Alexandra Jimenez helps women put the right things in their suitcases — with specific packing lists for countries throughout the world. Having worked in the corporate fashion industry before setting out to travel, Alex is definitely up to the task.
Rachel Sales: Tell us about your decision to leave the corporate fashion world to travel. Was it something you’d been thinking about doing for a long time? What sort of reactions did you get from colleagues and friends?
Alexandra Jimenez: My decision to leave my former company was the recession. I had a rad job with an awesome boss and the best perks. Unfortunately, companies started to squeeze their wallets shut and their employees out and I was one of those employees. I quickly got another job but by that time it was too late – I was bitten by the travel bug in India and told the company I was no longer available to work. Everyone was shocked that I decided to let go of my career because my job and my career growth used to be number one in my life. A career in the fashion industry was all I ever wanted and I loved the life.
Rachel: Where did you travel on that first trip after leaving your job?
Alex: The trip that changed my life forever was India. It was the first “exotic” destination I went to and I couldn’t have picked a better destination. India has the ability to knock your senses out from every inch of your body in any possible way imaginable. It rocked my world upside down but in a phenomenal, life-changing way.
Rachel: I understand that after your first three-month travel stint, you decided to keep going–and haven’t stopped traveling for the last six years. What makes you want to keep traveling?
Alex: This January will be my 7th year after “dropping out of life” and hitting the road. The reason I keep traveling is because that’s the only way I now know how to live. There really isn’t another option. Even if I crave stability it’s hard to get back to “regular life” – you no longer really fit in and you’re not really sure that you want to. I haven’t found a place I’d like to call home and Los Angeles is more foreign to me now than anywhere else.
Rachel: What inspired you to start Travel Fashion Girl?
Alex: I was frustrated after packing all the wrong things on my round-the-world trip and realized that so many women felt the same way. It seemed that everyone had this certain impression about the way they should look when they traveled and then it wasn’t until you were actually on the road that you realized how wrong you were. I wanted to help women get it right the first time around and give them the inside scoop.
Rachel: Why is it important to be fashionable while traveling?
Alex: It’s not really important to be fashionable while traveling. It’s important for you to be happy and comfortable with yourself. Not everyone feels great in a pair of convertible pants and hiking boots so you should wear what makes you feel good – so long as you can find a balance between what you love and what’s also practical but that’s what I try to help you achieve with my packing lists.
With that being said if you like wearing convertible pants and hiking boots then that’s fine too. You wear whatever works for you because when you feel good you look good. It’s not a fashion statement – it’s a statement of confidence.
Rachel: Packing lists will differ depending on where you go, but what are the three items you never travel without?
Alex: My three things I can’t live without are totally practical because if it’s fashionable and cute it means it’s also disposable and I’ll need to replace it every season. Three things I can’t live without as a long term traveler are my sleeping bag liner, travel towel, and cute flip flops that look like sandals (these are always “in” in my season).
Rachel: What country/region has been most challenging to pack for? What did you pack in the end?
Alex: The country that’s been the most challenging to pack for was actually England in the summer. Not only was my laid back-Cali style way too casual but I was totally mistaken if I thought that an England summer was the same as an LA summer…or any summer really. The first summer I spent “living” here was on average the same temperature as LA in the Winter 55F-70F. Let’s just say I was completely unprepared and my obsession to get it right turned into what you now know as Travel Fashion Girl.
Rachel: Anything else you’d like to share with the Pink Pangea community?
Alex: It doesn’t matter how you travel – on a camel, on a boat, as a tourist, as a backpacker – whatever your preferred mode of transportation or title may be, just travel.