Welcome to Backpacker’s Boutique. Every Sunday, this spot will feature a new travel blogger. Some weeks it will be a really fun interview about packing, fashion, and fitness so you can snoop inside their bags & lives a little bit and other weeks it’ll be a detailed luxury guide to a city the featured blogger/expat knows very well. I’m looking for more participants, so e-mail me if you’d like to be featured.
An interview with packing tips from Lights Camera Travel
Tell us a little about about who you are, what your blog is called, and where you’re traveling now.
Hello! My name is Michelle, and I am the voice behind the travel and lifestyle site Lights Camera Travel. I was born into a family of seasoned travellers, so I’ve traveling my whole life – but I quit my job in May 2013 to pursue travel full time indefinitely. I traveled through Asia for eight months, lived in Tokyo for one year and now I am back living in Australia. I am based in Cairns, but I have plenty of exciting travels planned for 2015!
Do you use a backpack or rolley suitcase for long-term travel?
When I first left Australia two years ago, I packed everything into a Black Wolf 40L backpack which served me well! When backpacking it definitely pays to travel light. These days I prefer to travel with a suitcase though – I use a large Samsonite soft-sided suitcase. I never fill it all the way, but I like the extra space to make it easy to find what I need.
What shoes are your every day walking around, sightseeing shoes? And how manypairs of shoes do you pack for a long-term backpacking trip?
My favourites are my Reebok Skyscape , the most comfortable shoes I own. I have a pair in leopard print. As far as I’m concerned leopard is a neutral :P I tend to wear a lot of monotones so the pattern on the Skycapes add a little interest to my outfits. Other than that I’d take thongs (okay okay, flip flops!) Havaianas are comfortable and every bit worth the extra cost. I might also take a dressy pair of sandals or nice flats depending on where I’m going.
When you’re pigging out trying new foods, other than typical walking & sightseeing in towns- what do you do to keep away the love-handles?
This one’s a constant battle for me! In some locations it was easy – the daily swimming, snorkelling, diving, hiking, caving – you name it. In some destinations I got really slack and I packed on the pounds. It’s nice being back in Cairns and having a routine – I go to the gym every morning and live near the beach so I can take my dog there to walk or throw a ball with. I want to keep up my current routine of exercising every morning when I am traveling. One thing I haven’t done enough of is running through at a city at the break of dawn. It shows you a different side to a destination when it is bathed in that morning glow before the world is awake.
When you’re traveling, do you pick up beauty & shower products while you go or are there products you can’t live without- what are they?
Australia has the best selection of natural and organic skincare products. I love Sukin products – they contain all natural ingredients at very affordable prices. I use their cleanser, face scrub, toner and moisturiser. I also use Sukin Rosehip oil at night. I love the Lush Godiva Solid Shampoo , which I use as a shampoo, conditioner and body wash. I love these products and I’m quite loyal to them, but at the same time I’m not too precious about it. If I run out I run out – I buy what’s available at my destination.
For those who thing living out of a backpack is impossible, what tips do you have for saving space or what things have you learned you actually don’t need to pack?
Firstly, invest in some packing cubes! These things will keep everything neat and organised like your wardrobe at home. You don’t need a money belt – those things are just annoying and despite the advertisement, are NOT inconspicuous. Pack clothes that pair easy with each other.
The Hippie in Heels has to ask, would you ever pack heels on a backpacking trip?
Yes! If the destination calls for it. Usually a major city. I didn’t take any on my trip, but bought a pair in Tokyo. I bought a lot of cheap, poor quality shoes when I was younger but these days I’m quite fussy when it comes to shoes. It’s something I don’t mind spending money on. I want my feet to be comfortable and keep me dancing all night long!
What type of outfit do you take in case of a night out clubbing or going to a fancy bar/ hotel?
A girl has to have a nice LBD! I don’t mind repeating outfits. An LBD that’s easy to dress up or down with accessories.
What is the one material thing you miss most from home while you’re roughin’ it abroad?
A hot shower? Okay material thing… probably a decent pillow.
Airport style: love looking LA paparazzi ready or could care less? Do you pack “plane” or “relaxing” clothes for a long-term backpacking trip or would it take up too much space?
My airport style evolved as I have taken so many flight in the last couple years! I like to strike a balance between stylish and comfortable. I usually wear a pair of slacks or leggings, a singlet, oversized cardigan and a scarf. The scarf triples as a blanket or pillow so this is essential. I have my sunglasses ready in my carryon for when I step off the plane.
And for the girls, what are your absolute favorite make up products you take with you on a trip?
Whether I’m on the ground or travelling my makeup kit is the same. I’m very minimalistic. I try to use mostly natural products that won’t clog my pores. I always have a good tinted moisturiser – my favourite is KORA Organics by Miranda Kerr Tinted Day Cream. I mix it with a little moisturiser to make it run on smoothly. A good compact eyelash curler, mascara, blush and lipgloss (I’m not loyal to any brands.)
Do you have a special skin care routine on the road to prevent breakouts from the stress, sweat, and humidity?
I grew up in the tropics so my skin deals with humidity really well! I just make sure to wash it regularly. It’s cold weather I need to be a little more diligent about. I up the ante on the moisturiser. More than anything though, it is what I’m eating or not eating enough of that has the most effect of my skin.
What does your most worn, daily outfit look like while you’re traveling?
In hot weather, often denim shorts and a loose singlet. Colder weather, leggings and an oversizeed sweater! I’m a fairly tactile person. I love good style but I also want to be comfortable.
Tell us the ONE thing you pack for a long backpacking trip & would never leave behind.
Camera! The experiences you will have are too good to only live through once. The best travel cameras can be very afforable and well worth investing in.
You can only pick one: iPod or Kindle?
iPod. Assuming I don’t have an iPhone in this hypothetical scenario? I love books. I love the feel of the paper and flipping through the pages. I’m old school!
Thank you for interviewing on Hippie in Heels, before you go can you tell readers that may be on the fence about taking a trip why YOU think they should go for it!
It’s not something you will ever regret. Traveling heightens your senses, your emotions – it forces you to live fully and appreciate your position in the world.
“A ship is safest in harbour but that’s not why ships are built!”
Shop Michelle’s Faves!
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Traveling with light suitcase always a benefit. When I started journey I used to pack jeans which now-a-days is replaced by track pants and shorts.
Thank you so much for the tip on Reebok shoes! I fell in love with them and I’m going to buy them for my trip to Belize/Mexico :)
Were you able to hike them in some rough terrain? I am thinking of taking just flip flops and these Reebok shoes and do treks in jungle, mayan pyramids, cave & river treks…. How long does it take them to dry out? After my river trek/kayaking….
Thank you so much, hope this question reaches you :)
Good luck on your journey!