Lauren Ronquillo in Chiang Mai, Thailand by TJ Lee

In this segment, we cover people's favorite items to travel with, their best travel hacks, and stories from the road. Do you or someone you know have a couple cool pieces of gear they wouldn't leave on a trip without or want to share some travel hacks? Contact us for an opportunity to be featured.

Tell us a bit about yourself

Staying inspired and energized is essential to my job, and equally essential to my well-being. As a professional creative, the decision to primarily work remotely can really just be seen as another business strategy to create my best work and be my best self. There's a common misconception that all digital nomads are trying to work as little as possible but many I’ve met on the road are paving the way to new approaches in their industry in huge ways simply by separating themselves from their familiar surroundings. I’m just trying to truly, fully contribute while on this planet and I absolutely believe that travel helps you do exactly that- professionally and otherwise.

Lauren Ronquillo in Jatiluwih Rice Terraces, Bali Indonesia by Brianna D
Lauren Ronquillo in Jatiluwih Rice Terraces, Bali Indonesia by Brianna D

What’s your favorite destination?

Well, the place I have spent the most time is a small island called Koh Phangan in the gulf of Thailand. The ocean really sets a tone for the vibe of the entire environment, it’s crystal clear down to its white sand and entirely still as if it were a lake. In the evening the stars are utterly remarkable and you’ll barely hear a peep after the everyday stunning sunsets. I found the level of stillness of the island incredibly special. It’s like for the first time in your life you are actually given real silence, the chance to just sit with your thoughts, entirely uninterrupted, supported by the ground beneath you in a way I have never experienced before. I can’t say it necessarily directly inspired me, but rather allowed me the space to find inspiration within myself. I think there's a lot of magic within all of us, but “life” can simply get in the way.

What are your “Trusty Three” travel items?

Lauren Ronquillo's Trusty Travel Items
Lauren Ronquillo's Trusty Travel Items
  1. Manduka SuperLite Travel Yoga Mat:
    For how small this mat is it really makes all the difference. For the longest time I said to myself that I would attend yoga classes while on the road or do some light stretches at home that didn’t require a mat but I would almost never without the proper equipment. The moment I purchased this mat I started practicing everyday from home. Not just for a travel mat but for any yoga mat its no slip feature is amazing and even when attending a yoga class I will now bring this mat to place on top of the ones provided, its just that good. Can be rolled or folded for more shallow bags!

  2. iPad, Apple Pencil, Procreate App:

    For all still on the fence about going digital, I refused for such a long time (I’m convinced I was born in the wrong era), finally bit the bullet and now could not feel more silly.

  3. Scarfs, Sarongs & Other Little Bits of Fabric:
    The possibilities are endless- wear as clothing, make yourself presentable for religious temples, sit on as a beach blanket, tie up as a tent for shade, rock a turban when your hair is a mess. You’ll find more and more uses as you go along, they are so practical and you will find some gorgeous fabrics while on the road that all perfectly represent where you’ve been.

What's your favorite travel hack?

I have been patiently waiting to be invited to write for Pack Hacker so I could tell you all that I totally use my toe nail clippers to trim my hair while on the road. This has been a running joke between me and the girlfriend of Tom (Pack Hacker Founder) for well over a year now, I mean it's not a joke- I definitely do it, it's incredibly helpful and you’re welcome.

Are there any pieces of gear or travel technology you wish existed that don’t?

Honestly I just wish there was a better “meet other travelers” kind of an app so people would quit looking for friends on Tinder.

The Floating Gardens of Inle Lake, Myanmar
The Floating Gardens of Inle Lake, Myanmar

What item do you miss most when you travel?

I recently tried to make a list of all the things I would have with me if space and weight weren’t an issue (realistically speaking) and I genuinely couldn’t think of anything, I had everything I needed. I did although really miss having a full wardrobe. I enjoy expression through fashion and after a while it was definitely a bummer to be in a constant rotation of a few pieces of clothing. I also typically color my hair to be an obnoxiously bright shade of orange which isn’t feasible to find on the road so I was au naturale within a few months. I sometimes felt like I was living in someone else’s skin and realized how much of my personal identity I related to how I visually presented myself.

What’s the weirdest thing you carry with you while traveling?

Tiki cocktail umbrellas. Cause sometimes your beverage just needs an umbrella.
Or I don’t know, a passport? All these “borders” are made up ideas am I right…

Lauren Ronquillo in Inle Lake, Myanmar by Lauren Hom
Lauren Ronquillo in Inle Lake, Myanmar by Lauren Hom

Any closing thoughts or advice?

Whenever I find myself in a beautiful area I picture myself from above and begin scanning out. Out above the trees, farther till I’m a tiny dot, farther till I see the edges of the country I am in, farther till I can view the surrounding continents, till it's just Earth floating in the middle of a dark space; our solar system, our galaxy, our cosmos and our entire universe. I feel the ground and I remind myself that I am sitting on this rock that’s floating in the freaking sky in such a way I cannot even begin to wrap my head around. I remind myself that I know nothing. I remind myself that I am small, yet somehow I am absolutely magnificent. I remind myself that I am made up of the same bits as everything around me, of the interconnectedness of everything and everyone in this existence. That we are nothing, yet we are everything. Entirely insignificant yet almighty. I suggest you do the same.

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