I remember exactly where I was when this photo was taken.
I was sitting on a cobblestone street in Prague, on the other side of the Charles Bridge towards the castle. Doorway of an old building. Starbucks hidden across the other side of the street. Not too hot and not too cold. Air infused with a golden light thanks to the combination of butter-yellow paint on nearby buildings and streaming sunlight.
In a few minutes I would go into a supermarket, buy a drink, then chase a couple up the street to tell them they’d left their (very expensive) camera at the checkout in front of me.
But for now, I had a moment paused in that doorway in Prague.
I had wanted to see Prague for so long, it was one of the handful of cities I was adamant I’d visit on my most recent trip to Europe. I had always heard wonderful things about it and seen those gorgeous pink-tinged sunset photos that made it look like some kind of magical fairytale place. When expectations are so high it’s almost inevitable that they’ll come crashing down in some way but not here it didn’t.
Prague was everything I had wanted it to be; I spent two days wandering along those old streets and loving almost every second of it.
Travel does something to your style. It almost makes you distill it in a way, particularly if you are away for a long period of time. Function becomes more of a priority over form because everything needs to be useful when you’re drawing from a limited pool. When I was considering pieces to take on this trip I really had to decide what my favourites were – what I would enjoy wearing on repeat for three months and what would hold up over that time.
This photo is a lesson in choice, really. The white cotton Bonds t-shirt with the crew neck and rolled sleeves, that sits perfectly on my body. The mid wash blue jeans with enough stretch to be comfortable and long enough in the leg to look good with boots. My beloved white Converse, the ones with the thinner soles because they are lighter, that look just as good with jeans as they do with a dress.
And my Madewell transport tote, an impulse buy that became a best buy.
I didn’t need another bag when I bought this back in mid 2017, I just wanted one. In the end it proved itself as the perfect travel bag: roomy enough to stuff my wallet, phone and a guidebook in with space for snacks and souvenirs along the way; a crossbody strap that let me keep it close but freed up my hands to do other things; the zippered top to stop wandering hands as I walked through places packed with strangers at all times of the day and night; thick, quality leather that held up to the wear and tear, bumps and bruises of moving from city to city but still managed to look timelessly chic; the tan colour that went with everything and anything I could think to pack. It was perfect.
I love this photo, and maybe it’s because I remember everything from when it was taken. That moment, in a foreign city I had longed for, taking a breather to simply soak it all in, and consider how fortunate I really was at that particular time.