Traveling immerses us in the world, but sometimes in the less eventful moments in between destinations, we just need to escape. “The Layover” is a weekly roundup of books, music, podcasts, and other forms of entertainment brought to you by your favorite world travelers.
This week, we reached out to Oksana St. John, a travel writer, eco-conscious lifestyle advocate, and avid photographer living a nomadic lifestyle with her husband Max. They are the duo behind a sustainable travel blog Drink Tea & Travel, traveling the world in search of outdoor adventures, cultural experiences, human connections, and ways to make a positive impact on the destinations and communities they visit. Today, Oksana discusses the entertainment she turns to during travel’s quieter moments.
“Turn Right at Machu Picchu” by Mark Adams
I first picked up this book shortly after Max and I got married back in 2015. We were making elaborate plans for our six-month honeymoon in South America, and this book seemed like a great way to be transported to Peru ahead of our adventure.
Mark Adams’ journey, which retraced the steps of the famous explorer Hiram Bingham III, who was said to have discovered Machu Picchu back in 1911, captivated me immediately. His writing is honest, his adventures (and misadventures) are funny, and his words paint a beautiful picture of the mist-veiled mountains, the picturesque valleys, and the jungle-clad trails that lead to the ancient ruins. Feeling inspired, I convinced Max to mirror Adams’ itinerary and follow in his footsteps (to a certain degree) during our time in Peru.
But it turned out that life had a different plan for us. Shortly before our departure, I had an unfortunate accident which left me with a tib/fib fracture, and the only road that laid ahead of me was one to recovery. Luckily, Adams’ book had a lasting impression, and in mid-2017 (some 18 months later), we finally embarked on our own Machu Picchu adventure.
I couldn’t resist the chance to immerse myself in Adams’ stories once again, this time while I was actually on the trail. We ended up following his footsteps to the ancient ruins of Choquequirao and then onward to Machu Picchu. We trekked during the day, and at night, I would cozy up in our tent with my Kindle and read Adams’ recount of his experience on the same trail. Reading the book while at the destination made every word and every description seem so much more vivid and authentic. It helped me learn so much more about the destination and made my experience in the Cusco region that much more special.
Conscious Chatter by Kestrel Jenkins
Podcasts weren’t always my thing, but that changed last year. In early 2017, Max and I made a commitment to living a more sustainable travel lifestyle with a goal to educate ourselves and others about ways we can travel more responsibly. In an effort to keep learning while on the road, I found a ton of great podcasts focusing on topics like green living, responsible eating, zero-waste living, sustainable community development, ethical fashion, clean beauty, and much more, and while many of them have become staples in my daily life, there is one podcast in particular that I particularly enjoy.
Conscious Chatter is a podcast about ethical fashion curated by Kestrel Jenkins, who connects with designers, entrepreneurs, farmers, and artisans and inspires her listeners to learn more about the global supply chain. I love her interview style, her insightful questions, and her deep understanding of the slow fashion industry. I’ve learned so much from Kestrel about ethical fashion and over the course of last year, both Max and I have made many conscious changes in our travel wardrobes based on the companies we learned about from the Conscious Chatter podcast.
And, even though I’ve never been a fashionista and these days my closet (*ahem* backpack) looks more minimalist than ever, I still enjoy keeping my finger on the pulse of the slow fashion world.
As full-time travelers, we spend a lot of time in transit, and while we cherish the opportunity to indulge in some “me time,” listening to our own podcasts or reading our own books during long bus rides or plane rides, we also love entertainment for two.
Despite being constantly on the road, we are big fans of a number of popular TV shows (“Vikings,” “Game of Thrones,” “Westworld,” and “Stranger Things” are some of our favorites), but we also love documentaries. Last year, we particularly enjoyed “Planet Earth II,” an incredible nature documentary that showcases the world from the viewpoint of animals and their environments.
We’ve been lucky enough to have visited a number of the destinations featured in the show (the Galapagos Islands, Costa Rica, Kenya, and Australia), so listening to David Attenborough’s narration of the landscapes we have personally visited has been a surreal experience. It’s a fascinating series that is bound to inspire others to explore the world!