Boarding Pass: Margaret Vest

When it comes to travel, I do pretty well, but my friend (and fellow UVA rower) Margaret Vest manages to put me to shame. She also has the added bonus of having a sweet job that allows her to travel and stay at 5-star hotels (but at the end of the day would still prefer a trip to a local market). When I was living in Paris I was lucky enough to have her as one of my 18 visitors that year, but we’re still trying to figure out when and where we’re going to travel together. I’ve always loved her creative eye and artistic journals (and even better, she’s been known to make her own cards on her travels which are always a treat to receive in my mailbox) and I’m thrilled to show her off in today’s edition of BOARDING PASS. Thanks, Margaret! last trip taken:

Pittsburgh for New Year’s (it’s a long story)

next trip on deck:
Easter Island to celebrate my dad’s 60th!
one place you would go back to again and again:
Cartagena, Colombia (my mom’s hometown)

place you’d most likely recommend a friend go visit:
Cape Town, South Africa

preferred method of transportation:
Well… since I work for Orient-Express, I’m going to have to say train! Be it luxurious overnight, or day hopping commuter train… I like to watch the scenery go by and be able to stretch my legs.
place you’ve never been but dying to go:
Now that Easter Island and Morroco (New Year 2010!) are on tabs… I’mgoing to have to go with India.

most memorable trip:
Between college and career, I took a year off to travel around Europe by myself. I learned more about who I am during that time than in the rest of my life combined… but it still wasn’t long enough to go everywhere I wanted to there!

how do you prepare for a trip?
I buy the Rough Guide, make reservations for at least the first and last night, then scour and and bug anyone I know who’s ever been there to see what I must do, and, last but not least, plan the color scheme that will dictate what I pack (and what
needs to be bought… Easter Island is going to be a chartreuse kind of trip by the way)… a scarf is probably the thing I plan my packing around the most… they’re so multi-use (blanket, towel, cover up)… I even wore this great stretch jersey one when I went to South East Asia
to protect me from the intense air conditioning.

how do you record your travels when you’re traveling?
I sketch, photograph, collect every scrap of paper I encounter and write… fast paced trips or ones with other people tend to be all photographs, solo or slow paced journeys are when I allow myself the time for sketches and writings

what is your favorite thing to photograph in a new place?
As Scarlet Johansen’s character in Lost in Translation said… every girl goes through a phase where she photographs her feet… I’ve never outgrown it… I like the “I’ve been here” feel about it… and it’s fun (and one part of you that is never un-photogenic)… my mom also complained while I was traveling by myself that there were not enough pictures of me in my pictures… so I started the “self portrait project” where I play with reflection shots and getting an angle on
myself from arm’s length away.on an average, how many pictures to you take on a trip?
I take hundreds and hundreds… usually however many gigs I have… that’s how many I take… unfortunately, I’m not as productive on the editing side…
what’s in your “designer travel kit” ?
Definitely take my camera… sometimes my little one too if I’ll be going out at night with the girls… an unlined blank book to write, sketch and paste scraps in… and black rollerball or fountain pens are a MUST.
what do you do after a trip? how long after a trip does this happen?
HA… well… I usually upload the pictures to albums… for the snapshots and for the artsy ones… then announce it with an e-mail to my buddies… sometimes I have gotten distracted and didn’t keep the journal up, so I go back and write the day by day and add the
mementos of those events… sometimes pictures too if I’ve gotten around to editing them… but that step is sometimes done year(s) afterwards… which is kind of fun because it’s like reliving the trip… I try and get pictures up pretty quickly for travel companions and family, but I’m sad to say I still have not edited nor posted all the pics from Brazil, and that was New Year’s 2008… sigh… once you work in front of computer for 9 hours a day, coming home and doing the same is quite difficult!
What type of traveler am I?
While I love the 5 star grand hotels and chaffuered transportation when I travel with my company, I’m still a B&B/hostel/small hotel kind of girl at heart… I’ll eat in a market over a fancy restaurant any day of the week… though I have to admit, getting a private boat to take me to our hotel in Venice was a very special experience.
What takes the most getting used to when you travel?
While my features make my ethnicity hard to place (I’m a Colombian/German mutt) my height makes me stick out like a sore thumb wherever I go… when I lived in a small village in Cyprus they called me the 2 meter girl… though apparently I have to go to Amsterdam because I’m actually close to their average height!

More from Margaret on Flickr

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Thanks, Vest!!!


  • Easter Island? I’m jealous. I hope to make it there in a year’s time. How have you managed to book the trip – packaged, or did you find a hotel there on your own, and booked the flight from S.A.?

  • Thanks!

    @ p.bitten
    Since I work with itineraries every day at work, I’ve gone ahead and planned it myself… LAN air is actually having a sale right now ( so we are flying from Miami to Santiago Chile (SCL) and then on to Easter Island… the tricky part is that planes to not go to and from the island everyday, but with their on-line schedule you can figure it out…

    Since I’m going with my daddy-o, and OE doesn’t have a property there (though the explora lodge is a high-end option)I’m looking at rough guide and TripAdvisor to pick out a smaller B&B (making sure to request 2 beds;)

    Some of my contacts here at work are experts on the island, so I’m going to get their recommendations for guides… and since we’re both keen on photography, we’re going to rent a jeep for the week so we can be sure to catch the sunrise from great vantage points…

    I’ll let you know what I find out!

  • i LOVE that margaret plans a color theme for her travel wardrobe. i’m going to try that on my next trip. it sure will make packing more fun ;)

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