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The #InternationalGirlCrew are a group of friends spread across LA, NY and London, who also happen to be some of the world’s most badass entrepreneurs and creatives. Including the likes of Sharmadean Reid (founder of WAH nails) Paloma Elsesser (writer, plus-size model and current girl obsession) and our friends Madeline Poole (founder of MP Nails) and Phoebe Lovatt (founder of The WW Club), they travel regularly for both work and pleasure. Their girl crew meet up in destinations around the world to keep their bond strong, exchange ideas and learn about the world.
If you follow at least one of the International Girl Crew, you will (like us) have poured over their travel snaps last week. With an extended group of equally impressive women, they travelled around Greece visiting Athens, Santorini, Antiparos and Paros. Smart, funny, confident, (and b-e-a-u-t-i-f-u-l), they proved to the world they are the only girl crew worth following (sorry Tom Hiddleston).
Madeline shared some of their adventures and photos from the trip with us…
The International Girl Crew started between myself and a few friends in London, LA and New York. It’s really an amorphous concept but the idea is that even if we have to live far from each other we still stay in touch, travel together and meet wherever and whenever to keep our bond strong and to expand the crew around the world.
I met Camille Garmedia (stylist), Sharmadean and Grace Ladoja (director, cultural curator) through my ex-boyfriend and met Paloma and Phoebe in LA. We all just felt like-minded, especially when it came to travel.
We all want to travel and see as many places as possible. Fortunately, we all have our own business or work freelance so we are able to make last-minute decisions and create our own schedule, allowing us to make it work for everyone. There’s a huge age span across the group, so everyone is in a different place in their lives, but we decide everything together – from where we stay, to what we eat and how we spend the day.
Travel gives us all perspective. Living in NY can really weigh you down. Work, work, work, is the mentality here, but when I go on a trip even if it’s brief, I come home with unforgettable memories, new friends, and closer friendships. I remember what’s important to me and it helps me balance work with pleasure. I feel particularly enlightened after this trip in terms of what is possible to see and experience in a lifetime.
The group expands every time we go somewhere – the spider web effect! – and there are no real boundaries to it. This last trip to Greece saw a load of people drop in and out – at one point there were 12 or 13 people travelling together. So hectic and so fun. Crystal Moselle, an award-winning film maker in NY, met us in Santorini for the first few days. Briana Andalore (clothing designer) and Richie Shazam (model) just happened to be in the neighbourhood and came with us from Santorini to Paros. Niki Takesh (a comedian in my opinion but she’s a multimedia artist) was with us the whole time as well as Carlotta Kohl (photographer and model) Atlanta De Cadenet Taylor (actress) and then of course the core of the IGC – Me, Grace, Sharma and her son Roman, Camille, and Paloma.
At the end of the trip we wrote down a memory log together from start to finish. There was so many great characters – George, Yannis, Nick, Dyonysis, Constantine, Fluffnuff, Charlie Bulls, Mrs Mary, Kostas, Sotiris, Stella, Perry, to name but a few. And so many memories – riding donkeys and jumping off church cliffs into the Aegean, clubbing in Thira town, dancing our heart out to EDM remixes of pop songs from 2006, going on a borderline life-threatening speed boat ride during a windstorm, trying a McDonald’s Greek Mac, the private island and “hell to Hellenic” (what we called the whole ferry experience). Everyday we spent on a boat was a highlight. We took a sailboat around the Caldera and swam into a cave filled with birds. The feeling of listening to music, laying in the sun on a boat with my best friends in a place I’ve dreamt of going my whole life… I honestly felt like I was tripping! There were many moments where I had to pinch myself to see if it was real.
We started in Athens, went to Santorini then to Paros, Antiparos and Koufonisia then back to Athens. We stayed in Airbnbs for the whole trip – none of them were perfect but each had a story to tell…
Kolymbithres beach was a white-stone moon-rock beach in Paros. The water is shallow until quite far out and it’s the brightest aqua blue. The sand is densely packed so it doesn’t get all over you. Koufonisia was beautiful too. Somehow, we also wound up on a private island, no idea how. There was one family hanging out and they invited us in, made us some drinks. There was a vineyard and a huge compound, a security squad and a trampoline in the water. When we left we were all look at each other like “did that just happen?!”
Best bit of culture
Oh my goodness the Acropolis is incredible! I’ve never seen anything like it and to be honest I wasn’t expecting to be so blown away. I actually went twice because I was so mesmerised – you have this totally chaotic, mad city and then you walk up a mountain to stillness and peace and the place where civilisation began. The view down is also breathtaking and makes you feel like a speck on the earth. You’re standing on rubble from the 5th century BC and it’s impossible not to feel moved.
All the food was good and the nice thing about it is that you can easily eat healthily – fresh salads and grilled seafood are everywhere. Having fun on a trip is really interwoven with my diet and I felt really good in my body the whole time I was in Greece. My favourite was probably Antiparos Beach House where we went for a very chic lunch, but every taverna was great. I loved this dish called dakos, a crusty bread topped with chopped tomatoes, feta and fava (a dip made from yellow split peas). The grilled octopus is delicious everywhere and so is the yoghurt, of course. Oh, and the oregano-flavoured Lay’s crisps are to die for!
Weird travel habits
Each of us have our own ‘thing’, whether it be with food, timing, sleep, space, cleanliness, money, communication, volume or activity. Some people are really organised and some people are a total mess; some need a proper bed while others can sleep under a table on the floor or not at all; some people need food every 20 minutes and some people can go without eating all day. Everyone has a special combination but part of the pleasure of travelling with a big group of people is discovering those idiosyncrasies and then finding a compromise which makes everyone comfortable and happy. Because when everyone is feeling good you have an an almost euphoric time.
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