Travel Journal: Virgin Gorda
If you’re a regular follower of our blog, you know how much we love seeing the cool places where ONA bags go with our awesome customers. Our team also loves globetrotting with our own ONA bags: last month, founder Tracy Foster and her husband spent seven nights soaking up some sun, and enjoying the serenity of Virgin Gorda in the British Virgin Islands.
Sometimes you just need to unwind. That was exactly the plan when we booked a seven-night trip to Virgin Gorda in the British Virgin Islands. There were no detailed itineraries, no major sites to see, no reservations scheduled – just the loveliest beaches, blue skies, and regular visits to the local ice cream shop.
We stayed at a gorgeous property with private beach access in Spanish Town. Since we visited during the low season, all of the beaches were quiet and perfectly secluded, just the way I like them. Savannah Bay, pictured below, was my favorite beach on the island; we made sure to visit daily with beach chairs and books in hand.
I traveled with my Camps Bay camera backpack, which has been my companion on many adventures since 2011. Since I only packed one camera and two lenses for this trip, there was plenty of room in the Camps Bay to carry other things as we traversed the little island — a few snacks and drinks, beach towels, a sarong, and even a couple of seashells that I collected along the way.
Normally, even if I love a new place that I’ve visited, I’m reluctant to plan to go back (anytime soon) just because I feel more inclined to experience someplace new. It looks like Virgin Gorda may have changed that. I’d go back in a heartbeat.
Travel Journal: Iceland
If you’re a regular follower of our blog, you know how much we love seeing the cool places where ONA bags go with our awesome customers. Our team also loves globetrotting with our own ONA bags: founder Tracy Foster recently jetted over to Iceland for a long weekend with her husband and her Antique Cognac Leather Bowery camera bag. Here’s a look at what they experienced as they braved the chill on this gorgeous little island in the Atlantic.
While we weren’t lucky enough to see the Northern Lights (one of our big hopes for the trip), we were still blown away by the stunning natural beauty of Iceland. With only a few hours of daylight each day to explore, there was more than enough to see and do in this country of about 300,000 people in an area the size of Ohio. Sticking to adventures in Reykjavik and the Southern Coast, we were astonished at the sight of black sand beaches, basalt columns, rushing waterfalls and snow-covered scenery as far as the eye could see.
The black sands and natural column-period rock formations of Reynisfjara Beach were simply otherworldly; a dusting layer of snow and the absence of other people contributed to the ethereal feel of the Icelandic coast.
I was so excited to spend a little time with these adorable Icelandic horses that we encountered along the side of Ring Road. Native to Iceland, the small and hardy breed dates back to Viking Age Scandinavians. No other horses are allowed in the country, and exported horses are never allowed to return, maintaining the purity of this beautiful animal.
Even though there were only four and half hours of daylight each day, driving down the southern coast was a pure winter wonderland. The streets, coated with snow and ice, made for a somewhat daunting but truly unforgettable ride.
Dog sledding at Skálafell was an amazing, once-in-a-lifetime experience. A fresh covering of snow made the trek a bit challenging for the huskies, but they seemed to love every minute, jumping up with excitement and anticipation every time the musher called. My fingertips are (literally) still numb from the five degree chill.
Heading back to the airport, wishing we could extend the trip, we enjoyed views of a less snowy but still beautiful terrain. Thank you for an awesome (but far too brief!) adventure, Iceland. Until next time.
Travel Journal: Miami
If you’re a regular follower of our blog, you know how much we love seeing the cool places where ONA bags go with our awesome customers. Our team also loves globetrotting with our own ONA bags: last week, a few members of the ONA team headed to Miami where ONA was a co-sponsor of the Miami Street Photography Festival and #LeicaArtBasel event.
Most of our time was spent at Trendy Studio in the Wynwood Arts District, the headquarters of the Miami Street Photography Festival. In addition to an incredible gallery of street photography and line-up of notable speakers, Leica Camera sponsored photo walks and photo challenges in the neighborhood. Celebrity photographer Mark Mann was also on hand to take portraits–of men, women, babies and dogs!–with the Leica S-System.
Trendy Studios is located in the heart of the renowned Wynwood Walls street art project. We were able to watch incredibly talented artists at work, whether on large-scale murals on warehouse walls or eye-catching details on sidewalks and lightposts.
Art Basel weekend always draws a cultured, fashionable crowd to Miami: 75,000 artists, collectors, gallerists, curators and art enthusiasts pour into the city to admire a variety of art. We popped into the Pulse Art Fair to see the world’s top contemporary artists.
Of course, we were in Miami–we couldn’t NOT go to the beach! We spent an afternoon in glamorous South Beach amidst the palm trees and classic cars, admiring the Art Deco architecture and indulging in Cuban food and fresh coconuts.
Follow ONA’s adventures in real time on Instagram.
Travel Journal: ONA in Asia
If you’re a regular follower of our blog, you know how much we love seeing the cool places where ONA bags go with our awesome customers. And this month, we’re really excited to see the entries in our #WhereONAGoes Instagram Contest.
Our team also loves globetrotting with our own ONA bags: In July, ONA founder Tracy Foster took a two week trip to Asia with her husband–carrying her Chelsea, of course! While her time in Hong Kong, Beijing and Thailand was half work and half play, Tracy was 100 percent excited to document the experience. Here’s a peek at what she saw as she satisfied her summer wanderlust and joined the jet-set out of Manhattan.
Our first stop was Hong Kong, a city of dramatic contrasts that actually reminded me a lot of New York City. We stayed in Admiralty, and had stunning views of the business district and Victoria Harbour. I loved exploring the city’s open-air markets and visiting the Man Mo Temple. We also headed to Kowloon (best described as “like Brooklyn,” where Hong Kong Island is more “like Manhattan”) to visit its famous Bird and Flower Markets. Dim sum was a must, as was “silk stocking” milk tea.
In Beijing, we had a fantastic meeting with the distributor who represents ONA in China and Hong Kong. They held a lovely event that was attended by Chinese retailers and journalists exclusively for ONA, complete with models who dressed up for photo shoots with the bags. I must say, it was a bit surreal to see such a grand party thrown for ONA all the way across the world! The day after the meeting, we toured Tiananmen Square, the Forbidden City and the Great Wall of China.
And then, for five unforgettable days, we were dazzled by the Yao Nai Islands in Phuket, Thailand. Between the perfect sandy beaches, the turquoise waters, the limestone islands and the delicious fare, it was simply wonderful. When we weren’t motorbiking around the island or exploring Phang Nga Bay by boat, we relaxed on the beach, taking it all in and wishing that our trip didn’t have to end so soon.
Don’t forget to show us where your ONA goes this summer!
The Brooklyn Goes to Brooklyn
Spring has been a bit late-coming to New York this year, but that hasn’t stopped us from daydreaming all winter about sun-drenched courtyards, the burst of blooms across the city, weekends spent exploring the parks and plazas we’ve neglected in favor of galleries and fireplaces. So as soon as sunshine and mild temperatures were forecast for a Saturday, we made plans to explore our current favorite borough: Brooklyn!
Here’s a glimpse into our ultimate spring day in Brooklyn: all while carrying the Brooklyn, of course!
Early morning reflection on the lake at Greenwood Cemetery: the serenity was a refreshing contrast from the frenetic pace of Manhattan.
The Brooklyn Camera Satchel is one of our favorite bags for day-long adventures: no need for a laptop or too much extra gear. It’s perfect for one camera body. one or two extra lenses and a few personal items.
The beautiful ceiling at the Historic Greenwood Chapel: completed in 1911, it was designed by the same architecture firm that constructed Grand Central Station and the Yale Club.
The highest point in Brooklyn is Battle Hill: not only is it an important site from the Battle of Long Island in 1776, it also offers a stunning view of the Manhattan skyline.
Although the moody clouds created an ominous ambiance at Greenwood Cemetery, the skies cleared and sun shone in Prospect Park.
The 585-acre park is home to Brooklyn’s only forest, a 60-acre lake, a zoo, sports fields and plenty of fresh air. Spring also means baseball season: it was great to see the littlest of Little League players learning how to run around the bases.
There’s no better place to witness spring than Brooklyn Botanic Gardens. Founded in 1910, the Garden has more than 10,000 types of plants!
While the gardens weren’t in full bloom yet, there were enough bursts of pink to make us thrilled to be outside.
The ONA New York office is around the corner from classical-columned New York Public Library, and we spend many a sunny lunch hour on its steps. But we were stunned by the beautifully modern facade of the Brooklyn Public Library: it’s without a doubt one of the city’s greatest Art Deco buildings.
With a design inspired by the classic 1940′s school bag, the Brooklyn Camera Satchel fit right into its literary surroundings.
There’s nothing more iconic to Brooklyn than the brownstone: the sandstone facade became popular with the new urban middle class in the early 1800′s as more sophisticated than brick and more durable than wood. A stroll through Park Slope or Carroll Gardens will instantly gave us front stoop envy!
There’s no better way to treat yourself after a long day of exploration than a cup of herbal tea and a few macarons at One Girl Cookies. We especially love the Juliettes!
The Brooklyn: Behind the Name
Even though it’s right across the river, Brooklyn can sometimes seem worlds away from the madness of Manhattan. It’s a diverse mix of neighborhoods, ethnicities, religions, ages and industries: home to the city’s largest populations of Hasidic Jews and Polish immigrants, a growing tech start-up community and the hipster haven of Williamsburg. Although it’s only a few subway stops away from ONA’s New York office, Brooklyn is still one of our favorite “destinations” to relax and recharge. We love to take in a Brooklyn Nets game at Barclays Center, sample the city at Smorgasburg, and soak up the skyline views from the waterfront. And as cliche as it is, walking the Brooklyn Bridge at sunset never fails to make us feel grateful for the opportunity to live in this incredible city.
The Brooklyn Leather Camera Satchel was named when Brooklyn was still just a travel destination, not the borough next door. Luckily, it still inspires us just as much now that we’re locals: it’s one of our favorite places to head on the weekends with our camera, an empty stomach and an open agenda.
We asked Brooklyn-based photographer Andrew Ryan Shepherd (check out his Photographer Profile and the amazing ONA videos he’s produced) to put together a collection of his favorite photos of the borough: unsurprisingly, it’s dominated by blue skies, brownstones and tree-lined streets. In our opinion, those are the best things about Brooklyn.
Special thanks to Andrew Ryan Shepherd for sharing his photos of Brooklyn with us.
The Palma: Behind the Name
It’s been said that inspiration strikes as soon as you stop looking for it. Most of our bags are sparked by the nuances of city life, the streets and neighborhoods and characters that provide endless points of interest for an urban photographer. But sometimes, inspiration flows best when you’re surrounded by open skies and endless stretches of sea.
Palma was the seat of the Mallorca’s monarchy, aristocracy and ecclesiastical hierarchy. Its historical glory days are now evidenced in the churches, convents and palacios with secret courtyards behind arched portals that are sprinkled around the charming casco viejo.
An escape of epic proportions, it’s been the holiday destination of the Spanish royal family for generations. While Palma is home to half of the island’s population, Capdepera (where most of these photos were taken) was the picture of calm.
Featuring a spectacularly rugged coastline, a sky line dominated by the Serra de Tramuntana mountain range and acres of olive groves, the island of Mallorca is an oasis of relaxation. It’s a far cry from the buzzing nightclubs of Ibiza, the other popular Spanish island destination.
An influx of international restaurants has brought plenty of opportunities to indulge in Mallorca: while tiramisu isn’t exactly Spanish fare, this modern interpretation on the Italian classic was absolutely divine. It was the perfect accompaniment to the lovely Cava wine that was made on the island and given to us by some new local friends.
The Palma satchel embodies a more elegant era while functioning as completely modern camera bag: like Palma de Mallorca, it straddles that fine line between classic beauty and refreshing novelty.
The Bowery: Behind the Name
All of our bags are named after places that are close to our heart, and the Bowery is no exception. From the striking New Museum to the gritty Bowery Ballroom, the street is a juxtaposition of old and new, beautiful and brash. From the constantly evolving street art to a skyscraper-less sky, it’s an unpolished gem for photographers to explore in New York City. A look through our lens at the Bowery:
Located at the nexus of Chinatown, Little Italy, SoHo and the Lower East Side, the Bowery is the oldest thoroughfare on Manhattan Island. Early Dutch settlers called it Bouwerij, meaning farm: it originally connected farmlands and estates on the edge of the city.
The Bowery is a stretch of road that’s gone through countless slumps and rebirths: known as New York’s most elegant street in the late 1700s, it was the home of the notorious Bowery Boys in the 1800s and the ultimate Skid Row for most of the 20th century.
Today, it’s a vibrant and eclectic mix of historic architecture and modern high-rises and a diverse range of boutiques and bars.
A powerful presence in the community, the Bowery Mission has served homeless and hungry New Yorkers since 1879.
Street style in the Bowery is a melange of thrift store steals, independent designers and unique finds street-side jewelry stalls–all with a dash of punk rock culture. After all, the CBGB music club–where punk was born and raised–was located at 315 Bowery before it shut its doors in 2006.
The Bowery might not be the trendiest or most exclusive neighborhood in Manhattan, but there’s a spirit and resiliency that shines through in the cracked facades and street graffiti.
The Bowery is full of unexpected greenery and heartfelt details: it’s one of the neighborhoods in New York City where it’s more interesting to look down than it is to look up.
But if you do look up, the Bowery has enough architectural details and human touches to keep it interesting.
Our personal favorite part of the Bowery? The characters.
This is the first in a series where we explore the New York City neighborhoods that inspired the bags: Brooklyn is up next!
Journey to Switzerland | Putting the Camps Bay Backpack to Work
A few weeks ago we spent seven lovely days traveling throughout Switzerland. We began the journey in Geneva and made our way to Zermatt, Bern, Lucerne, and Zurich. We had an amazing time ambling past the postcard-perfect lakes and castles, enjoying gooey fondu, admiring the ancient architecture, and even skiing the Swiss Alps.
Of course I had my camera and ONA bag in tow. As you’ll see in some of the photos below, the Camps Bay accompanied me on the Alps, in a helicopter ride above the Matterhorn, on several train rides… pretty much everywhere during the trip. For those who are curious, it also fit perfectly in overhead compartments and even beneath the seats on the plane rides. I only carried my DSLR and three lenses for this trip, so I had a ton of room in the bag for personal items, which was perfect since I usually prefer traveling light.
Here are a few photos from the trip. Have you traveled with your ONA bag recently? If so, we’d love to profile you and see photos from your travels. Just shoot us an email at customercare (at) onabags.com.
The 25 Best Places to Photograph
Check out the gorgeous photos on Pop Photo’s list of The 25 Best Places to Photograph. If you could travel anywhere in the world to take photos, where would you go? (Photo credit: Alison Wright)