Kelsey is the talented woman behind Founded in Beauty a values driven creative content studio. Partially based in Calgary, AB. she spends the other half of her time traveling the world to create beautiful imagery for the brands she works with.
I would describe Kelsey as a part-time digital nomad, which made this dear friend of mine the perfect candidate to answer my selfish travel questions. ;) After such a long travel pause, I seem to have forgotten all the tips & tricks to do so smartly. So read on to discover more about what Kelsey does, her essential travel tips, and everything about her most recent trip to Italy.
First things first, how do you introduce yourself when meeting new people while traveling?
Hi, I’m Kelsey Schiavon! I work for myself in the digital marketing space, so consulting, social media, branding, content creation - a little bit of everything - and focus mainly on small(ish), sustainable, women-led brands.
Reflecting on your most recent trip to Italy, what have been the highlights?
Salve (where we shot some of the Harly Jae collection) was such a unique experience. Rather than the glitz of the Amalfi coast, the small town (population of 4600!) is dotted with Italian vacation homes. Dating back to the Bronze Age, Salve was so quiet and peaceful and seemed like a truly authentic Italian summer experience. The landscape of stone ruins, Mediterranean scrub, prickly pear and olive trees was so unique.
I didn’t hear a word of English at the local grocer, so practiced my Italian to order olives and meats from the deli. We ate peaches and nectarines with fresh ricotta cheese drenched in local olive oil as we looked out over the sea and I felt so, so lucky to be there.
Aside from that, Matera was breathtaking, and the week I spent in Florence by myself after my partner left was so special. Think amazing wine, truffle pasta, museums filled with the greats, and solo day trips to Milan. But really, the entire trip was a highlight.
How do you balance work while travelling? Any tips for having a productive work time while you’re not in your usual workspace?
If we’re away for a longer period of time I wake up quite early and work for 4-5 hours before we start our day, and then I’ll usually work for another 2-3 hours in the evening after dinner. I mix that schedule in with uninterrupted workdays a few times a week as necessary based on what’s happening with clients. With Italy, we were away for a shorter period of time, so I did a lot of prep to make sure I was ready to go. I knew we were going to be shooting quite a bit, and I had never visited Italy before! I know.
I always make sure there is a dedicated work space (desk/outdoor work area etc) if we’re staying somewhere longer than 2 nights, and research the wifi situation as best I can. Nothing quite as unproductive as poor internet connection, so I generally get a local SIM card so I can tether as a backup solution.
Take us on the journey to creating content for brands while travelling.
It starts with a concept. A vibe that reveals itself based on the pieces we’ll be shooting, and the area we’ll be working in. I moodboard and shot list every client, to make sure we get what we need, while still leaving space for random, in the moment inspiration. A lot of it is unglamourous - lugging suitcases around, steaming clothes, sweating through a shoot in 37 degree weather and then running into the AC to reset… but it’s so fun and creatively fulfilling and have I said how lucky and grateful we are yet? Haha :)
We do try to travel and create quite consciously as I understand what it means to have Instagrammers (me!) infiltrate some of the most special places on earth in the name of content… We’re thoughtful about how and when we create, and try to protect the places we visit as best we can.
Any tips on how to stick to your rituals while being away from home? Or perhaps, ways to adapt them?
I’m a spontaneous person but very ritualistic at the same time. So while I don’t bring a lot on the road anymore (supplements, etc.) because we are always tight on space, I craft little rituals that make me feel at home, abroad.
Taking a walk outside to get sunshine and fresh air first thing, making a cup of coffee, maybe an online pilates class when I need a little something extra, definitely my skincare routine. These are all things I do at home, and find so comforting while away.
3 essentials you can’t travel without
My phone, my Penny Frances A Mi Lado Lip Balm (I brought 3 with me on this trip, just to play it safe) and footwear (usually Loq) that can take the beating of 20,000+ steps/day while exploring new places!
Any secrets to finding beautiful and unique places to stay? ;)
Hmmm I spend a ton of time poking around AirBnB and Instagram! I also love Architectural Digest and Design Hotels for luxe picks. I always check out the new listings on booking.com - that’s how I came across Hotel Terrestre earlier this year, which we visited only a week or two after opening. There were hardly any images available online but I knew it was going to be something special.
How do you best deal with jetlag?
I don’t know! For transatlantic trips, I sleep on the way there, stay awake on the way home, and start thinking in local time as soon as I arrive (forget about what time it is at home)... But really, I’m always so excited to arrive at a new destination that I just put it out of my head as best I can and get on with it!
If you had to pick just one harly jae piece to travel with, which would it be and why?
That’s hard… Previously, I would have said the Kea Skirt - you can pair it with literally anything to look super pulled together and sophisticated, while staying so comfortable. Great for the plane or long travel days. But I will say that Italy in August demanded the Cruz Shorts. Honourable mention to the House Blouse because it’s so easy to throw on over basically anything..
Where is the next place on your travel list?
Paris, and I’m here as you’re reading this! Then I head to Barcelona for 4 days before arriving home next week. Aside from that, I can’t wait to get back to Mexico next year. Often overlooked, the country and unbelievable people that inhabit it have my heart.