I’m going to the factory next week. It's the same process every time; I try to avoid flying with the worst budget airline in the history of modern aviation, fail and off I go for my flight at 4am. I hit the factory as soon as I arrive.
I spend most of the day ready to pass out from drinking too much coffee and not eating enough. The factory is in a small village and I always forget snacks if I’m not accompanying a five year old. By 9pm I’m back at the hotel where I dream of catching up on Married at First Sight but crash out before I fire up my laptop.
Anyone who travels for business knows it’s not as luxurious as it sounds. Beyond the drudgery of getting there though, I love the trip itself. Walking round the tanneries, eyeing up beautiful, rich coloured leather. Smooth suede I run my hands over one way, and back the other way, naughtily tracing letters in it and smoothing them away. I let out a ‘wow’ when they throw a roll of leopard print over the counter and spend time placing swatches of other colours on top of it to find our perfect future Sloafers. For our UK readers of a certain age, it always makes me think fondly of Eastender’s Pat Butcher. IYKYK.
Time is always critical - we never have long enough. I’m going for three days this time and know I’ll still be running around cramming in a last conversation. Last trip, I called an order of metal aglets out of the passenger window to the supplier in his car, in a lay-by on the road to Porto airport.
I don’t have time to waste at the carousel either, waiting for a large bag full of things I don’t need. I can’t take much onto the flight by way of hand luggage. I’m super mean about packing anything unnecessary. Squeezing 100ml of my face wash and moisturiser into a pot. Taking a tiny child sized tube of toothpaste with me. I can't get slowed down having to tip half my hand luggage in the bin at security.
My travel outfits are super lean - the perfect travel outfit/s for three days is as little as possible and can be crammed in a handbag. Just make sure everything works together.
So what do I pack?
A pair of skinny jeans, three different coloured tops that each go with the light bomber jacket I throw in, so I look visibly different from the day before. Nothing quite as embarrassing as feeling like you have to tell people that it’s a different white t-shirt and yes, you do wash.
Also throw in a thin base layer; it's often saved me on a deceptively cold morning and the bomber means you can't see the two arm length thing going on.
Wherever you are, you never use as much as you think, and if you don't wear it at home, definitely don't pack it for a trip! You’re always going to hate having to pin a dress to stay in place or having to wear nude underwear with a python like grip around your ribs. Also, few destinations have four seasons and seven freak weather events in one day.
It’s hard to pack light when you pack for kids who constantly miss their mouth at dinner. That’s why it’s even more important to get your travel bag nailed if you’re not travelling solo. Even if you’re covering lots of eventualities, one of everything does the trick.
While I’d usually throw on the same pair of Sloafers for a city break, for a factory trip it’s a little different. I afford my Sloafers the biggest amount of space in my bag, with room available due to my minimal packing. I take two or three pairs; my feet are a walking advertisement for my company and if there’s room to make for anything, the ballerinas have to take the lead. I’m always pointing to my feet - to show a supplier the kind of metal piece I am looking for, to highlight the comfort and flexibility of our sole when we need a new sole supplier.
At the end of a long day around the tanneries and factory, it’s usually time for dinner and although it’s warmer than London, there’s still a chill in the air. On goes the same sweater for all three days which goes with my light bomber, and then a quick dash to the restaurant - inside - to warm up. I have a “shove in a tiny bag”, slim puffa. It isn’t my usual style but it’s warm if I need it. I go with it and channel "Italian lady on a city break" vibe; I’ve never seen anyone more chic.
Do I get sick of the same pair of jeans? Not really, and they’re remarkably clean and untouched without sticky children’s hands all over me. But I often opt for a dark pair just in case! Whatever I’m wearing around the factory, I’m always comfy by the end of the day. Whatever you're doing, wherever you're going, you deserve that comfort too.
Give us a try at www.sloafer.com. From a UK 2.5 to a UK 11, we have an inclusive range of shoes you will love.