If you’ve been following along for the past few months, you know by now that 2017 has been the year for travel here on Lauren Elyce. I’ve had the opportunity to explore and experience new countries, new cities and new cultures – and I’ve loved every minute of it. But, if I’m being 100% candid, I think my favorite trip to date was Cuba. It’s so hard to put into words how much I loved it. I mean – I’ve never ever been to a place quite like Havana and I think it was that sense of adventure that really stuck with me.
There was so much I fell in love with on our trip and I seriously can’t wait to start planning my next trip. I’ve gone back and forth on whether or not I want to do a full travel guide to Cuba so until I make up my mind, I thought it might be more helpful (or at least offer up some #travelinspo) to share some of my favorite magical moments. Let’s do it!
I’m not going to lie – I was terrified that everyone in Cuba would hate Americans. When we got there, it could not have been any further from the truth. Or at least everyone was faking it because the people were SO friendly. It was one of the things that stood out immediately. Warm hellos, smiles on their faces, so accommodating and so helpful. Everyone we met tried to make our experience that much better. We stumbled across so many random situations and met so many amazing people (everyone from the doorman to the taxi drivers to the lady at the fruit cart). For this reason alone I just can’t wait to get back to Havana.
The second thing I noticed almost immediately was how diverse the Cuban people are. This was probably due to my lack of knowledge about the country or culture but I am so glad I got witness the diversity first hand. We saw everything from light skin with blonde hair to chocolate brown complexions with dark eyes. Everyone was so beautiful and unique and it was really eyeopening for me. Aside from the fact that everyone looked different, we heard time and time again that that don’t really experience racism or prejudice. I was blown away. Not to get into too heavy of a topic here – but it was something truly amazing to experience. People of all shades, backgrounds, jobs, etc. didn’t treat someone of a different shade, background, job, etc. any differently. They were all one because they have all been through a major ordeal together and they’ve focused more on unity. I have no idea if we lucked out and were just surrounded by the best people ever or if this is something that’s uniform across the country . but it was amazing to me and something a few folks here in the states can learn from.
THE CARS #LEDUH
This one if pretty self explanatory. The cars were amazing. It just doesn’t get much better than a pastel pink classic Chevrolet convertible. There were so many colors and styles and it amazed me how beautiful they were in person. You really felt like you jumped back in time and I loved every minute of it. I also really enjoyed seeing how passionate and excited the drivers were. I mean sure, they were trying to get us to pay them for a ride (which we did…several times) but you could just tell how much the cars meant to them. One important thing to note that I did not love – the diesel and the air. Prepare yourself for clogged pores and the smell of gasoline because it was everywhere in the air. And as cute as the pictures look in the back of a convertible – my face and hair were not happy with me when I got home.
THE STYLE INSPIRATION
This 100% goes hand in hand with the culture. Not only is Havana still stuck in time but just the general sense of community & culture you get when you’re over there – it’s enough to inspire my entire wardrobe. Bright colors, bold textures, pastel details, tropical fruits, historic architecture…I want it all in the form of adorable maxi dresses and cool kicks. Take this polka dot stunner from Fame and Partners. I would never wear this frolicking around Atlanta. Okay – maybe I would. But seriously, it felt like the perfect over the top situation to inspire a day of exploring Havana. The frills are too fun. The polka dot print is playful. The pastel pink earrings were obviously inspired by all of the pink around Havana – it was by far the color I saw most in all shades. So pretty. And this hat (that I stole from Alex because #swoon) is inspired by all of the handmade straw goods around the city. I also love the pop of color and embroidered details. It all just works.