In this installment of “What’s Your Power Suit?” travel writer, Lavanya Sunkara, shares what to wear on long flights, especially if you have something important to say.
PS: Tell us about yourself and your work.
LS: My love of animals and adventure has taken me all around the globe, from islands of the Galapagos, to the wilds of Australia; I am a writer, animal lover, and traveler, who loves flying to faraway destinations as much as volunteering at a local shelter, and writing about issues that I care about.
In the past decade, I camped in Serengeti, spotted the critically endangered black rhino, cared for orphaned wallabies in Queensland, and volunteered with Earthwatch in Costa Rica to safeguard whales and dolphins in Osa Peninsula.
I live in New York where I have a corporate day job, but enjoy spending time outdoors with my adopted dog on weekends. I am passionate about finding ways to make the world a better place, either by reporting on causes close to my heart or donating/volunteering to local rescue groups. I recently became a homeowner and I learned that I love decorating, and cooking vegan meals, which I share on my instagram page @spicy__vegan.
I share my stories and published articles on www.nature-traveler.com in the hopes of getting others to embark on similar journeys.
PS: Do you have an outfit, item of clothing, or accessory (past or present), that holds some superpower for you when it comes to travel?
LS: As a frequent traveler, I spend a lot of time in airports and on planes, where I encounter a lot of people. Early on, I realized that this could be a great platform to share my views and spread the word about my favorite animal rescue organizations. The more people who see me, the more likely those places get attention. So, I wear comfy t-shirts bearing the logos of organizations I care deeply about.
My go-to shirts when flying are from the Woodstock Farm Animal Sanctuary in Upstate, New York, which is home to 300 rescued animals. I love being a walking billboard for farm animals.
I am proud of my values and my affiliations, and wearing an outfit with a message makes me feel empowered, knowing that I am always doing something, albeit on a small scale, to affect change. I hope that on some level people are are being exposed to something they don’t normally see, and that’s all I can hope for, especially as a writer who always tries to spread the word.
Of course, it’d be great if people seemed as happy to see those shirts as they did when I wore my “Team Hillary” shirt, but I believe that day will come.
PS: What do your favorite cause-based T-shirts have in common?
LS: The shirts are super comfortable, as they are 100% cotton, and have cool slogans like “Eat Beans, Not Beings,” and “Friend Not Food”. These are eye-catching and make folks think about the choices they make. At least I hope they do!
PS: Where did you get your Woodstock Farm Animal Sanctuary Shirts?
LS: I go to the Woodstock Farm Animal Sanctuary at least once a year. I usually get some friends together, and we drive up to the Sanctuary to meet with the lovely pigs, cows, sheep, chickens, and goats that call it home.
PS: Why is visiting in person important to you?
LS: Visiting the Sanctuary is a wonderful experience and everyone comes away feeling good to have spent time with such thoughtful, sentient beings. It has become a ritual to purchase t-shirts at their onsite store every year. The proceeds benefit the rescue and I get to wear cool shirts.
PS: What do you pair your t-shirts with on long flights?
LS: My go to outfit for what to wear on long flights is a t-shirt from WFAS or other animal organizations such as Proud Spirit Horse Sanctuary or Best Friends Animal Society, combined with comfortable pants and a cardigan (for when it gets cold on the plane).
PS: Did this cause-based approach inform your overall sense of style and dressing for travel?
LS: Absolutely. Most of the shirts I wear outside of my office involve some sort of a message. It seems a big chunk of the money I spend on clothing goes towards animal organizations, but that’s another way of giving back. They get money and I get great apparel. It’s a win, win!
PS: Do you have any other rules for what to wear on long flights, travel, or packing that you’d like to share?
LS: The best advice I can offer is to always pack light. I traveled through East Africa and Australia with just one backpack. Traveling light allows one to be independant and hassle free when getting on busses, trains and cabs.
My must-haves are always:
- a pair of jeans
- hiking pants
- a cardigan
- plenty of dresses
- and definitely a hat or two, another opportunity to showcase my beliefs.
I offer ten of my tested fashion tips here on my blog post, “Ten Travel Fashion Tips”.
You can see Woodstock Farm Animal Sanctuary’s latest apparel here: https://woodstock-sanctuary.myshopify.com/collections/adults
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