With everyone stuck in the states due to Coronavirus, it was pretty easy to slip into a slump this summer, many mourning the loss of some exciting jaunt to Europe. Marina Larroude however lost no time to sulking, setting her sights instead on a far more grand adventure. The Brazilian born fashion favorite - she was the former VP Fashion Director at Barneys after all! - embarked upon an epic road trip last month that saw her crossing the country twice, racking in over 7,000 miles and hitting all of America's bucket list travel spots along the way.
If you've been following Marina on Instagram, you've no doubt found yourself influenced to hit the road and get exploring. Like, can you believe that these photos aren't from Patagonia or Portugal!? Well, America is clearly far more exotic than any of us realized. And lucky for you we've caught up with the fashion turned travel influencer to hear all about her tips, tricks, and favorites to help guide you on your own whirlwind trip!
Had you ever done a big road trip before?
Not as close to this one, where we crossed country twice around America. A couple of summers ago we drove all over Italy with the kids going from Rome to Puglia and back and had the best time. Growing up, my parents used to travel with us by car everywhere. We did a big trip in Brazil, from Sao Paulo to Bahia and a couple from France to Italy.
What made you and your family decide to jump into such an adventure now?
My husband and I always wanted to do a cross-country trip like this, from NY to LA stopping at the National Parks. With our crazy work lives we could never take two weeks off in a row, if lucky! With the pandemic, things calmed down in both of our lives, kids without summer camp, so we saw it as a great window to do it. To live in the present and stay connected. While being super cautious. We spent lots of time in the trailer or in nature, doing smores with lots of social distancing.
How did you go about the planning process?
One night we looked at each other and said, let' do this? Let's rent an RV and do a cross-country trip? The next day Ricardo (my husband) jumped on planning it and a month later we were on the road! He did a lot of research on RV rental and share companies, APPs for the itinerary (we recommend Roadtrippers) and APPs for campgrounds (we recommend AllStays). Then he watched tons of YouTube Videos about RVs, on how it all works (water, electricity, generator, waste, parking …). By the time we hit the road, he was an expert at it.
So exactly how long were you on the road for?
Our initial plan was to drive from NY to Malibu, 17 days. We had such an epic experience, and were too afraid to take a plane (Covid) back home, that we extended our trip and decided to drive all the way back to NYC! Me and the kids begged him to drive it back (another 3,500 miles) and he agreed on doing it so long as I booked all the RV camps (you don’t want to just show up and some are really incredible). So we did it! It was 33 days in total. We loved every minute of it.
What was your route?
On our way West, we stopped at Pennsylvania (1h from Pittsburgh), Indiana, Peoria (Ricardo was born there, so he wanted to show the house he was born to our kids), Omaha, where he and my son George got a haircut from Warren Buffet’s barber! Colorado, one of our favorite campgrounds, right outside Vail. Moab in Utah, which is spectacular! Lake Powell, the most beautiful place we have ever been in our lives, Grand Canyon, Palm Springs, Joshua Tree and Malibu. Some places we spent more than one night.
We stayed 5 nights at an RV park in Malibu - sea view, so laid back and just incredible. And on our way back we took Route 66 for a change of scenery. First stop was Big Bear Lake, so peaceful, incredible nature. Then Sedona, one of the most magical places ever. We stopped by Meteor Crater! A must! Albuquerque, Santa Fe, I fell in love, we were supposed to stay for 2 nights, but with so much to see and experience, we extended our stay for 4 nights. Cadillac Ranch for a quick stop before sleeping in Amarillo, TX. We visited the Meramec Cavers in Missouri, which is out of this world. We slept in a farm in Luray Virginia, drove by Washington D.C and got back home!!!! The whole thing was magical. I can’t speak highly enough of this country and everything we’ve seen.
Most listened to driving tunes?
We got into a country vibe. Willie Nelson! “On the Road Again.” It became our theme song. Lots of other great American hits as well. We would search for “roadtrip” playlists on Spotify and created one of our own.
What are the top spots you're dying to go back to?
Lake Powell, Moab, Santa Fe, Sedona and Colorado. In that order.
What was the biggest surprise of the whole trip?
That there is so much to see in this country. The US is absolutely gorgeous, and the prettiest spots happen to be within the national parks, so the best way to see them, to have comfort and experience the whole thing, is in an RV. I’m in love and want to do many more roads trips here.
What's the funniest thing that happened?
We did a trail in Moab with Jeep (Shafer Trail, google it!), and it was a pure torture. 30 minutes driving on a tiny curvy road down a huge canyon. It was so scary, the kids and I were crying wishing it would end soon. We were so afraid to fall down the cliff! Now that that’s over, the kids and I laugh so much about it, but I think we are still scared!
Who has the best food?
I love the American Barbecue in Lake Powell (Big John's Texas), that was my favorite meal in the trip. But as far as cuisine goes, nothing beats Santa Fe. Every restaurant you go to is delicious. So many great chefs and restaurants in town.
What was your clothes packing strategy?
I kept it simple! Cut-offs, tees, leggings, few summer dresses and swimsuits! Birkenstocks and sneakers.
How did this trip change the way you see the country?
I saw a beautiful country and fell in love with America. EVERYONE was kind and lovely. Each state looked quite different from one another - from the nature to the cuisine and people. Each one with its own special beauty. From deserts, to lakes, to beaches, to mountains. We can’t wait to explore it further. There is still so much we want to see: Yellowstone, Yosemite, Lake Tahoe, Zion, Kasha-Katuwe ,...
What do you miss most about being on the road?
I miss the trailer life, the unknown, to wake up in nature every morning. We got to sleep inside Monument Valley! To open your curtains and wake up in the desert or mountain and each day to experience something different, it was pretty special.
What are you most excited for next?
I’m working on a couple of projects that I’m excited to share with everyone, including a denim partnership with CQY early this fall. There is a lot to come!
Be sure to check out Marina's Instagram for many more snaps from her RV adventure!