The Inspiration for Saintly Bags
The extremely rewarding journey in creating Saintly was unforeseen, and it was borne out of a trip to Southeast Asia. In October of 2012, I had decided on a new opportunity by switching firms. In the finance world, this often involves a ‘garden leave’, which required me to not work in the industry for 30 days. While there were numerous question marks surrounding my resignation and what I would do, there was one certainty: I wanted to maximize those 30 days and travel as much as I could. My 11+ years of finance had seen nothing but weekend vacations and the rare week-long trip…but never had I taken a 2-week trip or anything longer, as the rest of the world does.
Lean on Your Fellow Traveler
I hadn’t even received my offer letter, but there was less than a week left to what I thought my departure date would be. My first call was to my sister Susan who is an immensely well-traveled explorer…and also just ‘gets it’ when it comes to trips and planning. We have very different travel styles but I knew she had all the right answers to my wayward questions. My first thoughts were to go to China, Japan, Europe, or a few other places. What I was looking for was a region that truly required a month to see, and couldn’t be broken up into a combination of 1 or 2 week trips down the line.
Maximize Your Opportunity
We researched non-stop and both came to the conclusion that Southeast Asia had everything I needed. I could see numerous countries on a limited budget, explore the sites of ancient civilizations, learn about both ancient and modern history, and enjoy hanging with the locals and enjoy the nightlife too. My travel ego almost got in the way: I wanted to backpack and do everything myself, but only with 2 days left at this point. While not a ‘tour traveler’ herself, Susan saved me by convincing me otherwise. I had 2 days left to plan 30 days of lodging, buses, trains, planes, and what to explore. There were various levels of tours, some more intensely planned and some that allowed for more wanderlust, and I could find one in the middle that suited me. We explored every lengthy trip that was offered by G Adventures, Contiki, and Intrepid Travel. In the end, we found the perfect travel: Intrepid Travel’s Great Indochina Loop.
T minus 2 days (Thursday) and nothing was booked yet. That Thursday afternoon, I booked my flights on United before I even booked my tour (they had held it for me)…but I learned a nice travel tip first: The maximum allowable stopover in a city is up to 24 hours. As I was booking my flight from JFK New York to Bangkok, Thailand, I asked for the longest stop in Tokyo. BOOM…they had a 23 hour stopover and I booked it. With my flights taken care of, I booked the Indochina Loop and I was ready to go. I had about 24 hours left (Friday) to get my travel shots, do some travel shopping, pack, get home taken care of and get on a plane. That was all successful, but before I could take off I had one more item on my plate: The Catholic Big Brothers and Big Sisters’ October Ball was that Friday night, and I had a 5am flight the next morning. Perfect. As always, this was one of the best events of the charity ball season and we found our way to the after-party. I had charged 3 friends with the task of making sure I left on time, and they made sure I did. After a quick cab ride home to get out of my suit and grab my bags, I was off to JFK and Asia!
On to the next one…
Follow Our Story
Over the next few weeks, we’ll unfold the history behind this legendary journey and you’ll see how it inspired the birth of Saintly Bags. As we release a post for each city, we’ll continue the visual story on our Instagram. Please follow us on IG as well as Facebook and Twitter. We look forward to our new journey of interacting with you on your travels as well.