The Pack: Sian Gordon
The Love Yoga co-founder on the travel item that's been "revolutionary."
The Traveler: Sian Gordon, co-founder of Love Yoga
Base: Venice Beach, CA
Destination: San Juan del Sur, Nicaragua
Love Yoga’s been doing four retreats a year, and it’s all based off of where Kyle [Miller, Love Yoga’s co-founder] and I want to travel. I have a long list of places that I want to go to, and we’re basically going down the list. We went to Puglia last summer—that was pretty amazing. And a few weeks before that we went to Ireland; it was our second time there, but it was still really, really magical. Even the second time it felt like, wow, I can’t believe this place exists.
Traveling [with a significant other] is a good opportunity to grow, because you’re like, oh, I want to murder this person.
And then my fiancé and I just went to Argentina and Chile and that was awesome. Traveling [with a significant other] is a good opportunity to grow, because you’re like, oh, I want to murder this person. Why do I feel that way? Why am I being controlling or uptight?
I don’t care how I look [on a retreat]—and that’s not a personality thing, because I care a lot about how I look at home. But it’s just not like that. It’s not the vibe there. Nobody cares; everyone’s just relaxed and letting go of that part of life. It’s great.
I’m a freak so for a week-long retreat I’ll probably bring a [different workout outfit] for every day, but you could totally get away with five. I’ll wear little Outdoor Voices shorts and a bra, or something from Live the Process—they make great little onesies. People bring long, black leggings on retreat and I’m like, what are you doing? You’re insane. It’s so hot. I can’t do yoga in that.
I pack bathing suits—all one-pieces, which are nice because you don’t have to wear an ugly rash guard when you surf but you also don’t get that rash. I like Marysia, Nu Swim, and Solid & Striped—although my friend Kumi, who sometimes teaches our retreats, swears by Billabong suits. She says that your suits get so trashed when you surf that you want to have bikinis you don’t care about, and their stuff is cute. And then I bring a sarong and a sundress or two. I love Christy Dawn, a local designer—she makes the best sundresses.
People bring long, black leggings on retreat and I’m like, what are you doing? You’re insane. It’s so hot.
This is hideous but for me it’s an essential item: a hat leash for surfing, so you don’t lose your hat and you can protect your skin. I love The Honest Co. sunscreen for surfing—it looks horrible and gives you white face, but when you’re 37 you don’t care anymore.
I can’t leave without my Isun after-sun mask and Nucifera’s balm, which I use for everything. I sleep in the mask at night, because you can leave it on. And then I put a lot of the Isle of Roses oil in my hair, which is actually straw that acts as hair. The two products I use every day on my face are from Earth Tu Face and Odacite—they’re great for this retreat because they’re so nourishing for the skin.
I always bring one of those really skinny Manduka travel mats with me no matter where I go, retreat or not, because I just feel disgusting in my body if I don’t do yoga every day—especially when I’m traveling. You can’t stretch on a bathroom towel or carpet, it just doesn’t work. I am the freak at the back of the plane doing yoga in the aisle. It just feels so good to make your legs move and get a little bit of blood into them. You can do lunges or warrior at the back of the plane, or you can be really secretive about it and do a down dog on the wall, with your arms up, or a figure four at your seat.
My airplane outfit is sweatpants. I won’t wear anything else. And then a baggy T-shirt and a massive sweater and scarf. I don’t want to feel clothing on my body when I travel; I want to feel like I’m floating in soft clothing. If I’m traveling to a hot place I’ll wear sandals with cashmere socks for the plane, and then take the socks off when I get there. That way you’re not taking off your boots or, like, Uggs when you arrive at a tropical location.
I always have my Mother Dirt face spray and a nasal spray—that’s not a very sexy thing to talk about, but I think blowing salt water up your nose is the key to health and vitality [laughs]. You get so dry and I feel like there are so many germs on the plane. And I don’t go anywhere without an eye mask, ever. I’ve heard it’s really bad for you to have any light in your eyes while you sleep, and I believe it, so now I can’t sleep when there’s the tiniest light on. This one from Bucky is amazing because it’s raised, so it doesn’t press into your eyes, which is so uncomfortable to me. It’s revolutionary.
Blowing salt water up your nose is the key to health and vitality.
I like to eat like a pig on a plane. I feel like if I’m not eating on the plane, something isn’t right. Even if I’m not hungry, I have to eat the entire flight. So I’ll go to Erewhon on my way to the airport, always, to get my own snacks. I’ll get a weird salad nicoise, fruit, and potato chips…just so I have the nicest potato chips and I don’t have to buy them at the airport.
Love Yoga’s yoga is pretty different—it’s based on Chinese medicine and Taoism and we really emphasize a practice that you can do every day for the rest of your life—so the yoga you’re getting on one of our retreats is going to be different from any other yoga you’d be doing. And then there are two extremes of retreats: There are yoga retreats trying to market to people going on retreat to party and drink, essentially, and then do yoga hungover. And then there are yoga retreats where you can’t talk and the food is terrible and you’re supposed to act like a monk or a nun for the whole week. And we really try to be the middle ground.
The yoga you’re getting on one of our retreats is going to be different from any other yoga you’d be doing.
The first retreat we went to Ireland was the best retreat I’ve ever had. My mom came and a bunch of our friends were there and it was just…the best thing ever. We were on the west coast at this place called the Cliffs of Moher, and I’d never seen anything like that place before. It was like a made-up fairy land that’s actually real. We would go back every year if we could, but there’s not quite enough time.
Right now I want to go to Sri Lanka, Sardinia, Greece, Byron Bay, and New Zealand. And I want to go to Austria and rent a castle or something weird like that—I don’t know how to make it happen quite yet, but that’s my vision: a castle covered in snow.
—as told to The Glassy