Starting out with one of my favourite quotes, one I base my life on and firmly believe in. When I started Gas & Gander two years ago, I had no idea of what it would become. It's taken me on some of the wildest adventures, had me living a nomad lifestyle, living in several countries around the globe, making unbreakable connections, visiting some of the world's most coveted spots, and interviewing some of the most inspiring and creative minds in all industries. It's given me the freedom to travel, the freedom to write, and to be who I am.
I set several goals when I first started out, some of which were to collaborate with my favourite brands, travel to new cities, meet new people, and continue to grow and mature while documenting my journeys on Gas & Gander. Another goal was to create something that was mine and something I could reflect back on. I hope to inspire others like me to take risks, board that one way ticket to anywhere, take a chance, go beyond your homeland, explore, and reach for the stars.
Determined to make it work, I used every resource I had back then and consider myself very lucky to have had the opportunity to write what I have, and despite not being a qualified journalist or writer, I've written exclusive stories and interviews over the past couple of years.
To celebrate two years, I'd like to share some of my favourite posts and moments with you. It all started back in India two years ago. I had a blog called The Fashion Report which I had been writing on for quite some time, but it was in India that I decided I wanted something bigger and better. It was there, while living on the foothills of the Himalayan mountains in Rishikesh for three months studying yoga & meditation that I started investing in Gas & Gander. I wrote my first real story there, interviewing the CEO of yoga & lifestyle brand Manduka, and also reviewed my first two hotels there; one spa hidden away in paradise that we travelled to by car through an elephant reserve in the middle of the Himalayas, Emma and I laughed the whole trip, enjoying every minute together, wondering what on earth we were doing.
The experience of India was so incredibly special to me and prepared me for the next chapter of my life. It's where I met my best friend and other half, Emma from Halifax, one of the reasons I later moved to Canada. Life tends to take a turn in a different direction when you meet your soulmate.
After three months in India, I packed up and headed on a week long road trip to Florida with my dad. My dad, one of my biggest supporters and one of the only people reading my blog back then. We travelled from Orlando to St Augustine, Jacksonville, Daytona Beach, and back down to Miami where we ended our trip. I covered some great stories there sponsored by the Tourism Board in Miami. We did our first real food review there at Seaspice, a favourite spot of Beyonce and Jay-Z, my dad and I, sipping on overpriced cocktails and devouring an incredible three course meal.
From Miami, I flew to the City of Angels and spent the summer living at a friend's place in West Hollywood. Gas & Gander really started to populate with content and readers when I was living in Los Angeles. I worked with my favourite candy store, Dylan's Candy Bar, I interviewed the King of the Floral industry Eric Buterbaugh, I covered exclusive gallery events for book publisher TASCHEN, I interviewed internationally acclaimed ballet dancer Roberto Bolle before watching his spectacular solo show at the Music Centre in Downtown LA, and I was personally invited into the home of NBA Superfan James Goldstein for a private tour and interview, one that was later published by Paper Magazine.
I visited and reviewed some of my favourite eateries in Los Angeles, and spent evenings hanging out at some of the best spots in West Hollywood, a few favourites being EP&LP on Melrose, Chateau Marmont on Sunset, and Ysabel on Fairfax. Surrounded by the magic of LaLa land, it was an incredible summer.
After my time there, I returned home for some much needed catching up with my family in Northern Ireland before boarding a one-way flight to Toronto with some clothes, my passport, and a two year Canadian working visa. I later returned home to Ireland for a trip to meet my beautiful nephew Theo and catch up with my dog Reilly.
Toronto was filled with incredible food reviews, lots of travel, and an exciting job as a Private PA. I learned so much in that city that I'll never forget, career and life related. I lived with my roommate Andrzej who became a best friend and like a brother to me. Andrzej showed me the city, and I experienced so many 'firsts' with him. I'm grateful for him and my other friends in Toronto for making that city so special to me. I admit at times that it was hard, but isn't that what life is all about? Battling beyond your worries and making things work. I may have complained at times, but it was entirely worth it and I wouldn't change it for the world.
I had the chance to fly to Miami while I was there on a rescue mission, to save two dogs who were stranded on a layover from Mexico to Toronto. It was my job and my mission to board a flight, rescue them and bring them into the loving arms of two families in Toronto. Fat Amy, Juan, and I hung out at my dog-friendly hotel in Brickell for a few days before I flew them into Toronto Pearson and declared them Canadian citizens.
There was also my time in Halifax, spent with my best friend Emma. The best was when I surprised her, she had absolutely no idea I was coming, and the look on her face was priceless. We cried together for such a long time while hugging, cherishing that moment. I reviewed some restaurants, a juice bar, and some great spots while in Halifax.
After some time living in Toronto, I found myself becoming unmotivated to write, uninspired, and giving up on Gas & Gander. I stopped for a while and made no plans to bring it back. Eventually, feeling entirely run down, I made the decision to board a one-way flight to Vancouver, leaving my life in Toronto behind. I took a risk and made it work. Here I am now 8 months on, writing this story from my home in Vancouver.
As soon as I settled in Vancouver, I relaunched Gas & Gander, I was so filled with inspiration. Surrounded by greenery, mountains, fresh air, and nature, it was exactly what I needed. I launched The Drop in October when I moved, a section of the website that features my favourite upcoming sneaker and clothing releases. Writing about brands I admire, hoping that one day I'll have the opportunity to collaborate with them on another level, to bring a part of myself to the market, an idea, a design, and a creation, to share with you all.
I also launched La Société Concierge, a separate website and dedicated concierge service, using my eight years of personal assisting to fulfill the most outlandish requests from people around the globe. Launching soon is a new section of the site called 'Curated Essentials', which you can expect to see later this year, so stay tuned.
As the year moves on and the summer begins, I'm happy to reflect back on these two years and say that they've been some of the best in my life. I'm really happy that I have this outlet to share these stories with you, whoever and wherever you are. I hope that you'll continue to follow me on my journey.
Thank you for continuing to support me. The pictures, the memories, the articles, the laughs, the cries, and the excitement. All these emotions I've experienced, I have shared with you. As this post comes to a close I'd like to thank my biggest supporters, my family, who tune in every week and inspire and motivate me to continue to do what I'm doing. Thank you to all the brands who have supported me from the beginning, and to the new brands that I'm working with. I look forward to the future, and continuing to share my dreams with you.
COME FLY WITH ME
Some stories have been republished from my previous blog
FOUR SEASONS | DYLAN'S CANDY BAR | BEST HANGOUTS | BEST EATERIES | TASCHEN | SHEATS GOLDSTEIN RESIDENCE | FAIRFAX | WARNER BROS | SUPREME | CAKEMIX | TIM HAILAND | ERIC BUTERBAUGH | PHOEBE DAHL
NIAGARA FALLS | FRESH | BOXED WATER | SAVE OUR SCRUFF
SHANGRI LA | DEEP COVE | PHILIPS | MUSE | THE NUE CO | PEACE COLLECTIVE | SUNNYSIDE | FOSSIL | ROOTS | NIKE | CONVERSE | ARC'TERYX
HYATT | AALIA RESORT | MANDUKA | BRENDA SHANKEY
ADIDAS | KITH | NIKE | SUPREME | VANS | CONVERSE | HAVEN | UNION