The Savvy Traveler :: Marissa

[trip style = active & adventure + wine tasting + beach]

Marissa is a loyal student of any task she takes on---be it fashion design, tai chi, triathlons or travel. After a recent e-introduction to this 29-year-old traveler, I was impressed by her energy, drive and the personal challenge she set to visit 30 countries by the time she's 30. A serious athlete her whole life, she doesn't let jetsetting slow down her pace, in fact, the local forms of working out she picks up along the way only add to her active lifestyle and fuel ideas for her business. Nine to five she's a fashion designer who studied in Italy and at the Parsons School of Design in NYC, and has since founded her own line of activewear. Now at the helm of BORELLI Design she creates apparel inspired by her life on the go. Meet April's Savvy Traveler, Marissa, and find her online on Twitter and Facebook!

1/ Your top 3 trip styles and why?
[trip style = active & adventure] I have trouble relaxing, even when I’m on vacation. The best places I’ve visited so far for fitness and adventure are New Zealand; Moab, Utah; Vietnam {hiking the rice patties in the hilltop village of Sapa is a killer workout} and Lake Tahoe, California.

[trip style = wine tasting] I never pass up a wine tasting trip. In Napa we stop by two to three wineries post spa at the Fairmont Sonoma Mission Inn or Indian Springs Resort.

[trip style = beach] Out of the 29 countries I’ve visited, so far 23 have involved a day or week at the beach. Anguilla and Captiva Island {off of Florida} have the softest sand I’ve ever felt. My mind is clearer and more creative when I’m near the water. I run or walk along the beach daily in San Diego.

2/ How do you stay in shape while traveling?
I stretch while waiting to board my flight or do squats in the hallways. My favorite way to see a new place is to explore on a run or a hike. I see getting lost in a destination as a good thing, and often find local gems off the beaten path. I refuse to go to the gym while traveling. Instead I try out the local workouts, for example, in India I took a yoga class and attended Laughing Club {works all the muscles in your belly while teaching you why Indian people are so happy}.

3/ What is the ONE THING, you won't travel without?
A Borelli scarf. It's the most versatile accessory I own. On the plane I use it as a scarf or a blanket---airline blankets are useless and scratchy. If I'm at the beach, its built-in SPF 20 provides sun protection. Post hike or waterfall jump I throw it on as a skirt or dress and it dries in minutes! While I'm away, I wash it in my hotel room's shower or sink and lay it out to dry. The more you wash it the softer it becomes!

4/ Last trip, next trip & what destination{s} are on your radar?
Last trip: Cabo San Lucas. We stayed at the Villa La Estancia for a week. I took the SUP (stand up paddle board) out daily and we celebrated my 29th birthday dancing on a boat at sunset.

Next Trip: Belize. Four days in a resort, three days at a yoga retreat. I will be researching textiles for Spring/Summer 2013 and attempting to relax.

On my radar: Completing the 30 by 30 challenge in Iceland. I’m excited to hike a glacier and volcano in the same day.

5/ Either/or...
Beach or pool? Beach, no question. The perfect combination would be a hot tub in the sand after a swim or wakeboarding session.

Mojito or margarita? Mojito. We grow our own mint because we like as much and mint and lime as the tongue can handle, with just a pinch of sugar.

Big or boutique hotel? Boutique. The smaller the better. In Mykonos we were the only people at the hotel and were invited to dine with the owners! It felt like our own home.

Walk or cab? I rarely take cabs, even when I lived in NYC.

Checked bag or carry-on? A bright red Swiss Army carry-on I picked up in London. I spent five weeks in New Zealand, Australia and India with only a carry-on!

More Savvy Travelers
Jason, Living To Travel
Shaun, Packing Like A Rock Star
Christina, Taking Care Of Biz

{If you know anyone who should be featured in our once-monthly The Savvy Traveler series, drop us a line!}

[photo c/o marissa]