When you bring together two full-time travel writers, story telling and adventure swapping tales at their best quickly ensue. On Ramona Flume’s, who contributes travel stories for a mix of publications like New York Daily News and the Dallas Morning News, first international assignment, she traveled alone through the Colombian Amazon by motorcycle, by foot on grueling jungle hikes and on 24-hour boat rides. She remembers: “We would stop alongside river banks to refuel, and villagers would run aboard selling plastic bags full of fruit juice along with their squirming baby alligators that they would let loose on the floor to ‘show them off’ as pets!'” Jordan Breal, an associate editor for Texas Monthly who pens a travel column for the magazine called The Wanderer, shares one of her best travel memories: “Being serenaded as my friends and I rowed across the Rio Grande to get to Boquillas, Mexico.” Or, there was the time Ramona got to live out all her Lost in Translation fantasies on three different assignments in Tokyo and Western Japan — “I could travel through Japan for years and never get completely accustomed to its signature brand of freakiness,” she says. We could listen to these two smart, stylish gals chat about their dreamy jobs for hours, so in between gab sessions at Big Red Sun, we asked each of them to show us how they would wear J. Crew’s boyfriend fatigue jacket for this month’s installment of Double Take.
photography by wynn myers
Jordan Breal, the travel columnist and associate editor for Texas Monthly, paired her J. Crew boyfriend fatigue jacket with a leopard print dress from Forever 21, Birkenstock Gizeh sandals, a gold men’s watch and a $15 pair of sunglasses she picked up along the way of her travels.
“I’ve always loved reading stories that evoke a clear sense of place,” Jordan says. “When I started working at Texas Monthly in 2005, I would daydream about driving around the state in search of small-town cafes and hidden antiques shops and cool boutique hotels, so I’ve gravitated toward stories that let me do just that.”
Jordan logs in a lot of miles by foot on her travels throughout Texas. Birks are a go-to footwear in the summer, and she opts for cowboy boots or a trusty black pair of Supergas in the cooler months.
Jordan, who’s current list of dream destinations includes Bali, Buenos Aires and Japan, calls herself more of a car-sitter than a jet-setter since she mostly drives around Texas on assignment. The biggest challenge of her job? “Texas isn’t a small state, so there’s a lot of ground to cover! My wanderlist grows longer every day.”
Her travel wardrobe consists of easy dresses in wrinkle-free fabrics, layered with a cardigan or wrap and a good pair of slim black pants that have a little stretch and will keep their shape even after sitting for long stretches.
Ramona’s take on the jacket: her favorite pair of Topshop pants, a comfy blue tank from the GAP, a gold cuff she found in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico, an onyx ring from her mother and an old school Casio watch. She got into the world of travel writing when she won a fellowship from the University of Texas to spend a month researching the indigenous communities of the Colombian Amazon. She says: “I fell in love with the people and the strange sensation of being on the road without a final destination…and I started to feel like I could spend the rest of my life bouncing from story to story.”
Ramona never leaves home without her trusty frost green Fjallraven Kanken backpack that she takes on almost every assignment. “After a few hours in flight, with or without eating Cinnabon or Chili’s To Go, an expandable waistline is pretty crucial, whether it’s a floor-length skirt or cropped pants…that along with layers, pockets and NO cologne/perfume,” she says. “When one person suffers on a plane — we all suffer.”
She recently returned from an assignment that took her to a private island in Fiji (swoon!). It may seem like Ramona has been everywhere, but even she has places on her must-visit list: Belarus, Thailand and Berlin.
Although she never stocks her fridge with fresh food or has the time to keep up any semblance of a normal exercise routine, she wouldn’t trade her job for the world. “The best part about my work is the people I get to meet every day and the stories they impart,” she says. “I’m constantly learning new things and sparking new, bizarrely spontaneous kinships with people from all walks of life.”
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