Gia Bahm’s 4 Rules of the Road (Trip)

Good music is obviously required.

When Unearthen’s Gia Bahm wants a brief escape from her recently adopted Los Angeles home, she takes to the open road. “I love driving, particularly when I don’t know what I’m going to find. The whole process feels incredibly inspiring and even kind of soothing to me,” says the designer, who messes with precious metals and perfectly imperfect crystals to create her jewelry. Here, her four tried-and-true, get-outta-town tips so you can follow in her tire tracks. mattie kahn

“This is a snapshot from the seven-hour drive from L.A. to Arizona, where I was headed for the Tucson Gem and Mineral Show. You can find literally anything there, from the largest piece of rose quartz in the world to the most flawless diamond.”

Trust your instincts: “The fewer rules you make for yourself, the better. Leave yourself time to follow that cool-looking sign or take the next exit just because you feel like it. I’ve never regretted a detour to a teeny thrift shop or antique store. That’s where I’ve found the real gems.”

“This photo was taken in New Jersey at an old-school strip mall. There’s this really special antiques place that I go to out there. It’s one of my favorite spots, but it’s so top-secret that I can’t tell you where exactly it is.”

Do research: “I have a rule that I refuse to eat McDonald’s while I’m on the road. Because of technology, it’s so easy to just look up the nearest grocery store or find a really special, unexpected restaurant. And since a huge part of these trips for me is about being in nature, I always check out before I go. The site keeps track of all the hot springs and rivers and watering holes in the country, which are really great places to explore.” 

“This is a picture of Mammoth, California, and the whole area is actually this breathtaking. About a half-hour away from where this photo was taken, there is a string of campgrounds. Each one has its own huge, cedar tub that pipes water in from neighboring hot springs.”

Make a great playlist: “Music is essential! I’m always hesitant to recommend songs, but lately I’ve had these on repeat.”

+ “Fletcher Honorama” by Sparks

+ “Good Life” by Neu!

+ “Radio Waves” by OMD

+ “Bend Beyond” by Woods

+ “I Got Your Number” by Cock Sparrer

+ “Never Let Me Down Again” by Depeche Mode

+ “Strangers” by Kinks

“I captured this moment in Mammoth. It still makes me smile.”

Bring friends: “Tackling long stretches of highway or passing through ghost towns can be really spooky if you’re on your own, so I say bring friends. Always bring friends.” 

Come back tomorrow—and get on our email list—to score Gia’s so-inspired edition.

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Tripping: Sarah Frances Kuhn Sees Two Sides of Zurich

Have some vacation days to use up but don’t know where to put them? Follow the lead of aesthetically minded, resourceful designers…duh. Here, Sarah Frances Kuhn (who makes rad camera straps perfect for any getaway you choose) opens up about her Switzerland adventure.

Last summer, I was in Zurich, and we camped at a gorgeous place at the edge of the city right on the lake called Fischers Fritz for half the time. Then we stayed at a friend’s studio in Rote Fabrik, a music and art center that is also on the lake, the rest of the time. The pic is from there—love the guy in the speedo in the background!” —sarah

For more trip-spiration, click here.

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