LA-based actress and blogger extraordinaire Courtney Halverson of Pretty Little Fawn has inspired me since she shot her first SteamLines in 2018. Her consistently iconic style and gorgeous visual sense of fashion and the world have made her photos of SteamLine among the most striking and resonant we have ever had. She has been so influential for our brand and wonderful to work with every adventurous step of the way. And when it comes to travel, Courtney is an inveterate explorer who hasn’t let this time daunt her; she’s just re-set her sights on the beauty of home and places within reach on the road. Her responses to my interview questions gave me such a beautiful insight into her authenticity and character as a person and traveler who is also a guide to life: slow down, engage, power off, and make it count when you power on. There are many pages to take from Courtney’s beautiful playbook—may you love getting to know her, too!
SteamLine Founder, Sara Banks
My Conversation with Courtney
SB: We love your recent road trip posts (and the imagery!). Where is your favourite destination to drive to—and your favorite type of road trip to take? What scenery do you covet from the view through a window?
SH: I'm a big fan of tall trees and mountains, so I love driving in California to see the redwoods and Big Sur. For a quick weekend away though, there's nothing like the desert with its windy roads and long sunsets.
SB: If you could hop on an airplane and go anywhere, what is your favorite destination to travel for food? For visual inspiration? For the people?
CH: For food it is ALWAYS Italy for me. My husband and I are pasta-obsessed, so whenever we visit we bring a lot of ingredients and spices back with us from our travels. For visual inspiration, France is one of my favorite destinations. Paris never fails to inspire me, but also a day trip to Versailles leaves me feeling so creatively energized and with a fairly full camera roll. And for the people, I love to visit the UK! I have a lot of brands that I work with there so it's nice to get to meet them in person, as well as fellow bloggers that I'm always happy to have an excuse to grab a drink with.
SB: Your style is so gorgeous and seems so true to who you are! What have been some of your style inspirations?
CH: I love to keep things fairly simple, and I often turn to Pinterest for outfit inspiration. I also have been really drawn to vintage silhouettes as of late, and I think that has a lot to do with watching Little Women and Pride and Prejudice while staying at home.
SB: We are so interested in the balance of work with time to power down. When you travel, do you tend to go somewhere in order to share with your audience, or do you sometimes travel just to power down? What role do social media and communications play on your trips?
CH: For me, whenever I'm traveling I share it on my blog and social channels, unless it is a visit with family. For that reason our travels tend to be busier than when we are at home, but the nice part is that my husband and I work together, and are pretty good about “getting the shot” and then enjoying the rest of the day.
SB: And what is your favourite way to disconnect? (If you do!)
CH: Lately it's been reading. I recently finished Conjure Women by Afia Atakora and it was such a page-turner. I think any time that is spent off of my phone and computer is always a good call for me.
SB: You mention in your blog review of SLL, that the case always starts conversations when you're in the airport—can you recall any specific moments or people you've met because of your luggage?
CH: My SteamLine Luggage always gets questions! I traveled with the Vanity case in the Cotswolds last year, and I think everywhere that we checked into I got a compliment or a question about it. Not to mention that I've also carried it as a camera case and that means it becomes a part of my outfit.
SB: What is the most meaningful exchange you've had with someone while traveling?
CH: We had the most absolutely amazing road trip in Ireland at the beginning of the year and struck up conversations just about everywhere we stopped. We ended up sitting at a pub with an older man near Baltimore for over an hour, just asking him about his life there. He had lived in the area his entire life, and it was incredible to hear firsthand about how the area has changed and what things he remembered from his childhood.
SB: How old were you the first time you left your home country? How has travel changed in the years since?
CH: I first left the country when I was a teenager to film a commercial in South America. Things have changed SO much since then. I remember using paper maps to get around, and really relying on asking strangers for directions. Now when I travel, I have a map plotted out prior that I've researched for destinations as well as photo locations. Things always change, and I'm always open to making discoveries along the way, but being able to research heavily before getting on a plane is helpful!
SB: What is the biggest mistake you have made or tend to make when traveling?
CH: In the early days of my husband and I traveling, we didn't always check on local customs and travel advice for foreign countries. Now that is something we do in the early stages of planning so that we can make sure that we are informed and polite travelers. We make sure that we know how to dress, how to tip (if at all), and key phrases and sentences in the native languages. I don't even want to be that American who expects everywhere else to be just like home!
SB: What are your Carryon essentials?
SB: Have you ever had a serious traveling debacle?
CH: Yes! On one trip we decided to take a hot air balloon ride. It was SO beautiful and we absolutely loved the experience - until it came time to land. There was a bit of an error in calculation, and our pilot sort of crash landed. We both were fine, but were a bit shook up, and I think that may be our first and last hot air balloon ride.
SB: Describe your biggest travel home run.
CH: We visited Alaska a few years ago, and it was the rare trip where we landed without too many plans. We knew we wanted to shoot content and drive around, but we weren't entirely sure where to go after arriving in Anchorage. We ended up driving to Whittier and it was the most magical scenery. I don't know that we could have planned it better.
SB: Do you prefer hot or cold destinations (beach or ski!) and how do you pack differently for each? How do you pack when the destination requires layers?
CH: Cold for me! I don't do well in hot weather and get sunburned easily, so I've never been big on tropical or beach destinations. For both hot and cold destinations, I focus on pieces that can be styled multiple ways, so that I'm not having to overpack and plan for 8 completely separate outfits. Sweaters that can be worn multiple ways, boots that are both comfortable and can be dressed up are key, and usually something waterproof—you never know. For anything warm weather, it's usually a pile of sundresses, ballet flats, and sandals, plus a cardigan for the evening.
SB: How do you generally plan or design your trips?
CH: I usually plan the hotel or Airbnbs further in advance, and allow the drives in between to be where spontaneity occurs. I'm a big fan of road trips in foreign countries as it's the best way to see those “in between places” that are so often not on itineraries. For that reason, it's hard to nail down all of the details, so that's when I tend to go with the flow.
SB: On travel days, whether in the airport or road trip, do you go for comfort or fashion, or both?
CH: I try to go for a combination of fashion and comfort on travel days. Jeans are absolutely out of the question for a long flight or drive, and I usually wear a pair of knit stretch pants, a tee shirt, loafers, and a long but unstructured coat. The coat often doubles as a blanket on flights, and saves valuable space in my luggage. And loafers are easy to slip on and off, so I usually keep a pair of cashmere socks handy.
SB: How do you combat jetlag?
CH: On the first day of arrival, we always do our best to get acclimated right away. Sometimes that means forcing ourselves to sleep early or else staying up to a reasonable time before turning in. I can't sleep on flights so I'm usually able to go to bed when I need to, and I make it a point to wake up the next day at a normal time, with no napping. It's hard sometimes, but melatonin helps for sleeping, and there's always at least 10 different coffee shops on my list, so caffeine is never out of reach when I need it!
Courtney has been Traveling Beautifully with SteamLine Luggage for a few years now! Check out how she uses her SteamLine Luggage to pack for a three-country sojourn here, and learn more about how she travels with her SteamLine cases here. Follow all Courtney’s authentic adventures at @prettylittlefawn and prettylittlefawn.com!