Meet Taryn Elledge-Penner, co-founder of Quartier Collective! We caught up with Taryn and learned more about Quartier Collective and her family's life traveling the globe.
B+G: Tell us a little about how Quartier Collective was first created. How has it evolved since then?
Taryn: The idea of QC started back in 2014 on the floor of our tiny apartment in Seattle. Our son Francis wasn’t a great sleeper so Marty had taken to sleeping on the floor of our living room on a futon mattress, while Francis took over our bedroom and I tried to find my place in it all. Often I would come out to join Marty in between the ongoing wake ups and feedings, and somehow on some nights, we would push past the exhaustion long enough to talk about a dream or an idea for the future. Sometimes it was only part of an idea, or even just the feeling of an idea. We didn’t know it at the time but those early ideas were to become part of what is now Quartier Collective. We still lay up late at night talking about QC, but now we do it in different beds all over the world. The biggest difference between then and now is that we are dreaming (and doing) QC full-time, while traveling all over the world. Our dream has now become our lifestyle
We have hosted our QC family gatherings and designed custom itineraries in Morocco, Greece, and (soon) Japan. We’ve also just started to host, design and photograph custom gatherings for like-minded brands, which has been so much fun. We are currently designing one of these custom trips for this spring in the Andes. Peru, Chile, and Bolivia have been high on our list for a while so we are super excited to explore that part of the world (while steering clear of any political upheavals of course!). Namibia, New Zealand (where we’ll be headed in the new year), and Scandinavia are all high on our personal wish lists There are a lot of factors like natural beauty, culture, and of course food, but also we are really trying to choose countries or regions where we want to spend greater amounts of time. We’re conscious about traveling more slowly and more sustainably. We’re not ticking boxes, rushing around or moving for movement’s sake. Every time we get on a plane we want it to be a meaningful voyage. We owe that to ourselves and to Mother Earth.
B+G: What is your favorite place you've traveled to?
Taryn: It is always challenging when people ask us our favorite place. Each leg of our adventure over the last year and a half has really great memories, and most importantly, really meaningful friendships attached to it. Almost every place we’ve been has become so much about the people we’ve met and connected with and it becomes difficult to choose a favorite! BUT we all agree that Japan was one of the coolest, most unique places we’ve been. It was both the most like what we had imagined, and also the most unlike any place we’ve ever been. We felt like we were really on a different planet, in the best way possible. Plus, the ramen!!!!!
B+G: As a seasoned traveler, what would you consider key items to consider when traveling as a family?
Taryn: Each stage requires different things when it comes to traveling with kids. We began with a Baby Bjorn travel bed for Viggo, our youngest. We loved the consistency this brought to bedtime, which can be so important for the little ones. This had been our second-born’s full-time bed before we started traveling. It was so comfortable compared to most cribs, plus we could take it anywhere. Whether out for dinner with friends or a week in Mexico, we knew he would already have a built-in pattern. We don’t travel with the baby bed anymore, but we do travel with Bundle Beds, which we highly recommend. They’re designed more for sleepovers and car camping than full-time travel, but the stability they bring in a nomadic life is priceless. The kids also have a handful of small items which they carry in their own backpacks (even little Viggo). This is great because they can only have as much as they can carry. It keeps things trimmed to a (mostly) manageable level, AND the kids have to prioritize what makes the cut. Theonly exception to this is a huge bag of LEGO which Marty and I carry in our suitcases…honestly we couldn’t imagine a long voyage without LEGO! Other important staples would be good suitcases (we love our Thule ones that unzip into two independent pieces), a good travel speaker, for dancing and long car drives, some audio books and playlists downloaded and of course lots of snacks, preferably something local. Oh, and gum for motion sickness; a little trick we learned winding along the Cycladic coastlines.
B+G: You mentioned that boy+girl were some of the staple items your children wear when on your travels. What do you look for when it comes to choosing pieces of clothing to pack?
It’s really difficult to choose the clothing along the way, mainly because we don’t usually know where we are going to be more than a couple months before we go. Although we have mostly managed to chase summer going to be more than a couple months before we go. Although we have mostly managed to chase summer for the last year and a half, the climates really fluctuate. Think the hottest humid tropical climate where you can barely manage more than a swimsuit or light cover up, to dessert temperatures that drop at night and require warm layers, to rainy Ireland and England with bone chilling breezes coming off of the ocean, to sporadic temperatures spikes in Melbourne that go from 50 degrees F to 100 in a matter of hours. It’s really hard to be prepared for every climate when you are carrying everything you own with you. This is why it is so key to have transitional pieces that can be worn a lot and that can be easily layered. And of course, when traveling its so key to have natural materials and comfortable pieces, that can be worn over and over and that can stand the test of time! The Kurta shirts, Harem pants, and Una dress have honestly been some of our most-well loved, longest-lasting pieces!
B+G: What holiday traditions do you like for the family?
Taryn: Holidays are admittedly a bit tough on the road. Last year, and this year as well, Christmas season has brought on a fair bit of homesickness. We miss family and friends immensely during this time and it can be really hard to carry on traditions. All we want is some snow and a solid holiday party, with cocktails and laughter and warm hugs from the ones we left behind. Last year we were in Morocco and, as in most Muslim countries, Christmas was barely mentioned. We did manage to spend time with others who celebrated Christmas, but it was admittedly a bit tough to get into the spirit. This year we are Australia, and although they celebrate Christmas, it’s almost equally as challenging. It’s summer here in the southern hemisphere and somehow Santa seems a little out of place in his snowsuit and hat :) . Despite the challenges we’ve tried to maintain the feeling of Christmas by connecting with family and friends back home, talking about our favorite Christmas memories, and throwing in a fair bit of hot chocolate, cheesy holiday tunes, and our favorite Christmas movies!
B+G: What are three words you would use to describe 2019?
Taryn: Three words to describe 2019: Independence, Choice, Motion