LETTER FROM…Sri Lanka

Story by Jordan Porter, a Toronto fashion writer, who is on a year-long trip around the world.

I just got back from one of the best experiences of my life. For the past 30 years, Sri Lanka has had more than its share of strife. With a brutal and bloody war that finally ended in early 2009, and a hard hit from the tsunami in 2004, this incredibly beautiful country has unfortunately been a “no-go” zone for far too long.

Despite these hardships, on my recent roadtrip across Sri Lanka, I encountered some of the smiliest and friendliest people, the cleanest cities in all of Asia, and the most amazing and diverse landscape I have ever seen.

In just eight days I went from the ancient cave temples of Dambulla, to the tea plantations of Hatton at 4,000 feet, where I stayed at a beautifully restored colonial plantation house and filled my belly with melt in your mouth scones and tea sammies all day long, back down to a tropical climate of palm trees in the quaint seaside town, and former Dutch Colony, of Galle.

Saving the best for last, my trip ended with a visit to Minneriya and Yala National Parks, where I called on Leopard Safaris to take me on the adventure of a lifetime.

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LETTER FROM…Udaipur

The author in India’s most romantic city. Story by Jordan Porter, a Toronto fashion writer, who is on a year-long trip around the world.

After a whirlwind tour of India’s crowded Kolkata streets, Pink City in Jaipur, the Taj Mahal in Agra, and everything in between, I was short-circuiting from a complete sensory overload. So I headed, quite literally, for the hills. Nestled in the Aravalli Mountain ranges in the state of Rajasthan, I took shelter in Udaipur for a much-needed escape.

Touted as the “Venice of the East,” Udaipur sits on the shores of Lake Pichola, and is India’s most romantic city. Unfortunately the lake was begging for monsoon season during my stay and resembled more of a pond, but nonetheless the romance, beauty, and the regal Rajasthani style were abundant.

Strolls down the narrow crooked lanes revealed tiny jewellery shops stocked to the ceiling with beautiful bangles and women wrapped in saris of bright fuchsia, lemon yellow, and turquoise.

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LETTER FROM…Kanchanaburi

All aboard the elephants in Kanchanaburi. Story by Jordan Porter, a Toronto fashion writer who is on a year-long trip around the world.

In a desperate attempt to flee the civil war zone in Bangkok, my boyfriend and I hopped on a packed-to-the-brim $3 minibus bound for Kanchanaburi, a small town two hours northwest of Bangkok, and the home of the famous Bridge on the River Kwai.

It’s a beautiful town surrounded by lush mountains and rushing waterfalls, but the style scene, apart from a handful of well-dressed lady boys, is undoubtedly all about the Tevas and Ts—definitely less than desirable for a girl who was looking forward to exercising her AmEx in the big city. To soothe my shopping woes I figured I could at least take a ride in style, so I signed up for an afternoon atop an elephant at the Taweechai Elephant Camp.

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LETTER FROM…Hoi An, Vietnam

Beside the river in Hoi An. Story and photography by Jordan Porter, a Toronto fashion writer who is on a year-long trip around the world.

Once you’ve been to Hoi An it will pain you to shop retail ever again. A UNESCO heritage town on the Vietnam coast, Hoi An is the cloth capital of Vietnam and best known for its rows upon rows of custom clothiers. On a recent three-day stay with my boyfriend we popped into To To Boutique armed with Net-a-Porter images and $100 each to our names. We left with two fully-lined and initialed twill cotton blazers (for him), a slim black linen pant suit and dress shirt (pour moi), and money to spare in the pockets of our new bespoke britches.

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LETTER FROM…Hanoi

Story and photography by Jordan Porter.

High Tea at The Sofitel Legend Metropole, Hanoi

I am a city girl. I can rough it, no doubt, but there’s nothing that I love more than a day of shopping, eating and lounging in the lap of luxury. So, in a city where the majority of food is cooked—and eaten—on the street, and the shopkeepers peddle Prado and Vuittan, an afternoon at the grand Sofitel Metropole for a tea for two is a true treat.

Don’t get me wrong, I’ve had some of the best meals of my life on those streets, but making the move from a pint-size plastic stool that barely fits a cheek (the Vietnamese are a mini bunch, so much so that at 110 pounds I’ve actually been called “big girl”) to plush lounge chairs, from chopsticks that are cleaned in a bucket to fancy French silverware, from my ritual après feast finger lick to crisp white linen napkins, well, the idea is music to my ears.

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LETTER FROM…Luang Prabang (really)

Story and photo by Jordan Porter. Jordan, a former assistant fashion editor at FASHION Magazine, is currently on a year-long tour around the world, visiting Vietnam, Bali, and now northern Thailand. She will be sending The Style Notebook dispatches from her travels.

I’ll admit it, I’m a sucker for a celebrity spotting.

I know, I know, they’re just “people” blah blah, but I doubt that there are many people out there who don’t get a little thrill from a star sighting, or a little pang of jealousy when the story being told isn’t their own. A trip to New York, L.A., and even Yorkville come TIFF time always lacks a little lustre if it’s not accompanied by a movie star moment or two, but living in Asia, I don’t expect much in the way of Hollywood glamour. I usually get my frivolous thrills from baby monkey sightings.

So you can imagine my excitement when on a recent side trip to the tiny picturesque town of Luang Prabang (a UNESCO World Heritage site and a must-visit for anyone planning a South East Asian excursion), I spied Jude Law and Sienna Miller getting cozy all over town.

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