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A breathtaking botanical display can be reason enough to plan a trip. Take, for example, the flower fields of Southern California or the gobsmacking gardens of Singapore (an UNESCO World Heritage Site as of 2015). So when a certified flower expert hits the road, we want to know where she’s going, what she’s packing and if she’s picking up any trashy magazines at the airport (yes, we’re nosy like that). That’s why we caught up with Lana Elie, who founded the floral delivery service Floom in 2016. Connecting clients with the best buds in London and NYC, Floom has been lauded by the likes of Harper’s Bazaar and Wallpaper*.

Hot on the heels of a holiday in Japan, we picked Lana’s brain about all things travel…

Lana Elie, founder of Floom

Lana Elie

We hear you’ve just returned from Japan. How long were you there and where’d you go?
I was there for nine days and travelled between Osaka, Kyoto and Tokyo.

Anything that surprised you during your trip?
How 90s the cities felt. It’s absolutely ahead of the game like most expect, but i guess you forget these things were implemented quite a while back, so even the techy, screen-heavy elements feel a bit old school. I also was surprised by how much of it was a mall – every corridor, train station and even building was just layered with shops.

The neon lights of Tokyo, Japan

The neon lights of Tokyo

Any advice for someone planning their own trip to Japan?
Get a Japan Rail Pass. Apparently they’re difficult to buy once you’re there, and it was life changing for our travel. It gets you access to all of the bullet trains and you can literally jump on any one whenever you want and go from Kyoto to Tokyo and back. It was great to have that sort of freedom.

How did you end up as the head of a very chic floral company?
The idea came to me while I was working in fashion and found myself frustrated with the flower options available online. I always wanted to use independent florists, as their designs and packaging were much better than, say, Interflora, but the process of finding a good one and reaching out was quite time consuming. I noticed many other people had the same issue with flowers, so I built a business plan and launched Floom three months later.

Next trip?
Back to New York. As Floom is now trading there, I try to make it over once a month. I’m about to start a fundraiser for the business too, so hopping over to San Francisco and Los Angeles off the back of that trip for a couple meetings.

Cherry blossoms in Kyoto, Japan

Japan in bloom

Luggage of choice?
I use Muji suitcases. The wheel locks came in handy in Japan on those bullet trains.

Your packing style in three words?
Too many shoes (but organised!).

The first thing you do after checking into a hotel room?
Check out the bathroom.

An ideal hotel must have…
… down pillows, and a lot of them.

The best in-flight reading you’ve done lately?
I’ve really enjoyed reading Originals by Adam Grant.

Your all-time favourite souvenir?
My incense pack from Kyoto. Even the box is beautiful.

What’s typically in your carry-on?
A Muji travel pillow, hand cream, my laptop and loads of snacks. I’m always hungry and get anxious that plane food won’t be good and I’ll have to starve.

Out-of-office message or skip it?
I’m never really off emails, unfortunately, so an OOO might be a bit void. I try to leave one when I’m on holiday, but i’m still glued to my phone.

What’s currently on your travel playlist?
The entire Sabrina Claudio album. She’s got an incredible voice and her music is easy to work to or even fall asleep to.

Your go-to emoji while on holiday?
If only my emoji use was limited to holidays. I’m a bit OTT with emojis, so probably every single one that could remotely make sense.

Your ideal room-service meal?
Continental breakfast – can’t really beat a mini pastry.

Any airport guilty pleasures?
Lounge buffets! Though I rarely leave one without feeling unwell.

What are the top destinations around the globe for flower enthusiasts?
Definitely Japan in blossom season, the lavender fields of Provence, France and of course the Netherlands – the biggest grower of flowers in the world.

Have you spotted any airports with exceptional botanicals?
Singapore’s Changi Airport has a pretty incredible orchid garden. And a science room, which is less botanical, more just cool.

How do you feel about ‘bleisure’ travel? Should there be a clear separation between work and relaxation?
I think even when we attempt to separate the two, it’s very unlikely. But I suppose it’s dependent on the person and their job. For example, if I had a family, it would be important to reserve time to spend exclusively with them. Since I’m the sole founder of my own business, it feels like it’s almost not an option.

Lana Elie in Japan

Lana in Japan

The best career advice you’ve heard?
Focus on what you’re doing and not everyone around you.

The best travel advice you’ve heard?
Don’t wear makeup or drink on the flight.

Do you ever travel with flower bouquets?
I don’t, and probably wouldn’t advise it. You never know if customs will let you in with them on the other end. I tried to bring a bonsai back to London from Japan and got told I needed a certificate of health from a bonsai specialist of sorts.

How do you feel about rose petals on hotel beds? Be honest…
Ahh! There’s a murdered rose on my bed!

Mind if we take a peek inside your suitcase?
Go right ahead…

Japanese souvenirs

Inside Lana’s suitcase on the way home from Japan; from top left: vintage Burberry jumper, film camera purchased on eBay, souvenir Matcha Green Tea Pocky, Balenciaga trainers with coordinating Balenciaga cap, Acne Studios jumper, MacBook Air, Originals by Adam Grant, sushi sticky notes, Le Labo and Byredo perfumes, Floom tote bag, ceramics from the Tokyo fish market and incense from Kyoto

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