Slow Down With
BROOKLYN, NEW YORK
Meet Lauren Bates, a passionate traveler, cultivator, and founder of Wild Terrains residing in Brooklyn, New York. She shares her experiences creating a career filled with travel and connection, the importance of the people you surround yourself with, and how to enjoy the little things. Hear her thoughts on life, mindful living, and personal style.
Tell us about your career journey thus far:
My career path has been somewhat unconventional. I majored in math and quickly realized I didn’t want to be a mathematician for the rest of my life. Then, I jumped between a few jobs in consulting and marketing, all of which worked me to the bone and taught me a lot but also made me question a whole lot about the modern workplace. I was craving a job combining my travel passions and connecting and collaborating with creative women. Somehow the stars aligned, and the universe gave me the idea for Wild Terrains, a women’s group travel company I’ve been building and running for the past four years.
Tell us about Wild Terrains:
Wild Terrains is a travel company on a mission to cultivate meaningful relationships that propel women forward. We design small group trips for women who shy away from cookie-cutter tours and want something truly transformational. We partner with local women-owned businesses in each destination to create uplifting experiences you can't find anywhere else. We currently run group trips in Mexico, Argentina, Portugal, France, and Iceland, with more destinations on the horizon!
Where do you find inspiration? What fuels you?
The women I surround myself with inspire me. I’m lucky to have strong women in my family and friend circle, all of whom I lean on for advice, support, and laughs! Because Wild Terrains partners with over 100 women hoteliers, chefs, artists, designers, and activists worldwide to curate our group trips, I’m constantly surrounded by inspiring women who are trying new things, taking risks, and learning from failures.
What interests are a large part of your identity?
Well, travel is an obvious one! I feel alive and inspired when immersed in and learning about a new culture. I also love to cook, be active, and move my body.
What city do you live in, and how does that influence your day-to-day?
I moved from Washington, DC, to Brooklyn, NY, earlier this year, so I’m still getting my NYC groove! In DC, I had a great group of friends, favorite restaurants, and a gorgeous apartment we had just renovated. So, it’s been an adjustment to leave all that behind, but it’s also fun to have a new adventure! In Brooklyn, I’m in the process of making new friends, decorating our apartment, and finding my favorite neighborhood spots.
Where can we find you on the weekend?
About half the year, I travel for Wild Terrains, so half of my weekends are at home, and the other half I’m traveling abroad! If I’m home, you’ll find me spending time with my partner Will and our pup Oliver, going on hikes, hosting dinner parties with friends, and reading books.
How do you slow down and recharge after a long day?
After a challenging work day, you can usually find me cooking. I find cooking soothes my nerves and brings me back to my center. I’m old school and have a way-too-large cookbook collection from which I pick out new recipes. It’s a way for me to be creative without overthinking. At the end of a busy week, I love meeting my partner or a friend for a glass of wine at a local wine bar. Since I work from home, there’s something about getting out on a Friday night that allows me to shut off my work brain for the weekend ahead.
What slow moments in life do you savor the most?
I savor little moments with our dog Oliver. If you follow me on Insta, you have seen billions of photos of him in my stories. He is the sweetest dog and loves to cuddle. Sometimes I sit on the floor without my phone, and he’ll come up and put his head on my lap. In those moments, I think how sweet life is!
What moments in life bring you the most joy and fill you up?
I’m a highly sensitive person, meaning I take on the emotions of others. While there are some downsides to that trait, I strongly feel the joy and happiness of others. I love seeing my loved ones happy. That fills me up!
What does mindful living look like to you?
To me, this means being mindful of how we show up in spaces, what privilege we carry with us, and how that impacts those around us.
What steps do you take to show up authentically each day?
Right now, I’m working on becoming better at listening with intention. I think the more we listen, the more we can understand what’s happening around us and respond authentically.
Do you have any rituals that help keep you on track/keep your mind clear?
I’m into my morning routine, which my coach and friend Claire Sellers have helped me craft over the years. It typically includes coffee, a pilates mat workout, and a bath. I try to do some version of it even if I’m traveling away from home. I also don’t keep my phone in my bedroom and typically don’t check it until my morning routine is complete.
What does shopping sustainably/thoughtfully mean to you?
At this stage in my life, I’m focused on buying less and investing in higher-quality pieces when I make a purchase. I sell and buy quite a bit through The Real Real, which has made me much more thoughtful about my closet. I think it’s important to understand what looks good on you and what you realistically wear in your daily life. Once you know this, you make better shopping decisions.
How and when did you learn to dress for yourself?
It’s been an evolution! I don’t think my style was amazing in my 20s. When I got into my 30s, I became more comfortable with my body and more accepting that certain styles just don’t work for me!
What are you wearing when you feel the most like yourself?
After two years of COVID, it’s hard not to say leggings and a sweatshirt! But, typically, you can usually find me in jeans and a sweater or a long flowy dress.
What do you love about the ZX style you chose, and how has it filled gaps in your wardrobe or solved a styling rut you previously had?
I’m so excited about my Delfina sandals! Because I live out of a suitcase, I need shoes that work with multiple outfits. I had stopped traveling with heels because they take up so much space in my suitcase, and they just aren’t realistic for being on my feet all day. The Delfina is the perfect travel heel! I love that the heel is short, so I can easily fit these in my suitcase and pop them on for a polished but comfortable evening look. Also, the bone color looks gorgeous with everything.