Q&A

Q&A: Annie Holden, creator of The Travel Bra

By February 8, 2016 No Comments

“I first hitched around Europe for ten weeks… on my own… when I was 18”

Annie Holden

Serial traveler, inventor, safety guru

I contacted Annie Holden, the inventor, and owner of The Travel Bra, a company I had an eye on since last year, which had recently started a line of men’s ‘travel trunks’. I had given my (empty) money belt to a homeless man in Houston, TX during a layover on a flight home from Nicaragua and was looking for another option to stash cash for my next trip.

Turns out, Annie is a serial travel; at one point, she worked in Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea, a very restrictive location, touting one of the world’s highest murder rates. Her goal there as part of AUS-AID was creating a resource kit for community members who wanted to address gender-based violence in their communities. The security situation made the work rewarding, yet difficult. It also provided the inspiration for her concealed, travel safety line of clothing.

Annie has a passion for travel safety and was happy to dish on her own travel history and tips:

When did you start traveling? 

“I first hitched around Europe for ten weeks, on my own, when I was 18. I now realize how crazy that was, but when you are young, you are very naïve about personal safety.  Also, hitching was a much more acceptable thing to do in the mid-1970s so I actually met some fantastic people and had a wonderful, wonderful time.  But I was very lucky it didn’t turn out badly.”

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What is your favorite place to travel?

“That’s not fair! Everywhere! …I think the USA. I lived in Washington, DC for six months, teaching at the School of Foreign Service at Georgetown. Every weekend I visited places all around and hiked in The Appalachians. Later, a girlfriend and I toured California in an RV and then a year later we toured Alaska in an RV. The United States is so diverse – it would take more than one lifetime to explore all the places I want to visit.”

Annie is not one to waste a trip; she is also an advocate for doing research before taking any trip: 

“I did a 120km (75 mile) stretch of the Camino de Santiago ten years ago which was one of the most fantastic hikes I’ve ever done. I returned a few years later to do another leg but didn’t do my research and ended up hiking long stretches of noisy highway to reach very boring stops. Eventually, I cut my trip short and took a bus to the nearest city and went shopping and sightseeing instead.”

All this travel was the foundation for The Travel Bra?
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“I work as an anthropologist which takes me to remote places all over the world. Frequently I would travel to places with no ATMs and so I would need to carry cash – which made me very uncomfortable. Money belts are ugly, uncomfortable and very obvious – so I needed a better solution.”

Her #1 piece of advice? Always have an escape plan.

She also contributed some additional safety gems from her travel repertoire:  

  • Always have an escape plan.
  • Never go down an alley where you cannot see a way out the other end.
  • Never get in a car with strangers.
  • Never let someone take you somewhere that you do not know where you are going.

See how Annie’s travel safety clothing can make your next trip safer:

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