I was going to call this post ‘a review’, but I figured this company and their products deserved more than that. It is a company I really love and I have been meaning to write this post for a while now. Since I gained another one of their products for my birthday I thought this would be the perfect time to give them a mention.
The brand I am talking about is El Camino Bracelets and their motto is;
“Memories from around the world, around your wrist”
©El Camino Bracelets
El Camino, literally meaning ‘The way’, ‘The route, ‘The trail’, make gorgeous bracelets on which beads or ‘steps’ as they call them, can be added to document all the amazing places you have traveled to. They wanted to create a product that allowed you to show off your travel achievements and to take them with you wherever you go next.
The idea was created by Tom and Candace whilst traveling from Barcelona to Monaco and the name El Camino was inspired not only by its literal meaning, but also was a nice touch considering where the idea was first developed.
Tom and Candace really wanted to create a quality product that was worthy of being worn on the wrists of travelers, from literally across the globe and even though the business has really taken off, they have remained true to their word. Each bracelet is made from high strength cord with “hand polished surgical grade stainless steel” clasps. Essentially it’s tough and strong (I mean, really strong; the four woven cords can each withstand a breaking strain of over 34kg!) and your ‘steps’ are never going to fall off. Wherever you go, whatever crazy travel activities you’re into, these bracelets are built to last! Plus, the steps are of equally fine quality. Made from the same steel as the clasps, they are also engraved by the same man since the business began. There are over 240 country steps, plenty of small steps and the custom steps can be personalised with up to 32 characters of text.
Just when you thought there was nothing else to ad, El Camino have also created ‘region steps‘. There are twelve to collect; Africa, Antarctica, Asia, Australia, Caribbean, Central America, Europe, Middle East, North America, Oceania, Scandinavia and South America. Everyone is made from a different coloured glass and have the company logo engraved engraved into them. Apparently it is an achievement to have collected at least four or five (and I applaud all those who can get all 12!). I am now on two…so getting there slowly!
However that is still not all! Their most recent additions are the Ocean steps. Fancy documenting the oceans you have swam or sailed in, flew across or dived to the bottom of? Well these beautiful glass beads each represent the five oceans and have a wave flowing through them.
Finally in addition, you can collect ‘spacers’ which separate out each step. These are made from either coconut or light or dark wood. You are able to buy extra spacers, but amazingly you get one free with every step you purchase. It is the perfect final touch to your bracelet.
I have been adding to and wearing my bracelet for a few years now. I first heard about the company on Facebook when it appeared as an advert in the sidebar (maybe cookies are good for something!) Since then it has been a go to birthday/Christmas gift. You can guarantee there is always a step I need or a gift card means I can save for the next travel adventure! I have even got my bestie involved by buying her a gift voucher for Christmas. She is from Toronto and at the time was about to spend a month in Finland. Last Summer we spent a month travelling around the UK and Paris together for a month and now she is living in Brussels for a year. It really did seem like the perfect gift.
So what is the story behind my bracelet?
Step 1: North America region step This gorgeous red glass region step was a purchase I made to remind me of my time in Canada, New York and Florida. I have tried to put my steps in some kind of chronological order for when I traveled to each place but decided to use the region steps to separate out the silver steps. It gives it a nice touch and I am looking forward to collecting more region steps soon.
Step 2: Germany This step appears first because when I was six years old my family moved to Germany. My parents both worked in Service Children’s Education. We lived in special housing reserved for the armed forces and our school was on an army base. It was the first ‘big’ trip we took (discounting various holidays before this that I can’t really remember!) and we lived there for three years in two separate towns; Paderborn and Herford. Whilst living in Germany we obviously visited several locations around the country and since then have also been back to visit Bavaria several times which my family adores.
Step 3: Austria It might seem funny to put this next considering I have just been living here for the last two years, but actually Austria has had a special place in my heart for many, many years now. When we were living in Germany, we made regular visits to Austria, especially for skiing. I have had several Christmases in various locations across Austria and hunted for Easter eggs in the garden of our Austrian apartment when I was about six or seven. I really believe that it is one of the best countries in the world and with my parents now living there, I never have to say ‘Goodbye’, but ‘Auf Wiedersehen’.
Step 4: Paris Audrey Hepburn one said “Paris is always a good idea” and I completely agree (not just because it was said by my girl Audz). I have some wonderful memories from Paris, none more so that going to France aged about six years old, not really having much clue as to where exactly we were, when Mum and Dad told us at breakfast we were going to Disneyland. Apparently there was a moment as we drove to our hotel the previous evening when my brother Angus (who was four at the time) and I were fast asleep in the back of the car, when my parents spotted Disneyland in the distance and got all excited about telling us the next morning. (I mean, how cute is that?!) Since then I have been to Paris another three times, once on a school trip; once again with the parents on a French holiday just after I finished High School and in 2016 I went with my bestie Hayley where we spent about four days in Paris doing EVERYTHING (Once I reached 33,000 steps before the end of the day and we ticked everything off our to do list in Paris, so I am pretty proud of that!)
Step 5: Greece In 2014, a group of us from my course decided to visit Greece as our friend and one of the group was from there. We were kindly invited to stay with her family in Athens where we spent some time exploring the city, posing by the Parthenon and eating lots of delicious Greek dishes. We also went spent two or three nights on one of the islands which was absolutely stunning. It is definitely a place I want to go back to and explore more of!
Step 6: Canada This one is a biggie. In case you didn’t know already (because I will talk about it to anyone who’ll listen!) I spent five months from January to May 2015 in Canada. I went on a University exchange to Brock University in St Catherine’s in Ontario. It was a roller coaster experience with temperatures as low as -25°c where I was staying. During my time there I also took a trip to Montreal (where temperatures hit a low of -40°c) and to Nova Scotia where I met up with my ‘Pen Pal’ from when I was eleven. I met some amazing people during my time there and I am desperate to go back, partly to revisit Toronto, but also to explore some of the other provinces too!
Step 7: Niagara Falls This is one of the smaller steps I have on my bracelet and was a huge part of my trip to Canada. Brock University is a short bus ride away from Niagara Falls and the first time I visited in the January of 2015 it was almost completely frozen. At the time I think it was the coldest winter they had had in about ten years and someone even ice climbed up the falls. It was the most incredible sight to see even if I was absolutely freezing! Then in May of 2015, at the end of my trip when my parents came out to visit, we went back and it looked so different! There were boats on it for a start, and no giant chunks of ice floating around. The railings were also a lot higher. The signs warning people not to climb over were not doing so much good in January when the compacted snow under your feet was so high that the railings were at knee height!
Step 8: Europe Region step I’ve still not visited each location in Europe yet, but after several holidays in various European countries and living in four of it’s fifty countries, I figured it was time to add another region step to my bracelet – and this was the perfect one! It is also a beautiful jade green colour.
Step 9: Edinburgh Edinburgh – still no matter where I go will always be my favourite city, both for sentimental reasons and because it has so much to offer. It was the first major city I had moved to and initially I was terrified of it, but I soon became fascinated by how much it had to offer in the way of museums, coffee shops, cultural and historical sights to see. It was the place I battled the tourists during the Fringe and watched the football fans heading to the Easter Road football stadium on a Sunday morning. It was drinking in the sun on a hot day in Prince’s Gardens and drinks in the Cowgate until the early hours of the morning. It was climbing Arthur’s seat and taking in the view of the whole city. It was wandering along the beach and the constant sound of Bagpipes. Ultimately, however, for the four years between 2012 and 2016, it was home.
Step 10: Sweden I first visited Sweden when I was in High School. I was part of a Swedish exchange with a High School in Örebro in central Sweden and it was fascinating to see how different their education system was. My Swedish exchange partners then visited Scotland not long afterwards. However, Sweden holds a place in my heart for a greater reason. My Great-Aunt (My Nan’s sister) moved out to Sweden and married a Swedish man. When she was about fifteen or sixteen, just after her Mother passed away, my Nan went out to Sweden to stay with her sister. She was there for a few months before coming back to Glasgow. My Mum’s cousins are Swedish and we are all in contact regularly. In 2017 my Nan, Mum and I flew out to see them, to visit relatives my Mum had never met and we even went back to the flat she stayed in just over sixty years before. It was a really special trip to learn more about her past and that’s why I think it deserved it’s own step on my El Camino bracelet.
Step 11 & 12: Italy and Venice I had some wonderful holidays to Lake Garda as a child, but these two steps were bought as a gift for me most recently by my Mum to go hand-in-hand with a trip to Venice for my 24th birthday. It really was the best day, not only because I had wanted to visit Venice for a while but also because it was a welcome relief from the thoughts swirling around my head at that time. It was all I had hoped for and more and I definitely plan on going back again.
With Christmas coming up, what better gift for a travel lover than a chance to document their adventures and take them with them wherever they go. Why not pop a gift voucher inside a Christmas card as a surprise?
If you plan on purchasing an El Camino bracelet or even adding to your current one, then they have a discount code that might just encourage you to do so:
Save 5% when you spend £30 with discount code Travel5. Save 10% when you spend £75 with discount code Travel10. Save 15% when you spend £150 with discount code Travel15. Just add those codes in when paying and you will receive your discount!
Find El Camino’s social media pages by clicking the links below:
Cover photo credits go to Michelle Mock Photography