I’ve always liked the idea of charm bracelets — a piece of jewelry that tells a story. You add to it over time, each element significant in its own way. I begged my mother to buy me one when I was young, imagining the small icons that would rattle on my wrist.
These days, a bracelet with little dangling Eiffel Towers or four-leaf clovers is no longer my style. But when I met up with Becki Backpacker at Traverse recently, I fell in love with her modern El Camino charm bracelet.
The El Camino bracelets are a chic way to document where you’ve been or to create a wish list of your dream destinations. The bracelet looks equally stylish on the mountain bike trail and at a trendy London restaurant (I know, I’ve tested it).
Instead of representational icons, you collect hand-polished surgical stainless steel “steps” engraved with the name of countries, or “small steps” of places that aren’t countries (but maybe should be) like London, New York, Bali…. You string these onto a durable woven cord (available in black, blue, green and other colours) that closes with a stainless clasp and which can withstand the rigours of worldwide travel.
You can also collect the 8 brightly coloured region steps beads — Europe, Oceania, Asia, Antarctica, etc — along with oak or wooden spacers to create an utterly personal piece of jewelry.
It only gets better: The small business that creates these lovely bracelets is English and it makes them in the Oxfordshire countryside. In a treehouse!
The nice guys at El Camino sent me one with some steps I selected — a black bracelet with a red North American bead to highlight my home country, a New York step for my former hometown, and a Japan step to commemorate the amazing trip I took there last year. This is less about bragging rights (it’s so tiresome to hear people boast about where they’ve been). Rather it’s about creating a daily reminder of and motivator for life-changing journeys. I’ve already bought 4 additional steps and am thinking about which travel-mad friends to give them to.
In the meantime, there are a few small steps they have yet to offer. I’m keeping my fingers crossed for appearance of Texas, Austin, Cornwall and, one of my personal favourites, Isle of Wight.
Disclosure: I was sent an El Camino bracelet starter pack free of charge. I bought additional packages myself. All opinions are my own.
El Camino Bracelets are available in 7 colours with 240 different steps. The bracelets come in single or double strands. A single strand starter package including 2 steps and 4 wooden spacers costs £29.99