Founder of wellness brand 3rd Ritual Jenn Tardif shares her best travel tips for staying grounded on-the-go.
As you ascend the stairs to the entrance of Jenn Tardif’s Bed Stuy apartment, there’s a noticeable change in the air. The surrounding smell starts to shift from typical Brooklyn stairwell to something subtly floral and delicious. You get the sense that you’re rounding the corner not just to the third floor, but to a different plane altogether. When Tardif greets me at her door, she’s flanked by her sweet-as-sugar infant daughter, Lola, and her Havanese Poodle, Maybe—and it’s confirmed. “Damn, I’ve got to get my life together,” I think, but what I say is: “Your life is just adorableness!”
She laughs. “It doesn’t always feel that way. So thanks for that.”
I don’t doubt that when I disappear, her life as a mom, entrepreneur, yoga instructor, and tech startup employee-turned-wellness practitioner gets messy sometimes. (“I have a lot of slashes,” she says.) Still, you get the sense that Tardif at the very least has her priorities figured out. And best of all, she’s forthcoming about how perfectly imperfect it all is. Early in our conversation, she reveals that “I’m just crippled with anxiety. All the wellness things in my life have been hacks to try to deal with it. One of my favorite sayings is: It’s not about the hand you’re dealt, but how you play your cards.”
Tardif is the founder of 3rd Ritual, a company that hosts workshops and creates wellness-minded products including a meditation candle and a botanical body lotion called Moon made with activated charcoal, evening primrose oil, and moonstone extract. In collaboration with Design Hotels, she’s hosted workshops in places as far flung as Greece; in her personal life, she prioritizes travel, even if it just means heading upstate for the weekend. “It’s something that we really do view as a form of taking care of our family,” she says. “That’s what helps to slow down time a little bit.”
Here, Tardif shares how she makes sure her time spent traveling is zen, from what she wears on the plane, to how she packs, and what she does as soon as she checks into a hotel.
A Career Built on Ritual
3rd Ritual came about because I had this hunch that there were other people like me who wanted to do more than you can do in a yoga class, and who also couldn’t realistically go to Spirit Rock for 10 days. I wondered, how can we start to infuse really tiny tangible acts into our daily lives? It was all about inspiring daily enjoyment and more balance in its simplest sense.
It started with these gatherings—these workshops—which almost function like a tasting menu. I would set up a central altar made from ingredients from nature, like stones or crystals or flowers. And then we would move through different practices like numerology, secret geometry, restorative yoga, candle gazing, or pranayama exercises. A lot of times we’d infuse creation, like painting, journaling, or making our own aromatic blends and those really, really caught on.
“By having a point of focus, you’re more likely to be able to really anchor your attention in the present.”
It would’ve been so much easier with my background in tech to make a meditation app. But that’s antithetical to my practice. I really wanted to cut the tether that I have between my phone and my attention. So that’s why we made the candle and used it in our rituals. Now it’s the staple. It’s always the center of our altar. In yoga it’s what you call your drishti, your point of focus. And the idea is that by having a point of focus, you’re more likely to be able to really anchor your attention in the present.
Jenn Tardif’s In-Flight Routines
I have pocket book versions of the I Ching and Thich Nhat Hanh, and everybody uses them differently, but for me, I like to open to any random page. The sutras, or the passages, are like threads—you can pull on them and they will unravel something greater. Even in a simple passage, you can find so much meaning; it’s like it meets you wherever you’re at. I think especially when you’re traveling, you’re a little bit more receptive because you’re not in proximity to your to-do list. So then maybe you’re going to just receive them a little bit more.
Podcasts have also been such a savior. Sometimes it’ll just be meditative music, like a gong, if I’m trying to sleep. If I know I’m not going to sleep because of a time difference, I have some favorites. Tara Brach has a podcast where she does dharma talks and lectures, but every other one is a guided meditation. It really feels like you’re sitting at the feet of a teacher, and a lot of times they’re recorded live from the retreats that she leads. I think she is one of the few people that has used this medium to really make her teachings more accessible.
Why Jenn Tardif is Pro-Jumpsuit
I wear a uniform. I literally wear the same thing every Friday, the same thing every Thursday, the same thing every Wednesday. When I travel, I wear a couple pieces from Apiece Apart usually, for day. And then I have some Doen dresses that I wear by night. I’m pretty set on that. I only ever wear running shoes on the plane and then pack one pair of shoes, these ballet flats from Maryam Nassir Zadeh.
Even though you have to get full naked to pee, I do love a jumpsuit on the plane. I just got one from Everlane, and Apeice Apart makes some great ones that are linen. I’m often traveling with my daughter, so it’s the kind of thing that I can crouch down or be in a weird question mark shape on the seat because I’m trying to get her to nap on my body and not have to worry about moving and tucking things in.
How to Be “Undoing”
I love drawing and journaling. And those are practices that are really important to me when I travel. I think it’s also really important to note that I love drawing and painting, but I’m terrible at both. And that’s part of the joy of it. It’s not like I paint something and then Instagram it—it’s the process. The act of doing it is one way to find that flow state, you know, that ever-elusive flow state. So, I journal, and I like coloring. But again, it’s not about doing it perfectly. Especially for New Yorkers, we’re so in our to-do lists, by having these really simple practices, it provides that bait and switch—it’s like, I’m doing, but I’m actually undoing, because all that’s really happening is I’m sitting on the plane and I’m coloring and then all of a sudden I’m breathing deeper. I’m able to put myself more in rest mode instead of fight or flight.
Activate the Senses to Fight Travel Anxiety
For me, it’s always about using the senses to really enhance my relationship to the moment. On the plane, I always have our body lotion, called Moon, which has activated charcoal in it, so it’s antimicrobial and anti-bacterial. I use it for palm inhalation. The idea is that scent is so alchemical just by the power of olfaction—it has a direct pathway to your limbic brain, where you store memories, what motivates you, where your emotions live. If you’re sitting on the tarmac, you can’t control so many things—like the person next to you is eating McDonald’s or you’re delayed and they’re deplaning or all those things.
But what you can control is your internal rhythm. I think of scent as a rope that can take you deeper into the cave of your mind. If I’m sick, I really like to use this Japanese mint because it helps clear your nasal passages. I don’t consume any caffeine, and I use mint to fight jet lag—it’s a way to actually wake up your spirit.
“I think of scent as a rope that can take you deeper into the cave of your mind.”
I always bring this basic Japanese eye mask—it also has activated charcoal in it, so it’s supposed to help with de-puffing. So that’s sight. I have my Bose noise-canceling headphones, which is obviously linked to sound. I always like to have a tactile element, so I bring a worry stone, something that you can use like an adult fidget spinner. And this is something that I always collect when I’m traveling—I’ll find a stone, and bring it back.
Traveling can be so frenetic—it’s like, how do you anchor back in?
How Jenn Tardif Tames That Mane
I don’t really do [beauty] stuff at home very much. So when I travel, I’ll allow myself to have more time and get into the hotel robe and do a mask. I love these K-Beauty snail masks, which help with the puffiness or how dry you can be after the plane. I always have these anti-frizz wipes from Ouai. I have really crazy, thick, wild hair. My dad is French Canadian, he had a red afro, and then my mom’s Chinese. So if you can imagine, it’s like oil and water—those two things don’t go together.
- 1Moon Botanical Body Lotion by 3rd Ritual, $32
- 2Braun Digital Alarm Clock, $55
- 3Man Repeller Umbrella Clutch, $90
- 4Morihata Binchotan Charcoal Eye Mask, $26
- 5Isla hat by Tio y Tia, $165
- 6Away Medium Suitcase in Brick, $275
- 7Staedtler triplus fineliner 334 pens, $15
- 8Johanna Basford Secret Garden coloring book, $10
- 9Enfleurage Japanese Mint, $8
- 10Qi Floral Adaptogen Tea, $36