You might know Lola Kirke from her roles in Gone Girl and Amazon’s Mozart in the Jungle, but her country-rock music career is taking her to new heights. See where this multitalented, born-and-raised New Yorker is headed next—and what she’s taking along with her.
Lola Kirke may have lost “like eight passports in the last two years,” but that just speaks to her veteran traveler status. The musician and actress flies at least twice a month, and just got back from a three-week headlining tour that kicked off in Nashville. Kirke recently celebrated the release of her E.P. of country music duets, Friends and Foes and Friends Again, featuring the likes of Kelly Zutrau from Wet, Brent Cowles, and Lilah Larson from Sons of an Illustrious Father.
“I got really spoiled as an actress because when you’re a member of SAG, they have to fly you first class,” says Kirke. “But as a musician, you’re in the seats where you basically have to pay to put your feet on the ground.”
Not that she’s complaining—especially when she gets to travel with her collaborator and boyfriend Wyndham Garnett (“I can just sleep on him”).
But not all of Kirke’s travels are for work: Her mother lives in Rome and New Orleans (“She really did me a solid,”) and she travels between the two frequently to see her. She also pilgrimages to Joshua Tree once a year (“like a d-bag”) because that’s where her country music idol, Gram Parsons, lived and died.
And though she may not be the most organized, she certainly has her routines. We caught up with Kirke just before she hit the road for a weekend trip to Upstate New York with a friend. See below for Lola Kirke’s travel essentials (and how she got hooked up with the ultimate Greek Island vacation).
First Thing’s First
I always unpack immediately—not everything, because I’m never staying for long. I lay out this withering, old baby blanket on the bed. I don’t want it photographed—if it’s photographed, its soul will die (laughs). But it has its own special bag with a lavender satchel in it so that it always smells like lavender, and it won’t touch any of my other shit. It makes all the other clothes in my bag smell good, too.
Then I’ll burn my stick of palo santo because, ya know, I have to cleanse the spirits. I put out my alarm clock, my book—I like books about sad Southern artists—and my journal next to the bed just to make it feel a little bit more like home.
Food on the Go
I always travel with a reusable bag because I’m a weirdo. I like to go grocery shopping or go to markets when I travel. When I’m on tour I make chia pudding every week and put it in the hotel fridge. It just involves chia seeds and almond milk, and then I’ll put some almond butter and some fruit—typically bananas on tour because they last longer.
Lola Kirke’s Morning Routine
I have a very rigid morning routine. I’m just a dick about it, and I definitely have to wake up earlier when I travel. I do my morning pages—three pages in my journal every day—then I meditate. I’ve been doing T.M. (transcendental meditation) for about six years and meditate twice a day. Then I pull a Medicine Card—I always travel with them. They draw from a Native American tradition (I find that tarot cards can be a little too dark for me). Then I oil pull with coconut oil. It all takes about an hour.
“I do believe that in order to write about life, we have to live it.”
When I’m on tour I do the Jane Fonda workout—in the 80s she was actually the first person to make a home workout video. There’s one with sneakers and one without sneakers, and I don’t like to wear sneakers so I do the original non-sneaker workout. It’s a 30 minute or hour-long workout, and I do it on my iPad or on my phone.
Rhythm for the Road
I love Joni Mitchell and I always listen to Hejira when I travel because it’s her record about traveling. She drove across country when she was 30 and she wrote that record about the experience. It makes me feel less alone when I travel.
“I always listen to Bob Dylan to fall asleep on the plane.”
Other than that, I always listen to Bob Dylan to fall asleep on the plane. For some reason he just does that to me—particularly his album Self Portrait. Another record of his I really love is Pat Garrett & Billy the Kid. It’s mostly instrumental so it’s really nice to fall asleep to.
Lola Kirke’s Ideal Vacation
Back in July, I met this amazing woman in the bathroom at Pappy and Harriet’s in Joshua Tree when I played there. We were both wearing leopard outfits, and she followed me on Instagram. At some point I posted that I really wanted to play a show in Greece, and it turns out that she’s Greek, and she was like, “I’ll take care of you.” She asked me what my dream Greek vacation in one sentence would be, and I just sent her the Joni Mitchell song “Carey” from Blue and she just planned this whole trip.
“She asked me what my dream Greek vacation in one sentence would be, and I just sent her the Joni Mitchell song ‘Carey.’”
I mean, thank God she wasn’t a serial killer because I just sent her my credit card and passport info. We went to this small Greek island (that I don’t want to say the name of because I don’t want anyone going there), and we stayed in this perfect beach cottage and ate the best food and just walked everywhere and did yoga every day and had a ball. Then my boyfriend and I played this little cafe there, just both of us solo.
- 1Palo santo (20 pack), $10
- 2Reusable net shopping bag, $15
- 3Pansy & Co. bra, $48
- 4Travel yoga mat, $35
- 5Hydroflask water bottle, $30
- 6Smythson of Bond Street Panama Trinket Case, $240
- 7Braun Digital Travel Alarm Clock, $38
- 8Medicine cards, $17
- 9Linen shirt by Alex Crane, $145
- 10Frederic Malle Geranium Pour Monsieur perfume (50 mL), $205
- 11Away Bigger Carry-On in Brick, $245
On Traveling with a Partner
I love traveling with my boyfriend, especially when we’re flying coach together because I can just sleep on him. We have a good dynamic. He’s very calm. I’m very… not, so he balances me out. He loves adventure in travel. He’s fun to go out with at night. I love traveling alone, but traveling with your partner is like getting to bring your home with you.
Inspiration on Location
I actually write a lot when I’m shooting movies because I am typically on location, so I feel very lonely at the end of the day. My guitar definitely becomes a source of comfort. I do believe that in order to write about life, we have to live it. So when you’re traveling, you are living life in a really different way, and that can often be incredibly inspiring.