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You want to know about that girl in the photo don’t you? The one with the leather fringe bag staring into the camera. Hm, what is there to say? That woman was bonafide gypsy style; brave, bold, and a little bit restless. All that energy, she couldn’t help but talk too much - though curiously, I don’t think she could have ever told me everything she knew. We met some out of the way boho festival and I couldn’t help but fall for her straight away.

It was her eyes. Those eyes are still my favourite part of her, and not just because they were golden brown like honey, but because I swear they could see well beyond my games and straight into my soul. I liked to think of myself as a bit of a casanova in those days. I remember the day we met, I was saying goodbye to everyone (I hate crowds) and I had started up my bike to leave, she wandered over, hitched up her long gypsy skirt, and jumped straight on the back like it was nothing, and wrapped her arms around me. Apparently she had decided we should kick on together.

I looked back at this mysterious bohemian goddess with a smirk and told her that I didn't know if I would be around tomorrow. She matched me with one of those carefree smiles of hers, pulled herself closer to me and replied 'I know babe, whatever... let's ride'.

We headed up the coast to this secluded little spot that I knew about near the cove as the sun had just started to set. We jumped off my bike, locked up her boho leather bag and headed to the water. Straight up I asked her why she’d come with me. She told me that an old friend once told her that to hear adventure calling your name and not answer it is cheating yourself. So you should just pack up some things and take off, you can always come back.

“I want a real adventure you know, to travel somewhere magical. People say I’m crazy and maybe they’re right but, like, what if we were the first to slow dance on the moon, wouldn’t that be wild?” I wasn’t entirely sure if she was talking to me or trying to seduce a personal invitation out of the rising moon. I wanted to say something clever, but I waited one moment too long to respond. She handed me her gypsy style leather sandals and suede poncho and started dancing in the waves, I went for it anyway.

“You could travel far and wide searching for magic and beauty, but I tell you now, they’re right here happening in front of you, if only you’d open your eyes a little wider. But don't believe what they say gypsy girl, your bohemian spirit is what sets you apart from the crowd, you're just too exotic for them. Don't be afraid to soar higher than all of us. People will always throw rocks at things that shine brighter than they do.”

She paused to look at me but then kept swaying with the waves lapping at her feet. She danced a little more and, along with the moon, I was relegated to being her audience. When the darkness finally eclipsed her recital we meandered back up to my bike to find a sangria bar and talk all night long about everything. Though come midnight I had gone to pay the tab and take her home, but found she’d slipped away into the night. I never saw her after that, but I’ve always carried this picture around you know.

Her name was Valentina and if she taught me anything during the fleeting time we spent together it was that you have to follow the arrow of your heart. Really, there are no wrong or right choices, just those you make and those you don't. At the end of the day, all our stories are long and magnificent, but even the most complicated ones aren't finished yet, so just take that next step and find out what's ahead of you babe.

About Lokoa

Lokoa is an Australian lifestyle brand. An independent, boutique label based on the Gold Coast, owned and operated by founder Brie Shinn since 2009. Brie dreamed of a handbag that was as unique and bold as her bohemian soul, and inspired by her travels to the exotic locations of South East Asia, Brazil and Argentina. She designed a gorgeous leather bag that was meant to be a once-off, but instead has grown into a coll ection with an incredibly loyal following. Lokoa’s range includes an array of unique handmade bags, wallets, apparel, and footwear created using different leathers, suedes, and boldly coloured fabrics. The Lokoa aesthetic is grounded in vibrant colours, bold geometric patterns, lush textures of different leathers and suedes, flowing lines, and playful detailing. Each piece is designed with the intention to be beautiful but also functional; not every woman has the luxury of an exotic escape, but Lokoa’s handmade pieces inspire a sense of mystery and adventure in our everyday lives. Let your mind and soul be swept away with the stories of Lokoa