New York-born, Milan-based designer Emily Levine is quite a citizen of the world. At 18, she opted to spend her first year at FIT studying in Florence, returned to New York for her second year, then went off again to study in Hong Kong. She returned to New York for her final year, then moved immediately to Milan in order to work on the design team at Etro.

There is a glimmer in Levine’s eye as she speaks passionately about the places she’s been and longs to visit. During her tenure at Etro, she daydreamed about starting her own line, and after a couple of inspiring trips to Japan and India, her dreams manifested. Last summer, she launched a line of quirky bags and accessories that fused Japanese and Indian techniques, building her livelihood around her deep admiration for diverse cultures and traditions.

For her latest trip, Levine wanted to explore somewhere new. She landed on Lamu Island, in Kenya, ending with a safari in Masai Mara. “I had absolutely no expectations,” Levine says. She realized when she arrived that that many people discover this place by accident. “We met so many eclectic travelers from all over who discovered Lamu years ago and now return regularly. Many of them had passed through backpacking and stumbled upon the tiny island by chance—or luck.” The energy of this remote Swahili island on Kenya’s northeastern coast is unequivocally magnetic; it has its own rhythm. The allure goes much deeper than its endless, untouched beaches with roaming donkeys and wooden sailboats (although that alone sounds pretty magical to us)—the winding streets of its historic old town date back to the 14th century.

Levine’s days were spent exploring the culture and beaches of Lamu, along with boat-hopping to its neighboring islands and villages before topping off the trip with a quick jaunt to safari in Masai Mara.

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Above, Levine shares some of her favorite moments from the journey.