Travel Truths: I Look Wack When I Travel

Sometimes, I actually look like this.
Sometimes, I actually look like this.

Here’s my gift to you: I get the sneaking suspicion that you might need a good laugh today — or really, any day you feel like returning to this post — and so I’ve decided to give a wee peek into my, ahem, digital nomad style.

Why? Because it’s uh-MAZE-ing. You will be jealous. You will covet my fake Prada sunglasses. You will wonder if you, too, could rock my sexy patterned beach coverup.

Or maybe you won’t.

But, you see, when you’re on the road in South America or Southeast Asia for 4 to 7 months with nothing more than a carry-on-sized piece of luggage, you don’t have room to make oodles of purchases.

When you do buy random apparel or accessories, it’s typically out of sheer necessity.

And sometimes, necessity happens to occur when you’ve lost your sunglasses at the beach and by the grace of the gods there’s a beach vendor walking past your lounge chair with a rack of sunglasses and because both you and he know you’re not paying $25 for those cheap-ass Prada knock-offs he’s carrying, you can haggle him down to half the price.

cover up man
Look! It’s the Cover Up Man!

Or maybe you’ve realized that wearing your sarong as a beach cover up AND using it as a towel wasn’t your smartest move. And so when yet another beach vendor comes prancing by with two racks of beach coverups, you deem it appropriate and stylish to go for the one with the giant floral pattern and colored embroidery. Because. You. Can. Because it’s Brazil, baby!

crazy cover up
I know, I know. You don’t have to say it.

Occasionally, there are purchases you make because they are utterly practical, style aside. Case in point, my travel hat [see top photo, duh!]. Now, when I saw that beige, floppy lid at Eastern Mountain Sports a few years back, did I think, “DAMN, that Walter Mathau-esque hat looks fly?”

Hell no!

What I thought was, “Ohhh! Does that practical hat really have SPF protection and can be rolled up into it’s own inner pocket and fit in my handbag or backpack AND it protects the back of my neck? Yes? I’ll take it!”

Then there was the great case of the moisture-wicking undies. (No, I’m not sharing a photo of those – ew!). I was obsessed with purchasing moisture-wicking fabrics prior to my RTW trip, and frankly, I found some semi-cute pairs. But, let’s be honest: sometimes undies cuter than your moisture-wicking pair are in order. Ladies, listen up!

The list of questionable purchases goes on and on. Perhaps, if you’ve followed along on my travels since my RTW, you’ll remember the case of the jeans emblazoned with “Hot Options” across my ass (words which, much to my dismay, had been hidden by price tags prior to purchase), or the time I went completely native in India — bangles, a trendy kurta, henna, and mysterious hair oils.

Hot Options
My Hot Options.


mehndi and bangles
Going native in India with my mehndi and bangles.

Of course, there have also been the brilliant purchases, like the 48-hour Nivea deodorant that’s not approved by the FDA and can’t be purchased in America but is the only thing in the world strong enough to combat the sweat caused by multiple Southeast Asian and South American humidity crises.

Best of all, when I’m not making regrettable purchases (like my recent bottle of blue hair gel which was the only hair gel I could find that didn’t have glitter in it — thank you, Brazil), I do occasionally make out like a bandit.

My handmade bracelet of green turquoise from an artisan in Santa Fe.

You see, on the upshot, I encounter artisans from across the globe in my travels. Selling their wares on the street, on the beach, at fairs or in little indy shops. I love these purchases, because I often get to talk to the craftspeople, get to know the hand behind the wares. I love things to have a story — all things — and in this way, with the good and the bad, I make sure they do.


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