Friday, June 02, 2006

Travel clothes :: What *Not* to Wear

The new high tech travel clothing is great -- fast drying, well-sewn, breathable -- a little goes a long way.

I am thinking of a comment made about tourists by a friend living in Honduras, something about "These guys that come down here in their Tilley hats [known for their fabric, secret pockets and lifetime guarantee] and think they are really roughing it." Since we were in Tegucigalpa, the busy capital, at the time, and the wildest, roughest thing around was the supermarket, I could see his point.

This came to mind again on the Borneo trip. Sitting in the plane, waiting for take off, the people around me began chatting. One (very handsome) fellow, in the seat in front of me, his seatmate told us, had won some Young Explorer award from National Geographic, and was headed for an island to watch the turtles. His clothing, from his shirt to his shoes, glistened and gleamed with newness. Having just been in all the outfitting stores looking for travel pants myself, I recognized the labels signature. Couldn't help myself -- said something to him about how shiny and new he was, all ready for his first Big Trip.

Another fellow piped up. "You should see his backpack. It's so shiny it hurts your eyes." I was really glad I had limited myself to just the travel pants so I didn't stand out too much.

I guess the lesson here is a little high tech wardrobe goes a long way. If you are going to look like you should be a window display in the hikers store, you may as well wear a sign that says I Have Secret Pockets Where I Hide My Valuables. May as well go for broke. Or for gosh sake, don't wear them all at once, or you look like the kid all set for his first day at camp.

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