I was recently chatting with a dear friend and she mentioned that before any trip she takes, she feels the need to buy things specifically for that trip. I was stunned because previous to this comment, I thought I was the only one that, when assessing what to pack, would inevitably decide I didn’t have the right thing and would go on a bit of a shopping spree to fill my suitcase with the necessary items.
Sometimes this is completely understandable. Like when you are traveling to a different climate or planning on doing things you don’t normally do (hike, scuba dive, etc). Check this post out about my trip out of my comfort zone in Argentina. However, there are so many trips that I’ve taken where I (like it or not) could have just packed what I already have in my closet. So why do we feel this need to buy before we go?
I have some thoughts on this and it all stems from the very root of why we travel. People list a lot of reasons for travel – I find they are mostly buzz words or borrowed sentiments. I’m proposing that consciously or unconsciously we travel to find our true selves. Stay with me here. When you travel, the daily routine of life is gone, the small realities that piece together our daily lives are no longer present. We are able to discard the roles that we play when in the presence of acquaintances, friends, colleagues and relatives.
Being surrounded by strangers in a strange place is completely and luxuriously freeing. It’s almost sinful. And, if you really embrace it, watch out as it can be a bit disorienting. But does that mean you need new clothes to find yourself? In short, no. It’s not about new clothes, it’s about having the right clothes.
In order to strip yourself back and get into the exploration of a new place you need the right pieces in your suitcase. Ok, ok, I know that sounds a little shallow – but hear me out… in order to really explore a place, in order to really soak up the culture and be a part of it for a short time, you need to be able to dress for that location. It’s ridiculous to think of wearing hiking clothes in Venice or a sundress in Petra (side note: I’ve got a bit of a problem with all the insta pics of women in Petra with sundresses – it’s dirty and dusty there and a place that should be explored). The aim of travel is not ‘doing it for the gram’ (though those moments happen and can be quite fun) the aim is to be a part of something new and different and in turn find a bit more of yourself in the process.
So dress for it. Dress for your location so that you don’t look like a tourist, so that you can blend a little and really observe the people and the place. You’ll find it easy to get lost in your travels because you’ll be comfortable and appropriate dressed… and you’ll be treated differently by the locals. I promise it will help you immerse yourself and get more out of your trip.