The paramount question to ask before you set off: Who are you when you travel?
As I write to you under the translucent blue skies of Sydney, a city where it is almost indiscernible where the beach ends and the glassy metropolis begins, I count this as the 7th city I have visited in the past three months. I feel that as I have encountered the diverse inhabitants of each setting, I myself have taken on their idiosyncrasies.
Here in Sydney, I feel the rush to walk at a speed that keeps pace with the streets, that anti-social impatience as my Uber pulls up in a no-stopping zone while my soy-double-shot-flat-white is still 5th in the que, and an almost nostalgic sensation when looking up at the blue sky, as though in the eyes-to-the-concrete rush, I had not seen it for days. It is a different me that lived from café terrace to cobbled streets in Paris, or the no-makeup, no-blow-dry me of Perth. It is a universally felt phenomenon that we transform into another ‘our-self’ as we travel.
Even in the act of leaving home, we step into another persona. And so you must see that ‘who you are when you travel?’ is a question just as profound and fundamental as the perfect underwear to travel days ratio when preparing for your trip.
The at home, abroad traveller
This traveller cannot be parted from the comforts and familiarities of their world, described by such things as their morning regime, the coffee they drink, and perhaps most importantly, their wardrobe. For them, a portable version of their life at home must be meticulously recreated (in varying degrees of success) at their destination. As such, they are unrelenting in finding solutions to making reducing one’s whole life to travel-size feasible, from their selection of accommodation to designing a travel itinerary in which such activities as museum visits and evening events do not necessitate exposure to the elements.
The abroad, at home
Always in anticipation of taking off without a moments notice, this traveller’s every life decision takes into consideration the possibility of travel. Their possessions are few, and carefully selected based on practicality and convenience alone. They have learned to live without many homely comforts for the sake of fitting their life inside a faded canvas backpack – hiking two days to Machu Pichu when the local bus route is destroyed by landslides is something they are always prepared for. Style is the least of their concerns, but of course, that wayward wanderer look is very much in vogue in the parts of the world they like to frequent.
And now we come to the ambit of yours truly, or perhaps a kind of aspirational mission statement. The minimalist is a philosopher, always examining and re-examining, from every vantage point, the meaning of ‘essential’. With a desire to strike a balance between utility and beauty, their wardrobe and style are formulaic, and can be readily scaled for travel. In the temperate regions, it’s a men’s shirt (real or inspired) that gives off Hepburn vibes, and silk trousers that are generous in all the right places. These are turned cold weather ready with thermal under-layers and epic coating that makes one feel like a super-hero.
So who are you when you travel?
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