practically traveling: an identity crisis

I’m a bit stuck.  I’m in that place between form and function again, but this time with my clothes.  I find myself regularly on the precipice of fashion disaster because function will often win out (much to the chagrin of my sis).

My heart stands divided: part outdoors woman / part park ave.  I love being low-maintenance, self-reliant, and all around casual; but there is another side that LOVES make-up, frilly dresses, and glamorously impractical shoes.  I’m not so much into labels i.e. Prada, Gucci, Coach, etc.  But I do have my favorites that I covet; they’re just not found on the Magnificent Mile.

So what’s a girl to do?  Especially when traveling.   I’m part hostel/ part 5-star hotel (even though I’ve got more of the hostel budget!)  Give me the adventure of backpacking my way across a country, but room service… yes, please!

Ever since 9/11 I’ve given up on glamorous traveling and given into shoes that I can run in.  I understand there are closed-toed alternatives (like my cole-haan loafers); but, if I’m going to have to knock down old ladies to get to my connecting flight or away from a smoking engine, I want to be able to do it in a dead sprint!  And unfortunately my sneakers are the only shoes that will protect my little piggies from ungraceful passengers and still allow me to comfortably stand in a 6-hour line for security.

For the upcoming 18+ hour flight I’ll be wearing some long brown flow-y jersey yoga-type pants, solid cotton jersey tank top, a crisp white sporty front-zip jacket and topped with a camel colored pashmina wrap… with my sneakers.  (The tank for when I get claustrophobic and start to sweat; the jacket b/c it looks nice and is practical for airports kept at 30 below; a wrap because I’ll inevitable get cold on the plane or spill something on my pants and need a skirt; and the jersey draw-string pants b/c I’ll swell like a balloon having sat for so long!)

I know as I stand there in line holding my Patagonia MLC carry-on I’ll be people watching (and judging) and wishing I could be wearing a lovely dress and heels with a huge hat; but I just don’t think it’s practical and I end up scrunching my nose at people who do.   (Oh don’t get me wrong, I’ll just as harshly judge those who look like they just rolled out of bed!) I’ll also be scouting for fellow outdoors people and the latest gear they are choosing to haul their load with.  (I can’t help it, I was a buyer for years!) In the end I know I’ll be comfortable for the flight, but wishing I could give in to my alter-ego and do it with a bit more panache.

Now don’t even get me started on how I’ll dress for seeing the sights of Spain!

{photo credit}


  1. This is great! so much fun and yes, yes, me, too, on so many of those things. But the scruniching up your nose when I got to it made me laugh out loud. Perfect choice on the pashmina – don’t we always need some kind of wrap on the plane? (once I wrapped my shawl around my legs and ankles – it was COLD at “foot” level).
    Anyway, you sound ready to go and loved the picture you found to go wtih this.
    I look forward to the photo-stories you’ll be bringing back ! And make sure that your hubs takes pictures with you in them, too! Ah, Spain for a photo shoot!

    1. Why is it that airplanes will sweat us out by herding us around like cattle and packing us in like sardines and then once we are sufficiently damp bottom out the temp so that you’re in the arctic! It raises another good reason to travel in closed-toed shoes… it’s freezing by your feet!

      Thanks for sharing in my pain! And I can’t wait to share photos of the trip! I have so many ideas in my head already… and I’ve not even seen it yet!

  2. Love this! I have to admit that flying with a child makes it that much harder, especially when you don’t want to be Frumpy Mom. I always make sure we’re dressed practical+nice for traveling, since I’ve noticed it makes a big deal to fellow passengers who may have to sit next to us. I’m also careful to watch the Overflowing Mommy Carry-on!

  3. Identity crisis flashback: backpacking the Indian peaks eating granola bars and fresh river water. Then checking in at the Grand Hyatt Denver with complimentary room service and having a night on the town. Both worlds are more enjoyable when you have a mutual appreciation 🙂

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