Travel Fail: Packing light and packing white

My sister once told me that she wished she attended more parties like the one in High Fidelity where Catherine Zeta Jones and her friends all get into heated debates about politics and such. She asked if my friends and I ever have these types of parties. I told her that we didn’t. She asked why. I told her if I had friends who wanted to debate foreign policy, I probably wouldn’t hang around them much.

I don’t host those kinds of parties.

I don’t debate. I’ve never won an argument and frankly, I don’t care. I agree to disagree before anyone even knows my opinion.

No debate material here. So cute!

I like innocuous topics that would never illicit an argument. Do you like rainbows? Do you find baby animals cute? Do you prefer PC or Macs? Just kidding. I would never ask that last one in polite society. But one seemingly harmless question that usually wouldn’t cause a conversational commotion past the age of eight often ends in an argument when posed towards me. The offending question: “What’s your favorite color?”

It doesn’t matter if the person before answered “the color of vomit,” when it comes to my answer, mayhem ensues. My favorite color is white. People like to get all scientific about this and try to make me see the err of my ways and that my favorite color isn’t a color at all but rather just a stupid answer. Sure, white is either the absence of any color or the presence of all color depending on whether you’re talking about subtractive or additive colors. I don’t care. I can see it, it pleases me and that’s why it is my favorite.

I would!

I like white décor, I like white flowers and probably, if I was still into coloring books and they started using different colored paper, I’d use the white crayon the most. I also like to wear white and since I am a sheep to commercial advertising, I’m fully versed in how to keep my whites looking white. However, when it comes to planning a travel wardrobe, this has gotten me in trouble.  When you pack light and pack white, problems arise. Have I learned my lesson? No, no I have not.

Happy? Yes. Elegant? No.

My first foray into traveling with white was on the flight to Belize for our honeymoon. I’d always pictured leaving for my honeymoon elegantly dressed, jetting off to find new adventures with my new husband. You’ll notice the distinct lack of elegance in this picture. After the stress of a wedding, I couldn’t find the outfit, let alone the motivation to wear the outfit, I had planned for the occasion. Instead, I grabbed chinos and a T-shirt. In retrospect, I’m glad I didn’t wear anything too nice or expensive because just a few hours into our first trip as a married couple, Andy fell asleep with a can of tomato juice in his hand, inevitably dumping all of it into my lap.

The pants were ruined but our marriage was not; we laughed throughout the whole ordeal. He is, however, now restricted to ordering Sprite on long flights. Fun fact: if you spill a can of tomato juice on a plane, the whole cabin will reek of it for the remainder of the flight.

No black sand = No problemo!

Another regrettable packing mishap involving white was in Guatemala. Although my white bikini worked fine swimming in Flores, on the black-sand beaches of Monterrico… not so much.


This snafu would have been more forgivable had I not been to Monterrico just a few years prior. Yes, I knew the beaches had black sand. No, I did not consider this when packing.

White pants in Barcelona, Spain.

More recently, on two-week trip to Spain and Portugal, I brought a pair of jeans, white pants, a white skirt and a clubbing skirt. When you take out the clubbing skirt, I was left me with exactly three daytime choices. I don’t travel with sneakers. Flip flops are my shoe of choice for wandering around a city. Unfortunately, they have the nasty habit of flipping mud up onto your legs and butt if the ground is damp. It was damp a lot. Actually, damp is an understatement. We were caught in more than a few full-on downpours – hence the problem with a white skirt and white pants. I found myself sink-washing both the skirt and the pants within the first two days. Had I known at the time that I would be highlighting this problem in a blog, I might have snapped a photo of my mud-speckled butt. (A missed photo op if there ever was one.)

White skirt in Porto, Portugal.

So do I regret any of it? Not really. I love the look of crisp, white clothes and I think they’re the antithesis of frumpy-American-travel clothes. Who needs dark clothes that don’t show dirt when you have soap, a sink and some Photoshop skills.

For my next trip, I’m thinking about packing a pair of white skinny jeans. I will be in Scotland and Ireland in May. What could possibly go wrong?

5 responses to “Travel Fail: Packing light and packing white

  1. In defense of my own friends, the problem isn’t that they don’t have fascinating and occasionally quite controversial opinions on foreign policy and economics etc, they really do. The problem is that my friends are so thoroughly scattered about the earth that we just can’t get together for big dinner party debates often…ever. So sad.

  2. I think white totally counts as a color. So there to your scientifically-minded friends. However, I own only one white shirt. Very much not-so-white-anymore, and slightly stained. That’s what I get for having four kids. Oh well – I’ve always preferred cream or ivory to white anyway.

    PS: I didn’t know you wrote! I’ll be bookmarking your blog.

    • Thanks! I think saying white isn’t a color is like saying technically green isn’t a color because it’s yellow and blue together – and everyone would agree that’s just nonsense!

  3. Pingback: Happy (Belated) Mother’s Day | See Jules Travel·

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